Life at the end of the road

July 12, 2011

Another first :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, pigs, stonework — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:22 pm


This is probably going to be a little disjointed, I seem to be at least a couple of days behind with my posting and some efforts have events on them from different days. Anyway I’ll try and get in all in order and with a bit of luck I’ll arrive at Tuesday, which I think is today. Whilst my internal lock is accurate to a few minutes on an hourly basis it’s not very good on a daily one and quite often I don’t know what day it is.

My phenomenal biological alarm clock comes from years of doing everything  in six minute increments (.1h) in the motor trade, a need to eat every two hours and an obsession with the shipping forecast. Since the computer age hit Raasay some thirteen or fourteen years ago I seldom listen to it but a little alarm clock still goes off inside me at 13:55 and 17:50 🙂

The first job along with feeding this morning was to check Jamie Lee who had a bit of a funny turn on Monday evening.


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The day had been spent, first at the dentist in Kyle and then at my parents on the shores of Loch Duich. On arriving home we discovered Jamie Lee in her ark panting heavily, very lethargic and minus one piglet. She was not well, Jamie Lee is a very good mother and does not crush piglets once they’ve been up and about for three days. Normally the first thing I’d do is take her temperature by sticking a thermometer up her bum for two minutes but that was hard up against the side of the ark so impossible. Eventually we managed to coax her out and found the missing piglet squashed, cold and dead in the corner. My first thought with any kind of sickness a day or two after farrowing is retained afterbirth, but that’s usually followed with some kind of discharge from the vulva, of which there was none.

When she did finally come out she laid down outside and I managed to get a reading of 103.6 after a good two mins of holding a ‘KY jelly’ smeared thermometer up her anus. If you’d told me on the shop floor in 1985 that one day I would be a fisherman, a ferryman and stick thermometers up pigs ar5es I would have given you a very strange look 🙂 It really is strange where life takes you if you let it 🙂

A pigs normal temperature is about 102.5 so it was high, however once outside her breathing became more normal and at feeding time she ate 90% of the 3.5Kg of feed I gave her and was drinking plenty of water. As she seemed to be improving I deferred making a decision on giving her antibiotics until the morning  and went out fishing 🙂

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No, I’m not irresponsible, she was eating, she was drinking, she was feeding her piglets and pigs, just like people do have ‘off days’. Wifey was keeping an eye on her and we have antibiotics in the fridge, I just don’t like using them unnecessarily.

Yet another sheep rescue

Tuesday dawned bright and clear so I was up early and out to check Jamie Lee, who was much better and refused to have a thermometer stuffed up her backside 🙂 Feeling much better myself I got on with an hours bedding cutting in the morning sun until it was time to take our young helper south form the 10:55 ferry.

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With the price of scrap rising due to huge demand in the far east and encouraged by the removal of the wrecks in the Arnish car park. I’d managed to coerce my neighbour into getting rid of the old Metro that had been languishing at the north end since 2007. It meant that I’d have to actually do it for her but at least it would remove another eyesore from our beautiful island 🙂 Of course nothing is ever straight forward, and the trailer I’d have to borrow to do it only had three wheels on, the spare being the wrong size wheel 😦

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So, whilst wifey accompanied our young charge over on the ferry I got busy with a file, not exactly Kosher and probably against all the ‘construction and uses’ regulations but ‘needs must’ 🙂

That went much smoother than anticipated so with time to kill I went to disturb my mate John at Manitoba, this bodgery is thirsty work and I was in need of a coffee 🙂

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My mate was busy putting a turf roof on his wood store which looked just lovely on the gable end of the old almshouse.

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I was greatly impressed with the standing stone he’d erected in his veg patch as well  🙂

With ‘four wheels on my wagon’, well trailer, we headed north and home, to be stopped by some geologists by the cattle grid which marks the boundary of our common grazing. Said geologist informed us that there was a lamb in the cattle grid!!! Now I’ve rescued sheep from everywhere, I’ve pulled them out of the sea, cut them out of bramble bushes, extricated them from fences, lifted them off cliffs, dug them out of ditches and unscrewed them from gates but I’ve never seen one in a cattle grid.

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In fact this wee girl must have had some headache from all the traffic that’s been up and down ‘Calum’s road’ of late 🙂 She’d still be there now were it not for these chaps doing their mapping and noticing her. I had to laugh really, for this newly installed cattle grid has a ‘hedgehog ramp’ and there are no hedgehogs on Raasay, perhaps they should fit ‘lamb ramps’ instead 🙂

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The wee sheep must have there a while for her mum had abandoned her and she got stuck straight into this puddle for a drink rather than bolt off from people and wee dug 🙂

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Once home and fed the twelve year old and I towed out the Metro and winched it on the trailer.

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He got busy on the ‘Tirfor’ whilst I took the pictures 🙂 What’s the point of having children if you don’t use them 🙂

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After that we did a spot of fishing

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whilst the pigs soaked up the sun 🙂 And now I’m off to bed, for what I’m going to do tomorrow is barmy even by my standards and it involves a very long boat trip and some black pipe 🙂



  1. Hope all goes well with your exciting boat ride and adventures with some black pipe.
    Can’t wait to hear what tha’s all about
    Richy, of playing Hide and Seek on your boat while you were diving fame, and I are planning to trip to Skelwith Bridge, Lake District for a few days soon .
    He reminded me on one of our regular picnics yesterday that that was the coldest he’d ever been
    Good luck and stay safe

    Comment by chrisb — July 13, 2011 @ 7:07 am

    • Hi Chris,

      enjoy your trip, ours went well 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 13, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  2. just think Paul … in centuries to come some archaeologist will find John’s standing stone and wonder what Druids lived at Manitoba (lol)

    Comment by carina — July 13, 2011 @ 7:13 am

    • Hi Carina,

      the archeologists will probably think Arnish was a pipe factory 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 13, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  3. I reckon you are laying an undersea broadband pipe over to Portree!

    Comment by Simon — July 13, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    • Do they measure ‘bandwidth’ in millimeters Simon??? if so I’ve got plenty 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 13, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  4. Jamie Lee probably had an upset stomach. Possibly as a side-effect of the farrowing, possibly due to eating something she shouldn’t have, possibly due to a bug. Delilah, our matriarch of the herd, had something similar last weekend. She had a slight temperature, was scouring and off her food on Saturday. On Sunday, she was still scouring and somewhat lethargic. On Monday morning, the rattle of the food bucket saw Delilah rocket out of the hut, shove the other sows out of the way, and try to scoff all the food in about 30 seconds flat. Sometimes patience is the best medicine.

    Comment by Stonehead — July 15, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    • I think you could well be right about Jamie Lee Stoney but wifey thinks that she had ‘the hump’ for being shut in a field 🙂 She opened the gate onto the croft, where she’d been before farrowing and JL perked up straight away 🙂

      Love the steam generator link, spent ages perusing that, and it got me thinking 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 16, 2011 @ 6:34 am

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