Life at the end of the road

November 23, 2011

Diesel, dumping and pigs ears :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, pigs, shed/house, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:19 pm

Variable, that just about sums up the day in both weather and chores. The first one being a right chore indeed, an unnecessary  visit to the doctor, though it was actually required when the wife booked it for me. The swineherd has to arrange all  my medical appointments or I’d not actually go for any. Not that I’ve any fear of doctors or anything, just that I hate taking valuable time off work.

The reason I was going lay under my recently acquired beard that wifey disliked intensely, and was probably why she phoned rather than any concern for my health. It was a bit of a rash on my cheeks that was aggravated by shaving, so I stopped, much to the swineherds annoyance 🙂 Anyway when I lopped it off yesterday morning so as the doc could get a good gander it was almost away, but by then it was too late to cancel it and we’d arranged things to do at the south end.

In all honesty when I arose at the right side of 6:30 I was almost glad I was going, for the rain was hammering down and the last forecast I’d seen said it was on for the day.



A quick look on the laptop showed gale force winds of almost 50mph through the night so after all the early cores we headed south. Whereupon the doctor pronounced me a fit and healthy 55 year old who needed nothing more than a ‘week in the sun’ 🙂 Better not tell wifey that says I or she’ll be wanting to ‘go on holiday’ instead of ‘being on holiday’ 🙂

A trip to for gas, a cup of tea with Jessie Nicolson and a visit to Raasay Stores and its notice board was followed by a driving lesson for the swineherd.

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A trailer driving lesson that is, for wifey is on abattoir duty whilst I’m away next week, and what better way to learn how to pull and reverse a trailer than doing it on one loaded with 800Kg of diesel 🙂

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And what better place to learn than the steep hills and single track of Raasay. OK, I know the picture of the Raasay village hall with the Scottish National Theatre’s artic is squint but I was concentrating on ‘her driving’ as we headed for our load.

The lorry was the first load of the theatres equipment for the showing of ‘Calum’s road’ which is showing there on Friday.


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By the time I’d got these four barrels loaded into the trailer I realized what the doc had meant about taking a holiday and why I ache so much 🙂 I think nothing of it I’ve been doing regularly since 1985 but I’m not thirty anymore 🙂

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With the Loch Striven heading south for I caught my first sight of the replacement Loch Linnhe which arrived here on Monday.

More dumping

Leaving wifey in the pilots seat we headed north safely, if not a little slowly and grabbed a bite to eat. After that I went to help Hooky at the barn site whilst wifey set off with the ‘wee dug’ to collect the spare armoured cable and pick up the cable drum.

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We may have all been wearing oil skins but by now the sun was out and it was a bonny day.


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Bramble, who is currently living on our new house site seems quite unperturbed by all the activity just yards from her ark. The sun was actually pouring through the door and she had just been feeding her wains before I arrived 🙂

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My task for the next couple of hours was to assist in removing this mountain of clay,

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and here’s the same spot with a different team exactly 12 months ago, how time flies 🙂

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And here is what’s going in the hole 🙂 I wonder how long it will take me to fill it with cr4p 🙂

Two hours later and with dusk approaching I abandoned my mate to go and tag some pigs. Recent legislation comes into place in December says that all pigs over twelve months old or going to slaughter must be tagged, slap marked or tattooed. In the past an identifying paint mark has been sufficient and still is for inter farm movement at less than a year of age.

The ‘slap mark’ is probably the easiest to do but the dye and applicator are quite expensive and I’m not that certain how well it works on ‘hairy pigs’ so we went for aluminium tags from these people . Never having tagged a pig before we were a little apprehensive, I’ve done plenty of sheep but that’s just a matter of getting them between your legs and doing it. Pigs however are much larger, stronger, more intelligent, and noisy. All I’d read on the subject seemed to suggest that restraint was required so we made up a wee run for them.

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Amazing what you can do with some old shuttering ply and the door off a warehouse trolley 🙂

A little sawdust was put on the slippy plywood base then the pigs led in one at a time with some feed.

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Whilst they were distracted I just lent down and tagged them,

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piece of cake 🙂

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Don’t they look lovely 🙂 In all honesty, it bothered them not a bit and I’d be inclined to just do them without the crush in future.

By now it was almost dark so wifey went to feed the rest of the herd and I got on with pumping diesel.

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To be honest I gave up on shifting my own fuel by this method months ago, normally I use a bowser or IBC and just pump it straight into the tank. However a breakdown in communication caused the oil depot to my mates kerosene in my IBC and my diesel in his barrels. The worst of it is that I know have to empty his heating oil into these barrels to take them over to Torran on the quad 😦


So that’s it, I’m off to bed 🙂



  1. I still love watching your days, your pics have such contrast with the heavy clouds and i love your pigs, we will be getting our first ones this spring when i start milking daisy.. I suppose i should check up on the legalities.. so far i don’t register anything.. c

    Comment by ceciliag — November 24, 2011 @ 12:59 am

    • Good luck with Daisy and the pigs Cecilia, you’ll never look back 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 28, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  2. We once tried ‘ringing’ a Berkshire gilt. She screamed like a ……. well, pig! Simply gave up on it and let her clear the ground instead, a much easier option. Better on the ears for sure!

    Comment by Iain — December 1, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

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