Life at the end of the road

January 7, 2012

Poor Tam :-(

Filed under: daily doings, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:17 pm

We should actually have been in Tain tonight with friends but that started to look doubtful when wee Tam took ill on Wednesday. Had the two week old piglet responded well to the antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs we were giving him we might still have gone for a quick overnight visit. This morning though the wee boar was just buried in the bedding inside the ark on his own and complained little when I picked him up to give him his first jag.

The wee chaps temperature had plummeted, he was getting picked on by the others and he was only getting a drink off mum if we assisted him 😦

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We gave him a wee drink of water from a scoop, wifey tried to express some milk off Jamie Lea but she was being uncooperative and his siblings, who are now almost three times his size were giving him a hard time.

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Of course ‘it never rains, it pours’ and when we got back in the house the back boiler on the kitchen stove was pishing out water 😦

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It wasn’t exactly a surprise as wifey had phoned me the other day to say that water was dripping out of it, but I was hoping to tackle it on a week day when the boys where at school. The amount of water pouring from below had just moved it to the top of the ‘to do’ list.

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The trusty Morso Squirrel was actually a wood burner that I converted to oil many years ago when I lived on my own and spent long hours out at sea on my fishing boat. There was nothing worse than coming home to a cold house and having to light a fire to heat the house and water up. Nowadays with the price of oil what it is and with wifey home most days it seems a bit of a backward step but I don’t plan on being here much longer 🙂

The peaty water and direct heating system mean that the boilers only last about four years so this will be number four now and I’m getting quite good at changing them 🙂

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First thing of course is to drain the system and I do that by attaching a short 1/2” hose to the drain valve at the lowest point, put the small hose into a basin then pump it out. I used to just run the hose out of the door or into the sink but it took far longer that way due to the length of pipe.

With me engrossed in this the swineherd went to keep an eye on Tam in the hope of latching him onto Jamie Lea at feeding time. Whilst she was on ‘piglet duty’ our vet phoned to see how he was doing, which wasn’t great 😦

So after speaking to Rhona Campbell we brought him in the house to warm him up and try some different medicines on him. Of course being in the house he’d have to be fed and it was, by now Saturday afternoon with little prospect of getting into Portree for baby milk (the most suitable) and the change of medication that Rhona suggested. Fortunately a few phone calls tracked a citizen of Raasay down who was there already and picked up the stuff for us.

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Meanwhile I laboured on the Squirrel, which as you can see is a bit of a riot 😦 OK, if you were doing this the first time you’d be spending hours trying to free off and undo the four M6 bolts that hold the top onto the stove. The front two are accessed through the door and the rear ones via the top chimney hole plate. I gave up on these years ago after they kept breaking, no matter how much ‘Coppaslip’ I put on the new stainless ones I fitted. Now I just forget the screws and stick the lid on with fire cement or silicon, been that way for 12n or 15 years now with no issues and all it requires is a tap with a hammer to remove it 🙂 In fact one time I just could not remove the top right one and had to force the lid off breaking the back in the process.

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I’d no spare rope so left all just as it was and just re sealed it with silicon 🙂 Again my fire cement had turned into a fire brick when I came to use it so I sent the boys up to the new house site to get some clay 🙂 I just knew that 2m deep hole of clay would come in useful for something 🙂

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Here’s my mate digging it out three months ago 🙂

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As usual I turned the kitchen into a war zone and when I put it all back it leaked but nothing that couldn’t be sorted  with a new drain cock washer.

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Fortunately I had a good second hand one on the scrap heap, luckily it had not been buried in the hole where all the clay was 🙂

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It was all back together just in time for dinner but I think I’m going to have to wait until tomorrow for the bath 🙂

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Wee Tam has taken up residence in Molly’s bed in the living room for now, once the kitchen is back up to temperature we’ll move him in here.

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The ‘wee dug’ has her moments of acting like a maniac with the pigs and piglets but when they’re sick she seems to know and has been spending much time licking poor Tam 🙂 During one particularly difficult farrowing Molly licked all the mucus off the piglets as they were born, she just seems ‘to know’ 🙂

Well that’s about it really, I’m off to bed at a sensible time for once, so here’s hoping that Tam will have improved by the morning.

