Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Winter work

Out on the islands we have started on our winter work programme.  I am delighted that at long last the roof on our house has been re-newed.  The old roof was in an appalling state and it was not uncommon to hear drip, drip, drip on the kitchen ceiling.  The tin was purchased cut to the required length so it has not been a big job.  It took 2 days to take off and replace the entire roof.  This would have been even quicker but for one  morning of too much wind to work with the tin.  The only work left to do is the end barge boards and put up new guttering.   I'm sure anywhere else this house would probably have been condemned.  Slowly  we are getting it up to standard.  It has now been completely re-wired, re-plumbed, had a new bathroom fitted complete with double glazing and insulation and now a new roof. On the way we have 2 very large double glazed windows for the living area and a new fitted kitchen.  The new windows will be fitted this winter but the kitchen will not be fitted until next winter.  There is so much to do and I look forward to the day when I get up in the morning at this time of year and my bedroom doesn't smell damp.  It's a few years away yet I think.  This house had been vacant for many, many years as there was only one family living on the islands previous to us.  The poor wool prices throughout the 90's resulted in very little maintenance being carried out on the majority of farms because the money was just not available to do
Add caption
any more then the bare necessities.  The fact that the house was not in use would have made it a low priority.  Fortunately the house that Shaun and Tanya live in, which was the family home of the previous owners was well maintained.
Shaun is now working on contract putting up fencing.  He is erecting a 2 kilometre fence to split the Sand Grass camp.  This is a massive camp but the ewes all feed at one end on the greens and in one large green valley leaving a huge amount of land under utilized.
Tanya and I have been busy crab processing.  In the last week and a bit we have processed approx. 1000 crab.
At last I have finished my accounts for 2012 and they are now ready to go to the accountants.
Shaun removing the old tin
Surprisingly despite the leaks the paper and the rough boarding underneath were in good condition.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Christopher and Ali went out in Theo to haul the crab pots today.  It was a lovely day and they came back with a haul of 666.  We also have about 300 in the keep pots so I now have enough to do about 5 lots of processing.  I general process 200 at a time.  I need to do at least one lot of processing a week just to provide the minimum amount for our standing order.  Christopher gets up at 5am to put the boiler on and then either him and Ali or him and Shaun kill and cook the crab once the boiler comes to the boil.  I then go down at 7-7:30 as the first lot have been cooked and cooled enough ready to start breaking the crab down for processing.  I then have either Ali or Tanya to help me process the crab right down ready to go in the chiller.  We usually finish processing at about 3pm and then spend an hour doing the clean down.
Sorted crab on the deck

Shaun and Dave (taken several years ago).  Crab in the sort tray.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Clueing up the season and mail from Spain

A beautiful day, sun and 18 degrees.  So here I am again.  I have decided to try and update my blog regularly again because I have had quite a few people contact me.
The season is all but over here.  Today Christopher and Ali (Ali is our hired hand and is here for about a month while Shaun is in Stanley stevedoring). took 108 ewes and 75 lambs down to Barren Island on Theo.  They left here (Speedwell) with the first load at 6am and were back at 10am.  They then had an early lunch and set out with the second load. Here they are able to run the sheep down the jetty and down a ramp onto Theo but at Barren they have to unload them onto the dinghy and take them ashore.  The dinghy holds about 15 at a time and Theo can carry 100 fully grown sheep comfortably so today she was quite lightly loaded because of the mixed load.  They got back from the second trip at 4pm.  It was the perfect day for moving sheep with only a light breeze.  This pretty much concludes the season for us.  All our camps have been gathered, the sheep have been counted and the stock is now set for the winter.  This year we have decided to put 100  lambs that were too small for the abattoir on Barren Island.  We normally run just 300 ewes on Barren because it has extensive erosion on it but the ewes are getting obese and then we have problems with them dieing from exhaustion every time we have to bring them in for lamb marking or shearing.  The decision was taken this year to increase the stock because the ewes despite having a near 100% lambing were still obese when they arrived at the abattoir.  This meant that we didn't achieve optimum price for them as the price goes down again once they pass fat class 3.  We have had as many as 350 ewes on the island before so it should have no problem coping with the extra lambs.
Theo with sheep on board late last year.
Last week I received a letter from Spain.  It started of by saying how this person (Jose) had started reading my blog and had seen how excited I was when I got my first follower.  Jose thought that if I found that exciting then how exciting would it be to get a letter.  He was right. We were all in Stanley, me, Christopher, Shaun and Tanya.  I came in from shopping and Shaun said to Christopher have you gave mum her letter.  Christopher said no he hadn't but that I had a letter from Spain. So it was all very exciting as everyone waited for me to open my letter and then read it out loud.  Thank you Jose it was nice to get your letter in the post.  I am not a letter writer, I find it hard enough to keep up my blog but it was very interesting to read about our similarities.  Gull egg omelette's were not that unheard of in the Falklands in the past either.  I am not sure if you are still allowed to collect gull eggs here or not.