Sunday already and the best part of a week of my ‘month off’ gone, still, I’m not complaining, it’s been a productive few days despite the weather. Sure, I know I keep banging on about how grim it’s been, well apart from my last effort https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/could-this-be-summer/ which proved well and truly to be a false alarm. Dunno where this ‘Indian Summer’ is but I do hope it’ll hurry along.
The holiday only started in earnest on Friday really, I did an extra day to ‘pay back’ my ‘back to back’ then got distracted for half a day aboard the Hallaig on Thursday. The rest of that day being spent in a last minute frenzy of rain and midge trying to prepare the Tarbert sheep fank for four new arrivals. With several new neighbours at the ‘North End’ I was thinking that it would be prudent to keep this lot as far away as possible. Pigs are delightful creatures but they do have a habit of leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Sure the fences around the croft are ‘stock proof’ but they’ve a terrible habit of blocking the drains with their ‘rooting’. Not only that one of our new ‘crofters’ has a new BMW GS and I keep having visions of an 80kg Tamworth using it as a scratching post.
In preparation for the new pigs I collected one of my converted oil tanks and towed it over to Tarbert
and what do you know, it was raining!!!
It’s a little steep to get down there, all remnants of what must have at one time been a proper path having long since vanished. All there is to guide you down the steep bank now is a meandering sheep path. Luckily these old oil tanks are tough and slide very well, we just horsed it over the edge and let gravity do the work.
Then we manhandled into the area where the ‘dipper’ resides, that has a concrete base and the ark sat nicely in there blocking access to the potential ‘piglet drowning’ dip behind it. There was a wooden bung in the bottom but no amount of persuasion could remove it.
This is the ‘quarantine ward’ made by my son for one of the hens who is on antibiotics and needs to be kept separate from the others so her egg doesn’t get into the ‘food chain’. Can’t be much wrong with her cos she’s laying a lovely brown egg every day
Friday arrived with yet another deluge and we headed off to Husabost near Dunvegan to collect our first lot of pigs for eight months!!! We got rid of our breeding herd almost a year ago on account of the tough winter that lay ahead. It was bad enough looking after 80 hens when living in the Old Schoolhouse let alone dozens of pigs. It was always our plan to get more after giving the place a rest and these four Tamworth’s will be the first.
All litters are different and it became very obvious that this bunch were exceptionally ‘chilled’, not your regular ‘squealers’ or ‘jumpers’. They were easily caught and lifted in and out of the trailer with the minimum of fuss and little evidence of the ear splitting racket they usually make when lifted up.
The two gilts and two boars were gently dropped over the wall of the fank and promptly disappeared into the thick bracken. As they’d had a long and obviously stressful day we left them to settle in and did not waste time trying to show them where their new shelter was. I’d filled it with the bedding from the trailer as it would have their scent on it but doubted they’d use it. They’re hardy wee beggars so a night outside under the bracken would do them no harm.
There was still much work to be done in, on and around the fank but that was for tomorrow.
Saturday afternoon to be precise as I’d be needing the assistance of the teenager in the house and he doesn’t do mornings So the morning was dedicated to checking out the schoolhouse, picking mushrooms and trying to start ‘Quadzilla’.
This piece of Chinese junk has covered a full thousand miles since new and in that time has burnt out two clutches in 500 miles. Everything electrical has either failed or been replaced from the ignition switch to the voltage rectifier. Every item of rubber has perished, including the fuel pump diaphragm which seems allergic to petrol. The once gleaming red plastic turned pink during the first summer, Imagine how quickly it would ‘photo degrade’ in Arizona
Anyway, my good mate has had enough of this ‘piece of 5h1t’ and bought himself a cracking 2nd hand Honda so it’s time to ‘move it on’. Or to be more precise get rid of it before it becomes another bit of scrap around the croft. The battery was well and truly ‘goosed’ (the third one) but I can’t blame the Chinese for that, the replacements were both Yuasa batteries. Having said that it was probably the faulty voltage regulator I replaced that fried them. That’s the other thing about these Quadzilla’s, the parts aint cheap, £85 for a regulator (£18 for a better one of eBlag), £50 for a starter solenoid (£12 for the same one of eBlag), £250 for a clutch that will barely get you 250 miles and £40 for an air filter made from foam rubber.
So with some petrol, jump leads and a large car battery I eventually got it running before setting off for a test ride with the car battery wedged on the foot rests. As you can see, it did not end well, through no fault of poor Quadzilla I might add, had I done a ‘risk assessment’ first it would obviously not have happened Something about seeing ‘Battery wedged by right foot’ and ‘jump leads tied to rear rack’ would have sounded ‘alarm bells’ and I may well not have ended up in a hole with the jump leads wrapped around the rear wheel and a large battery on my toe
Job for Lachie’s telehandler I think!!!!
After that I wandered over to Loch Beag and was somewhat surprised to see it this high in summer, well up past a small willow tree on the edge. Normally it would only get this high in winter!
It was at last time to disturb the Dude from his beauty sleep and after feeding him we all went over to Tarbert to do some ‘bonding’ with our latest addition to the croft.
As they had indeed spent all night out in the rain we also led them over to their home with a bucket of feed, they were very impressed.
In what is something of a ‘North End’ tradition my son and I started on making a proper path down to the fank.
All in all a very productive day
Today’s first task was testing the TV in the new house, if it were up to me I’d bin it, so would my son I guess, don’t think I’ve seen him watch it for years. However in the interests of ‘peace and harmony’ I thought I’d see if I could get the ‘One Eyed Monster’ working in the house via an aerial I’d fitted in the loft. It was a bit of a challenge for the goggle box as the signal isn’t great and it’s obviously behind slate in the roof.
However with very little tweaking and an antennae booster it worked an absolute treat so I’m saved a hideous dish on the gable end end I have the satisfaction of not giving Rupert Murdoch any cash
My next chore was a coat of paint on the new rear cross member for the ‘Old Girl’ then back to Tarbert where I made a gate and my son got on with his road.
They really are getting very friendly!