Thursday, 17 August 2017

Heather Hills

Vibrant purple heather with Hilltop in the background.

Exploring the many waterfalls at the top of Hoggarth's Gill

Spying on the neighbours.  Hey-there Smithyholme!

Iron gate at top of Hoggarth's Cow Pasture

Purple heather in profusion.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Wool filled pillows from the Woolroom

A huge delivery of products from the Woolroom arrived at Pry House Farm today.
Wool is nature's miracle fibre; never too hot and never too cold.
I buy from the Woolroom in Ipswich which is run by Bob the Shepherd and his wife, Nicky.  What better endorsement could you ask for? A Suffolk Shepherd and a hill farmer's wife from Swaledale!

The pillows & duvet in the Shepherd's Hut have always been wool but now Woolroom products can be found in the bed & breakfast and Hillcrest Holiday Cottage.

Everything from the Woolroom comes in its own strong, linen bag which after some ingenious disguise by a clever friend of mine now make perfect storage bags ......
 .......... and at the same time provide extra cushions for the daybed. 

  The pillows are adjustable;  too firm - remove some filling, too soft - add a bit more. They regulate the temperature so no more waking up feeling hot and having to turn the pillow over to the cool side.
They are completely washable too.  If they help my guests sleep well then I will be happy.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A Yorkshire Shepherd on Camera

The Yorkshire Dales National Parks 'Every Barn Cowus Tells A Story Project' is well under way and several local people have been chosen to tell their stories and share their experiences of what life was like when the Cow Houses were in use on a daily basis.

 Chris has many memories of working with stock in Cow Houses and Hogg Houses at Hoggarths, Harkers, Firs and Thorns.  Here he is getting 'mic-ed up' ready to be interviewed.
 From an early age Chris helped his father on the farm and when he left school he wanted nothing else than to be a farmer.  On a daily basis, throughout the long winter months he helped fodder the stock in these off-buildings known in Upper Swaledale as Cowus' and Hogg Houses.
 Sussing out the location of one of Chris' stories with the film maker.
Firs Hogg House stands at approx 1400ft above sea level and is where, in the winter of 1979, Chris and his dad and their neighbour and his hired man where 'holed up' for several hours sheltering from a snow storm.  Firs hogg house is less than a mile from Hoggarths (we can see it from Pry House) but the weather was so severe and visibility so bad it wasn't safe to walk back to Hoggarths along the road for fear of getting lost so they made their way down the pasture to the River Swale in the bottom and followed the river, crossed the bridge and finally walked back up the house.

Filming at Harkers Cow House and Hay Mew.
I was asked by the YDNParks to interview people who had memories to share and to get their stories on tape.  I talked with over 25 people; present residents of the dale and those who now live far away.  It has been a marvellous project to be involved in, hugely interesting and I have learnt such a lot.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Decorating a Cow House for YDNParks Every Barn Tells A Story Project

All the children in Muker Parish have been invited to take part in 
a project about the cowus' that are dotted all over the Swaledale landscape.

Today the very youngest children came to Pry House Farm to decorate a Cowus.

 Jessica (3) makes the hay meadow and James (3) glues material to make the quoins
(the large corner stones).

When the slates were on the roof, the doors and forking hole made and the meadow finished the children enjoyed a well deserved break.

And as a treat for all their hard work my old farmyard, animals, tractors
and farm implements came out of storage!
Children never tire of playing with toy tractors and a farmyard.

Friday, 21 July 2017

A Squadron of Oysters Catchers?

What is the collective name for a group of Oyster Catchers?  
Is there such a thing?

Confident, cocky little creatures.  Stocky and robotic looking.
Never in a hurry to fly away,almost daring you to come closer
whilst all the time watching you with one, orange, beady eye!

 But when they do take flight its so effortless and so elegant;  
the RAF of the bird world.

 They are my favourite.  Can you tell!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Checking The Power Poles

I've been in a helicopter once.  Its was a wonderful experience.

Every year these guys come along to check the electricity poles and tranformers.
And every year I wonder if they will land in home field and take me up for a spin!

 But they flew off towards Firs and Stone House without a backward glance ....
Oh well, there's always next year!!


Hillcrest's Gorgeous Garden

Everything is looking lovely in the garden at Hillcrest.

It has been so hot the heat makes the hills look hazy but its been glorious.

Its good to see our guests have been taking advantage of the outdoor table and chairs that we have recently added at Hillcrest.  Alfresco breakfast or morning coffee in the sunshine perhaps?
 Lavender, Thyme, Foxgloves, Roses, Hydrangeas, Anemones;  
Hillcrest's garden is awash with colour and scent.

When the Weather is Your Friend ...... Part 3


Hill farmers with stock on the high fells still need small bale hay.  There are lots of places on the moor that can't be accessed by tractor so small bales are a life-line to many of our sheep in winter.

Hay time is a team effort.  
With good modern tractors it runs like a well oiled machine with each man and each tractor playing its role in making and bringing the harvest home.

Ray rows up and Chris stacks the bales off the field using a 8-grab.

 The grass is dry and fluffy and makes good, nutritious, sweet-smelling hay.

Nobody will rest until 'all is safely gathered in'.

When the Weather is Your Friend ..... Part 2


 The shadows may lengthen but the work goes on.

When the Weather Is Your Friend ...... Part 1

For many a month the weather can be the farmer's enemy
but when it is becomes his friend, its wonderful!


 Round Baling.
 Rowing up.

Leading the bales away to be wrapped.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

More Amazing Wildlife at Pry House Farm

We have four young Short Eared Owls living on Pry House Farm Home Field

 The Short Eared Owl is a ground nesting bird. 
These young birds find shelter & protection in the long grass and reeds at the bottom of the field.
They are over a month old as they are fully fledged but are still being supervised 
by the parent birds which are also on the field.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Springwatch at Pry House Farm!

Who needs tv when you can come and see all this at Pry House Farm?
Its a huge privilege for me to be able wander through our meadows & pastures. 
There is so much to discover.

From butterflies ....

to toadstools.

Beautiful brown hares ....

... and cheeky Oyster Catchers.

 Redshank, Curlews & Lapwings galore

and a host of delicate meadow flowers of every colour and hue, 
all set in the spectacular, unspoilt landscape that is Upper Swaledale.