Sunday 30 December 2018

Heidi and Hetty - a perfect Christmas Present

Say hello to Heidi and Hetty; two Herdwick ewes that Chris surprised me with on Christmas morning.

In the middle of Christmas Day lunch preparations .... aarrhh.... Chris tricked me into going out on to the yard to (supposedly) give him a hand to turn some tups.  'Just go in the building and send them out', he said.

And there they were, festooned with silver tinsel, my very own Herdwick ewes.  And in lamb too!

I was speechless.  I love them to bits.

So what to call them?  I had loads of suggestions from lots of my Facebook friends and finally decided on Heidi and Hetty.
They stayed indoors for a couple more days and now they are running with some of our Pry House sheep in the pasture opposite the house where I can see them from our upstairs windows.

This morning I went with Chris to fodder the sheep.  
They love sugar beet cubes and a bit of good hay and join our Swaledale sheep to get their share.

Spot the odd ones out! 
They are very different to our Swaledales.  Bigger with heavy boned, short legs, large feet and deep, dense fleece.  They are grand sheep.  No horns, of course, which means I'll NEVER be able to catch them.  Hard enough to catch with horns so I don't stand a chance!

I am quite infatuated by them.  Watch this space for progress reports of how they are settling in, scanning results and lambing etc.

P.s.  Happy New Year!

Sunday 23 December 2018

Happy Christmas from Swaledale

Its almost Christmas! 
The preparations are in full swing at Pry House Farm for a family Christmas whilst at 
Hillcrest Cottage our guests make themselves at home in readiness for Christmas in the dales.

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, Muker Silver Band will come to Pry House and play Christmas carols at our door before winding their way down to Muker to play outside the Farmer's Arms.

I may have been busy for weeks but this truely is the start of Christmas for me.

Chris and I wish all our guests and blog followers a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful 2019.  Till next year ..... cheers!

Friday 14 December 2018

Preparing for Winter

When you live on a hill farm, high up in the Yorkshire Dales, when its been frosty all day and the forecast is for a very wintry couple of days to come its reassuring to know the dairy is well stocked (even if some of it is for Christmas!), the freezer is full and the log store is plentiful.

And the same preparations are made for the sheep and cattle but much, much sooner.  During the summer  the hay and silage that was made on those hot July days is stored it away safely to feed our stock during the long winter months ahead.  

Tuesday 4 December 2018

What happens in Autumn at Pry House Farm?

Autumn is an important time on the farm.  It is when all the stock sales take place. 
It is an anxious time - we want our sheep to do well, we work hard all year round for our place in the market but there are many factors that affect prices; shortage of fodder due to the dry summer, the 'B' word (Brexit!), supply and demand.  Happily our ewes sold well and our tups did okay.  The lamb sales come next and as I write, Chris has just set off with the first lambs for Kirkby Stephen mart.

 Our sheep are not merely gathered in, loaded into a trailer and sent to auction.  On the contrary, they are meticulously tidied up for the sales and presented looking their best.

Autumn is also tupping time when we put the tups (rams) to the female sheep.

Tupping generally takes place out in the fields but sometimes the ewes are brought to him.  Here he is scenting out which ewes are in season and in a jiffy the job will be done.  Our tups have worked well and I have been forewarned by Chris to expect to be very busy during lambing time next year!

 In the meantime we hope for a kind winter.  However, whatever comes our way, the daily round of jobs continue. Its 24/7 as they say!

Sunday 25 November 2018


You can come to Pry House Farm and Hillcrest Cottage on a black Friday if you want to

... but I'd much rather you came on a yellow Wednesday ....

.... or even on a bright blue Thursday.

Perfectly pink Monday is a good day to come to Swaledale and stay in a bed & breakfast surrounded by traditional hay meadows .....
 ..... and of course we are naturally green every day of the week.

However a white woolly Sunday is hard to beat!

So forget Black Friday and come and see us on a day full of colour.
No gimmicky cut prices here - just good, honest Yorkshire Dales value all year round.

Monday 15 October 2018

After the Storm

On Friday and Saturday Storm Callum caused havoc with heavy rain and high winds.  At 2:30 on Friday afternoon our electricity went off.  Other properties close-by were off for a short while but we had no electricity for 12 hours.

Today investigations into the cause of the power failure at Pry House Farm get underway.

We have nothing but praise for Northern Powergrid who came out on that stormy night to help us.  
The men were professional, positive and friendly and determined to get our supply back on. By 2:30 in the early hours of Saturday morning we were reconnected with the help of a generator.

A big thank you to everyone involved.

Saturday 13 October 2018

Refurbed ensuite bedroom - take a peek!

