There are few better places to experience the joys of the English summer than the Yorkshire Dales, and Stonesdale – perfectly situated at the very top of Swaledale – is among the finest of all.
Sales are over, and things are a little quieter in Stonesdale. Here are two of our acquisitions – excellent tups (rams) who will bring vigour to our flock.
The Christmas period is a special time in the Dales, and if you choose to spend it here with us at Brystone you can look forward to a well-set table for your Christmas meals!
On September 2 we were at Muker Show, a traditional agricultural show in a nearby village. It’s one of our favourite shows, and we were very pleased that this lovely lamb – pictured here with Brian – won its class!
The Dale is beautiful all year round, but these two photographs show what we enjoy in Spring, when every living thing is waking up after a long winter.
On a frosty morning it’s always nice to remember what the fields are like in summertime…
The farming year goes through the same stages every year, and one of the most exhausting is haymaking. These days we have tractors and balers to help, but I remember when it was all done by hand, and we needed lots of help to cut and gather in the hay so that our sheep and cows could be fed over the winter.
The poet John Clare describes haymaking beautifully in his sonnet – but for us it means long days and lots of work!
Tis haytime & the red complexioned sun Was scarcely up ere blackbirds had begun Along the meadow hedges here & there To sing loud songs to the sweet smelling air Where breath of flowers & grass & happy cow Fling oer ones senses streams of fragrance now While in some pleasant nook the swain & maid Lean oer their rakes & loiter in the shade Or bend a minute oer the bridge & throw Crumbs in their leisure to the fish below ---Hark at that happy shout---& song between Tis pleasures birthday in her meadow scene What joy seems half so rich from pleasure won As the loud laugh of maidens in the sun.
John Clare (1793-1864).
We’re very pleased to have received a prestigious Five Star Gold grade from visitEngland, and the plaque is now in place beside the front door! As they say on their website: “special properties hold a VisitEngland Gold or Silver Award, which offer the ‘best of the best’.”
It’s lambing time again for the farms in West Stonesdale. Our fine Swaledale sheep lamb later than most parts of the country because they spend their lives on the moors and we want to make sure that they have the best chance of raising strong, healthy lambs.
A yow and her lamb
The first few lambs are around in the pastures and barns, and if you visit in the next couple of weeks you’ll see some busy farmers and lots of beautiful bouncing lambs.