Monday 29 April 2013

Foddering Sheep with Debbie from Scenicview Gallery

Debbie Allan from Scenicview Gallery in Reeth came to photograph Chris feeding the sheep.  This is one of my favourites as I think the three sheep in the foreground and the others crossing the beck make a good composition. 
How Debbie managed to take such a good photograph whilst she was being bounced about in the back of the quad bike and trailor, I'll never know?

Because of the long hard winter, hill farmers in upland areas are struggling to keep their livestock in good condition as there has been no spring grass at all.  The sheep are either in-lamb or rearing lambs and require supplementary feed and bulk fodder such as hay or silage every day.
Note the line of snow on the distant hills.

Thanks, Debbie, for allowing me to use these photographs on my blog. 
If you are in Reeth call in at Scenicview Gallery. Debbie's photographs of the dales are amazing.  Debbie also organises Camera Rambles twice a week where you can Walk, Talk & Learn about photography in a fun & informal way. 
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Saturday 27 April 2013

More farming pics and funny weather

Friday 26th April late aftenoon.
We have managed to turn out a few ewes and lambs onto Home Field.  In late afternoon, early evening the lambs often gather together and race and chase before settling down for the night close to their mums. 
This little gang are getting ready to run off and play
Playing hide and seek.  Their mums went crazy!

Half an hour later and everything changed.  April showers are not meant to be snow showers and it certainly wasn't funny for Chris setting off to go round his lambing fields.

It was a nasty shower and quickly whitened up the hills.

Saturday 27th April.
Chris brings two bales of straw up to the buildings at Pry House.  Its better morning although there has been a frost and its cold.   All these sheep indoors make a lot of work, need a lot of bedding and eat a lot of food!  Chris is in the Darlington & Stockton Times newspaper today talking about the effects the long winter and last year's poor summer is having on the sheep.  Photos in my next blog. 
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Tuesday 23 April 2013

Lambing Time at Pry House Farm

Lambing is well and truly underway on the farm at the moment.  We have been hard at it for just over a week and despite the poor weather we are just about keeping our heads above water.  Last year's poor summer followed by a long extended winter is causing numerous problems particularly the lack of any sign of spring grass in our fields and pastures.  It is almost unheard of for us to lamb our twins indoors but due to the lack of grass we have had no alternative.  This pair of twins were born yesterday with just a little bit of help from me!  Soon after they were born they were popped into an individual pen to keep them apart from the other sheep in the shed who have yet to lamb.  If another sheep was about to lamb she may think that one of these lambs were hers and try to pinch it!  Safely separating the new family avoids this problem.

The cold wind and rain we have had over the last few days meant we were unable to turn any of the sheep that had lambed out into the fields so we had sheep penned up in every available building.  Many more of our sheep lamb outside and Chris checks his lambing fields two or three times a day, bringing back any that are having problems.  Then its a case of where to put them!  Fortunately today has been relatively warm so quite a lot have gone outside.  Tomorrow is another day and we could easy be full to bursting once more.
Must go, I have a pair of twins to bottle feed.  Their mother isn't feeling too good, I know how she feels, these 17 hour days are killing me!! 

Sunday 14 April 2013

Lambing & The B&B Season Both Underway

Lambing time officially starts at Pry House Farm on 15th April however, for one reason or another, we have had two early lambs but overall we are expecting a slow start this lambing time.  The walking season has also begun and for us, here at Pry House, that as also been slow however last weekend we had a family from north London staying and the girls were thrilled we had some lambs for them to see.

As the bed and breakfast business is quiet at the moment it gives me time to help Chris at this busy time in the farming calendar.  Today we have been preparing the buildings for the coming days when we expect to get a lot of lambs all at once.  This entails creating lots of little pens, each with a water bucket and hay net and bedded up with straw, ready to house a ewe with her lamb or lambs. 

There are many reasons why a ewe may need to be brought indoors; cold, wet windy weather is the greatest cause when the new born lambs need help to get dry and warm and suckled on to their mothers.  Once this is achieved they can soon go out again.  Twins sometimes need to come indoors especially if one is weaker than the other and not getting its share of its mother's milk. Another reason is when a ewe loses her lamb and needs another one 'mothering on'.  We often take a twin lamb off its natural mother and give it to the ewe who has lost hers.  This is beneficial for both sheep; it eases the pressure on the ewe with twins (much easier for her to feed just one lamb) and allows the adopting mother to raise a lamb as she is expecting to do.

Some sheep have the luxury of lambing in the buildings, nice for the sheep as its warm and dry but it has its problems.  The lambs can easily get mixed up or worse still 'get off' their mother, especially if she has had two.  Individually penning up the ewe and her lambs solves all these problems.

Monday 1 April 2013

The Magic of Ash Gill

The setting sun illuminates the leading edge of an overhanging drift along the eastern side of Ash Gill
Ash Gill is directly opposite Pry House on the other side the River Swale.  It is a constant source of fascination to me.  Although it is about half a mile a way it often appears much closer to the house.  The tricks the light plays on the gill are so startling that when I first came to live at Pry House it used to make me jump. The late afternoon or early evening sunlight magnifies the gill to such an extent that it appears to be right outside the front window!  It is extraordinary. 
When such strange happenings occur right in front of your eyes it is easy to see how folklore and fairy tales came about as a way of explanation.  In reality, no wizardry or witchcraft here, just the light playing strange games with the mind. Pity really, it would much more fun if there was genuine mystery and magic in the hills.