Life at the end of the road

February 20, 2011

Fresh ground for Bracken

Filed under: daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:36 pm

Another great and dry day here at the north end which started with the usual bout of feeding and was very quickly followed by moving Bracken’s ark. Bracken farrowed two weeks ago and her six piglets have barely seen the light of day yet. This was due in no small part to the swamp outside their door so whilst Bracken was feeding I decided to have a go at moving her ark. Moving one of these heavy insulated Bidgiemire arks presents little problem on hard ground, relocating one stuck in a swamp is a different kettle of fish altogether 😦 It’s not so much the weight, or even the suction, it’s Newton’s third law of motion ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’ and when trying to move a heavy weight upwards your feet move downwards an equal amount into the mire 😦

Anyway I’ve developed a few tricks over the years to minimise wellington loss by dragging a pallet around to stand on and spread the load whilst I lever it up with a fence post. Once the ark is up at one end I slide 100mm MDPE pipe underneath to act as rollers, usually four or five 6m lengths of which I have plenty. Once the ark is sat on these it’s quite easy to push along and then just take out the back roller before sliding it under the front. It is in fact so easy that it’s even possible to move it with a 200kg sow and six piglets inside 🙂 I kid you not, once I’d got the ark on its rollers Bracken decided to go inside and steal the food I’d left inside for the piglets :-(  I did eventually get her out but not before I’d moved her about 2m 🙂

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That pallet is were her house before breakfast, and you can see it’s not very enticing for wee piglets to venture out into.

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Here she is two ark lengths further back feeding her wains 🙂

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After I’d had my breakfast I went back out to turf out the piglets and clean the ark, sure enough once the six little tammies discovered that not all the world was black mud they spent a good deal of the day exploring it 🙂

With her ark cleaned out we cut some rushes nearby with the brush cutter and Bracken helped us carry them to her house and arranged them ‘just so’.

My spell of effort and mud wrestling had left my joints a little sore so I skipped the planned hard labour of ditching in favour of repairing the sticking rear brake on my mates quad.


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The single rear brake drum on this Yamaha 300 Bruin is a very robust and waterproof affair that sits inside this ‘O ring’ and oil sealed cover.

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Just to give you some idea of how well engineered this quad is look at the condition of those shoes and how clean they are after six years of mud and abuse 🙂


brake cam

All that was required was to remove the brake actuator cam, clean it with a wire brush and grease it up. You can see in the picture that it’s not returning to the horizontal, or at least it wasn’t 🙂

Next easy project was fitting an outside tap near the barn then doing some fencing repairs on Ginger’s field ( we may be eating him right now but it will always be ‘Ginger’s field’ ) This particular repair was one that should have been done six years ago when the fence was put up as it’s a point where there is only 100mm of earth before solid rock.

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What I did was drill two 20mm holes and hammer in two galvanized steel posts that have holes in them that you can screw a post to.

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The angle iron posts have a 20mm round spigot on the bottom that are an interference fit in the hole, so once belted in they won’t come out. Once securely home you can screw a square, round, or even strainer post to it.

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I saw very little of the ‘wee dug’ today as she seemed to prefer gardening with wifey to fencing and quad repairs 🙂

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graph 200211

And that’s it, it’s only 21:30 but I’m off to bed 🙂



  1. Morning Paul—have all the pups left to their new homes yet?? Bea is she still with you?Neighbour’s across the road took on a jack russell at xmas(rust and white one)and they are having fun with her–mine is a parson jack russell–such lovely,kind doggies.I woke up to hard frost at 06h and now we have some snow flurries–roll on spring

    Comment by frogsaint — February 21, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    • Morning Carol,

      just one wee dug left, for the moment at least, wee Charlie, Guinness, Biff, or Wee Haggis, we can’t make up our mind on what to call him 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 22, 2011 @ 7:20 am

  2. Hi, Im thinking of getting a couple of pigs. i was given your site by a friend Dave Mocket who got some Pigs from you a couple of years ago. Were new to crofting so any help would appreciated. What price and what age age are they. Thanks for your help. Stevie

    Comment by Stevie Boyle — February 21, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    • Hi Stevie,

      welcome to the blog and crofting (good luck with the paperwork 🙂 ) we sell our pigs at around seven or eight weeks just after they’ve been weaned at six weeks then charged about the croft for a few days to see if all is well. They’re £35 each and I can usually come to some arrangement about delivery on Skye or around Kyle. Sadly there will be no more ready until July or even August.

      Cheers, paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 22, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  3. Sounds like an ‘easy’ day for you yesterday, Paul. Please can we have a photo from your new house/shed site looking south to the Cuillin, that must be a spectacular view in clear weather! Hope you can oblige. Thanks,

    Comment by francesp — February 21, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

    • Hi Frances,

      all I can see to the south is the ‘Sithean Mor’ or windy hill at Tarbert 🙂 but the magnificence of the Storr is in my book more impressive than anything the Cuillin has to offer 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 22, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

  4. Hi Paul, Almost looks like the old gal’s got horns/antlers in one of the pix – positively primeval! Must have been fun moving that ark in that mud!! Pity Bea wasn’t there to lend a trotter/snout!

    Comment by Iain — February 21, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    • Hi Iain,

      that sow certainly has a strange pair of ears 🙂 As for Bee, she’s lost interest in humans apart from at feeding time 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 22, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  5. I watched Countryfile last night and saw the farmer with the Borerary sheep, and how difficult it was to catch them … reminded me of your stories of trying to catch your sheep !!!

    Comment by carina — February 21, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

    • Hi Carina,

      I can certainly sympathize with anyone having to catch St Kildean sheep 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 22, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

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