Learning with Animals

July 23, 2014 at 7:40 AMCoombeMill

This week's Gallery theme over at Sticky Fingers is Animals; not one I could miss with the wide range we have here on the farm.  The children on holiday here are free to visit our animals all day as well as on our organised 'Little Helpers' session each day. This is a great opportunity for children and parents to ask Farmer Nick all about the animals, from breeds, to gestation periods and food types to safely. There is no end of questions born through interest and curiosity on the hour and a half tractor feed run each morning.

 

 

 

Petting and feeding farm animals

 

  

Listening to Farmer Nick & asking questions in spring 

 

Instinctive nurturing of children with baby animals

The experience children have here crosses very closely with part of the school curriculum and we have always encouraged this link through our printable education pages. Did you know we even have a pairs game on the website for children to play before or during their holiday?

 

Right now we are in the middle of updating our Coombe Mill education pages ready for the new school term and I'm delighted to announce that we have teamed up with the online educational experts Twinkl UK for this. They are putting their educational knowledge and resources into some bespoke printable pages from preschool to key stage two all based around nature and the farm animals here at Coombe Mill.  

I'm sharing here just a sneaky preview of some of the delightful worksheets coming up.

 Animal Matching Education Worksheet

 

Education is always easier with practical learning too, link that learning in a visual and relevant way and learning on holiday is fun. Please do pop back in September and check out our finished resources; they would be ideal to support a day trip to a farm park local to you as well as in preparation for making the most of a holiday here at Coombe Mill.

 

Coombe Mill Loves Animals

 

Sticky Fingers Photo GalleryBrilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

 

Home Safety with Toddlers from Royalty to Holidays

July 22, 2014 at 8:00 AMCoombeMill

As Prince George turns one today I'm sure the Royal house hold is adapting to a boy on the move and a birthday party to match. Any parent who has a toddler will be familiar with the changes that are needed around the home at this stage. Those tasteful ornaments and flights of stairs suddenly become a liability along with the cream carpets that looked so good pre children. Here at Coombe Mill we go to great lengths to ensure that our properties have all the safety features you might need in place for a safe family holiday with a toddler as well as practical additions for your own peace of mind. We can even bake a birthday cake for their special day. All our properties have stair gates built in, bed guards are free to hire and blackout blinds ensure a good night's sleep for everyone. We even have potties, toddler steps and more to borrow in our reception for a real home from home holiday.

 

 Toddler Safety at Coombe Mill

 

Home insurance specialist, Together Mutual Insurance, has compiled some top tips on safeguarding your home if you have toddlers like our young Prince taking off on two feet; after all to us parents our own little ones are the prince and princesses of our lives.

 

 Safety Tips for all Prince and Princesses

  1. When selecting the wallpaper and carpet for a room, make sure you consider how easy it will be to clean them. Children love scribbling, especially on walls. So opt for the easy clean wallpaper or be prepared to display your little one's masterpiece for quite some time. Here on the farm we choose darker brown carpet which is so much more forgiving on toddler spills.

 

  1. Make sure that the little one doesn’t get hurt by baby proofing sharp corners and securing furniture that could topple. But also check that in doing so, you won’t damage or devalue your favourite piece of furniture.

 

  1. Standard contents policies include an element of cover for accidental damage - including stereo equipment and glass-in furniture - but they don't cover accidental damage to other goods or actual furnishings. So it is worth adding extended accidental damage cover to your home contents policy, or investing in hard wearing sofas. Make sure kids don’t take food on to the sofa and if they are colouring in, that they wash their hands and leave the ALL the pens and crayons in the play area, not in back pockets. Felt pens on our holiday sofas are one of the hardest doodles to remove and you really don't want to be trying this one at home.

 

  1. Little ones love everything that sparkles, and have a nasty tendency finding mad hiding your precious gems in the weirdest places. And if they haven’t stowed it away, there’s always the chance they’ve flushed it down the toilet. Keep your jewels out of children’s grasp and get them suitably covered in your contents insurance. Take care on holiday as we have recovered all manner of chains, car keys and even wedding rings left in a draw or fallen down the side of a sofa.

 

  1. Mummy’s handbag is a treasure trove of goodies and one little ones love to explore. If your tot gets into your purse, your lipstick and mascara being used as crayons could be the least of your worries. One spilt juice carton could spell the end for the bag and what’s inside. Make sure your bag is closed and kept out of reach.

 

  1. It is said that children are a drain on finances. In addition to their high maintenance cost, tiny tots often like to slip credit cards, crisp £20 notes, cheques and important business cards through the gaps in floorboards. Avoid pulling up the flooring and make sure you have your credit card details close to hand, stored in a safe place away from the big spenders.

 

  1. When visiting the grandparents it might be worth them paying an extra premium for accidental damage cover to be added to their policy. That way, if your toddler knocks over something valuable, you can rest assured that it will be covered.

