Welcome Rocky

March 15, 2015 at 9:50 PMCoombeMill


Spring has to be my favourite time on the farm. New life is bursting forth with snowdrops, daffodils and buds on all the trees and the excitement builds on the farm as we watch bellies swell and try to guess who will be first to give birth.


Spring growth on the farm at Coombe Mill Cornwall


We had been letting our Pigmy Billy goat gruff run free with the ladies over the winter months and were hopeful of a spring kid. As we headed into March one of the goats was looking as wide as she was long and we were worried she was about to give birth amidst the horrid week of cold hail showers. In anticipation Nick rigged her up a shelter in his shed and iKomms SW popped round to install a camera overhead so I could begin 'operation goat watch'.

 Pregnant goat at Coombe Mill Farm coming indoors to kid

Clearly our lady had been eating more than her share of the food as she seemed to go down in size once we had her in her VIP quarters! The weather warmed and it felt only fair to let her go back to her friends again.

Meanwhile Ginger, the bad tempered mother of our adorable kid from last year was showing signs that she might also be close, we left her in the field as the weather had warmed and just made sure there was plenty of straw in the shelters.


 Ginger and Titch the goats at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays


Then last week she ran down for breakfast with the rest of the goats but looking half her size, Nick suspected that she may have had her kid and embarked on a thorough search of the field. There in one of the shelters quivering in the corner was a dear little newborn trying to stay warm lying on his already dead twin. That was the end of the feed run, thankfully we only had one family with us that morning and they fully understood. I was away with Clio at the dentist and Nick was on a mission to save the goat.

By the time I came back with Clio, minus 2 back teeth, the goat was next to the boiler and refusing the special colostrum Nick had gone out to buy. I took over and spent the rest of the day trying to syringe drops of milk into one end and cleaning up the other!


New born kid goat in a crate


He was a fighter in every sense; he refused the milk dribbling it down his chin but also refused to give up on life. By the time the children came home from school he was beginning to bleat but still not drinking and I was warned them as they cuddled him that he was unlikely to make it through to tomorrow. They have seen it all before but still the first one we lose each year hits us all hard.


First Night Cuddles 

Finally I had all the children in bed knowing that what would be would be and began the night shift. By the early hours of Wednesday morning I had made a breakthrough, he had finally begun to swallow his first drops without a fight and was looking brighter. I was so delighted I began sharing with a few late owls on twitter.  Eventually I crawled into bed around 3am having managed to get down a full two ounces of milk.

By morning I had a different animal. I was welcomed by a bleating and the children who had beaten me downstairs and already squabbling over giving him his first feed. He was out of the danger period and strengthening by the hour.  I enjoyed a quiet minute myself feeding him outside and introducing him to the outdoors when they were all safely in school.


Feeding the abandoned baby goat

I had no time to pander to him though as the pre school were due for a farm fun day as our Comic Relief fundraiser, however guess who stole the show.

St Tudy Pre-School meet Rocky

Kido just wasn't doing it as a name so I introduced him on facebook where Rocky came back as the overriding vote. I think it really suits him, as he is sweet and colourful just like a rocky road treat though he needs to beef up a bit to step into Sylvester Stallone's shoes!


Facebook Naming Rocky


I'm pleased to say he has continued to strengthen this week and has become the family pet with my children taking it in turns to feed him and play with him, even my Screenager has him lending a helping hand whilst gaming. He is rarely alone for any time.


Rocky the family pet at Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays, Cornwall, England, UK.


Out on the farm he joins in with the feed run, stops by the properties for anyone wanting a cuddle and spends the rest of his days while the children are in school enjoying the space in my greenhouse and waiting for them to return and take him out to play once again. He has even had a ride on the Coombe Mill railway. 


Rocky the star of our working farm holidays


Rocky's first week captured.




 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg     ANIMALTALES

Posted in: On the Farm

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Silent Sunday / Project 52

March 14, 2015 at 10:50 PMCoombeMill

Rocky the Goat

Sometimes farming doesn't go to plan and this little fellow was abandoned by his mother, on the positive side we've built him up nice and strong and is now a big hit being bottle fed his milk in the trailer on the farm feed run. 

Posted in: On the Farm | Weekly Photo


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

March 13, 2015 at 11:50 PMCoombeMill

Coombe Mill supporting Team Honk for Comic Relief

It's that time of year again when the blogging community unites over fundraising for Comic Relief inspired by the wonderful work and example set by the fabulous three of Annie, Penny and Tanya who make up Team Honk. Last spring we all joined forces to take the Team Honk relay baton from Lands End to John O'Groats and I was thrilled to be part of the first day's activities down here in Cornwall.  This year the big event was a 6 hour dancing marathon or Danceathon in London, this was less practical for me but I still wanted to join in and help fundraise so I spoke to our local village playgroup to see if they fancied a farm fun morning for a small charge per child for Comic Relief. They jumped at the opportunity after enjoying their visit here last year and the date was set for last Wednesday.


