Thursday 28 April 2016

Ratio 3:2 - defying the odds!

Our triplets, born at 1500ft on the moor just over a week ago, are still being well looked after by their super mum.  It is unusual for a Swaledale to rear three lambs but these triplets are doing fine.
The ewe and her three lambs are in a tiny building that we call the 'pig hole'.  It is where, in days gone by, a pig or two would have been kept. It makes an ideal box for a pair of twins or in this case triplets.  The stone trough lined with hay makes a warm, soft bed and is their favoured place.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Three into Two Won't Go!

We have a very tidy set of triplets on the farm at the moment.
Normally we would take one off the ewe almost immediately as she can't rear three successfully. However, for the time being, she is doing very well and all three lambs are thriving and content.

Speckled Eggs!

The pastures surrounding Pry House Farm are teeming
with ground nesting birds at this time of year.
Despite the huge numbers of curlew, oyster catchers, lapwings, redshank, snipe and woodcock that are nesting all around us it is remarkably hard to find a nest. 
 This beautifully constructed nest and heavily camouflaged eggs ... 

...... belongs to a Lapwing.

Saturday 16 April 2016

Snow Good At All

Heavy snow fell late this afternoon turning the upper dale white.
Not what we expect during lambing however our sheep are hardy and wonderful mothers.  
You can see by the snow clinging to this ewe's fleece how she has protected her lamb from the worst of the storm.
This unseasonal weather is hard on both the ewe and the lambs.  Although there are racks of hay in the pastures as supplement feed the sheep still prefer to seek out any grass they can find.
Roll on spring everyone's sake.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

A special & favourite old girl

This lovely old ewe (who had twin lambs today) is the last of the sheep that came with Pry House Farm. Hill farms like ours have 'hefted sheep' that always stay with the farm and this ewe is one of the originals when Chris took over the tenancy in April 2004.
In 2004 she was probably a hogg so wouldn't have had her first lamb until 2005
however that was 11 years ago and here she is with a new set of twins.  What a grand old girl.
We know she is an original Pry House sheep because she has a round ear tag and the Calverts have always used rectangular ones.
In April 2015 a friend of mine asked if he could photograph our sheep.  As a thank you he gave me this photograph and by coincidence it is the same sheep.
I love it - to me it has an air of calm, that all is well and under control. 

Sunday 10 April 2016

Wow! What a Morning..

Is this the final 'sting in the tail'?

What a surprise we all got when we woke up this morning....
and nobody more so than my B&B guests.

Their walk from Hoggarths Bridge over Black Allotment and onto Kisdon Hill
made even more spectacular with blue skies & sunshine & snow under foot.

Sunday 3 April 2016

Early electricity in Upper Swaledale

Mains electricity didn't reach the farms & cottages beyond Keld until the late 1960s.
Hoggarths Farm however had a water powered electricity supply
engineered by Chris' grandfather, Kit Calvert.
This piece of land and the field above is known as Engine Piece and is where the water
from higher ground was directed to.

This is all that remains of the hydro electricity workings.  It only produced a limited amount of power.
Chris' mum told me she couldn't iron and have the lights on at the same time but it was still wonderful.

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Tess is slowing down these days.  She can be my lambing dog this year.

Carrie is young, full of energy and mischief.
Tom is Chris' main dog.  He's a man's dog; big and strong with the heart of a lion.

Greylag Geese and Oyster Catchers

There is an amazing amount of birds to observe and listen to at Pry House Farm in spring.
Greylag Geese, come most years but don't stay long.

Oyster Catcher, my favourite.  Is this one resting or nesting?
Oyster Catcher framed against a threatening sky.