Well I did start banging away on here last night, got distracted by a game of ‘Pass the bomb’ with the family and somehow lost my draft. Not that there was much to it right enough, though the first day of February did spring a huge surprise upon me. The ‘white stuff’ arrived without warning and in rather a large quantity, OK it probably was forecast but I just didn’t believe it.
Friday night had been spectacular in it’s wetness and being so mild, snow was the last thing I expected. Sure a bit of sleet would have been no surprise or even some hail at the side of the road but this was the ‘real McCoy’ and right at the front door. If we get snow lying in the garden then you can bet it’ll be a few inches deep at Glam
Anyway I was up extremely early to start preparing hurdles and the trailer to load up the twelve piglets that we were taking to Skye.
First thing being to shut them all in the barn then pull out the four that weren’t going, two Tamworth boars and two ‘spotty’ gilts would be staying behind. With those four out of the way that just left twelve to deal with
and they went into the trailer without fuss.
Luckily we left in plenty of time to catch the 9:55 ferry as the road was pretty slippy even in the Old Girl. Those twelve weaners were pretty large, the Land Rover’s tyres past their best and the the freshly surface road at Brochel and Cnoc an Uan like glass.
The ‘first drop’ was at ‘the Slig’ http://www.sligachan.co.uk/sligachan-hotel.php
under the shadow of Glamaig. Two Tamworth boars were duly deposited in the back of a pickup bound for Staffin and then on we went to Carbost to part with four spotties.
The final six, three of each being transferred at the Sconser Ferry terminal to the luxury of this HiLux bound for Glen Oykel . All in all a pretty productive morning considering, as we were done by 12:30 and managed to catch the 13:00 back to Raasay.
A year or so of ‘training’ for the good ship Hallaig may have cut my Land Rover miles by half but it also left me with precious little time to lavish her with TLC. The fortnightly power wash, interior clean and general check over vanishing the day I signed off Loch Striven a year last September. The Hallaig’s power washer hose isn’t long enough to do more than half the car deck, let alone reach onto the pier to do the Landy Of course I do have my own power washer, a heavy duty Honda driven one but when on the croft I’m usually too busy
Well, all that’s set to change now I’m back ‘on shift’ at home so I made a start yesterday afternoon once I’d got home.
The ‘start’ starting with a hike up the hill to the pressure washer supply
which is around 50m above the house. It’s less of a lochan and more of a large puddle but it’s always got water in it and was a great emergency supply when we used to run out of water. Not fit for drinking but certainly good enough to flush the toilet, water the garden and feed the animals. It’s 5 or so bar of head also means it gives the power washer a good ‘head start’
Sadly though, a few weeks ago I’d managed to drain it by leaving a tap open, it refilled the next day but left me with and airlock that needed clearing before I could use the hose. You can see in the picture a pump that’s left up there for just such occasions and it’s simple job of breaking a joint just below the pond and getting the siphon going with the old bilge pump.
Once the waters gushing out the joint is reconnected whilst wearing waterproofs
Changing a Defender ‘drop arm’ ball joint
By the time I’d got everything bled and the ‘Old Girl’ cleaned up it was pitch black but I had her looking respectable and on ramps ready for today’s task.
She’s not actually due a service for another 2000 miles but I was wanting to fix some oil leaks, give her a good ‘once over’, grease the prop shafts and most importantly stop her wandering. Vague steering, something that Land Rovers suffer from when new, was made worse recently by a dubious ‘drop arm’ ball joint.
For many Defender owners this is a yearly ‘replace’ for the MOT but I’d added a grease nipple to mine years ago and it’s only my third in 12 years. If you have a ‘drop arm puller’ it’s actually quicker and easier to take the whole drop arm off the steering box so you can overhaul it on the bench. I do have one but it’s not a proper one and a bit of a faff to use so I did it ‘in situ’
removing the ‘Densotape’ split pin and nut before giving it a good what with my ‘Snap On’ ball joint splitter. It’s a great tool but don’t be tempted to use one if you intend to re use the ball joint as it more often than not splits the rubber.
The kit to repair it is only around £5 yet many people replace the entire drop arm, which you cannot do without a hydraulic puller, unless you’re extremely lucky.
A small puller to remove the upper socket for the ball joint can be made from a long bolt, socket and washers
and once that’s removed you can insert the new one with a slightly larger socket, nut and bolt.
With the top ball joint socket in position put in the bottom ball joint socket, spring and O ring in position prior to pressing the plug back in and fitting the circlip. Sometimes I have had to do this last bit using a jack to push the plug home against the spring tension but today I managed no bother.
With that done it was on with more power washing, this time the pathways around the house and wifey’s car, I do love power washers
The sun came full on to the solar panels whilst I was out there
though I think a little pruning might not go amiss as two of them were in partial shade from a hazel tree.
Later on the Dude and I went out on the quads to check the schoolhouse and water supply
but that went a little ‘pear shaped’ Luckily, and this was a great test for it, I’d managed to fix Quadzillia’s propensity to cut out every time it went through a puddle Unfortunately we didn’t have a rope strong enough to pull it out so had to go back home on the Yamaha for some strops, whereupon I educated my son in the nuances of ‘snatch towing’.