Life at the end of the road

December 8, 2017

Pretty bad luck :-(

Filed under: animals, daily doings, pigs, shed/house, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:55 pm

That’s Caroline away only to be replaced by a mere gale, hail and snow showers. Enthusiasm for outdoor works evaporating not long after venturing forth to feed the animals.


Whilst it was a fine enough day on the whole the gale force north westerly put a real damper on things.


The pigs needed much encouragement to come to be fed and the hens just hung around on the decking in front of the hen house.


Whilst pigs were having breakfast I took the opportunity to add more bedding. As a rule pigs only soil their bedding when they’re wee piglets or if they have a massive house, in which case they’ll pick a particular corner for a toilet. These two girls are well behaved and leave a tidy nest, no wonder they didn’t want to leave it today.

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It’s quite exposed up near the pig house but it nestles in the trees with a bank directly in front of the entrance. The only problem being you cannot really get the quad and trailer up there. The quad on its own isn’t a problem but with a trailer, no chance, that’s why I was working up there during my holidays. I’ve been making a road through one of the hen enclosures but have had to abandon it for the winter as it means dragging large mud filled dumper tyres across the house parking area. The mud was starting to bind all the 20mm chips together to provide a perfect growing medium for grass and weeds Sad smile

It may not have been outdoor weather but it was perfect for making and fitting a clothes drying rack into the bunker.

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The heat from the 1500lt thermal store, inverters and wind turbine keep it pretty warm in there and it’s really well insulated, even with the ASHP running and sucking the heat/energy out of there it rarely drops below 10 degrees, normally it’s up near 20 at head height and considerably more further up. So, to make life easier and get the washing up into the warmth I fitted a clothes pulley.


I had to make the wooden laths myself as all the people selling them complete wanted an ‘arm and a leg’ for the extra postage. I did have 3 x 6’ lengths of oak and one at just over 4’. Had I taken into account the time I spent cutting, planing and sanding the wood they  were awfully expensive laths Smile Anyway, it was very satisfying and certainly a good way of staying warm. To keep things even I made 2 x 6’ laths for the outside and 2 x 4’ for the centre, I just know the wife will love it Smile

I hate snow

It may have been quite picturesque when the ‘Post Lady’ left for work just after 9:00 in the Subaru but who knows what state the road would be as she ventured south. We’ve all of us had ‘incidents’ heading down ‘Calum’s road’ and beyond,

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and typically all the really bad bits are without phone reception. It’s 11 miles to the village so chances are it’s a long walk and you aint gonna meet any traffic!!! So you’ll understand I was a little concerned when she headed off for work and had even offered her a lift or use of the ‘Old Girl’ both of which she declined. The Forester is far better than the Terios in snow and the Land Rover is exceptional even by Land Rover standards. However once it does go there’s no stopping it, as my son found out on black ice last year 

An hour later I phone the Post Office after not being able to raise her on her mobile, to say I was a little concerned would have been something of an understatement. However, it turned out she’d forgot her phone!!! and could I give it to Nairn the gritter driver who was heading north.

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Well, I caught up with Nairn at Brochel, he was just putting down a little extra salt so he could actually get back up the hill Smile So I followed him to the next turning place then headed back home.

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Looks lovely at Brochel hey Smile

Better off in gear? Probably not

Once back home I set my mind for going out for a wee wander with the dug, she needs some encouragement these days so I took a rifle Smile Walkies seldom does the trick for Molly in cold, wet or snowy weather, however the cock of a rifle bolt three rooms away has her whining at the door whatever the weather.

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I hadn’t intended shooting anything and with two pigs following and the ‘wee dug’ running ahead it would have been highly unlikely. Still, it’s ‘open season’ for hinds now and they’re becoming a pest at Torran, so had I seen any near quad accessible terrain I’d have ‘taken a pot’ Smile It was a nice walk anyway and we passed by the hydro turbine inlet to remove a clod of earth from the pipe. The output had been down for a couple of days, only 600W instead of the usual 800W. Not that we needed it, on the contrary we’d been struggling making use of the 56kWh per day we’ve been averaging this month.


No sooner had I got back home than the phone rang, it was Nairn the gritter man, the road was blocked!!!


Not with snow, but with a Porsche at Balmeanach and not driven there but blown by the wind!!! I kid you not. It had been parked in the spot where the Land Rover is, with the handbrake on!!! I guess the road was so slippy and the tyres so wide that it just went ‘walkabout’ in a severe gust. The owner was adamant that he usually leaves it in gear but had forgot, personally I don’t think it would have made any difference. Anyway, the Warn 9500 winch pulled him out no bother and I advised him to put a brick under the wheel in future Smile The first the poor dude knew about it was when someone knocked on his door and asked him if he was aware of it. Still, it could have been much, much worse, that bank is very steep and goes a long way down.

That was about it really, by the time I got back home it was feeding time and almost dark. A new temperature sender unit had arrived with the Post Lady so I fitted that to the Land Rover and retired to the shed to repair some lifting bags.

