Friday, 19 May 2017

Turning back to the Moor

Lambing has finally finished.  The last two Pry sheep lambed this morning.  
Its time now to turn the ewes with a single lamb back to the moor.

Its a good feeling to see them returning to their heft.  
The ewes lead their lambs along the same sheep tracks that they themselves were shown as lambs-at-foot two, three & four years earlier and in so doing begin to establish the hefted instinct in their new female lambs.

 Clearly some of our ewes are very experienced at this process.  
This ewe is older than most.  She has been kept, rather than sold as a three shear, for reasons I don't know but it is plain to see that she is a good mother; nuturing, guiding and fussing over her lamb.

They are soon far away; spreading out, finding their place out in the vast open fell which is the Swaledale's natural home.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Lambing Time Routine

 We haven't many sheep left to lamb now.  Lots of people think that when we've finished lambing then the hard work is over.

 Infact that is not the case at all.  Chris is often heard to say that anyone can lamb a sheep but the skill is in keeping both the ewe and the lamb fit and healthy afterwards.

The sky is blue and the sun is shining but it is bitterly cold which is holding back the grass.  Every day our sheep get supplementary hard feed and plenty of hay.

When the ewes have finished feeding there is quite a commotion until the lambs are 
reunited with their mothers.

 But after a lot of bleating and baarr-ing they all pair up again ...

..... and peace and tranquility is restored.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Keld Community Orchard Sponsorship Appeal

The Keld Community Orchard space has been completely transformed; 
trees, bushes & shrubs planted, grass seed sown and a snowdrop border created.
Now we have to wait for Mother Nature to work her magic and watch for signs of green and growth.

We are asking for sponsorship for the following;
Drifts of Daffodils at £20 per drift
Planted Herb Pots (pots by the Yorkshire Flowerpot Company) at £30 per pot
Garden Bench at £70 (or £35 for a half share)
If you would like to sponsor any of the above please email
Thank you

Friday, 28 April 2017

Our Very First Shepherd Hut Guests

After months of planning and preparation (and much fussing about today!) 
we have finally welcomed our first guests to Pry House Farm Shepherd's Hut.

Sleep tight! 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Lambing Time - Half Way and All Help Gratefully Received!

Suzanne bottle feeding a pet lamb.  They never stay 'pets' for long as we like to 'mother them on' as soon as possible. Best for the lamb and good for the ewe that has lambed and lost.

Tom likes helping and riding!

Different kind of helping.  
This ewe thought she would 'help herself' to a bite of sugar beat from the store in the yard!

Little Gem helping by encouraging a bit of mother and baby bonding!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Fleece & Feathers in Firs Lambing Fields

Early evening is the perfect time to quietly walk around the lambing fields

At this time of year there are so many wonderful things to stumble upon 
like this beautiful nest belonging to the Lapwing.

The air is full of bird song; the call of the peewit (Lapwing), the chatter of the Oyster Catchers and the clear warbling song of the little Skylark (pictured)

but best of all new life is only moments away. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Keld Community Orchard Update

A Community Space Created by Community Spirit

Its hard to believe that the project only began in January however
everybody's hard work and enthusiasm has paid dividends and now ......

....... the space has been totally transformed.  In the foreground a raised viewing / seating area has been created and on the right the original cobbled path has been exposed.  A range of fruit trees, shrubs and soft fruit bushes have been planted and finally a grass seed mix has been sown.

Now we have to let mother nature work her magic but while we wait there is still plenty to do.
A local resident is busy making two benches and we want to add colour and fragrance with herb planters.  In late summer we will be planting bulbs.  To achieve these as aims we will be appealing for sponsorship.  If you would like to register an interest in sponsoring a bench, a drift of bulbs or a planted herb box please contact me at

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Down on the Farm with Jacqui, Chris & Becky

It was such fun sharing a lambing morning with our friends from Keld village.

Turning twins out into Lowside this morning.  Chris had plenty of willing helpers.

