Life at the end of the road

February 9, 2014

A ‘witches broom’

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:03 pm

A bit of a ‘none day’ really with not a great deal achieved due to the weather. A lie in bed until almost 8:00 am was made easy by a succession of mad dreams the like of which I’ve not had in years. To be honest, by the end of it I was glad to wake up and realize it wasn’t real, I’m sure a psychiatrist would have an awful lot to say about me Smile Anyway, glad to be rescued by consciousness from the ‘leaded walk’, you know the one where you just can’t seem to make any meaningful progress and every step/stroke/leap or jump seems like a superhuman effort in slow motion. Don’t bullcarp me you’ve all had those dreams haven’t you Smile Well, at least I hope you have.

Feeling worn out by the long run over Drum na Cloiche to Raasay to get the car keys for my sons white Ford Escort van I was glad of the reality of rain and wind when I went to feed the herd. The ‘big pigs’ have really settled into a routine down by the Rubh Crion and seldom wander up to the croft to hang around the gate. There’s a nice insulated ark down there for them and they seem particularly obsessed with the bracken down there, which is fine by me.

The four ‘growers’ are still on the croft but on a part left fallow for over a year so happy enough for the time being. Once they’re large enough to compete at feeding time we’ll turf them out on the hill with the rest and give the croft a rest. It’s taken a bit of a hammering this winter with the rain and hens.

A breakfast of home grown eggs and sausages followed but a deterioration in the weather meant that I’d little enthusiasm for outside work. Sure I managed to fit a new rear lamp to the trailer and cut a few logs ready for the ‘Squirrel’ but it was truly miserable outside so I gave up and went in. It was one of those days that every now and then would lull you into a false sense of security. The sun would come out, you’d think it was all over, but as soon as you stuck your head out the front door it’d pish with rain Sad smile

Determined to do something outside I set about cutting the wood I’d felled yesterday into logs for the fire. The hazel, birch and holly from round the back of the ‘wee hoose’ would provide heat for the house and bedding for the hens. Well it would once it was seasoned anyway, as for the hen bedding, well that all went to carp once the heavens opened and turned the wood shavings to mush Sad smile

I’d never realized it was so complicated

As I was cutting the birch I came across a ‘witches broom’ , a birds nest like growth that I’d always thought was peculiar to birch.


I’d always know it was a fungus but never realized it was so complicated, and not just associated with ‘betula pubecenes ’ the stunted tree that dominates the woods of the ‘north end’.


Despite the pishing rain we all made a valiant effort to stock up the wood store and put some of yesterday’s coppicing course into practice.



There is no shortage of sustainable firewood here, that’s for sure.

Back to the insulating

There really wasn’t much else to report, wifey roasted a lovely bit of pig and I went up to the new house site for a couple of hours to continue insulating the shed.


This time it was 50mm of ‘Recticel’ under the roofing sheets to try and keep the shed warm and thus the batteries. I have to say that I’m really proud of my ‘renewable energy shed’ as it’s made almost entirely out of used, surplus or reclaimed stuff. The roofing was spare from the barn, the cladding of my mums house, the framing from Raasay House, the windows from George at Eyre. The only stuff I’ve bought is the ‘Sterling board’ from and the fasteners from

010612 005





This is a good shed Smile



  1. It must have been the night for the weird dreams. They visited me too 😦

    Comment by Irena Krasinska-Lobban — February 10, 2014 @ 1:09 am

  2. Really glad to see the windows got a second home, Paul!!
    Looking forward to seeing the new house soon!
    Cheers, George

    Comment by George Rankine — February 10, 2014 @ 9:07 am

  3. I wouldn’t count on psychiatrists to help much with the dreams, Paul. They tend to say ‘hmmmm’ a lot and prescribe pills! Just accept them as a fact of life (the dreams not the psychiatrists) –
    at least you can’t really remember them for long.

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — February 10, 2014 @ 11:54 pm

  4. Hi Paul

    This is nothing to do with the blog – but you mentioned in an earlier one about XC Weather being off-beam. I have been finding this too – wind and temperatures OK but precipitation not. There’s not even the influence of tides and sea to blame here on the Pennines!

    The car keys for your son’s white escort van??????????



    Comment by Sue — February 11, 2014 @ 8:53 am

  5. A man needs a good shed…. going to replace the wind damaged one here. … want one the size of yours but that’ll spoil my views

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — February 11, 2014 @ 9:29 am

  6. Paul, did you notice my item last year on a witches broom on a Scots Pine on Raasay?
    Best, Stephen

    Comment by Stephen — February 13, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

  7. I know what you mean about the dreams, annoyingly I find they get worse with a few jars. Thanks for the Loggit reference, just what I’ve been looking for. Most envious of your shed. Jim.

    Comment by Jim Hewlett — February 14, 2014 @ 10:34 am

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