I have settled into a new winter routine, my first and last jobs of the daylight are to feed all the stock...... this morning was slightly different.
It is the first proper frost of the winter, the warm wet days have been replaced by a winter wonderland......
When I left in the car for the barn I could see a haze towards the direction of Leyburn but out along Bishopdale it was bright and clear and really crisp.... I stopped at the youngsters field to swap the troughs into the next, as the wall had come down between the two yesterday so half had nipped through.. then I went down to the barn to let them out...... The horrible wet days we have had have made them miserable so I have been bringing them in at night. We have the routine down pat! .... only my lovely Melody stays with me at the gate and walks by my side down the verge when all the others bolt to get the nuts already set out for them...... in the morning the reverse in so, and they all bolt up the road to the gate and wait to be let in......... They are all thriving, and even at 10 months old, still squiggle like joyful lambs.... still makes me smile every time!
Next all the grown-ups get fed... we moved the bulk back to home field before Christmas as the field in West Burton was so bad that the rain had no where to go and we can't have them laying in surface water..... They have been much happier and now get a wheel barrow of sweet roots for breakfast as well as a rack full of fresh hay...... The Ryelands must have had beet before as they had no trouble recognizing what they were, but the others have had to learn how to eat them...... now I put them out whole and there is much crunching all round. This morning I have put some split ones in the field for the youngsters, and the barrow load is next door so they can see what to do through the wire fence which divides them.
As I drove back up and over Thoralby Hills to Dudley's gang, the mist had thickened, but as I got higher I came out above it again, and looked over bright and clear hilltops for miles, but with the magical sight of where the sky has fallen into the valley like a sea of slowly moving ghostly fingers reaching up into the up-draft where the meager heat given off by the low winter sun is trying to slowly burn it away... by the time I had fed the final 12 and had driven down towards West Burton it was being revealed again like Brigadoon emerging from its sleep...... There is nothing quite like the Yorkshire Dales in Winter... its just magic!