Life at the end of the road

January 31, 2017

The ‘Des res’ for wiglets :-)

This ‘ole for the new wind turbine is really getting me perplexed, methinks I need to reduce its size to around 8 cubic meters so as I can get the batching truck safely up to the ‘end of the road’. Sorry, I’ll rephrase that, I need to make the ‘ole smaller so someone else can safely bring their truck up the road. We’ve had a fair old selection of trucks up here and even two articulated lorries but Eyre Plant’s Scania ‘batcher’ will have the heaviest load per axle I’m sure.

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And that’s not including the snow plough, Calor gas tanker, cattle float and septic tanker Smile  Just wish I could convince Certas Energy to deliver oil here Smile I bet Calum would be dead chuffed at the amount of tonnage that’s been up his road.

A new home for the girls

Anyways, having got the old oil tank into a suitable position in amongst the trees we set about reassembling it, beefing it up and making a new roof.

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It’s a cracking spot up there sheltered by the trees on three sides, facing the sun but with a small bank in front to give the door some degree of protection. Basically it’s an old 1200lt oil tank split down the middle and widened by 24”. It’s plenty big enough for a couple of full grown sows and we even had Bramble farrow in there once. Mind you, that wasn’t intentional and I wouldn’t recommend it.

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However it’ll be perfect for these two darlings, who, true to form came to check it out. Pigs are really intelligent and curious creatures and if you’re working in the same place long enough they’ll always come and check out what your doing. Probably looking for food or a wee belly scratch if the truth be known, well there was none of the former but they both got a good scratch and the keeled over like they do Smile 

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Rainbow and Proven wind turbine on 11m mast


More mixing

That was the weekend out of the way so on Monday morning I headed off early to the Sconser quarry for more 20mm concrete mix.

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A Macleod’s lovely old Daf was on the weighbridge and LAS Plant of Inverness were delivering a cheery picker to the distillery.

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It was a perfect day and I managed to get the 9:25 back to Raasay

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and was mixing by 10:25. I just can’t believe how easy it is doing this. I have mixed tons and tons of concrete over the years and have always been pure wrecked afterwards. Normally you are lifting from a pile of sand, aggregate  and cement. Having the aggregate pre mixed at waist height with the mixer at the same level turns backbreaking work into gentle exercise.  Even after taking a lunch break I’d mixed over tons in less than two hours without breaking a sweat.

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The hardest job being moving my mates pallet around the edge of the ‘ole Smile

That done it was time to put Robin to work again,

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but not before I’d fitted a tool box to the front rack. This ten year old rack doesn’t look like it’s ever carried anything! I kid you not, there’s not a mark on the paint work, consequently I wrapped pipe insulation around it before fastening it on with ‘tie wraps’. I cannot believe I just did that Sad smile

Then, with my nice shiny tool box full of wire cutters, crow bar, hammer and cordless drill we went to collect a hen house from next door.

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Hens like to ‘snuggle up’ for warmth and our current hen house is rather large for the five hens in it so we decided to retrieve one of the old ones. These houses have been designed and built by ‘Donald the Hen’ of Struan on Skye and are perfect for around a dozen hens. We’ll be getting eight more off him shortly so this will be nice and cosy for them. It will also keep them separate from the current ones for a while to prevent bullying.

Back to the quarry

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This time it was Fraser’s Eyre Plant Scania on the weigh bridge.


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Another couple of tons goes into the trailer and home for 17:15 Smile

That was it really, well apart from this

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the stills uncovered Smile


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This is all I’ve seen of them lately, so was good to see them ‘in the flesh’ so to speak.

January 28, 2017

Robin’s first day at work

Filed under: daily doings, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:36 pm

Much as I wanted to take Robin out for a spin on Friday it just didn’t happen, the priority was the ‘ole.

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The ‘ole had filled with water and I’d done some more accurate calculations to try and work out its exact volume down to the water level. This ‘ole was, at first glance much larger than I’d anticipated, rough calculations initially suggesting it could be as much as 14 cubic meters minus all the metalwork. Of course that was assuming it was square, regular and being a little generous. This presented me with a bit of a dilemma, the truck delivering the concrete could only take 12 cube max on a good road and ‘Calum’s road’ is anything but. Not that there was anything wrong with the great mans efforts, just that the council do not maintain it properly!!! So, it was kinda crucial that I worked out exactly how much concrete I needed and try to keep it as little as possible, not for the sake of the money. Just that I wanted it doing in one pour if possible.

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With the top part accurately calculated as far as the water level I set about pumping out with a recently acquired submersible pump that would allegedly pump out a respectable 16 cubic meters an hour. Now this depends on many things, head, temperature, length and type of hose etc so I double checked it by pumping into a 1000lt IBC.

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Sure enough, at 8 minutes per 1000lts it wasn’t far of 16cube an hour and the ‘ole was emptied in 40 minutes.

All day mixing

With the ‘ole emptied

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I got to thinking that if I could get a couple of cubic meters mixed and poured then that’d leave just 8 or 9 for the batcher.


Sure it wasn’t a task that filled me with joy but it certainly helps when you have the right kit.

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With the coal emptied from my tipping trailer I loaded it up with a ready mixed aggregate using Calum.

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My mate’s ‘Rolls Royce’ pallet providing a superb platform for the electric mixer which was running for at least six hours mixing around 3 tons of concrete. I reckon a good cubic meter at least but won’t know for sure until tomorrow when I pump out the ‘ole again. I just kept going until I ran out of aggregate by which time it was dark.

The new hinge mounting

After that I got on with cutting down the M30 threaded bar to make the hinge supports.

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And after all that pumping and mixing the battery bank was still fully charged !!!

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I was most impressed Smile


with the hole filling with water and no more aggregate left for mixing I turned my attention to other things today. Just regular jobs around the croft, repairing fences, cleaning the hen house and tidying up. That was of course until my son awoke, whereupon we both set about dismantling a large pig ark near the old house.

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At last Robin could start earning her keep Smile

This converted oil tank would be the new home for our next batch of piglets that will be arriving shortly.

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We took it up the barn where we replaced much of the wooden framing that had rotted over the years. This wouldn’t actually be fitted until we got it in place.

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A nice dry spot amongst the birch trees that would provide shelter for the new inhabitants. However, by now light was fading so we called it a day, outside at least.

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Me, I set about Robin in the barn, just giving her a good checking over, I was really impressed Smile

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