Quad

So. I bought a quad.

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I’ve never had one before but the chicken work kind of forced my hand. Carrying 5-10 bags of feed up to the hens isn’t really an option and the pickup was going to end up damaged if I carried on, so I got this instead.

I’ve done a heck of a lot of spinning around with it – it’s great!

It’s a diesel quad. 2 wheel drive. Not fast but it is exactly what I’m after. Very happy.

Progress

I am currently in the middle of the busiest period of work I’ve ever had, and I love it! Full steam ahead right now with getting everything ready for the chickens and the tourism side of things, so much going on and I don’t have time to blog about it all.

Last week I erected my new signage, and I’ve already had lots of nice feedback about that. I bought a portacabin a couple of weeks ago and I hope to have it in place in the next week. I actually had a local contractor, Danda, here yesterday, clearing the site for it.

It is right behind my house, on the site of the original house (latterly a barn) that was on the croft. My parents knocked it down in 2004 as part of the extension had started to come away but I am now majorly regretting allowing this to happen. It would have been PERFECT for what I’m doing now and would have had such a nice story behind it. Anyway, what’s done is done. Danda (from the next village) was actually the contractor who knocked it down initially, so he knew what was in store.

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The stones had been left there for 10 years, just in case they’d be handy at some point, which is now the case.

They were an eyesore to be honest, but one that I had grown accustomed to. You’ll notice that there is still a pile of stone behind the site, that’s being saved for the barn I intend to build in the next year. No point getting rid of that stuff if I then need to go any buy more infill later.

The haulage company I intend to use to get the portacabin over from Stornoway have been busy with the Heb Celt Festival, so hopefully they’ll have time this week to move it. Once in place, I hope that one of my Ness FC teammates is going to paint it for me and I’ll get it up to the standard required. One of the two rooms is going to be my egg-packing station for when the 320 chickens start laying. I had someone from Environmental Health cast their eye over it last week, just to provide advice on what I need to do to get it up to scratch. It won’t need too much work or money thrown at it.

The chickens themselves are due to come in the next week. I was initially supposed to pick them up in Inverness on Friday but I’m now going to be in Ireland until Sunday, filming Farpaisean Chon Chaorach. Plan B is now leave Glasgow at 6/7am Monday, pick up the chickens in Lanark, drive home and get the Uig-Tarbert ferry, drop off the chickens at home and play a cup semi-final for Ness at 7pm. I’ll be over the moon if all that works.

My hen house will hopefully be ready in time for this. It has to be! I’ve been badly let down by a timber merchant and my joiner is short of 4×2. If I can’t get them to him early tomorrow, I’m in serious trouble. I’m so lucky I’ve reduced my hours at work though, there’s no way I’d be able to get everything ready otherwise!

There’s also one major piece of exciting news that I’m not allowed to share yet. Hopefully I’ll get permission to do so this week!

Fertiliser

Last week I bought a fertiliser spreader and this week I got some fertiliser. What’s left to do? Spread it!

I got home from work last night and got cracking straight away!

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The fertiliser itself is available locally in 25kg or 600kg bags. Obviously 600kg is a bit much for me, so 12 x 25 kg bags for me. The spreader could take 10 of them, but I left space to carry the remaining bags in to the section of the croft that I was going to apply it to.

Didn’t take too long either. Can you spot all the baby rabbits here? They’ve made some mess in at the shore end of the croft.

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It only took me half an hour. We’ll see how it goes now. I don’t think any fertiliser has been spread on our crofts for a generation! It certainly won’t do any harm!

Here are a couple of pics from inside the cab

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A glimpse of the past

While digging out a new duck pond yesterday, Innes found an old horse shoe in the old ‘iodhlann’ behind the house. That’s 2 or 3 I’ve found over the last couple of years, a reminder that it was a different kind of horsepower that was used on the croft.

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The duck pond

I’ve also got an old set of what I think are horse-drawn hoe, that my grandfather used to use. They’ve been lying outside for a while so Innes is going to clean them up and paint them while he’s home.

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Interesting wee pieces for my new Air An Lot venture!

Busy weekend

I write this on Monday morning, as I prepare to head to Uist for a couple of days. I should be finishing packing my bag, but there is always something more interesting to do than that!

It is a gorgeous morning here, probably the best we’ve had so far this year. I’ve fed the sheep and made sure
the hens have enough food and water until I return on Wednesday. Mornings like this make it hard to go to work though

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It’s in stark contrast to the weather we had over the weekend; force 9 gales and showers. This was the forecast for Saturday

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That didn’t mean a day off though, I still had to feed all the animals, and I also had to move the sheep to fresh grazing.

I walked them down the road and also took them a fresh bale of hay. That’s 4 of my 6 bales gone already.

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The lambs also got a feed, along with a bale of silage. They love this stuff, smells so sweet too!

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Some of them take it a bit far though…..

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I’d better go pack my bag now…..

Big bales

I had a busy few hours after coming home from work earlyish on Monday. I had ordered 6 big bales from Ironside & Son a couple of weeks ago, and they arrived yesterday. He was supposed to be here at 9/10am, but was delayed until the afternoon due to ferry problems.

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Unloading the hay is quite straightforward!

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I ordered 6 (for £49 each), while My neighbour, Chops had 4 delivered here and another 2 at his house. I used my tractor to move all the bales onto both our crofts.

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The sheep are tucking into their first bales now, while I have the remainder stored in an old garage on one of the crofts. Ready for use in the next few weeks.

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