Team Honk FUNdraising day

In preparation I'd baked homemade chocolate button cookies and pear cake early in the morning, I was up anyway thanks to a certain addition to my house overnight, and made sure we had milk and water for the children to drink. I'd bought in plenty of tea and coffee for the parents and staff and all I needed was a dry day.  

The playgroup arrived and the heavens opened! We piled everyone aboard the tractor and just crossed our fingers the rain would stop. Luck was on our side and by the time we crossed to the farm the rain had stopped.

Off on the feed run

Nick did his usual tour which took us nearly 2 hours with so many children. A few remembered coming to the farm last year but for many this was a very new experience. It was lovely to see them really getting involved with feeding the animals and laughing when the animals tickled their hands taking the food. Many of them were only 2 years old and they did so well listening carefully to all that Farmer Nick was teaching them.


St Tudy Pre-School meet the animals

From the farm we drove the tractor across to the train station, greeted by an owl with a red nose! Guy was at School so Farmer Nick became the train driver. Despite the long morning the children bounced back to life as they saw the train emerge from the engine shed!


A Train Ride run by Farmer Nick

Nick drove everyone back to our house for lunch. They had all come prepared with packed lunches and the staff marvelled at how well they all ate. I wasn't surprised at all, farming is hungry work! My pear cake and freshly baked cookies from early in the morning went down a treat for pudding and everyone felt refreshed.

Lunch and Cookies

However the highlight of the kitchen was our 1 day old abandoned goat. I had been up with him all the previous night and was shattered, however it was worth it as he was now drinking and thriving and ready to greet the children. More on his story to come on the blog next week!


Kids with the kid

We wanted to give the children a little down time before they hit the play areas which I had anticipated and already printed off some easy to make Mother's day card ideas I'd seen from A Thrifty Mum; they were just the ticket for a spot of crafty fun.


Finger Painting Fun

We finished the day with a play in one of our big play areas. The children could have spent longer and loved their time here.


Finishing off the visit on the play area


Every child paid £3 for their day plus extras for cakes and coffee which made £70 from Coombe Mill to Team Honk for Comic Relief. Thank you to St Tudy playgroup for coming to Coombe Mill and supporting our fundraising. If you would like to donate to Comic Relief via the blogging community pop over to the Team Honk Danceathon Giving Page.



Joining in with Country Kids

Country Kids is all about leaving screens indoors and heading out for some family fun. If you have been outdoors and enjoying the beginning of spring please come and share with me here on the linky. Fresh air and exercise is good for us all. Please grab the badge and remember to check out the other pots here, it might just inspire your next outdoor adventure.

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

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays's board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.

Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet

A few of my favourites from last week:

Nothing quite like a farm visit for children, OK so I may be a little biased on this one but I did love the look of Folly Farm by Entertaining Elliot and Cout Farm by You Me and Magoo

I do love an out of season beach trip but this trip from Cracked nails and split ends was made extra special by the visiting seals

A castle with a moat and plenty to discover for One blue One Pink while a donkey completes the castle day for Mummy Travels

Finding pebbles and making rock bugs combines outdoor fun and crafting with some beautiful results for A Lancashire Lass


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall




From Farm Pigs to Teapigs

March 9, 2015 at 11:50 PMCoombeMill

My family and friends say I'm a snob when it comes to food and drink. I'm not sure I agree but I can say I know what I like. Food sourced from our farm, wine from a crystal glass, coffee made from beans in a super sized mug and tea in a china cup. If that makes me a snob then so be it. I believe that presentation, aroma and perception is all part of the total experience and that we really do taste with our eyes and nose not just our mouth.  To enjoy food is about a total sensual experience, this is quite different from a rushed need to quench thirst or fill an empty tummy. Our food needs to deliver on many different levels.

When Teapigs said they wanted to send me some of their specialist tea for Mothers Day I knew which occasion this was meant for. This wasn't going to be your dunk a bag in a mug and run type cuppa, more of a savour the moment in china sitting on the veranda and listening to the river situation.

When my teas arrived they oozed quality and natural credentials right from the packaging.

Teapigs in their ethical and green packaging

Opening the pack up the fresh aroma hit my nose immediately, even the children wanted to find out more. Each individual teapig is a work of art. The bags look like silk and are biodegradable. Each bag, or temple as they are called, has a handy label and cotton to hold onto. Move over supermarket flat perforations that tear when you separate the paper feel bags. Teapigs says quality before you even boil the kettle.


biodegradable teapig temple mountain


This is a tea that warrants a china cup, the flavour drifts up all over again when the water hits the tea bag. Usually I like my tea quite weak but I found these were best left to infuse for a few minutes, the flavour is more subtle than the fragrance and it needs time to brew.


teapigs from a bone china cup & saucer


I considered a biscuit with my cuppa on the veranda but in the end decided this was just going to spoil it. I've never done a detox diet but if it involved drinking this I think I could be persuaded.  Of the flavours I tried the apple and cinnamon was my favourite but they are all wonderfully blended and true to their description. I was curious to know more of their origin.

