Life at the end of the road

April 18, 2008

Another puncture! and the ‘Space age hen house’

Filed under: daily doings, polytunnel — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:01 pm

I don’t know what made me put the spare wheel back on my bonnet today but I’m glad I did because just after dropping the Dude off at school I had a serious puncture. I’d just stopped to load up rocks for my bog when I heard this almighty hiss from the rear left hand side, upon investigation I found a thumb size pointed rock stuck in the tread. It was a shard from the broken rocks I was about to load and it was going down very quickly, I may have loaded the spare wheel but for some reason I thought I’d left my jack at home so drove like a loon to my mate Willy’s to borrow a jack. Of course as soon as I got there I remembered where the jack was and got on with sorting it. In the normal world a puncture is no big deal but being on Raasay and having huge tyres on the old girl means it’s a little unfair to ask someone to take it to Portree to get it fixed so I set about removing the tyre by driving over it on the wooden section of the pier. You can do it on the road but it makes a mess of your rims, once the tyre was off and the hole marked I took it to the nice ‘Grumpy digger driver’ to get it fixed. He was round at the village hall on mountain moving duty so that gave me chance to see how Ron was getting on with the wall.

And as well as getting some good foundation stones down he was giving lessons!

The space age hen house is finished (well almost)

Whilst at Willy’s I went to see the designer hen house that he’d been constructing for weeks from fish farm pipe, fish farm floats, wind surfer bars, box profile sheeting, various bits of washing machine and a children’s slide from Canada!

Here’s the kiddies slide with added wooden bars and a bit of carpet so the hens can climb up it.

The slide was just made for the job and it was as if it had been sent across the Atlantic just for Willy’s hen house, we often get drinks crates from Maine and New Jersey but a slide from Canada is a first!

A lesson in peat cutting

With the morning disappearing fast I headed home only to get distracted by ‘Raasay’s last peat cutter’ John was busy digging out the peats now having taken off the turfs yesterday. He was using a special ‘peat iron’ from Ness  on the isle of  Lewis.

He’s not actually cutting the bank here as the sun was in the wrong place but just behind him was the peats he’d cut.

By the time I got home it was lunchtime and I spent the afternoon putting soil in our raised bed, painting a fence and (inspired by Ron) repairing a dry stone wall. After a dinner of cod and potatoes in a white sauce I went out hunting rabbit up at North Arnish. Though as usual I came back empty handed after not even firing one round. As mrs C says “if we’d to rely on you for food we’d starve”! Which I thought was a little unfair because had this hind been on my land eating my potatoes and not been out of season and had I had a bigger gun, who knows we could have been eating venison!!!!

There were 6 of them and I got great pleasure from watching them as the sun went down.

March 15, 2008

The worst ‘Lister’ and the best ‘hen house’

Filed under: daily doings, polytunnel — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:33 pm

Great weather, great forecast and It’s Saturday, today had all the hallmarks of a good day and I was not disappointed. It got off to a slightly shaky start as I still had to deal with last nights rabbit, I’d skinned it and taken the ukky bits out last night but I still had to tidy it up and put it in the fridge. Only a 2 minute job but I’d forgot about it until I was almost out the door, I’d also forgot that I’d left a digger track in my turning place so had to reverse 200m turn round and reverse 200m back to hitch my trailer. Not only that I had to load my wheelie bins into it, I got one in no problem but try as I might I could not lift the other one in, suspecting I’d probably put an old anvil or something in it I left it for the bin men as I still had to put some diesel in the ‘old girl’ or I’d be walking to work. The bin men are supposed to lift our bins every 2 weeks but I feel it’s much saner if I take them the 10 miles down the road as I’m going that way anyway. We seldom fill them and I managed for 15 years without them but when they closed the tip down on Raasay I threatened to start fly tipping if they didn’t give me a bin. Now our rubbish travels from Arnish to Portree then I think it goes to somewhere in Sutherland over 100miles away! The world has gone mad.

Possibly the worst engine ‘Lister’ ever made

When I finally got off to work it was as ever a lovely run down to the ferry slip. The ‘Harvest Caroline’ (thanks Seamus) was still lying peacefully at anchor in Churchton bay and was in fact going to deliver fish feed to ‘Marine harvest’ in loch Ainort.

Harvest Caroline

Upon arrival at work and doing all the usual ferry stuff like going to Sconser and back with cars and passengers it was also time to service one of the generators. The ferry has  2 ‘Lister HRW 6’ diesel generators of around 68hp and 50kw.


and this one (starboard) was due a service. They’re run week about so there’s always one on standby in case of a failure. Now I’m a great fan of Listers for their ruggedness and reliability but the HRW is a bit of a lemmon. It was derived from the HR which is air cooled and a super if touch noisy engine. The W in HRW stands for water cooled and I think the conversion was such that the water jackets and castings were too thin as they’re awful prone to oil leaks and head gasket failiures, they still keep going but just spray oil out everywhere. So after giving STB no 2 fwd diesel altenator (to give it it’s proper name in ship jargon) it’s 500hour service I went to see Willy of ‘polytunnel’ fame

A space age hen house

With so much going on at the harbour and village hall I’ve not been keeping up with developments  at the ‘plastic pipe fabrication yard’ that is Willy’s garden. The polytunnel has been waiting for the primer to cure and the weather to improve. Both of these have happened but Willy seems to have got distracted or moved sideways so to speak. The arrival of 4 bantem hens meant a home had to be made and Willy being Willy would just not put up with a fish box and some chicken wire. When I arrived I was greeted by this fine piece of engineering which had been constructed entirely from fish farm pipe, fish cage floats and the aluminium tubes that go round windsurfer sails.

Hen house 1

Windsurfer handles!!! you may well ask but it’s amazing how many ‘Raasay outdoor center’ go through in a year.

hen house 2

That’s the door swinging on it’s beautifully fabricated hinges.

hen house lock

and this is its wonderful door lock. I could not spend too long gazing in awe at this as I had seaweed to collect off the shore and besides I could see that Willy was on a roll and far be it from me to disturb the creative flow of genius. So off I went to load up 10 bags of seaweed and some beach stones before the afternoon shift. After which I headed north in time to catch the sun setting and another rabbit with the Dudes ‘King ratcatcher’

suset 150308

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