Our lambing has been going beautifully this year. twins, and singleton and then last week two more twins with the other pregnant mothers looking in tip top condition.
The last set of twins arrived during the feed run to the delight of our guests. One had just been born before we arrived so Farmer Nick decided to move Mum and lamb straight away into the nursery but leave tagging till the following day as she was clearly just minutes old. The guests duly followed as Nick tucked the lamb under his arm and began to lead Mum towards the gate. There followed an anxious *stop” from the guests as she popped a little boy out mid journey! You don’t witness that every day and Nick decided best to leave them after all and move them later in the day.
We kept a careful eye on them over the next few hours and watched as both fed and appeared to be fine. They had claimed a field shelter to themselves and all looked well.
We moved them to the nursery that evening so as to be with the other Mums and lambs and clear of any fox danger, however by morning Nick was beginning to worry. This was the same sheep that had given birth and walked away last year without so much as cleaning her lamb. The little girl was bleating outside the shelter while the boy was safe with Mum. Nick continued the feed run keeping an eye out but by the end it was clear that Mum had left her little girl deliberately. When the lamb tried to nuzzle up to her Mum she was harshly shoved away. There was nothing for it but to scoop her up and bring her indoors. Shivering and frightened we made her a bed by the boiler and gave her a first colosterum which she guzzled enthusiastically having no trouble mastering the bottle.
By the time the children came home from school she was warm and fed and delighted to play. She enjoyed an evening being cuddled, playing on the lawn and finally put to bed by the boiler with a final feed before my night shift began.
The children were up early to tend to her before school. I’m sure they smelt of lamb all day long! Our little bundle of joy came out on the feed run to the delight of the guests who were thrilled to see her doing well and excited to help feed her.
While we fed the other animals we popped her back in the nursery. She headed straight for Mum who still wouldn’t let her close, the other Mums equally shunned her and only her brother responded to her plaintive bleating and came over for a reassuring word.
One day she will be out in the field with them all, but for now while she is still tiny and without a Mother’s love she will just visit on the feed run and remain inside with us at night and play in our greenhouse with the children by day. I knew I was late planting it again for a good reason!
Since she has become a part of the family we have named her too. Thank you to all on facebook for the wonderful suggestions. Farmer Nick and the children have chosen Ebony as she is black all over except for the tip of her head and tail.
I had been taken with a post from Time to Craft a few weeks back who had been night hunting for toads. I realised we must be behind on our annual tour of the farm for frogspawn. It was a sunny day and I suggested to the children that we go exploring. Theo piped up that he had already seen lots across Coombe Bridge close to their new *secret den*. I asked if we could all look and he was more than happy, but there was to be no sharing of the den location. Agreeing not to ‘pry’ on their den whereabouts we donned our wellies and set off. The floods from the winter had made the going much easier on the far river bank than I remember in previous years and I could see why the children had chosen to play over here. They each grabbed a stick en route; the essential aid to any woodland walk!
Soon we were in some still marshy waters close to the river bank and there were massive clumps of frogspawn. Clio reached down to touch it but was not keen on the jelly like texture.
We waded across the bog careful not to disturb the frogspawn and I could sense we were close to the boys den. I didn’t have to look too far before I found a tell tale sign by way of an old spade head and a bamboo cane from our greenhouse embedded into the ground.
This had to be the entrance. It opened up inside to a sheltered natural den beneath the leaves with some lovely low branches which the kids all claimed as their seats and had engraved their names on a previous visit. They now proudly showed me round since I had rumbled their special place.
Having shown off their den we decided to continue our forest walk. This side of the river is not on Coombe Mill land and usually quite inaccessible, but post the storms, floods and before the summer growth had really taken off we found it quite easy to walk. We headed towards a clearing and saw a caravan and old cars in the distance. “I wonder who lives there?” asked the children. They hid behind trees and crept slowly closer. I was quite unaware what we would find but knew that years ago a bee keeper had his bee hives near here and we used to sell his honey in our shop.