About Teapigs

It turns out Teapigs were set up by Nick and Louise. Louise is a professional tea taster and knows her stuff. The ingredients use only the finest whole leaf teas, whole berries, herbs and flowers; there is no powdery "extract of" going in to make the delicious range of 28 flavours, many of which are naturally caffeine free.  They can be found in Waitrose, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, these outlets are not in Cornwall but thankfully they are available from the teapigs website along with details of their ethical company work and other products like matcha green tea, super power green tea and the new "grab and go" range with fruit juice.  There is even a handy subscription for 3 - 9 months costing from £39 for a special Mothers Day or birthday treat and handy offers if you sign up with the website.   


teapigs tea temple giveaway with Coombe Mill

Win your Teapigs with Coombe Mill

If you like the sound of a Teapigs moment in your day why not enter to win 3 packs of 15 tea temples worth £11.97 in your chosen flavours. Simply follow the instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to everyone taking part.

Disclosure: I was sent my Teapigs as a gift, I enjoyed them so much I wanted to share them here on the blog and offer them as a giveaway for someone else to try too. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

Family Fever

Don't judge me it could happen to you

March 8, 2015 at 6:30 PMCoombeMill


This post is somewhat different for me, it is not about our lovely holiday farm, my traditional outdoor adventures with the kids or my latest creations to feed them all from the kitchen, this is the post I was never meant to write.

Nick and I have always given our children a measured independence and freedom beyond their friends and in return we expect a level of respect for this scope. However my parenting style came crashing down around me a few weeks ago with Theo and I was not at all sure I would share it here. On reflection with a few weeks to think about the implications I decided that our experience may help others to be aware, so here goes:

We have always been very open with our children, discussed all manner of topics at length engaging in some great debates and have allowed them alcohol underage at home with us. The triplets at age 10 will often ask for a sip of my evening glass of wine or Dad's beer and providing they ask politely we let them. The older boys at 14 and 16 are allowed a beer at the weekend or a special occasion with us and I have always considered that a little exposure and not making drinking taboo was a good thing. We are well known for throwing a party and I am fine with my older boys having a drink at these as I've always wanted them to develop a sensible approach to drink under my watchful eye. It has never been an issue, until now!


The Only Photo of Theo


I have shared Nick's amazing 50th birthday celebrations here, I marvelled at how the kids and adults all united on the dance floor, however we were missing one in all the photos. My screenager had disgraced himself; on reflection I think he felt caught between the teens that were having a wonderful time and happily dancing after a glass of fizz and the triplets who he felt were too young for him. He hadn't been looking forward to the party and his answer unbeknownst to us was to pinch the Prosecco being offered on the way in. He confided in me after that he was feeling great after two and starting to enjoy the evening, so drank three more, all on an empty stomach. None of us were aware of this as it happened so quickly while we were welcoming all our friends and family; however soon Theo was clearly not feeling fine, and very ill. Nick and I took it in turns to look after him, walking the ghostly white boy that was our son up and down the road to try and sober him up but to no avail as once back inside he fell fast asleep on a friend, also a doctor *sigh*.


Drunk Monkey

He woke the following morning blissfully unaware of the trouble he had caused with a clear head after being ill and starving hungry. In a way I wish he had suffered a hangover to remind him what a rubbish idea drinking too much was! Has he learned a lesson? I hope so; he certainly hasn't been keen to try anything since and says he won't drink like that again. I know he is way too young at just coming up 13 to have had this experience but I also know he is going to face many parties in years to come where he is encouraged to drink to excess; I won't be there for him then, no Mum and Dad to clear up after him, walk him down the lane and sit with him till his bed beckons. On balance I'd rather he made his mistakes with us than at a party just with friends his age. My eldest has told me enough tales of his friends lying in fields after too much to drink at all night parties, he is 16 and never been one of them, the odd drink at home growing up has made him respect alcohol and the same for his 14 year old brother, they both have a beer or two and stop. It didn't work the same way for Theo, but at least his Dad and I were there for him, I hope he will mature and learn before he finds himself at a party where there is drink on offer and friends egging him on.  

There is no right answer on this one, perhaps we were irresponsible not to have seen what Theo was doing, of course I'd rather he hadn't shown himself up and put a dampener on his Dad's big night, but at the end of the day parenting is about learning and we have all learned from this one. I won't be changing my views about alcohol in the home as it is not fair on my other children who have proved to be sensible, but have reinforced how to be responsible with an occasional drink and will be keeping a closer watch on a party night until trust is restored with Theo.

If you have any experience of teens and alcohol I'd love to hear about how you handled it.

A bit of an 'enlightening' magic moment for me this week! 

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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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