 One of a pair of twins needed a bit of 'topping up' ....
Never in all my days have I ever seen such happiness and enthusiasm.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Good, The Bemused and A Small Miracle!

Wednesday 12th April and at Pry House Farm we officially start lambing today 
however we already have a mixed bag of early birds!

Pry House Farm's first lamb and what a good start.  
A fine, strong, single gimmer - exactly what we hope for.

A shearling with her first off-spring looking a little be-mused (I remember the feeling well!)

This ewe had a very tiny lamb born about week too early but hey! what a little trier she is.
She is the sort of lamb that Chris shakes his head at and calls a 'bad little bu**er' 
but I call her Scraplet!  And motherly devotion? Its mother is besotted with it.  A joy to witness.
Turned out at only a couple of days old the young, sweet grass on home field will help the ewe to produce plenty milk and the dry stone walls & deep ghyll in the field provide shelter & safety.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Golden Plover

Golden Plover
So lucky to spot this beautiful little bird, so well camoflauged in the grasses & reeds
 up in Harkers hay meadow.

Hillcrest Cottage in Bloom

Spring comes a bit later in Swaledale.  In April the daffodils are at their best.

South facing and well drained most things do well in Hillcrest's garden.  I particularly love the purple pom-poms and the fritillias.  

And the white ones too!
There is a profusion of primroses in the garden but look how these have seeded themselves in the wall.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Old Stone Buildings Still Have Their Uses

The land behind Lower Greendale Cow House drops down to the river for water 
and the walls provide shelter from the wind.

The hay mew end of the cowus makes a good sheep house for our 
White Spots twins.  They get hay and sugar beet every day.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Big Spring Clean for the New Season

As spring approaches Bed & Breakfast establishments and holiday cottage owners go into overdrive getting their properties spick and span for the beginning of the holiday season.

Pry House Farm B&B and Hillcrest Holiday Cottage are no exception. 

In January we started by refitting my 'working kitchen' with new units and tiles. The cooker was repositioned onto the outside wall so that extraction is directed outside.
 Love my new kitchen.  
Lots more worktop space for dishing up delicious breakfasts, light, bright and spacious.

 Last week David the decorator arrived to paint the lounge, twin bedroom, little kitchen ....

then a visit from Ian from Ecodry Carpet Car to clean the carpets.

In addition there is a multitude of smaller tasks to tick off the list such as boiler service, fire risk assessments, chimney sweep but finally just as the clocks go forward we are ready to go.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Counting Cow Houses

Counting Cow Houses

As part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park project, Every Barn Tells a Story, 
I have been asked to look into the possibility of creating a children's guided walk leaflet 
to highlight the cowus'es in Muker Parish. 

I walked the path out of Muker towards Kisdon.  It was the most perfect March day imaginable; 
wall to wall sunshine, the bluest of skies and not a breathe of wind. 

I soon realised there was far too many Cow Houses to comfortably count.  There are dozens and dozens of them, as far as the eye can see and in every direction.  So I decided to concentrate on the ones closest to the path.

At Kisdon Houses instead of walking forward and over the hill to Keld ....

...... turn left and follow the Pennine Way to Thwaite.

The Cowus'es come in every shape and size and some like this one 
really take your breath away.
Whilst taking a break from exploring I noticed someone else taking in the view!

 In parts the path is rough and here the water crosses, possibly deliberately damned 
to form a water place for sheep and cattle.

 After negotiating the steep, rough and narrow sheep track through the heather moor, 
drop down into Thwaite, turn left .......
...... and follow Straw Beck along the valley bottom crossing over 
the prettiest little bridge you have ever seen.
 And still more Cow Houses! 
 This was one of my favourites - 
such a sweet little building complete with shelter wall.
And finally back to Muker village.  
Is this a cowus attached to the cottage or some other type of farm building?  
Something for me to find out.  And how many Cow Houses were there?
Come and find out for yourself.  You'll need more than ten fingers and ten toes!!