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I’ve got some serious underwater lifting projects on the ‘to do’ list, just awaiting the return of my partner and some good weather. I got these 3 off eBlag for £35 and they just needed a few ropes splicing onto them. Sadly the only rope I had was some carp 6mm split film polypropylene, the kind BT use for drawing cable through ducting. It’s not great quality but the bags are only 70kg so it’ll be fine for that.


December 7, 2017

Transformed :-)

Filed under: Land Rover, shed/house, weather — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:06 pm

Thursday night now, not long in, just demolished a stir fry and the Earl Grey is brewing, don’t worry, the wine will probably come later, it is only 19:21 after all. Well, storm Caroline passed without incident, here at least, an abundance of Raasay’s equivalent of tumbleweed being the only obvious signs of severe wind. I dunno whether it’s even the right name for it but I call it couch grass and after winter storms it can be seen clinging to fences, blown under doors and piled up in sheltered corners. This morning its dead fronds were whirling in the wind eddies at the back door, I dunno why I call it that cos we only have the one Smile Same at ‘number 3’, though that one was always the front door!! I’m a great believer in as few holes as possible in the house ‘envelope’, patio doors and windows are fine for the summer in sheltered locations.


The ‘violent storm’ 11 gusting ‘hurricane force’ 12 that presented itself full onto our triple glazing would have made for a good old draught on a large expanse of glass I’m sure. That was just before 8:00am, it was still dark and I’d no inkling to go out in it, though the pigs and hens got a quick feed a little later.


Yesterday would have been me old Dad’s 89th birthday so I’d decided to go and visit me Mum and visit his grave.

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Me old Pop would be quite happy there under his ‘Five Sisters of Kintail,

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not that you could see them, you couldn’t even see Eilean Donan castle a mile or two down Loch Duich. Still, despite the rain and murk we enjoyed the walk down the newly tarred road to Ratagan.

You gotta laugh

Sure it was raining and this stretch of road is no different from any other road in the highlands insomuch as it’s full of puddles.

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It’s not ‘rocket science’ is it, the puddles freeze, the tar cracks, a pot hole starts and grows, all that’s needed is a man with a shovel. I emptied that puddle with the heel of my boot, there must have been dozens of them on that short stretch of road from Ratagan to Ardearg. The council say ‘there is no more money in the pot for road repairs’ so why not send someone out with a shovel to let the water away? They have the men, the vans and plenty of shovels I’m sure.

The hundred or so mile long round trip gave me a good chance to try out the Discovery transfer box and I have to say I was well impressed. The 1.222:1 ratio certainly makes for quieter driving but then I guess my box was noisy anyway. I’d also sealed up a few gaps in the transmission tunnel so I guess that helped. However even taking these into account the RPM was lower for a given speed and the speedometer was reading the correct speed for the first time in years. Since the vehicle was built as far as I know, certainly since I started using a Satnav.

The real and most important test though came on the way home when I called at Sconser quarry for 2 tons of 20mm chips.

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OK 1980kg of chips Smile either way that was a gross weight of 5.3t as good a way of any of testing the transfer box. First though I had to go to Portree for a hearing test, which, I was in two minds to cancel. The weather was poor, the wind strong and I’d not be getting back until the 17:30 ferry.

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Well, I decided to risk it and after my appointment landed back at Sconser almost an hour before sailing time. Typically it was just plain windy until the ferry arrived, then, soon as the Hallaig made its approach to the pier an almighty squall came howling down Loch Sligachan!! Expertly handled, Hallaig berthed successfully and I hauled my load all the way home. Sure I was in low ratio once or twice but no more than usual and on the whole I’m well chuffed with the modification. Big ‘thumbs up’ for the Discovery to Defender transfer box swap Smile

Storm Caroline

As I mentioned, she passed without too much incident and now there’s only a fresh breeze of north wind .

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Whilst it was on the whole dry, the wind was too strong to really do much outside up at the house so first thing I did was deliver some wine Smile 

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Then it was down to Port Arnish to check the boats, the storm force winds making the tide a good deal higher than predicted.


The wind was just a few points north of west so it wasn’t quite so bad at the old fish farm slip, even so it was getting a pasting.

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It really was way too windy for doing anything outside so I spent the rest of the day in Calum the Kubota, first doing a drain at the house and then working on the Torran path.

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It was quite sheltered down there with the birch trees anyway but with the cab closed and the heater on it was just toasty Smile

The ferry had missed the first two sailings right enough but, unfortunately for the ‘post lady’ the third ferry brought with it 8 sacks of mail Sad smile

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Luckily she got home just before this dump arrived and as I type here at 21:00 another load has arrived on the back of a good ‘gale force 8’

Still, Nairn went by in the gritter about an hour ago so with a bit of luck she’ll get into work tomorrow, me, I think I’ll be working on my clothes hanger.

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Trouble is, I only had two pieces of oak and they required a lot of work.


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