Life at the end of the road

July 22, 2011

The ‘outdoor pig’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:15 pm

A bonny, if breezy day today at the north end, fine in a nice sheltered south facing spot but the north wind certainly kept it cool. Lovely and cool in fact with not a midge to be seen. Having been abandoned by the family and friends just after 9:00 I headed down to the shore to do some boat ‘fettling’, the Pioner Maxi needed a battery cable refitting that I’d jointed yesterday and the Pioner 10 had an almost new Yamaha 4hp four stroke on the back of it that wouldn’t start 🙂

I’d stripped the battery cable out of the Maxi yesterday to take it home to my workshop to crimp some new terminals on. Having already crimped it in situ some months ago it had proved to be unsatisfactory. The repair was good but it was in a vulnerable place for heavy footed people so the insulation had failed and water had got in once again. Removing the cable was a matter of taking out the fuel tank and seat, which revealed all manner of dead and festering things beneath 😦

I put the repaired cable back on the boat the opposite way around, thus placing the new joint out of foot and waters way.

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With the repair carried out satisfactorily and tested, but without replaced any of the fittings I turned my attention to the Maxi’s smaller sibling.

When first introduced to these craft some 18 years ago I have to say that I thought they were a bit of a joke, hardly pleasing on the eye and made of plastic, give me a break. This boat is the Toyota Hi Lux of the sea, in fact it’ll still be around when most  Hi Lux’s of gone to meet their maker. These boats are virtually indestructible and are perfect for any application where idiots abound, like boat hire or rental. They’re also ideal for commercial applications like fish farms where abuse of boats is mandatory 🙂 I speak from experience 🙂

Anyway, my third hand Pioner 10 that had served me well as a tender to my fishing boat for many years had acquired a new 4hp Yamaha last year. To my knowledge it had never been on the boat, so I was somewhat surprised when it wouldn’t start 😦 After checking the fuel and spark plug I removed the carburettor plug to discover oil running out of it 😦 Someone had obviously put two stroke mixture in it to test it at some point and the oil had settled out of the petrol.

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A quick flush through with fresh fuel and the little four stroke burst into life after the first pull in its bucket of water 🙂

With the wee boat ‘fit for purpose’ and the big one sorted but in bits I called it a day down there and went home to meet the family.

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Unusually, and in a rather strange place this fine catamaran dropped anchor in Loch Arnish just before I left.

After a spot of lunch I put the family, not my family but another that we’ve borrowed for the weekend, to work 🙂

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We finished off cutting the rushes in Jamie Lee’s field and stored them in the barn for bedding.

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A couple of hours saw the field clear and the barn topped up so we tootled down to Screapadale for beach stones.

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It’s hard to believe that only eight years ago this lush grass was a forest of spruce and you could not see the sea until you hit the beach 🙂

A most contrary pig

Doing a little more work on the path in the veg patch took us nicely up to our feeding time which was followed shortly afterwards by the pigs. With all the to-ing and fro-ing through the gates with pebbles and bedding Jamie Lee had escaped into the field by the barn. Not only that but she’d made herself a nest and refused to budge, not really a problem as there’s both water and shade in there for her and her piglets. It’s just typical of our most singular pig, you give her a nice insulated ark to farrow in during the winter and she heads for the hills to produce a litter in the wood in a blizzard. You lock her in this very field in August with access to the barn and she has her litter outside in a monsoon.


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Believe it or not that’s her last year under that pile of rushes 🙂

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and here she is, almost twelve months on in the same place, having built herself another nest from dried rushes.

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Though her six piglets seemed to prefer the green ones 🙂

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Far too salty :-(

Filed under: daily doings, food — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:12 am

Busy busy day yesterday which didn’t see me in bed until 23:30 but no time for posting I’m afraid. I twas a beautiful day but with a chill north wind, still T shirt shorts and sandals weather but fresh in the wind.

First job on my early rise was to remove the four bits of lithe (pollock) from the brine and air dry them

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on the washing line 🙂 that north wind came in use after all.

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Next was the removal of a Metro that had to be done before the morning rush hour

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and with a motorcycle escort 🙂

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Luckily we did not meet this on the road, as reversing would have been an issue 🙂

The afternoon was spent repairing boats down at the Arnish shore,


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ferrying gas cylinders to and from and checking battery banks.

I also spent a very informative and productive couple of hours pouring over our house plans with  Alistair of  and Tony Lake of ‘Treestyle’ who will be designing the integrated solar, hydro, wind and biomass heating system for our new build.

After which my helpers gave all the quads a good power washing after their weeks work.

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How NOT to smoke fish

It’s been a while since I’ve hot smoked any fish and I have to say that this particular effort was a disaster. Normally I just rub a little salt on them to draw out the moisture overnight then rinse and dry them off, however the lithe that the boys caught on Thursday got an overnight soaking in a brine of brown sugar and lemon juice.


and whilst the twenty minute cooking in my old smoker

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with Willie Eyere’s home made oak chips produced a perfect looking and textured result,

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it was far too salty for even me. It didn’t stop me eating two right enough but I had to drink a hell of a lot of cider afterwards 🙂 Actually it was only one can but it went down very quickly 🙂

And if you’re wondering how he mad oak chips, well he cleaned out a large plastic tub, boiled his wellies, or at least gave them a good cleaning, stood in the tub then sawed up loads of oak logs with a clean chainsaw lubricated with olive oil 🙂

Next time I smoke fish I’ll skip the salt laden brine 🙂

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