Capturing Memories of Family Life

March 18, 2014 at 8:15 AMCoombeMill

When the children are young, capturing their development is so important. Back in the day when I had six children, under six, and a business to run, the camera only came out on special occasions, it was not great quality and cumbersome and in the order of milk, wipes and nappy sacks, cameras just dropped off the essentials list. I missed so many of the ordinary moments that at the time I imagined I would never forget, yet somehow now find myself reflecting and struggling to remember huge chunks of everyday life. When did they learn to walk, how did I push three in a pushchair and 2 on boogie boards all at once? If I had my time again I would be capturing those moments on a modern day Camera and recording it all for the future.  From when my youngest, the triplets, reached six I had my blog, there are wonderful reminders for me in here and my blog has always focussed on photos which really can tell a thousand words. Looking back just three years to my early posts I can see just how little I understood about photography. I had a basic instant camera and it did the job. However I have since upgraded my camera twice as technology advances and my desire for better photos moves with it. I now have a phone or a camera on me at all times and have discovered that just a little understanding of the basics of composition and light can make a huge difference to the standard of photos you can take. Add to this the benefits of a good Digital Camera like the range from Sony and professional looking photos are just a click of a button. Sony have a camera that will work for a busy Mum like I was just trying to record those everyday moments, up to cameras that will auto focus quicker than a DSLR, and a lens collection so impressive you can create world class images or even attach one to a smartphone. Photography is not just for the professionals these days; with a good camera you really can capture everything from a first smile to a video of the school play in amazing clarity. Just look at some of the stunning and varied photos making the finals of the Sony World Photography Awards - 25 amazing SWPA 2014 shortlisted photos. The entries are diverse yet all remarkable in their detail and composition.

This is my personal favourite as it reminds me of my daughter in her ballet classes. The black and white adds to the mood and nostalgia of the photo.

Sony World Photography Awards 2014

Anastasia Zhetvina, Russia, Shortlist, Culture, Youth, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

It would take a fast shutter speed to capture this action photo so clearly

Sony World Photography Awards 2014

Anna Vadász, Hungary, Shortlist, Environment, Youth, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

This is just the sort of "ordinary moment" I wish I had more of. I wonder what she is thinking as she stares out on the world below?

Sony World Photography Awards 2014

Paulina Metzscher, Germany, Winner, Portraits, Youth, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

Personally I could really have done with the A Mount 6000 camera yesterday and its super fast auto focus as I attempted to move an eight month donkey from the stable out to the field wearing her first ever head collar whilst simultaneously trying to auto focus and shoot with my DSLR, not an easy manoeuvre and some very average photos! One of the great Sony lenses would allow me to capture our majestic deer hiding in the furthermost corner of their field with quality and definition as though I were standing just feet away. Now I wonder if I can justify another purchase knowing all Sony have to offer? 

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A Race Against Time on the Farm

March 17, 2014 at 6:30 AMCoombeMill

New life waits for no one

Last week I detailed our farm news, how we were looking to rebuild a shelter to move Rolo and the two new donkeys in together, to bring the sheep over the road into the current pony and donkey field and to move the ponies to where the sheep had come from. The plan was a good one apart from the urgency to move the sheep versus the ability to finish the Donkey field shelter in time. By the end of the weekend The field shelter had the base complete, the old blown over main section dragged across and righted but by Tuesday it still needed a row of bricks and lifting before it was finally ready to use. The children and Nick did a wonderful job getting this far.

However by Tuesday morning we decided that with after school parents evenings looming on top of regular school clubs, the shelter wouldn't be finished till next weekend despite the welcome lighter evenings. This was too long to wait for the sheep that were looking perilously close to lambing.

Shhp looking ready to lamb


Nick and I agreed we would have to move the sheep ourselves while the children were at school. The guests helped Nick feed and capture them within a corral on the morning tractor run.


Morning helpers


Then he and I returned with the stock trailer to demonstrate our great shepherding skills; perhaps not a textbook farming manoeuver but we managed it without too much distress for the sheep and over the road they travelled, not into the pony field but a newly created hybrid field next door thanks to Nick's foresight and re-fencing back in January. It now means that every gate needs closing on the farm with all the fields in use.


