Sunday 29 April 2012

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Once again, after another foul day we are full to capacity.  Every pen is occupied and not all twins this time.  Some very wet and cold newly born single lambs have had to be brought in for a warm up.

The worst lambing weather on record has just got worse so in keeping with the rain, hail, sleet and bitterly cold north east wind I am steaming the last of my Christmas Puddings to have after tea!  Comfort food at its very best! 

Friday 27 April 2012

Lambing Time Progress Report

It has been the worst lambing weather for many, many years.  I'm sure regular readers of my blog must think we're obsessed with the weather but it is so crucial to our way of life.  The thing about lambing is that it happens regardless.  Nothing and nobody can hold it back.  It doesn't matter how cold the wind blows or how heavy the rain lashes, when they are ready to be born it happens!    Our sheep are lambing hard, particularly the twins; we had three pairs born in the building through the night. Fortunately they hadn't got mixed up and each ewe had her own set of twins.  But where are we to put them?  By midnight last night we had 24 pens set up, each containing a ewe & her twin lambs.  Early this morning when Chris set off around his lambing fields it was snowing but now at 9 a.m.the sun is shining and hopefully we can turn quite a few of our 'penned up' little families out into the sheltered fields by the river.  I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday 24 April 2012

A Happy Ending

 Shortly after this little chap was born he slipped into a watery ditch.  When Chris fished him out and brought him to me he was barely alive.  He was completely motionless and making the most awful gurgling noises.  We think he had taken in water and I was concerned that pneumonia would set in.  I put him by the log burner and dried his sodden body and cold legs and left him to rest.
 Soon his breathing settled down and about an hour and a half later he started to lift his head and open his eyes.  We gave him half a bottle of milk and he began to bleat for his mother.
 His mother and twin were in a small pen in the building and we put him in with them.  There was a chance that the ewe would reject him but she accepted him straight away.  It is wonderful how quickly he recovered.  This photograph was taken the next morning.  He is 12 hours old and back on his feet.  Amazing!
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Monday 23 April 2012

Little Boys ~ Big Toys!

The lambs are lovely but this is great

In the driving seat

This gets the 'Thumbs Up!'

Chris now wishes he'd tidied out his tractor!

Finding out how all the buttons & pedals work

'I'll let Ruben have a turn now'
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Twins with Twins

Yesterday we had a visit from my good friend Tracey and her three year old twins Fergus and Ruben. 

 We had great fun getting these photos.


The twin lambs are only two days old but already they are lively and difficult for the boys to hold.
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Tuesday 17 April 2012

A bad night to give birth outside

Its armageden outside this morning!  I was woken at about 5 o'clock by rain lashing against our bedroom window.  Chris was up before six to go and see what had been born through the night.  It wasn't long before I heard the sound of the quad bike coming into the yard and I knew this would be the first of many trips to bring cold, wet, starved twins indoors.  I quickly got dressed and got myself outside to prepare pens for these poor little creatures.  Eight pairs of twins and eight singles before breakfast and all but one born outside!  Chris has brought indoors six of the eight twins but all the singles are fine.  Its amazing really how the mothers find a sheltered place in behind a wall or in a corner surrounded by rushes.  They stand between the bad weather and their lamb shielding their young from the worst of the wind and the driving rain.  The ones that have been brought inside will soon get going when they dry off and warm up a bit and get some of their mother's life giving milk inside them.  Its been a bad night but could have been worse.  Every sheep has got a lamb ~ no pet lambs to date! 

Saturday 14 April 2012

Pry House Farm ~ Lambing, Week 1

Only minutes old.

The maternity unit is filling up.  We have four sets of twins in here.  One pair are a little small and need help feeding but the others have just been brought indoors for a warm up.  Once they are dry, on their feet and feeding they will go out again into a sheltered field.

One of our older mums who has had the luxury of lambing indoors!

These two little ones are a couple of days old now and are getting frisky and pestering their mum.  They are due to be turned out tomorrow and will have loads of space to run and jump and play. 
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Thursday 12 April 2012

Lambing Time

Lambing, for us, officially started yesterday.  We had a pair of twins born in the building this morning and several more outside in the lambing fields.  The weather isn't very good therefore no photographs as yet.  Watch this space as there will be much more to come soon. 

Friday 6 April 2012

These Boots Are Made For Walking!!

 The Coast to Coast walking season, for me, starts tomorrow.  I have four people booked in on Saturday and five on Sunday.  My rooms are ready, the house is clean, shopping done, the freezer is full, baking made in readiness for packed lunch requests......
Ready, Steady GO GO GO!
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Wednesday 4 April 2012

White Christmas? No, its a White Easter!!!

Following a night of severe weather Chris breaks through the snowdrifts on his way to the moor to feed the sheep and check that they are all present and in good health

The sheep's wool is coated in frozen snow & their horns look like earmuffs but ....

ALL the sheep are fine, hungry but perfectly fine.....

....unlike the gritter which had come off the road at the snowdrift we went through earlier!  In the foreground a gamekeeper clears a path for his quadbike and behind a farmer comes to the rescue on his tractor with bucket.
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Tuesday 3 April 2012

The North Wind Will Blow & We Will Have Snow

After two weeks of summer weather, winter has returned with avengance.  The wind is blowing from the north bringing blizardous snow showers with it.  This time last week Chris was feeding sheep on the moor in a t-shirt and today he has come in looking like the abomnibal snowman!!  Thank goodness we aren't lambing....yet!

Our Sheep Come Home

For those of you are reading this blog because you are interested in the farm, you will remember I wrote about 'wintering away'.  Well now we are busy bringing all our stock back home.  The in-lamb sheep need to back because lambing starts for us on 10th April.  The other reason we bring all our animals home is, that by the end of March, the lowland farmers want their fields free of stock so that the grass can grow. Our sheep have done a good job over the winter keeping the grass short and this encourages young sweet grass to grow in the spring which is what the lowland farmers want for their cattle.  The hoggs go back onto the fells to refamiliarise themselves with their hefts but the sheep go into pastures until after they have lambed. The sheep that haven't been 'wintered away' don't have their lambs on the fells.  Nearer the time they will be gathered up and those that are having their lambs in the first week will be brought down to fields closer to the farm for careful shepherding.

Sunday 1 April 2012

From Keld to Swinner Gill Lead Mines & Beyond

On Saturday afternoon I walked almost to the top of Swinner Gill with my sister-in-law Alison.  We only intended going as far as Crackpot Hall but it was such a lovely day and we decided to go further.  We both live at the top of Swaledale (Alison for a lot longer than me) but neither of us had been to the lead mines at Swinner Gill so we carried on along the Coast to Coast Path keen to see where it would lead us.  The path is very rough, uneven & in places quite close to the edge but the views are worth the climb.  The remoteness of the lead mining site brings home the reality of what life must have been like for the men who worked there and the hardship they endured.                                                                                                                        

Looking back at the path we took to the Lead Mines

Just to prove we did the walk & hadn't spent the afternoon
in the Barbara's tearoom in Keld!
A very early wild violet