Christine Ryder and husband Chris farm 242ha (600 acres) at Blubberhouses, in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are tenants on their home farm and also run a B&B. Stock includes Swaledale and Mule flocks, as well as a herd of Belted Galloways. The farm hosts educational access visits.
Just after my last article, when the sun finally came out, it felt strangely liberating to get rid of a woolly hat, and a coat and leggings covered in lamb milk and much worse.
We went from about 6degC one day to 28degC the next and working in jeans and t-shirts.
The last sheep lambed a week ago, due to a tup not working last autumn, and it was a great moment.
Much time recently has been spent getting the sheep and lambs back in to mark the lambs and treat them with orf prevention medication.
It is amazing how quickly they grow and it is quite a workout session catching and lifting them all up. The Belties are back outside and the cows are calving.
We have noticed year-on-year an increased number of ground nesting birds on the land, mostly lapwings and curlews.
When we first went into Higher Level Stewardship we were advised to keep stocking densities really low in certain fields to allow the grass to grow longer, but the birds seem to prefer the shorter grass in grazed fields and we never see the sheep walking on the nests.
The biggest factor in helping birds is good vermin control and we are fortunate to have an estate next to us with a game keeper who spends a lot of time on this.
Down at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society I have now joined the charitable activities committee and last week I attended my first meeting. The work done, with some excellent coordinators, is varied and busy.
Countryside Days next month is fully booked, with in the region of 6,000 children attending over two days to learn more about food and farming. I have volunteered to steward so this could be a baptism of fire and rather more than the 20–30 we get on our access visits here.
There are also days where children come along to the showground and spend time learning about fruit and veg in an effort to make them realise they do not just grow in a polythene bag.
It seems a funny year for tourism with many fellow accommodation providers saying they are not busy.
I am ticking along but have not had anyone in this week. Maybe everyone got so fed up of the rain they booked to go and find some sun. At least it gives me a chance to catch up on paperwork I suppose.