Autumn is a favourite season for lots of people. The dale takes a breath; misty mornings, occasional frosts, warm colours, quiet roads & footpaths, long shadows and crackling fires.
On the farm it is a race to get everything done before dark. Each day darkness creeps in sooner and sooner.
All the cows are now in the buildings. They need bedding up every day and a new silage bale when they have eaten up. Unlike the olden days when farmers had to tend to the cows in the cowus'es in daylight hours Chris can do these jobs in the evening with modern tractors and electric light.
What else happens in autumn on the farm? October is the main month for sales. First the draft ewes and any surplus gimmers (young female sheep) are sold. Then towards the end of the month its the Tup Sales. At the tup sales we sell and buy. Each year we must bring in new tups to improve and strengthen our flock of pure Swaledales.
Soon it will be time to 'loose' the tups and so marks the very beginning of the breeding cycle.
Our tups work till the last day of the year by which time all the ewes should be in lamb.