When we came close it was obviously deserted but the children were fascinated. I think they thought they were like the famous five and stumbling over some hidden bars of gold. Guy knocked carefully on the caravan door, then opened it and peeped inside. Curiosity got the better of them and they all had a timid poke around the rotting caravan and surrounding vehicles taking in all they saw with wide eyes.
Then the wooden padlocked shed caught their attention, the only place they hadn’t been able to look inside. Guy found some rotting panels on one side and they all squinted to see inside.
Then he noticed the door only looked locked with a padlock but was in fact open, they were amazed by the old lights, left sleeping bags and old books. I skimmed the titles quickly to ensure there was nothing unsuitable!
They noticed an old ladder, a washing line and a small fire clearing for cooking and began to imagine themselves as explorers staying here before replacing the padlock on the door to leave everything as they found it and head homeward leaving their mystery world behind.
We glanced back from Coombe Bridge but there was no sign from here of the secret life we had uncovered.
It clearly inspired the children as they then decided to get the tent out and pitch up on the trampoline for the night. I left the outside light on and door unlocked for them in case they changed their minds but they stayed the night and Nick found them bouncing on the trampoline early in the morning in their onesies. I wonder what adventure stories they told each other over night?
Country Kids is all about fun in the outdoors, escaping technology, screens and sofas and enjoying some family time in the fresh air. Posts on days out to the beach, woods, park or even just enjoying the garden are welcome and urban trips too. Whether it is play, crafting, learning or exploring I’d love you to get out there, have some fun, grab the badge and come and share those smiling faces and rosy cheeks here on the linky. There is a wonderful community of support for outdoor ideas building here each week and I urge you to join in by checking out the other posts too.
A few of my favourite posts from last week
I shall miss the Team Honk Adventures on Country Kids, this one brought from Brinabird & Son
I would love to visit the Maritime Forest that Mothering with Mindfulness came across. It looks so peaceful
There is some great advice from Circus Queen on making a first campfire with a toddler.
Daisy Broomfield explores the benefits of gross motor skills
And finally I was thrilled to see so many Country Kids supporters as finalists in the MAD Blog Awards. If you haven’t already voted please do, it only takes a minute and there are so many familiar names there who would love your vote, me included.
A new copy of Girl Talk goes on sale today marking 500 successful issues for tween girls. This landmark publication seeks to raise awareness of roles models for youngsters with a ‘Girls Are Amazing’ campaign. This follows a readership survey which found that the most admired celebrities were all pop stars or actors, headed up by Katy Perry. The campaign aims to broaden the horizons of their 7 to 12 year old readership group to encourage them to consider alternative career possibilities when they grow up.
My own daughter is coming up for 10 with some very clear ideas of what she hopes to do in the future and she is delighted to share these aspirations here for Girl Talk.
“As a young girl myself I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I have always loved to help Mum when she was on the computer, I would either help design where the pictures went or add my ideas to help with her blog posts or even just take the camera and grab some photos. I realised that whatever I did in my life I would love to include photography and writing and that is when Mum gave me her old camera and got an awesome new camera herself, which I love to borrow. Now I have my own space on the Coombe Mill blog called Clio’s Perspective, so it was my own Mum who inspired me to start blogging and in a way she is one of my role models.
Outside of my family one of my role models is Leah Gooding of CBBC Newsround because she is an amazing news presenter and a fabulous journalist. If she makes a mistake when she is live on news round, she will just carry on like nothing happened, that takes guts. I have also been thinking that as a job when I am in my early 20s I might become a news presenter as I think it will be so much fun and I might get to meet and interview celebrities like Leah got to interview David Beckham (Ok so I like celebrities too!) and also travel the world with my job reporting on interesting events.
