Life at the end of the road

May 20, 2014

The hens are out!!

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:06 pm

That’s it, I’ve got the £11,000,000 keys, Kermit, ‘the spanner’ and my VHF, in other words I’m back at work having done the ceremonial handover with my ‘back to back’.


Having received my gas detector, sacred spanner and keys I’m now fully equipped for the next fourteen days aboard Hallaig and what’s more I’m actually looking forward to it. For a start it’ll be a rest from the physical labour of the croft and secondly I actually really enjoy my job, especially the two week off bit Smile

As usual it was a bit of a mad rush latterly trying to finish ‘the list’ but I was pleased with my labours and overjoyed at Jamie’s return. Of course I never got any work done on the new wind turbine or road to the hen shed but then I did fix the tumble drier and spend a lot of time wandering the Arnish hill. Sure it was in vain as I never found Jamie Lea but the wee dug lost a lot of weight and I reacquainted myself with some beautiful spots.

This morning I arose late (for me) and after feeding the pigs and hens I headed off to my parents on the mainland.


A quick breakfast on the Hallaig on the way to Skye then a leisurely drive to my parents


past the Red Cuillins


and much activity on the Caridh fish farm in Loch Aynort.


Looks like a net change to me.


Dun Caan and Raasay behind the Moll.


A cow and her calf at high tide in Loch Duich.


A man and his dug in a comfy chair.


A spot of log splitting



and the ‘old pier’ at Broadford on the way back.

I ‘joined’ Hallaig at 15:00 and after a couple of hours ‘handover’ bade my ‘back to back’ farewell for a couple of weeks. A few hours later I shut her down and headed home to check on the hens. Wifey had let the 52 new ones out for the first time and I was wanting to see how they were getting on. They can be a little dim at the best of times, sometimes taking days to come out of their shed. However I needn’t have worried for when I went up to the hen house at 20:30 there was 11 of them out scratching and they were all mixed up with the older hens without any ‘henpecking’ that I could see. The new piglets all seemed happy, Jamie was hungry as usual and all was well on the croft Smile

May 19, 2014

A full week :-(


Almost 22:00 and that’s me just in and bathed after yet another fruitless search for Jamie Lea, who has now been missing for a full week, she’s either gone over a cliff or been rustled. Though I find that very hard to believe, right enough she’d go into the back of a white Transit van no bother. It’s always a white Transit van isn’t it Smile you buy a dodgy generator and it’s always out of the back of one, you see something heading for the scrappie with a tow bar dragging on the floor on account of all the church lead in the back, yup, it’s white and a Ford Smile

Anyway, after casting unfounded aspersions upon white van owners I’ll now continue with the matter in hand, which is trying to relate what’s been happening at the north end.


 Well, so much for Sunday’s effort, it’s now almost 21:00 on Monday and as you may gather I never managed to post last night. It had been a full, long and productive day. I was too tired to open a bottle of wine, let alone finish off my ramblings, the eyes were heavy and the realization that we’d be highly unlikely to see Jamie Lea again had taken its toll.

So imagine my surprise when returning from taking my son to school to see a fit healthy sow at ‘the end of the road’ with nine piglets following her like a small shoal of fish!!!

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To say we were overjoyed would be a bit of an understatement, nine healthy piglets and a very vocal sow Smile



A noisy, hungry mum in great condition considering she’s not had a good meal in a week. The piglets are a little smaller than normal but that’s to be expected as Jamie must have been short on milk.

No sooner had I put feed out for her when Rocky and the boys turned up, but a sow with piglets wasn’t going to take any nonsense off the men and they very wisely followed me onto the croft. Once they were in a secure field I left the gate open and got on with hen shed painting. I figured that they’d eventually make there way in under their own steam and sure enough an hour later they were settled in the barn.


Believe it or not there are nine piglets under that heap of rushes!


So, rewinding back a few days to Saturday, all the hens were still shut in the shed so I took the opportunity to prime the front and take up an old pig shelter for them.


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I say pig shelter but it’s actually half of an old Balmoral oil tank and we have a few of them about the croft as arks. I dunno why but the hens seem to love them, the one in front of our house always has at least half a dozen in it whatever the weather. If it’s sunny they seem to like the shade and if it’s wet the shelter so it seemed a good idea to take a spare one up there for them.


The forecast said dry until 13:00 so I bashed on with priming the front, I’m leaving the other three sides creosoted as that soaks into the plywood. All the hens were still shut in at this point so they’d get used to their new home


and it was very satisfying to hear and see the fresh clean eggs roll out of their new nesting boxes.

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Once I’d got the primer on I let the first batch out into there new run, leaving the pullets inside for another day or two until they settle down.

Hotpoint Tumble drier drum seal

The rain that was forecast for 13:00 arrived 15 minutes early but by then the paint was dry and it was time for lunch. Also the felt seal for our Hotpoint TDL11 had arrived so I set about fitting that as the rain teamed down.

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Dave’s video was invaluable but just check out all that carp inside the drier, it’s a miracle it never set on fire, anyway I cleaned it all out with a vacuum then opened up the seal from eBay


to discover that it was completely wrong Sad smile This seal was designed to mate on a vertical face whereas mine (like the one in the video) was supposed to seal around the lip horizontally.

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However, almost thirty years of living ‘off grid’, in the sticks, and a hundred miles from anywhere has taught me to improvise, so wifey carefully peeled off the felt from the new seal and I glued it on with contact adhesive Smile Despite being the wrong shape it fitted a treat and the tumble drier is now working like it it did fifteen years ago!!!

Later on I went to visit my mate at Torran, proudly taking three pigeons with me that I’d managed to down with two rounds. Mind you I failed to mention that the last one I’d shot took five rounds, which at 29p per cartridge is an expensive pigeon Sad smile Still, once all the hens are being fed indoors that should make life at Arnish quieter and cheaper. It wasn’t so bad when I was eating them but the last one I ate made me sick and put me off, still my mate just reported back from London to say he was still alive and well after eating three. I must have another go, I really hate killing things and not eating them, well apart from crows that is.


Twenty five years faithful service

The ‘good hash’ of wind on Friday had taken its toll on my trusty Rutland FM910 12v wind turbine Sad smile



The old turbine was my main source of lighting for over fifteen years and I’ve had a ‘love hate’ relationship with it for twenty five. In the days before our totally reliable and seamless electricity supply this little turbine saved me a fortune in paraffin. Sure we had the reliable ‘Mr Lister’ but he was only ever run to top up the freezers or run the washing machine. For the dark mornings it was always the 12v power supplied by this little Marlec that ‘saved the day’. Since we fitted the Proven some eight years ago and now have cheap reliable power the Rutland has become obsolete but I’ve always maintained it and kept it going for ‘old times sake’. However at 58 I’m getting far too old for scaling an 18m mast, so when the top rusted through I decided to ‘call it a day’.


This mast at the back of the house was once the mount for my VHF prior to getting the phone and for my TV and analogue satellite dish. Times have moved on and I’ve lost my ‘head for heights’ so on Sunday the Dude and I took down the turbine and rusted top section of mast.


I really am getting too old for this kind of thing.

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Anyway, we got the turbine down, removed the rusted section of mast and refitted the 50w solar panel.


That’s the rusted end Sad smile


Well, as you know, the pig is fine but apart from that it was a bonny day and I got two coats of paint on the shed.




I got bedding cut



and the lawn


but now I need my bed.

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