 

  1. A standard home insurance policy doesn’t cover portable electrical equipment and clothing for accidental damage. So, as much as your phone or i-pad pacifies your child, it might be better to get them a child friendly version and to hang your favourite expensive jacket out of harm's way

 

  1. Keep baby wipes with you at all times. They are great for any messy activities, and can equally be used to clean up minor spills* as well as mucky hands (*Before using wipes to clean furniture and upholstery try wiping in a small inconspicuous area and only continue to use if no adverse reaction occurs)

 

  1. Last but not least, accept that CHILDREN WILL MAKE A MESS and this is a part of growing up and play. Make sure you are prepared in and out of the home and that you’re covered with a suitable policy for if, and when, the worst does happen and something important is damaged. Rest assured that here on the farm we are ready for messy fun with our outdoor wellies and overalls free to borrow for all the fun of the farm.

Toddler in overalls and wellies

 

A few statistics from Together Mutual Insurance to make you think:

 

 Statistics on home safety from Together Mutual Insurance

We wish Prince George a Happy and Safe Birthday from Coombe Mill.

 Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

A silver lining to save the day

July 21, 2014 at 7:30 AMCoombeMill

I have been sitting on this story for a couple of weeks now becoming more and more excited to share, however after the rabbit and the squirrel tale from Guy I was rather nervous of tempting fate with this one and rightly so, no sooner had I written the post than all turned to disaster. However I decided not to ditch the post but to share the story anyway, after not all farm stories can end 'happily ever after' and there is a silver lining.

We had two adorable baby peachicks born at the beginning of the month.

Peachicks at Coombe Mill

 

It hasn't been an easy journey. Nick originally bought our young peacock and peahen back in 2011 at the Wadebridge fowl auction claiming "they were a good deal". It transpired they were in fact not that much of a bargain as he then spent a fortune building a home for them on the shady side of his shed to ensure they couldn't escape. To this we added our two guinea fowl who took to wandering up to the village and annoying the villagers roosting on their cars.

 

 

Peacock & Peahen in the Aviary

Patiently we fed and nurtured the group through to the summer of 2012 and were rewarded with 4 eggs. Our peahen showed no sign of knowing what to do with them so we set the incubator up in our house and tried to hatch them ourselves. Alas only one began to break free from the shell on the due date but never made it out, one other died just before term and two were non starters. For 2013 there was only one egg which we left waiting in vain for more to appear and in 2014 after the long wet winter the pair began to look anything but spritely and loving when they should have been in their prime.

Farmer Nick took the decision to free range them and let them take their chances with the dangers of nature and a possible loss for us, they were clearly unhappy and not going to reproduce anytime soon where they were despite our cleaning them out and providing fresh branches to roost upon.  

Nervously they took their first tentative steps into the world beyond their Aviary venturing no further than a few feet for days. Immediately they began to roost on top of the Aviary and to this day still come back to this same spot each night. Within a week they had discovered themselves and were clearly enjoying life on 'the other side'and their fun characters began to shine. 

 

Free Ranging Peacock & Guinea Fowl

 

Days turned into weeks and the peacock's feathers grew like never before. A proud male at last he fanned his feathers daily at his lady who feigned disinterest every time; we decided this was all a part of the courting ritual and they became affectionately named Percy and Priscilla.

 

 

Peacock Courting

 

Slowly they began to build a nest. It was a precarious location she chose on the edge of Jurassic park and eggs kept tumbling out. Prscilla didn't seem to be sitting on them so we took them and placed the six in our incubator.

This however wasn't the end, she continued to produce and create a new nest in an equally unsuitable spot still just feet from their old Aviary. We toyed with the idea of taking these eggs in too but decided she was actually sitting on them and that we would let nature take its course.

 

Peahen nest

 

This turned out to be a mistake as one morning we discovered the nest empty and our lovely lady limping badly. We suspected a badger was to blame but we will never know for sure. Thank goodness we had six slowly developing in our laundry room. All we could do was wait. 

On the last day of June we heard chirping coming from the incubator. This was followed by a cracked shell and finally a fully hatched chick.

It was two days before another joined him and sadly the rest never hatched. However the two looked strong and healthy and we were so hopeful of creating a peafowl group free ranging here at the farm. Each morning the children were delighted to open their little house for a cuddle.

 

Peachick cuddles

 

Then after two full weeks of me sitting on this story the unexpected happened, Farmer Gill was on duty and doing the morning rounds to check the animals ahead of the feed run and found not one but two curled up still peachicks in their house. We will never really be certain of how they died but they had taken to hopping in and out of their nesting box under the heat lamp as their strength grew and we guessed that they had hopped out on this occasion and waited till they were too cold to hop back in. A stark reminder of how fragile life is for baby fowl. Thankfully all our early morning checks meant the guests never saw the peachicks that morning and moved straight onto visiting the growing sussex chickens. 