Mighty mulligatawny :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 12:19 am

I dunno whether you can catch depression or if there’s such a thing as ‘viral depression’ but the whole household seems to be suffering from a dose of the blues. It’s probably just the time of the year, short days, the ‘come down’ after Christmas, a mountain of chores to do, a pile of tasks on the ‘back burner’ and of course the abysmal weather 😦 Whatever it is it seems to have affected the whole household, wifey’s ‘nippin my heid’ the boy’s pukeing in the spare room and I’m not long out of bed 😦

I’ve just been ‘pure shattered’ of late,

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even at work 🙂 Now before I get a ‘written warning’ it must be an old picture because the 2011 year planner is still up and it would have been on my lunch break anyway. Thing is I just found it on an old camera that must have been left lying around. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂

Anyway, no posting last night cos I was in my bed at 18:30 wrecked, I did get up again around 22:00 for half an hour but returned to my pit and slept right through until 8:30 this morning. It’s not like I did a great deal of physical effort or anything on Thursday, far from it. I’d got up after a good sleep at 7:30 and gone out to feed with one of my boys pals Robert. He’d gone to attend to the Tamworth’s on the hill and I to distract Jamie Lea with a dish of feed well away from the ark.

Wee Tam was needing the first of his twice daily .2ml jag of  anti-inflammatory and I was unsure how she’d react.

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No problem as it turned out, I nestled wee Tam’s head in my toasty ‘red neck hillbilly’ jacket and gave him the shot in the leg. Piglets can scream ‘blue murder’ but if kept snuggled up in the dark they’re quite calm and feel safe. The important thing is not to keep injecting him in the same place, not easy when he’s so small and has to have so many 😦

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Once done I placed him back in the warmth of the ark,

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the others being outside with mum.

After that I headed for the 9:55 ferry to do a little ‘water work’ at my parents house, leaving wifey to deal with the pigs and pig feed from Portree.

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Now, I know that’s just a boring picture of the Loch Striven but the sun is actually shinning on it, not only is it the first time that I’ve seen the sun this year but it’s the first time I’ve seen it for weeks 🙂

It was a bonny day indeed, at least by recent standards and I spent most of it sorting out my parents water supply.

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The deluges of late having torn off the filter and allowed stones to block the 63mm water pipe. Normally it’s just a matter of uncoupling it lower down and ‘rodding’ clear with a length of 32mm saved for the purpose. However no amount of ‘rodding’ would shift the blockage, even cutting the pipe 2m before the filter and trying to clear it with a proper set of drain cleaners failed to clear the obstruction 😦

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In the end I had to cut out the blocked section and insert another. I tried being clever by connecting the old and new sections together then ‘pulling/pushing’ it through the gravel bed of the dam but it didn’t work 😦 So in the end I just had to dig a fresh hole, feed the pipe through and refill it.

That done, a plate of smoked salmon pasta demolished and the water filter changed I headed home,

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to find the boys working in the dark on the Torran path, what a team 🙂 No flies on these boys, no lying in bed until after lunch and expecting mum to wipe their backsides with these chaps, a credit to their parents 🙂


Not long after that I was in my bed leaving wifey reading Terry Pratchet and the boys playing ‘Modern Warfare II’ or some other mindless pish on the ‘idiot box’. I am not a fan of video games, TV or the plethora of junk that our children and adolescents are subjected  to. However I think that if  children are ‘involved, encouraged and engaged’ with other stuff  it does no great harm. Certainly doesn’t seem to have fried the brains of these three yet 🙂

This morning, after yet another 13 hour sleep we went out to feed and medicate the pigs, prior to a trip down south to help a mate with some pipe. This time however it was two injections for wee Tam, an antibiotic as well as his anti inflammatory, poor wee chap 😦


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It would be mostly ‘winch work’ for the ‘Warn 9500XP’ but we took the quad just in case.


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The day went well, despite a rapid deterioration in the weather


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and eventually we’d achieved as much as could be expected 🙂

Cold, wet and hungry we returned north to a poorly piglet and an awesome bowl of soup. Wee Tam was breathing a little more rapidly but I stayed with him to make sure he got a drink off mum before retiring to the kitchen for a bowl of Jamie Oliver’s soup.


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Now this version of a ‘curry soup’ of Tamil origin is a serious and fulfilling winter dish . Wifey plucked it out of the book I’d bought her for Christmas and I really had to laugh when I started to ‘Google’ for the recipe for someone else had obviously got the book for Christmas and had tried it out recently 🙂

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I couldn’t find the recipe Jamie so I hope you don’t mind the infringement of copyright 🙂 Either way, your soup is awesome, so much so that the entire team had seconds. OK, my boy is now in bed throwing up but I’m sure that’s more to do with all the cr4p he was eating  in the back of the Land Rover than the soup 🙂


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