Farmer Nick sheep herding


Whether it was the bumpy ride along our farm paths or our gut instinct was right we will never know, but that night our first twin lambs were born. Two beautiful baby girls to the delight of our guests.

Coombe Mill Jacobs Lambs just a few hours old


The Wednesday morning feed run was a long one with lambs to deal with. The two little boys we had staying were fascinated and I had a very funny conversation with the eldest worthy of retelling:

"What is Farmer Nick doing?"

"He needs to put some special ear rings on the new lambs"

"My Mummy wears earrings when she goes out in the evening"

"Yes I do that too, I wonder if the lambs will like theirs?"

"They are very big and yellow"

I expect Mummy has prettier ones

"Ouch" Farmer Nick inserts the ear tag

"Does Farmer Nick put your earrings in too?"

Wot So Funee?


Lambs being tagged, dipped & tail bands applied


Our work was still far from finished. The Shetland ponies now needed leading across the road into the sheep field. This did go to plan as they were on best behaviour even crossing the ford.  I was tempted to let our little helpers have a ride they were so good, I think they knew were leaving their muddy winter field for something new.


Skippy & Dinky on the move


There was one final change to make. The pony field really needed a rest and so we led Rolo in with the castrated ram lambs from last season. The lambs were subsequently wormed and moved on again.  

A surprise ahead for Rolo the donkey

Then to see if we could put a head collar on our eight month old newbies Winston and Clementine. We managed to fit them of sorts, though they were really too big, but since they had not yet been trained to a head collar leading them was fun and games, especially as I insisted on trying to take a photo whilst hanging onto the lead reign, thank goodness for auto option, this was no time to be playing with manual modes one handed!

Rolo meets Winston & Clementine


They were so good natured and never kicked out once despite being quite terrified of what might lie beyond Nick's shed door. So long as they were right next to each other we managed to coax them forwards and along the farm path towards an eagerly awaiting Rolo. Seeing them together in the morning sunshine was a total delight. I think they are going to be best of friends.

Rolo. Winston & Clementine our Donkey Trio


Meanwhile Nick was busy flattening and reseeding the old pony field, I wonder who he is planning to have in here next? 


Seeding & Flattening the old pony field


By the weekend our children were keen to help out and show the new guests the baby lambs and new donkeys. We laid the first layer of bricks for the field shelter but it will be next weekend before we are ready to move the donkey trio next door into the field purpose built for them. Life is all go on the farm right now but I couldn't be happier than seeing the animals thriving in the March sunshine, my own children helping out and the guests enjoying all we have to offer here on holiday.


Little helpers on the farm


Silent Sunday / Project 52

March 15, 2014 at 10:40 PMCoombeMill

Lambs on the Farm for Spring

 TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky  Weekly Top Shot #120 OneDad3GirlsLove All Blogs Better Photos Project


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

March 14, 2014 at 10:40 PMCoombeMill

Country Kids goes Fundraising for Team Honk

When Claire from the local preschool rang to see if she could bring the children to the farm for a morning as the village hall had been booked for a funeral I had a flash of inspiration. Not only did the timing fit in really well with a midweek day when we had no guests, but it was the perfect way for me to add to the Team Honk Fundraising for Sports Relief. While Annie, Penny and Tanya were busy bringing the blogging world back news from Tanzania, the Team Honk Relay baton was en-route from Lands End to John o Groats just passing Sian, I was able to keep a little momentum going here in Cornwall. 

Team Honk meets Country Kids


Welcome St Tudy Preschool

All my children enjoyed their time at St Tudy Preschool and I spent many years on the committee myself so I was delighted to be able to welcome the children to Coombe Mill and raise a little money for Sport Relief in the process. The Children arrived full of expectations and excitement. We ensured everyone was kitted out with wellies from the tiniest of tots and then it was all aboard the tractor for a special farm tour with Farmer Nick.


Farmer Nick explains the farm

The children's faces were a picture as the tractor drove off heading for the farm.

Over at the Pigs the children watched in awe as Farmer Nick threw in their bucket of food. Then the brave followed him in to stroke them and feel their bristly coats.