We will have to wait till next year now for another go at peachicks, but atleast we came one stop closer this year and Percy and Priscilla have proved that they can look after themselves whilst happily free ranging here on the farm.

I led the feed run the following morning as "Farmer Fiona" while Nick went off to the fowl auction to see what he could find by way of day old chicks to bring on. Sadly there were no peachicks but he did come back with a pretty baby rabbit, some eggs for the incubator and cute Cuckoo Maran, Rhode Island Red and Welsummer chicks for our nesting house to the delight of the guests. 

 

New chicks and baby rabbit

Every cloud has a silver lining. 

Linking up with Magic Moments and What's the Story 

Posted in: On the Farm

Tags: , ,

Silent Sunday / Project 52

July 19, 2014 at 10:34 PMCoombeMill

Stroking new Coombe Mill Chicks

 

  TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky   OneDad3Girls   

Country Kids from Coombe Mill

July 18, 2014 at 11:10 PMCoombeMill

Village Carnival

Every year we enter the village carnival. It is a real feature of life in Cornwall and the villages and towns all run one each Saturday throughout July and August. St Breward is our local village and first to begin the festivities on the 1st Saturday of the month. Last year we won 1st prize with our Tour de France float and were keen to come up with something as eye catching and fun for the children again this year.

Float building is one of Nick's specialities, we discussed themes over dinner, coming up with a popular theme and one we could create is never easy. Steadily Minor Injuries grew as an idea and in the Aladdin's den of Nick's shed we found all kinds of suitable cast offs to make our hospital cubicle.

Building the Float

With a registration time on the night of 5.30 we knew it would be hard to finish changeover in time to change and drive up, however this was the first year the eldest two boys opted out and agreed to stay behind to show in the late arriving guests and Amber our apprentice was also there to help. This meant we were able to arrive in good time and certainly for me made a huge difference. We even had time for a team photo in the Coombe Mill car park before we left. I will just clarify that Farmer Nick bought my outfit much to the disgust of my older boys who I'm sure refused to come with us on the back of it!

 

Team Photo Op

Up at the village Green there was time to register, for the judges and photographers to come round and for us to peruse the carnival program where the children delighted in seeing a photo of us from last year.

Meeting friends and admiring the other entries soon takes up the time till the band strikes up and the procession through the village sets off.

 

Carnival Brochure

 

I was handed a Carnival collecting bucket by the committee and asked if I wouldn't mind walking and collecting money en route while the children were on the float. I always seem to be asked and quite enjoy it as it is a great chance to catch up with so many friends along the way.

The floats travel though the village a good mile very slowly behind the marching band to the cheers of the crowd, yet still I managed to get left behind as I rattled my bucket either side of the street and stopped to have a chat, listen to the band and stroke a snake!

 

Carnival Floats

I caught them up on the last leg as we entered the football fields proud of my brimming full bucket if not my garter which had worked its way down my leg. The village really are so generous and this will help fund many community events throughout the year.

The children were quick to jump down and join in the fun at the football field. It was a wonderful summer fate atmosphere with entertainment for the children, food for all and a bar.  Having such a lovely summer's evening enabled everyone to enjoy the outdoors before entering the marquee to hear the judging.

 

Fun at the Carnival

 

We thought we hadn't come anywhere as our category was called and our names omitted from the winning places. The children all vacated their seats and were heading out with their heads low only to hear "and the winner is Coombe Mill with Minor injuries"

We had been moved to another category. The excitement after the disappointment was almost too much; they quite literally ran to the front for their trophies and prize money before I could focus the camera. Squeals of delight and a winning photo shoot by our float before we headed home. The children would have played there all night but Nick and I were flagging on the back of a busy Saturday at Coombe Mill. I wonder what we will come up with next year.

 

 

 

 

Carnival Celebrations

 

Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been enjoying some outdoor summer fun please come and join the linky. The only criteria is that your post is outside and with children. It can be anywhere from the garden to the beach and cover play, learning, crafting or an adventure. Leaving the comfort of the indoors, screens and sofas for some active outdoor fun in the fresh air is good for us adults and the kids so take your camera  with you and have some fun. Please grab the badge or link to this post and do check out the other entries here, there are always some great ideas to inspire your next activity. 

 

Country Kids is around in these communities, I'd love you to join me there:

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A few of my favourite posts from last week

Mummy M's Memories enjoys a country walk hunting for geocaches

Clarina's Contemplations takes full advantage of their new National Trust membership

Lakes Single Mum takes the kids to a great country gala 

A Bavarian Sojourn goes glamping in the beautiful mountains of Austria 

Mothering with Mindfulness connects with nature

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Please share our family farm holidays, I'd be so proud

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"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all. 

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