Nine Pm on Hogmanay and who knows what’s in store, I’ve only just ‘stopped spinning’ had me bath and settled down with the first thing that came to hand. Which, on account of three cans of ‘Barrs original & best’ IRN BRU being left by the front doorstep and a bottle of gin being nearby is my ‘tipple of choice’. Actually I like neither but the resulting concoction is drinkable and I’m hoping will keep me awake to see ‘the bells’ What puzzles me is, when I was a lad I used to by this ‘pop’ ( jinja in Scotland) in Lancashire called Iron Brew, it was red and far nicer than this muck I’m disguising now with gin, so how can something that’s not even real words be ‘original and best’ ??? Mind you I remember that Tizer used to be much redder and taste far better. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irn-Bru
Three days latter and much water, gin, and pig pooh has gone under the bridge since I started this post For a start I’m back on the internet so ‘Googled’ iron brew and came up with the nugget of info fro Wiki that,
Irn-Bru was first produced in 1901, in the town of Falkirk, under the name Iron Brew. In 1946, a change in laws required that the word brew be removed from the name, as the drink is not brewed. The chairman of the company came up with the idea of changing the spelling of both halves of the name, giving the Irn-Bru brand.
Still I was drinking ‘Iron Brew’ much later than 1946 but perhaps it was a Scottish thing that took a while to catch on ‘down sowf’
Anyway Hogmanay had me and ‘Lightning’ out cutting wood in an attempt to have a good store well seasoned for later on in the year.
I used to burn nothing but birch but this last ten years or so has seen quite a lot of forestry harvesting on Raasay and I’ve gotten out of the way of ‘coppicing’ my local timber. There’s enough birch around here to keep several families in firewood for generations if harvested properly, and that’s what I try and do. I just lop the largest trees down and leave room for the smaller ones to grow, and grow they do, like weeds around here You can actually burn birch green and it will still give off a good heat, but far better to cut it into fire sized lengths and leave it for six months, then it really does belt out the heat.
This kind of wood is far harder work than burning the regular straight and even lengths of pre harvested conifers but it does smell far nicer
Then we did a couple of dumper loads, not full ones right enough because we were going over saturated ground.
A length of MDPE pipe from a salmon cage salvaged from Grian a Sgier making a handy drain drain
That load dumped we then levelled it all out manually with a rake and our hands so at least we could drive over it with the quad and get into Ellie’s field with the trailer to collect bedding.
Memory is a little hazy after that, magnificent colours on the Storr at around 15:00 just as we trundled along for our last last load is all I remember. Around 21:30 we took my boys pall home and had a wee dram with the ‘Wiz’ and Jessie Nicolson before heading home ‘for the bells’. The highlight of the year turning into something of a ‘damp squib’ We rushed back from the village to arrive at Arnish around 23:50 to discover everyone had gone to or was going to bed Ah well, we’ll just watch ‘Father Ted’ before going to visit the neighbours thought I and promptly fell asleep
Hardly what you would call ‘a day off’, for New Years day was forecast to be the best day of the year well it would be wouldn’t it, no but seriously it was going to be, and I had to service wifey’s Nissan Almera. Not only that but I knew that the front brakes were in need of much attention, something that was becoming obvious by the differing discolouration on her alloy wheels. Knowing that I was in for a good few hours work underneath the car I was loathe to do it in the pishing rain and New Years day looked like the most promising. I know, I know, I’ve a huge big shed up at the new house site but I’d probably tear the ar5e out of the low slung Nissan getting it up there and cover the ‘unsealed’ floor in mud
It is very difficult to work on a car when your wheel nuts and spanners keep getting stolen
Anyway, eventually I got that done then set about cutting up yesterdays birch and storing it in my drying shed, again with the help of Jamie Lea’s piglets.
We got a visit from friends who shared a dram with us then later on we wandered over to our neighbours for some ‘festive cheer’, all of which left me incapable of blogging. Yesterday had me and wifey bidding all our guests goodbye, as well as friends staying nearby so all of a sudden it’s just the three of us again Can’t actually remember what I did in any great detail, probably because I was giving my liver a rest Though I do seem to recall collecting more firewood, cutting it, stacking it and sweeping up all the shavings to use as bedding for the chooks. Of course there would be the usual ‘mucking out’ of pigs, cleaning out of hens, collecting eggs and feeding the herd but that goes without saying
The third day of January greeted me with a smile at 9:30, much later than normal, but hey it’s the holidays, anyway I dashed out to collect the early eggs, feed the two sows and their broods before trying to make up for lost time in bed The touch of guilt at staying in my pit for so long soon vanished after extending the drain I’d laid with ‘Lightning’ the other day and dumped several tons of rock on top of it, especially after I’d levelled it once more by hand.
Sealing a concrete floor with PVA
Finally I got around to sealing the concrete floor of the barn that Lachie and Angus had built for me in April. Much I had read on the subject of sealing the floor with a mixture of PVA and water, and the general consensus of opinion was a mixture of three parts water to one part PVA. However what no one on the internet mentioned was that cold water and cold PVA don’t mix very well.
The first bucket load was a bit of a disaster but once we’d discovered that and used hot water instead of cold the job went much smoother. Our fine barn is 40’ x 20’ and 10lts of PVA at 1:3 of water should be just fine. In fact you could probably get away with 7.5lts. We’ll see how it looks tomorrow and perhaps give it another coat.
That done we had a cuppa and, with the day still holding out launched into marathon bedding cutting and clearing out all the old stuff from Ellie’s and Jamie Lea’s ‘nests’, something that took us well into the night, night being anything after 16:00 at this latitude
Which means that we only have a day of less than seven hours long at this time of year
Still, we do have an awful lot of wind and rain for our turbines