Dad went ill, so me and the crew had to sort out the morning feed run. There always seems to be something extra when Dad is not around. Today it was chirping chicks in our house which needed a new home and a tractor Ally and Mum found a bit disarmed with one side off, it was all hands on deck to sort the chick house while Ally saved the day with the tractor. All in all a proper scramble to get to the car park for 9am. Things could only get better. We were forgiven for being a few minutes late as everyone loved holding a chick on the tractor ride.
When we got to the wallabies, chickens and geese Guy and Jed fell in to the pond; it was hilarious. Clambering out of the pond, all you could hear was squelch, squelch, squelch as Guy tipped all the water out off his welly, it turned out he had about half the pond in there!
Perhaps less organised than when Dad is in control, but never the less lots of fun for the guests. We seemed to have 2 groups, some feeding the ponies and some feeding the goats. I was running from group to group with the camera determined to feed the ponies and the goats. A chance for me to test my strength arrived and I found I was still strong enough to hold a big, fat heavy goat! Another near panic as Mum sent Jed back for the lambs milk we had forgot. Poor things made such a noise in protest!
Driving homewards to the rabbits mum plucked up the courage to let some little children drive with her, as long as Ally was there to guide her safely and carefully! When we finally reached the rabbits, 6 lucky people claimed the eggs; I guess the magpies must have stolen the rest.
The rabbits looked like they were over the moon to see everybody feeding them; most people love to pick them up including me!
Guy and Clio have claimed a corner of my blog to tell the farm tales from their perspective. With a little help from me on editing I am thrilled to be sharing the Coombe Mill blog with them. I do hope you will support their posts as and when they feel inspired to write as Clio has today.
After much organisation and preparation we were all set to leave the farm for a family short break to visit family. However this was one trip with a little hiccup; ten minutes before leaving, with the car packed, the bikes on board and just locking up the house, Theo was sick. Excitement we thought, perhaps travel sickness at the prospect of the journey (he does suffer) but no, 3 more spectacular episodes and we knew our plans were going wrong. With no idea how long Theo’s bug would last and everything in place we decided Nick and the children should go ahead and I would stay with Theo. We waved them off and settled in for a quiet day together disappointed to be left behind.
Down in Sussex the family delighted in seeing Yia Yia and spending a day with their cousins. This was followed by a morning of beach fun with games of who can throw the stone the furthest or seek shade buried in pebbles before cooling down in the sea. My thanks to Clio for taking her camera and filling me in on all the fun.
Meanwhile back on the farm Theo was feeling stronger and we took a stroll round the farm together while waiting for a friend who was kindly running us to Newquay airport to meet up with the others. In a funny way we actually had a lovely 24 hours together once Theo was feeling better. As third of six, these occasions are very rare.
Reunited as a family once more we spent a wonderful day with old family friends over a picnic and their garden pool. Thanks to the scorching weather the water was warm and the children jumped and dived and raced and swam for hours on end to the delight of the older generation looking on. I had briefly questioned the wisdom of flying up to join the others for just a couple of days but this alone made it all worthwhile and Theo was clearly back to full strength.
No trip to Yia Yia would be complete for the children without the obligatory trip to Brighton, the fun of the pier and *cringe* the £1 shop and Primark, all things we don’t have in Cornwall. I am surprised Theo wasn’t sick again from the packet of blue sweets he scoffed! Jed and I cycled the 8 miles down and had a nightmare with the cycle route which ran out just when we really needed it, leaving us crossing 3 lanes of dual carriageway traffic together, only to find when back safely onto a minor road the cycle path reappeared! It was quite terrifying and the bikes went home on the back of the car.
Last but not least a visit to my Mum in Buckinghamshire. A chance for Grandma to catch up with us all. Happy family times despite the drama at the start!
Farmer Ted and Farmer Kym managed the farm in our absence and I also had the benefit of tweets from Sian To @geekisnewchic and Emma @crazywithtwins who were both staying for the week to reassure me all was well at Coombe Mill.
I’d love to hear how you have been spending these lovely summer days outside. If you have a post about a day out, a trip to the park, an outdoor craft or picnic or fun in the garden please do grab the badge and share your story here. If it’s outdoor family fun it’s perfect for Country Kids! Remember to check out some of the other posts here, there are always some lovely ideas to inspire your next adventure.
A few that stood out for me in so many wonderful posts were:
National Play Day from Pink Oddy A wonderful concept to share and support.
Dragon Hunt from Time to Craft for the beautiful photos.
Unst Island from TangoRaindrop a fascinating holiday review.
