Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Baby Bonding

All is calm, all is well in the lambing pens today

You can't cosy-up much closer to mum than this pair of twins!

Successfully mothered on.  If you look carefully you can see that this lamb is wearing an extra skin.
The ewe lost her lamb and has been fooled into thinking this lamb (whose natural mother didn't have enough milk) is her own.  She has taken it straight away.  The extra skin will be taken off very soon and the ewe will rear this lamb as her own.

Swaledales are such good mothers, protective and attentive.  
No parenting classes required here!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Lambing time is under way at Pry House Farm

 We are a few days later than usual with our starting date for lambing this year.
Today is our due date for the Pry House lambers and we are out of the starting blocks!
 The special care baby unit is already half full although no complications 
just a bit of extra monitoring and lots of TLC.
Another set of twins again born in the building.  As soon as possible we safely pop them into a pen (with their mother) to keep them away from all the other ewes that are still waiting to lamb.
This year we seem to have more sheep than ever in the building - its a bit crowded.  
The weather has been so wet and cold we are trying to keep them inside as long as possible.
Nice for them particularly as there is so little grass this year.

 A single lamb can manage in amongst the sheep. This one has tucked herself under the hay rack!
Showered with hay seeds but safe.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Curlews return to Pry House Farm

It is with great relief that I counted 5 curlews on home field today.  
A very low number; it is not unusual to see 40 or 50 at this time of year, all foraging greedily.

I will monitor numbers carefully in the hope that there is a big increase soon.
(curlew photo - Ian Short Photography)
  The oyster catchers and lapwings have been here for a while.
Spring is a wonderful season.
There's always so much to marvel around the farm.  

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Dales Discovery Day - 17th March

Today, Saturday 17th March, is Dales Discovery Day #DalesDiscoveries.
 What draws you to the Yorkshire Dales?

 A once in a lifetime opportunity?

The unexpected?

The welcome?

Whatever it is, the flags will be out!.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Brochures and Books

Its that time of year when accommodation providers, visitor centres & attractions, the YDNPA, walk leaders etc are getting their literature printed and distributed.  Even in this age of 'all things digital' there's still a place for the paper copy.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park's Visitor magazine and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust's Flower of the Dales brochure are probably the two most popular.  Both have diary sections listing hundreds of things do, places to see, walk to go on etc.  I chose to highlight an article 'Hit the Trail' in the Visitor magazine as this is all about the new family friendly cycle trail from Reeth to Keld (more details to follow in another post soon).  Also a favourite of mine is the Showing You the Way .... series.  Three seperate illustrated children's guided walks, all available from the Keld Countryside & Heritage Centre.  The centre also runs a full and varied events programme for 2018.  Pick up a paper copy at the centre or visit  keld.org.uk

 Jonathan Smith, avid walker, walk leader and writer of walking guides where2walk.co.uk has recently written The Dales 30, a guide to walking 30 mountains with the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  At least a third are easily accessible from Pry House Farm B&B or Shepherd's Hut.

And finally don't forget the new series of walk booklets produced as part of the National Park's project Every Barn Cowus Tells A Story about the cow houses in Muker parish.  We have several sets here at Pry House to borrow and there is a set in Hillcrest Cottage however if you would like your own they can be purchased on the YDNPA website or in their visitor centres at Hawes, Reeth, Bainbridge and Grassington

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

When sheep get buried in snow

Due to the recent bad spell of weather there has been a lot on the news about sheep being dug out of snow drifts having been buried for several days. We call it being 'over-blown'.  
We have had no loses in this respect at either Hoggarths or Pry House Farm; partly because of good luck and partly due to good management.  Before the storm hit, the men moved some of our sheep from vunerable places to safety.

  This photo shows how sheep can so easily get over-blown.  The storm raged from the other side of wall so naturally the sheep shelter on the lea-side.  The snow is blown over the wall and gets deeper and deeper, trapping the sheep underneath.  This photo was taken several day after the storm and the drift has already shrunk quite a bit however it is still several feet deep in places.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Hut in the Snow

Looking cold and lonely but don't worry I check on the Shepherd's Hut regularly and it has a little low watt heater inside to keep everything warm & aired so it okay.  Honest!

No matter what the weather chucks at it the Shepherd's Hut still has the best views ever!

And those lovely, big, original Shepherd's Hut wheels keep it up off the ground
and out of the weather.

The Beast from the East

As predicted winter isn't over yet.  This latest spell of weather to hit a lot of the UK has been named the Beast from the East as its come all the way from Siberia.
Upper Swaledale is getting its fair share!

We were greeted with a bank of snow at the back door first thing this morning!

I'm glad we don't have to use 'outdoor facilities'!

Drifts the height of the garden wall at the front of the house....

...... and at the back too.  
The cavalry was very welcome this morning.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Winter isn't finished with us yet.

Its cruelly cold outside today.  
Winter hasn't finished with us yet and why would it?  After all its still February. 
Let the cold wind blow, let it snow, let Jack Frost have some fun.
Then when spring finally arrives in March, hopefully we can close the door on winter,
and welcome some longer, warmer days in preparation for lambing time.
In the meantime the snowdrops at Pry House Farm have arrived - at last!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Living (and working) above the Snow Line

February winds bring the snow.  Its a cold & hungry month,
 nipping at our heels one minute and biting hard the next.
Up here in the hills the weather can close in very quickly 
whilst down in the valley all remains green.
Always spectacularly beautiful.
Beck Meetings sheep pens splattered with snow.
Welcome to the Yorkshire Dales!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Feeding the Land

Muck spreading this morning.  Its smelly and its messy ..... however

it is what make the grass grow for lambing time and ....

 the flowers bloom to make sweet hay.  Roll on spring and summer!

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Making Tracks

Pry House Farm has become a white wonderland;  clean, bright and blue-white under the clearest winter sky broken only by tracks made by man and machine.                        

Deep and Crisp and Even

For the second night running we have had a fresh fall of snow topping up the fields 
and the walls and coating the trees with icy particles.

At the same time the wind got up, blowing the snow into drifts against the stone walls.

This afternoon was completely different - not a breath of wind.  
All was calm, all was still.
Voices and strange noises floated from miles away.
An unusual experience.
What will tomorrow bring?

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

The next most important job after foddering the sheep 
is keeping enough fuel stored for the fire!

Flaming lovely!

Snow Much Fun!

Our working dogs love their daily run out but the snow makes it extra fun for them.

Champ, the youngest dog, can really shift .....

..... whereas old Tess perfers to watch on.

Scenic Upper Swaledale in Snow

The landscape that we are so familar with changes completely 
when it is covered in a thick blanket of snow.

The fields and pastures are smoothed flat by the windblown snow
ruffled only by the sheep trod that snakes its way close to the wall.

 Dry stone walls are iced with a layer of frozen snow.
 Harkers cottage.  
Harkers was once a farm in its own right.  Many years ago Chris' father bought the land and the buildings either side of the cottage so they are all part of Hoggarths / Pry House farming enterprise now.  The cottage is now a second home.  There is a move at the moment by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to penalise second home owners by charging them five times the standard council tax rate in an effort to make such dwellings available for families / young people to live in permenantly. I can't imagine anyone wanting to live here 24:7 but I could be wrong! 

  All that is left of an old Nisson Hut styled into garage.  
People who lived in these parts were not just hardy and tough but resourceful too.  

Snow was falling - Snow on Snow

Another wild and wintery night and this morning we are greeted with more snow.
The frozen snow clings to the sheep's fleece, their ears and their horns

     They are pleased to see Chris and the feed he brings for them.

Whilst this weather continues extra fodder will be taken to them twice a day.