One of my other role models is Karren Brady off the BBC series “The Apprentice” because she is immense at being a success in Business. She has a strong character and survived a severer and even life threatening brain tumour! Another reason I look up to her is that when she was just 23 she managed Birmingham football club and I have always had a little thing for football too but most of all she is inspiring on The Apprentice which is where I heard about her. When I am older I want to go on the Young Apprentice just for the amazing experience and because I think I could help my team win with what I’ve learned through our family business.
I have heard from my friends that if they could choose to be either pretty kind and funny or strong clever and brave then they would choose to be pretty above all else followed by kind and funny. I know that as children we are always are trying to act all grown up like we are in year eight or more but I feel my friends care too much about their appearance and not enough about their school work and grades. For example in my class we only get two bits of homework, one bit of Literacy and one bit of maths, but still some people don’t complete it. Of course I would love people to see me as funny, kind and pretty because I think this makes you popular, but I know growing up with five bothers I am also brave with a strong character and I am working on being clever.
My advice to all tweens out there is to think beyond being a pop star, actor or model, as you have to be so good at them to become a celebrity. Instead work hard at school and find out about other careers like journalism; you never know you might get to interview the celebrities then or even someone more important like the Prime Minister or the Queen!”
I hope Clio continues to aim high and follow her dreams. Nick and I will certainly give her every encouragement; in between like most tweens I’m sure she will continue to admire her favourite pop stars too!
Disclosure: Clio was thrilled to receive a subscription to Girl Talk for her post; however all views expressed here are her own.
Any parent of a school-age child will have likely battled with uniforms at some point. Choosing the right items can be a nightmare, especially when there’s a minefield of options out there. From the easy-iron shirts that aren’t that easy to iron to the shoes with Velcro straps that gather every bit of fluff imaginable, or laces they simply trip over and never do up properly, uniforms can soon look like a mess especially if like mine they rarely take them off after school before diving off out to play, whatever the weather. It’s no wonder we have to update the kid’s uniform essentials throughout the year!
Luckily, there are plenty of valid tips and snippets of advice available that can help the process of buying uniforms that little bit easier. Here are some top tips to help you.
Don’t buy from a specialist shop unless you have to
While the school may expect you to buy a few items from a specialist provider, such as polo shirts with the school’s badge on them, or a school blazer with the right colour trim, you will likely also get away with buying these items from the high street too. Double check with the school first, but if you were to buy a school blazer from George, or a couple of shirts that are in the plain school colour, you’ll save money without affecting how the kids look. It certainly makes a difference for me with six to kit out.
Look at cheaper stockists
You don’t have to go out to expensive retailers straight away, you know. Opt for the cheaper stockists, such as the major supermarkets, because your money will go much further. The quality isn’t really affected either, and you’ll find that you’ll get much better value for money in the long run. I have been known to cut the school badge of an old school jumper and sew it onto a new George jumper saving myself £15 and never had it questioned by school.
Buy sooner rather than later
Ok, so we’re not even in Easter yet, but once Easter is over, you can start thinking about stocking up on uniform essentials. Remember that the closer you get to the start of school, the less likely you’ll be able to find what you want in the size you want it. One thing you should hold back on is the shoes though – you won’t know what size they are until closer to the time, and it’s one thing you shouldn’t guess at.
Stick to the checklist
Most schools will provide parents with a checklist of uniform essentials so try and stick to it and weigh up budget versus laundry frequency. For example, you may be recommended to buy a jumper or two, and a cardigan as well, but is this necessarily true? Or can your child wear one or the other?
Buy the same style socks!
This is aimed more towards the parents of little girls. While they will look adorably cute in frilly white socks with different coloured trims, you’ll eventually be faced with a stash of odd socks that can’t be mixed and matched. Instead go for plenty of the same colour socks, in the same style, so that when the inevitable happens, you can just pair them up as you go.
White socks may be preferred for girls and be part of the uniform, if you keep them plain then you can put them through a hot wash with the white shirts and keep them cleaner for longer, or try dark tights too which are warmer in winter.