I love my new look en suite guest bedroom - its sumptuous!

The bed still faces the window to maximise the view for my guests - from the moment they awake.
I've chosen a country check for the headboard and matching window seat.

And rural style china complements the look.

A new carpet was a 'must' but my 1930s Triang dolls house retains its pride of place.
Despite being special you are welcome to play with it.  
It was bought as a toy for two very lucky little girls (my mum and her sister) 
and it is still a toy - but for grown ups!

Thursday 11 October 2018

Setting off in the right direction

Returning some of our stock ewes back to the moor

When farmers gather their sheep on these vast open moors inevitably there is going to be some mixing up.  Phone calls are made and messages left and sheep belonging to a neighbouring farmer are collected or returned.

Once they have been checked over they are taken back to their place on the moor .....
 and set off in the right direction.

'Til the cows come home

We have had some wonderful weather all summer and our cows have had the high pastures on which to range, to have their calves outside, rear them successfully and act naturally as herd animals.

but the forecast for the next couple of days is poor and it would be unwise to leave them outside any longer so today Chris coaxed them home.......

past an old cow house and down to the buildings adjacent to the farmstead.


Sunday 9 September 2018

Almost time to fly and say goodbye

Pry House Farm is a wonderful place to observe birds and animals.  
Sometimes I think its like living in my own nature reserve.  Okay, we don't have anything particularly rare to see but to have wildlife at every window is a wonderful thing to me.

 The parents built this nest in an outbuilding in the yard - one that we use very regularly.  To avoid disturbing the female as she sat on her eggs we moved everything that we needed.  The plan worked as this is her second brood.

They are an entertaining little bunch and enjoy perching on Chris' hay rake.  Today they were all sat on the top of the stable door waiting for the parent bird to bring them food.
They are a late brood.  I wonder if they will follow the hundreds, possibly thousands, that gathered on the electricity wires last week as they prepared to migrate.  I have never seen so many - it was quite a sight.

Every year a group of Greylag geese land on the field at the back of the house and stay for a few days.  This year they came in early August which is later than usual but there were more of them.

Lots of little birds come to the garden fence; meadow pipit, wren and this year, for the first time, an attractive little great tit who is too sharp and quick for me to catch on camera!

All the ground nesting birds have gone back to their usual habitats but by spring the air will be full of the call of the peewit (lapwing) and curlew and the skies an acrobatic display of oyster catcher, redshank and snipe.

Muker Show 2018

Muker Show takes place on the first Wednesday in September.
There's plenty of good country shows to visit during August and September all over the 
Yorkshire Dales but those of us who live in Upper Swaledale think our show is the best!  
Why don't you come and see for yourself next year?

 The setting is spectacular and on a sunny day (and it usually is) crowds of people sit on the grassy bank to listen to the band, enjoy the attractions and watch the fell race.

The children's fancy dress competition is guaranteed to bring a few 'ooohs and aaahs' 
from family and friends watching on.

 There's something for everybody at Muker Show; vintage tractors, sheep dog trials, wood turning demonstrations, crafts and stalls to suit all tastes and pockets.

There are classes for everyone; baking, art, fruit & veg, flower arranging, photography.  What is your speciality?  Everyone is welcome to enter.  Why not come next year and have a go?
The schedule can be found on the Muker Show website

However for the farming community a prize for hay or in the sheep ring bring the biggest smiles. We were ecstatic to get a second in the hay class.

At the close of the show Muker Silver Band assemble outside the Farmers Arms in the village, song sheets are handed out and everyone joins in with the community singing.  To many this is the highlight of the day.  A magical moment which is not to be missed.

Monday 27 August 2018

Reeth - A Traditional Dales Country Show

It has been Reeth Show today. It takes place on August Bank Holiday Monday and I can thoroughly recommend this excellent Yorkshire dales show. 
Its not too big and not too small with something for everybody. 
It was a pleasure to be asked to judge the children's handicraft section. 
I enjoyed every minute.

 This is the young exhibitor who won several first prizes and who I awarded the overall trophy (in the sections I judged) for his 3D display 'Tractor Run'.  Well done.

There is plenty to see across the showfield from show classes and displays in the main ring to demonstrations to watch and exhibits and trade stands to wander around .


 A good variety of breeds of sheep to see.

Young handlers class was won by a farmer's son from Teesdale.

Fell racing is a popular event at many dales shows with a shorter course for younger runners and the adults racing to the skyline, high on the fell, before returning back to the showfield.

 Tractors, dogs, drystone walling, cookery demonstrations, cows, climbing wall, bouncy castles, produce & handicrafts tents, lots of good food stands.  
A great day out.