Life at the end of the road

February 12, 2011

Pluckin’ feathers :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:11 pm

I wish I’d have spent more time upstairs today, for after a shaky start it turned into a pure peach of a day, unlike yesterday. Friday started off quite respectably and I even started doing some painting on the handrails and stair rails, though fairly soon that proved to be a mistake as the heavens opened around midday and gave my smooth gleaming white banisters a nice ‘high grip’ finish 😦 I know, it was forecast on the BBC but  UKWind tended to disagree so I took a chance 🙂

Still it didn’t put me off, I just headed down to the engine room armed with paint and roller and carried on where I’d left off last shift.

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It was nice and toasty down there sandwiched between the forward gearbox and the bilge chest as rolled away on the bulkhead. I even managed to work my way right along as far as the hydraulic tank and beyond, coming up occasionally each time we arrived in port.

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That was about it on the work front, major developments on the croft were two of Molly’s pups going away to new homes on Skye. Hamish and the one that we called Maisie went away quite happily on the last ferry, it was dark and pishing with rain or I would have taken a photo of them all curled up fast asleep in the back of a 4×4. Ahh that’s two less sets of teeth to set about my legs at 5:00am and two less jobbies to clean off the kitchen floor 🙂

The other amusing development was Shona moving her bed, Shona is what they would describe in this part of the world as thrawn. I’ve no idea how you spell it or even if it’s a real word but it seems to describe someone or something that’s just plain awkward and contrary, which just about sums up our most singular pig Shona. A year ago almost to the day she chose to forsake the warmth and shelter of an ark to farrow in and chose to wander off through the woods in a blizzard to make a nest. at the top of a cliff!!!!!!

Six months later, and suspecting she’d wander off again for her next litter we put her in a small field adjoining the barn which had been made ready for her. Did she have her litter in the warm dry barn,


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not a chance, this contrary pig made herself a haystack in the pishing rain and had her piglets inside it.

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There is a pig under there

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and thirteen piglets !!!!!

We put her in the same field on Wednesday knowing that she must have them in the barn as the field was now a swamp.

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Sure enough she produced eleven fine piglets in the barn, only when wifey went in yesterday they’d vanished, mum, piglets the lot gone 😦 She looked outside, no sign, then she went back in the barn and found that Shona had squeezed through that wee gap in the top left hand corner and taken her piglets with her 🙂 There’s a big pile of straw behind there and they were all nestled in it quite peacefully so we left them 🙂


Today was a lovely day fit for painting handrails but I continued down below with my painting right up until lunchtime which I forsook in favour of a 500 hour service on the Volvo main engines.

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Priming the new filters first with fresh engine oil from the tank,

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then punching a couple of holes in the old filters to drain them before pumping out the 47lts of old oil into the waste oil tank.

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All the waste oil has to be accounted for and a record kept of when it’s discharged and to whom.


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Then it was just a matter of filling them up running them and checking for leaks.

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Well apart from the paperwork that is 🙂

A late lunch

With the TAMD 121Cs running sweetly I settled back to a nice lunch of pheasant livers, hearts and a little pasta left over from last night.

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Of course the first thing that I had to do was pluck and draw the brace of birds that I’d been given.


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Or should I say, try and pluck the two birds, I made a complete hash of the cock so just skinned the hen 🙂

Plucking pheasants is not an easy task and despite doing it inside a bin liner I’m still seeing feathers drifting about the mess room as I type this six hours later 🙂



  1. I never pluck pheasants anymore – simply butterfly them and whip the legs off.
    Paul, how did you do the pasta, livers and hearts?


    Comment by Ian — February 12, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

    • Hi Ian,

      the pasta that I had yesterday was just a left over bolognaise made with some minced up Ginger, the boar and not the root 🙂 I chopped up the liver and hearts from the pheasants plus some liver from a hind that I’d been given, just fried them in garlic and added them to the pasta. If I’m doing a pasta sauce made from rabbit I use the heart liver and kidneys, just quartering the bunny into the sauce and serving it on top of the pasta so you have to pick it up and eat it, messy but nice -)

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 13, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  2. Hi Paul.
    Notice you like doing a bit of cooking with the local produce from the land and sea thought you’d like to try this site. It’s not what it looks like but lots of the meals can be done with local produce in about 6 to 10 minutes. Hope you had a sign on the hand rails saying they were wet.

    Comment by Polite Scouse — February 12, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    • Cheers for that link PS 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 13, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  3. You arent a pheasant pluckers son by any chance?
    Bet you are sad to see those pups gone, they are so cute. I could have easily stuffed one in my rucsac a few weeks ago. Does Molly seem bothered?

    Comment by simon — February 13, 2011 @ 11:04 am

    • SAD SIMON !!!!! you must be joking 🙂 they’re driving us nutz 🙂 As for Molly, she can’t wait to get rid of the rest. Me, I’m sick of climbing obstacles to get in the kitchen then dodging puddles and Molly is sick of them hanging off her t***s 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 13, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  4. i love the pic of miss shona with her nesting materials, and indeed all stories of the pigs’ adventures, including bee’s companionate activities and the little spotty ones charging around with such curiosity and — conviviality, one might say. cute.

    Comment by jeannette — February 15, 2011 @ 3:40 am

  5. I’m curious about those remote controlled valves in pictures above where you describe painting. Is the idea that valves can be operated if engine room is flooded or other mis-hap or are they part of normal operations?
    I’m on about the valves with shafts, universal joints and bevel boxes leading away to somewhere.

    (The lurker who thinks he’s read most of the old posts)

    Comment by Max — February 21, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    • Hi Max,

      aye the valves can be operated through a marvelous set of shafts and universal joints even if the engine room is flooded. All the valves go up to deck level but can be operated from both positions and it’s part of the routine ‘planned maintenance’ to ensure that they do.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 22, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

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