Life at the end of the road

February 4, 2017

A lean mix :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover, pigs, wind turbine — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:06 pm

Saturday night here at ‘the end of the road’ and I’m feeling suitably contented after a productive day, a fish pie and the promise of a glass or two of red later. It won’t be my first this week but it will only be my second. The week has been a rather busy one and there’s been little point in having a glass or two. Firstly I’d have fallen asleep after a mouthful and secondly we’ve had no wine in the house Smile 

The ‘ole

As you’ve probably guessed most of my week, indeed my fortnight off has been spent filling in the ‘ole with concrete. This will be the base for my new wind turbine which I planned would be 7 or 8 cubic meters and ended up nearly double that. Anyway my days since last posting have been an endless cycle of getting up early and getting ready for mixing which usually commenced around 8:00am. The trailer with its 2 tons of ready mixed aggregate being parked conveniently close to the mixer the night before.

I’ve mixed 4 trailer loads plus 3 tons I already had with just over a ton of cement so I guess that’s about a 10:1 mix. A bit lean for anything structural but there will be just as much of a 35 Newton mix going over the top of it.  I’m sure it’ll be just fine with 25 or 30 tons of concrete  in total, plus around a ton of steel directly bolted to Scotland.

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By far the hardest part of the job has been getting it to flow into all the ‘nooks and crannies’ and getting the air out of it. I really should have bought a vibrating poker for this rather than just borrowing one for the big pour on Monday. I’ve seen them on eBay for £50 and it would have been money well spent I guess. I severely doubt that this will be my last big concrete project.

The actual mixing has been pretty easy really with the trailer being the same height as the mixer there’s been little in the way of bending involved.

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This is as far as I got on Thursday night, I mixed one more load on Friday and took a final trip to Sconser quarry for doing one last mix.

Ozzy and Django

All this reversing with over three tons on the back of the ‘Old Girl’ convinced me that it was about time I replaced the gearbox on her. My Landy is of 1986 vintage and fitted with the rather lame LT77 5 speed gearbox, more suited to a high power saloon car than an abused diesel truck. The LT77 has many faults, sloppy gear change, premature main shaft wear and most annoyingly, jumping out of reverse gear. The latter being caused by the teeth on the lay shaft, reverse gear and idler wearing out. When I bought her in 2001 she had the same fault and I fitted a recon box then. Well sixteen years of hard graft later it needs another.

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I found this ex military reconditioned one on eBlag from a chap called Darren who runs Jedi 4×4 in Waterfoot, near where I used to live. It came in the strongest case I’ve ever seen and was bolted to a steel frame that was bolted via rubber mounts to the wooden crate!!! I guess it must have been designed for dropping by parachute or something cos the package came in at 130kg of which less than half is the gearbox!! It was dated 2010 right enough but it’s the latest LT77 suffix, G which has bigger bearings and wider teeth on the reverse gears. I also got a drivers door off him and have to say that Darren had packed that almost as well as the army had their gearbox https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=jedi%204×4 .

It’s actually been jumping out of reverse for over a year so it’s a job that is long overdue and when I finally do get around to doing it I may well fit a Discovery transfer box. The Disco LT230 transfer box has a higher high ratio than the Defender, probably not much use to me really with those huge 33×12.50×15 tyres I use but I just happen to have one. The box I have came from the vehicle I got the engine from.

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Having driven said Disco to Arnish I know the box is good and quiet, unlike mine which has a rusty set of gears in it Smile

Anyways, enough of this Landy ‘anorak’ stuff, back to today and ‘two little piggy’s’ from Auchtertyre.

 

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My son and I caught the 8:55 ferry and went to collect a couple of fine Large Black/Saddleback cross boars. We could have taken gilts but went for a couple of boars instead, for some reason most folk want gilts! This is usually people that are under the misapprehension that boars are aggressive and can suffer from something called ‘boar taint’   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boar_taint . Supposedly if you don’t castrate boars or keep them for longer than 22 weeks the meat becomes tainted by their hormones. Well, that may well be true of commercial breeds kept indoors but we’ve never experienced it in all the years we’ve kept pigs. In our experience the opposite is true, boars are less trouble and put on weight quicker, as for keeping them longer than six months, well we ate one that was five years old and he was delicious Smile

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Django and Ozzy were as ‘good as gold’ and soon settled into their new home for the next day or two.

 

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The weather was so boodly awful today that we put them in the hen house. We’ll keep them in there for a day or so before letting them out into the wind turbine field. Once the other two are away at the end of the month we’ll  let them out on the hill.

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 https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/robins-first-day-at-work/ 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  http://rbdistillers.com/

 

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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.

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