Life at the end of the road

April 21, 2013

Giving it a ‘bump’

Filed under: Croft house for sale, daily doings, How I, pigs — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:45 pm

Sunday evening already and the bag is packed once more for the trip to Uig tomorrow after all too brief a stay at home. Having said that I’m quite pleased with what’s been achieved this weekend, especially considering the weather, which has been ‘April showers’ all weekend, though ‘April deluges’ would be more appropriate. I’m not kidding, suddenly the sky turns a heavy and menacing grey to the south, the temperature drops, a flurry of wind arrives, the heavens open and all in the ‘bat of an eye’. Nearly thirty years I’ve lived on the west coast and still I get caught out with these downpours, many is the time I’ve left a sunroof open and been nursing a wet ar5e for days. Today was no exception, I left my wellies outside the front door in sunshine to return five minutes later to a pair of green water jugs. One hot spell in the afternoon saw me removing my socks to get some air around my roasting feet only to end up with two dripping rags as soon as my back was turned.

Croft house for sale

When the sun was out it was lovely, when the rain was on it was foul and at times the showers lasted for hours rather than minutes. Still it gave me time to retire inside and recharge my batteries so to speak, it also gave me an opportunity to give the house a ‘bump’. That’s it been on the market a year now, not that we were complaining over the winter, wife and child in a caravan with me away from home would have been a little much to ask. Anyway despite much interest we still have a lovely wee hoose for sale so I though I’d ‘cast my net farther afield’ so to speak and put an advert in Greenshifters a site dedicated to smallholdings.


Starting the advert off using one of George Rankine’s excellent helicopter shots from a couple of years ago,



all those trees are away now and there’s a barn and house there Smile It’s not finished yet, I’ve much more to write and some better pictures to add but at least it’s a start, and it was far better than doing the VAT return.

Another indoor task was repairing the ‘Myti’ rubbish wire strainer an almost fantastic tool let down by poor materials and workmanship.


Basically it’s carp, but before it wore out (after about two hours) it was very effective, the problems being soft jaws and an an elongated pivot hole, the combination of which made gripping the thinner wires impossible.


So what I did was find some stainless steel inserts from a ‘Fenner coupling’ that were just a few millimetres too large and split one of them with a very thin cutting disc. I kept folding it around the bolt by squeezing it in the vice and cutting more out of it until it was a snug fit around the bolt.


Once happy with that I drilled the jaw out then pressed in the insert using the vice,



it worked a treat and I now have a working tool once more.

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Whilst trying it out on a bit of fence I spotted this,



ascaris or ‘large roundworm’ in some pig pooh Sad smile It is treatable with a proprietary wormer and we do dose the pigs regularly but one of them must have not got enough or been re infected as we injected them at six weeks, having said that the recommended dosing intervals on the powder we use on larger pigs is two months. The injection we give the pigs at weaning usually covers them right up to slaughter so this is unusual so we decided to dose all four of the finishers with the Flubenol we use on the adults.

  Flubenol Flubendazole Pig Wormer 600g

It’s a talc like powder that we usually administer in an apple or banana but this bunch of wee pigs are nuts and for some reason don’t like the only fruit we had, which was bananas Sad smile


In desperation I mixed up some molasses with layers pellets and that went down a treat,



not only with the pigs but the hens and dog too !!!! No worries I’m pretty sure its licenced for hens, dunno about wee dugs though Smile

Did many other things like repair the satellite dish so wifey could watch TV whilst I was away and I also managed to shoot a crow, which was probably more of a surprise to me than the crow for I was sat on the quad with the gun slung over my shoulder when it took off. They’re not normally so slow but methinks he misjudged a strong gust of wind that sent him over my head.

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I do like my Hatsan Escort semi auto shotgun with its seven round magazine it can do a lot of damage and if nothing else its so loud that it scares the crows and pigeons off for days Smile However I wouldn’t recommend one, it has a tendency to jam if you put more than five rounds in and has been know to fall apart in use Sad smile 

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Better buy a second hand Berretta or Mossberg Smile

Spring fever

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, life off grid, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:55 am

It’s that time of year again, not that it actually feels anything like spring at the moment, little is growing due to the drought and cold, though I suspect that will change as soon as the some comes out. Even last week I saw the first sign of bracken whilst sorting my hydro pipes, which reminds me, I should go and see how much it’s grown now. Sure the lawn is a little greener, the sycamore in the garden about to sprout leaves and the hawthorn is getting really lush, but on the whole things stalled about six weeks ago and have only just picked up. My body on the other hand now seems to be in ‘spring mode’ with me waking at 4:00am and being unable to sleep for want of ‘getting stuck in’, not that there’s much chance of that as I’m back ‘at sea’ tomorrow.

So, after tossing and turning for an hour I finally got up at 5:30 when dawn was breaking and thought I’d just finish off yesterdays effort which had me just returning from Portree at 16:00. Still well stuffed from the fabulous lunch at the Caledonian Cafe on Wentworth street. So, with the prospect of a late dinner ahead I got on with some firewood cutting ably assisted by my son.

That done, and with the freshly cut green logs of birch seasoning in my airy store I turned my attention to hydro turbine number one, the one whose pipes I’d moved last week during deluge number one. All was going well, the water level had dropped and it was producing 250w, which was quite respectable but not as much as it could have been, so I went for a ‘look see’.


I’d decided to turn off the smallest nozzle, as sometime you can actually generate more power by doing so, but when I turned it off nothing happened. The pressure stayed the same, no change of speed or noise from the Stream Engine and certainly no alteration in output. The reason becoming very clear when I took out the jet holder, a blocked nozzle,



one that discharged a huge muddy blob of silt all over me and the turbine shed when I removed it. With the valve turned off I was expecting a little jet of water to spurt out as I loosened it, not a great big dollop of brown pooh Sad smile With the jet removed I flushed out the system to clear the rest of the silt that had obviously got disturbed after last weeks session of altering the pipework.


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The wee dog and I then went up to the swimming pool, sorry house to see how the Powerspout was performing with all this rain as the inverter is in the barn there.

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Very well was the answer, somewhere between the 782w shown on the ‘Windy Boy’ and 799w on the OWL energy monitor, so the stove in the house is now out and we’re heating the house with free electricity. However it means that I can’t keep a pot of tea or coffee warm on top of the stove, something that I’m really going to miss in the new house, it’s almost thirty years that I’ve lived with wood stoves now and it just won’t be the same without one. However I’m thinking ahead and don’t want to be cutting wood in my seventies, cleaning ground mounted solar panels, unblocking hydro turbines and fixing wind turbines perhaps, but not cutting down trees, storing wood and splitting logs.

Of course we do intend to have an outside wood burning boiler as back up but that’ll take foot long logs and hopefully will only get fired once or twice a year. In fact, with the way money is at the moment we’re planning to fit it at a later date, the house will be so well insulated that we should only need it for DHW in emergencies anyway and those could be covered by Harry until Alistair at fits our Perge



This will be a similar but larger system to what we’re fitting, in the picture is a 30kW boiler and 2500lt store, ours is 18kW and 1500lt but the same idea.

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This will be Harry my HR2 Lister generator of 12kW who should be capable of heating the 1500lt thermal store in a few hours anyway. It takes roughly 70 minutes to heat 1lt of water 1 degree with one watt so 6kw of Harry’s 12 could heat a 1500lt store 40 degrees in around 11 hours and at 12kW half that time and so on. Not ideal as we intend to be diesel free but it would get us ‘out of a hole’ in an emergency.

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