From the slaughter, butchering and preserving of our pigs at the start of last week for the first time independently. We have had roast pork, bacon sandwiches, pork stir fry, pork in ginger sauce. On Wednesday we are spending the day making sausages and salami.
Midweek we were firewood processing. We have been given heaps and heaps of old, rotten wood from a building project on the island which will provide firewood for us for probably the next year including perfect wood for the cob pizza oven. We have been moving it about, creating space to store it dry and chopping up what we need for this winter and storing it up next to the caravan.
Over the weekend we were helping with Operation Hot Water over on the neighbouring croft. The cabin over there is being finished over the winter and the first big project was to get water over there for a shower and then to heat it up via a gas boiler. We have been thinking about how to sort out our hot water for a bath (oh, a bath!!) once we build the cob house so this was an excellent learning opportunity for us too. The gas boiler is the same one we have in our caravan and was incredibly simple to install - cold water and gas in, hot water out! The gas is courtesy of a bottle, the same as all gas on the islands, something we would one day love to get away from but for now the best, most speedy option. But first, the actual water to the cabin?
Our water is from the burn - filtered at several points and piped over with blue pipe. We use a water tank to ensure regular pressure and then a solar powered pump draws it into our caravan as we have a sink in the kitchen, one in the bathroom and the shower. We are 300 metres from the water source and the cabin is a further 400 metres from us - nearly 3/4 kilometre from the source of the water. It felt like quite a daunting prospect. But - three reels of pipe, several pipe connectors and a very wobbly walk across the two crofts later there we stood with water coming out of the end of the pipe, spraying on the wall of the cabin!
There were stupid grins on all of our faces as we splashed each other. It was as good a feeling as striking oil or finding gold - water - the absolute life essential! From there it was a small leap to hot water and suddenly these mostly unforgiving, unyeilding 20 acres of croftland, a mile away from the village, 16 miles away from the mainland started to feel like something we have tamed, even if just a little bit.
Today we were back on Croft 3 once more and had the symbolic breaking of ground as we started digging out the first trench for the cob house. I've a post writing itself in my head about the timeline and progress for that, but for now I'll leave you with a few photos which hopefully convey in some small way the regular doses of euphoria the last seven days have held.
|breaking ground on cob house site|
|big old pile of wood!|
|pig to pork|
|and delicious it was too!|
|ready for splitting|