 Stroking the Pigs

Next up were the ducks and chickens where the children were every bit as excited as our holiday guests at the prospect of hunting for muddy eggs. The Preschool leader saved them all at the end to give the children as dippy eggs and soldiers at preschool the following day which I thought was a lovely idea.

Egg Hunting

The feel of the chicken's feathers was quite different to the pigs and a great sensory experience for the children.


 Stroking Chickens

Nick had been on a long road trip the previous day to purchase two adorable young donkeys after we sadly lost Maisie to pneumonia over the relentless wet winter. The children crowded round to watch them enjoy their first breakfast at Coombe Mill.


Winston & Clementine


Back on board the tractor for a journey round the lake and a look at our scariest animal, the crocodile who unsuccessfully tries to prevent the Herons eating our fish!


Beast of the Lake

The Deer produced an "Awww" from everyone as they pranced around nervously eating while the children watched with excitement. They were keen to run up to them and stroke them too unaware that the deer were too shy.

Fascinated by the Deer

It began to rain but still the children were keen to see the sheep and the baby goats in the field. The brave were able to stroke the goats and feed them, though by now their coats were fairly soggy with the rain giving yet another sensation to their little fingers.


 Kid goats adored

Farmer Nick saved his biggest treat for the journey home. The older boys were each given a chance to help drive the tractor. Four proud boys who will remember this for a long time to come.

4 proud tractor drivers

A wet and bedraggled group traipsed into my kitchen after their exciting morning. We washed hands in relay and then I treated them all to milk and my freshly baked cookies. The rain was settling in for the day so the children all had a go at colouring the sheets from my website education pages, whilst telling us what they had enjoyed about their morning.

Since it was too wet to safely enjoy the outdoor play areas, I opened up the play barn. Here they could all run free, leaping, jumping exploring and bouncing; a perfect morning for any tot. Many finished up sat in the grownups arms, quite exhausted from their morning on the farm. Each child donated £2 for sports relief for their morning with us which will be added to the Cornwall Sponsorship page.

Our Fundraising morning on Video


Help Sport Relief

If you fancy a holiday made of mornings like this on the farm, my offer of a £25 discount from your holiday matched by a £25 donation from us to sport relief still stands for another week. Check out all the details here and read how you can join the first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games around the country next weekend from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014.

Joining in with Country Kids.

A New Linky every Saturday which stays open till Thursday. 

Find Country Kids on Pinterest & Google Plus 

Country Kids is all about leaving screens and sofas and central heating and embracing the outdoors, whatever the weather. Everything is welcome from play to crafting so long as it is making the most of the fresh air. Please grab the badge or provide a link back here so that others can easily read all the lovely posts coming in. There is so much inspiration for the content here each week I really recommend a read and sharing some blog love. My own family fun has been shunted back to next week to make way for this special Team Honk edition of Country Kids.

Just a few of my favourite posts from last week: 

Me and the Tiny 3 While away a happy holiday afternoon here at Coombe Mill

I love the look of this Country Walk from Would Like to be and Chelsea Mamma shares my love of simple family fun by a river'

The sunny weather last weekend made many of you head for a family friendly outdoor venue:

RHS Wisley from Mum friendly Jo and Dear Mummy looks like a perfect day out for families as does Blenheim Palace from Over 40 and Mum to one and Delapre Abbey from Becoming a SHAM and Mottisfont Abbey from Make a Long Story Short

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


All Things Bright & Beautiful

March 12, 2014 at 6:00 AMCoombeMill

The Gallery

The Prompt this week on The Gallery hosted by Tara Cain of Sticky Fingers Blog is all things Sunny and Yellow. The weather is looking so spring like and sunny this week and the farm is awash with daffodils so this felt like the week to link up and share our farm yellows. The chicks are from last year but we are just starting to incubate our first eggs of the season now in time for Easter. 

Yellow on the Farm

 Tractor & Trailor

Click on the Badge to see what is inspiring others under the yellow and sunny theme this week.

Also joining Clarina's Savouring the Season with my spring yelllows & Pink Oddy's Spring Carnival


Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery  ClarinasContemplations Spring Carnival

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Coombe Mill

"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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