Here on the farm we encourage children to get into nature, to help us on the farm and I mean really help. I love to watch the little ones grow in confidence over the week, where once they were scared by the pushy goats or nervous of feeding the donkey, more often than not by the last day they are mucking in with everything. The only downside in all of this is the more involved and confident they become the grubbier they get. We never like to let a little muck get in the way of a good farm holiday and have an ample supply of overalls for borrow in our reception shop. This way, Mums and Dads can relax in the sure knowledge that washing isn’t going to be the highlight of the holiday for them!
When Adventure Togs contacted me to review a set of their overalls, I was delighted. Adventure Togs was started by Catherine almost ten years ago through the need to find quality outdoor clothing for her own children. The company now supplies to schools, nurseries and playgroups throughout the UK as well as through their online shop at www.adventuretogs.co.uk.
Our overalls really do get some serious use and I was more than happy to put an Adventure Togs set through its paces on the farm. I received the Navy and Royal all in one rain suit for age 3 and it barely found the peg in reception before it was selected for the morning feed run. It fitted our tall nearly 3 year old little farm helper a treat. With Velcro tabs at the ankles and wrists and a pull in section at the waste you can afford to go a little large and really get your money’s worth as I reckon it would cover two years of use this way. Being made of a quality waterproof fabric I’m sure your child will outgrow it before wearing it out, good news if there are siblings to hand it down to and perfect for us as it will see plenty of use here at Coombe Mill! These rain suits retail for £27.99 but if you enter the discount code SUMMER25 you will receive a 20% discount for orders over £25 on any orders on the websitebefore 31.8.13. I rather like the look of these lunchboxes for the new school term too.
No farm visit to Coombe Mill would be complete without a splash in a puddle and the ford. Handy when you can stay dry and clean too!
If you would like to win a Kids rain suit from Adventure Togs please leave a comment below saying how it would be handy for you. Remember to leave a way for me to contact you.
To increase your chance of winning:
For one final entry, please tweet the following sentence and leave another comment to say you have done so
I’ve entered to WIN a quality kids @AdventureTogs all in one Rain Suit for outdoor fun with @coombemill http://bit.ly/16YItsr Why don’t you? Pls RT:
The competition is open to UK residents and will close on Wednesday 7th August. The winner will be selected by RandomOrg.com and announced the following morning. Good luck to all taking part.
The Winner is Elaine Livingstone @Pooohbear2811 Congratulations to Elaine and thank you to everyone who took part.
Disclosure: I was given my Adventure Togs rain suit to review for this competition and keep for our holiday guests to use at Coombe Mill. The views and opinions expressed are entirely my own.
A couple of week’s back we had the sheep sheared. It made for a busy farm morning and entertainment for the guests and was just in time for this hot weather. Our three Alpaca Coffee, Toffee and Caramel also needed shearing desperately but finding someone skilled enough has given us a headache the past couple of years. Last year the temperatures never rose enough to worry, but what a difference a year makes! The poor boys resorted to lying low, literally in the shade of their field all day long only able to clamber up and graze for food by night. I really felt for them, I know how hot I have been and that’s without their enormous thick coat.
Half an hour early, the shearer arrived and set up giving me barely enough time to grab my camera after the school run. We warned the brave man and our guests that the “naughty Boys” could be a tad temperamental and gathered eagerly to watch the show down of one Man and his three alpaca. It had taken Nick 3 days of coaxing the boys into a pen for food each morning just to capture them.
We all watched in awe as he marched straight up to each one in turn, grabbing them by the scruff of the neck and a clump of coat from their rump and lifting them clean off their feet and over onto their backs. This was an impressive maneuvre. He secured their position by loosely tying their feet and set to work like a true expert.
Referring to our tough boys as “Pussy Cats” he worked deftly through the three of them in little over half an hour. 6 bin bags of fleece later and the alpaca looked a skeleton of their former selves.
Not only did they have their fleeces shorn, but he made a lovely job of their fringe hair, clipped their toe nails and filed their teeth. All the time the boys lay as still as could be and not a sign of the spitting they so often like to deploy!
No one was more surprised than the alpaca themselves as they caught sight of one another!
After filling Nick in on the best diet and medicines for them our expert shearer said they were some of the best natured Alpaca he had come across. He urged us to try them with a head collar and suggested they would be great to take for walks. I’m yet to be convinced of this but he certainly has shown that Alpaca are like dogs and horses: Show them who is boss and act fearless and bold and they are putty in your hands. After you Farmer Nick!
They are now enjoying roaming their field again by day and night and looking much happier with life and much less intimidating. I shall be reminding Nick of the alpaca whisper as he has now become known in the depths of winter when he looks nervous of going in to fill up their hay feeder!
I’m joining in with a lovely new linky from Charlie at Podcast, check out the story behind some other photos there and also linking to Jamie Oliver’s Magic Moments and Vic Welton’s PoCoLo.