It’s a while since I did a post but I had a story I wanted to share. It is all about setting out to catch a rabbit and ending up with a squirrel! Okay so I need to explain this a bit.
We had lots of older children staying on the farm over half term which was great for me as they were more my age and had the freedom to explore the farm without their parents. They had a great time and are coming back again next year. Anyway while they were here there were a few problems. First of all one evening someone called 999 from our red phone box and the police came over. It wasn’t any of us and Dad was very cross, he had stern words with everyone on the tractor ride the next morning. I must say me and my brothers were rather disappointed with the police car, it was very ordinary looking inside but the police man had a taser which was pretty awesome and exciting. Anyway, that was only one incident, the other one was that Dad bought a new rabbit. The children playing up at the rabbits thought it was being bullied by the others and decided to let it out. Dad thinks it was actually the boy rabbit doing….well you know, what boy rabbits do to girl rabbits, but it was all too late the rabbit was out. We managed to catch it again and made a home for it in Dad’s shed as it had to be separated from the others in case of myxomatosis; this is a nasty disease wild rabbits can catch. We looked up the incubation period and saw that if we kept the rabbit separate for 7 days and there were no signs of sight loss and confusion she could return. However she escaped from Dad’s shed!
Dad made a trap which he set near the lake where she had gone and we all tried to catch her with a fishing net too but failed!
Not a total fail though as we caught a squirrel in our trap. I took it back to the house and Dad wanted to shoot it as there are so many on the farm and they eat all the animals’ food. It looked so pretty and harmless though Mum warned us not to get our fingers near or it would bite. Jed wanted to keep it as a pet but Mum was having none of it but we did agree to take it up to the woods behind our house and let it free before Dad came back with his gun!
Up through the pony field to our camp in the woods we went. We opened the trap door and he darted out quicker than anything. I think he had a lucky escape, Jed was still cross Mum wouldn’t let us keep him, but we were soon distracted by remaking our tree swing while we were there.
The rabbit was loose on the farm for over a week and managed to dodge the fox and all our attempts to catch her with a fishing net. She would peep out at us each day near the lake but run away so fast when we came too close.
Finally our missing rabbit fell for Dad’s trap with tempting food inside and was rescued on the morning tractor ride. She went back in Dad’s shed in a stronger house made from an old wooden cot dong her 7 days all over again. We were delighted to have her back and popped some fresh grass in whenever we passed.
Sadly on day 6 she died. Mum says it was probably all the stress of being moved, escaping being captured again, Dad thinks she probably caught something nasty while she was out. I’m not sure which is right but I will be making sure none of my friends are tempted to let any of the rabbits out over the summer holidays which are nearly here now. Rest in peace little baby rabbit, I will miss you.
I hope our squirrel has found himself a new home up in the woods and hasn’t been frightened by his capture too.
Thanks for reading xxx
For Activity Hour at Coombe Mill this week I wanted to try something linked to nature and the seasons. My age group averaged at two so I was conscious that whatever we did would need to be easy for little ones to understand and enjoy. It was whilst walking round the farm for inspiration that I found myself faced with sticky weed on the bottom of my leggings. That was where the idea began. I picked up a long stick and wrapped some sticky weed around the end and then I tried to see if it would have enough stickiness to collect a leaf from the ground. If they were textured leaves it worked. From there everything fell into place.
On the afternoon with help from Farmer Kym and Amber our new Coombe Mill apprentice we set up a rug under the shade of the trees and I handed out some activity sheets to the parents so they knew what we were trying to achieve.
To help the children with the notion of imagination we brought out the dressing up boxes and invited them to choose an outfit, I even found a tutu to go round me! Sitting under the trees we read a lovely story about colour and things we might find on the farm from our Parragon Books collection.
Then we set off on a nature hunt to find sticky weed in the hedges, some ferns which were the perfect texture and shape to be our fish and the essential ingredient: a good long stick for everyone.
Back at our activity centre under the trees the rug became our blue lake and we made our fishing lines and set out the fish & flowers. It was such a simple activity but one that kept everyone happy. A few triumphant faces on catching a fish and even the parents couldn’t resist a turn.
With time to spare and the sun losing its heat we played ring a ring a roses in the sunshine.
A lovely end to a holiday at Coombe Mill.
This was a perfect activity for tots, just enough to create the pretend, but not too fiddly that they couldn’t do it themselves with a little help attaching the sticky weed.
Country Kids is all about enjoying the outdoors. Whether you are playing in the park, out on an adventure, enjoying a family day at the beach or the woods or learning and crafting as we were here please do come and join me. There are only a few restrictions namely to please include at least one photo of your activity and that it should be outside. From there anything goes, the more ideas we share for enjoying screen free fresh air time the better. Please do take time to comment on others linked up, there are always some wonderful ideas which might just inspire your next adventure.
Country Kids is around in these communities, I’d love you to join me there:
Pin on the Pinterest Board
Join the Google Plus community page for Country Kids
Share your posts on Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids
A few of my favourite posts from last week:
Would like to be shares Rosie’s love of scooting with some adorable photos
Time to Craft shows how to make a fantastic Teepee. I really want to try this in our Coombe Mill Fairy Garden
Mommy Loves plays an educational Tree Game that could be done anywhere from the woods to a park
I love this biking challenge from A Family Day Out and the cakes at the end look well deserved.
This is the last weekend for voting in the Loved By Parents Awards. I am up for Best Family Friendly Travel Destination and Best Family Friendly Accommodation and would love your vote. This is the form, I’m under special awards but it is not easy to navigate. If you are happy to email me your name at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me your email and name on Twitter I can pop a vote in for you and I would be so grateful of your support.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill
I’m back in Cornwall after an amazing two days. It is wonderful to be home, to see my family and our beautiful farm with fresh eyes. This has to be the best way to appreciate what you have. Anyway the long drive has given me plenty of time to reflect on the event and what I have taken from it. For me there were some real wins and a few less than perfect moments too. While they are all fresh and in no particular order here are my highs and lows:
I had 200 brand new business cards designed and printed to make my website makeover but sadly came home with 198 of them. If anyone wants one I have a few going spare!
I attended an interesting session on photography with Julia Boggio and learned how to stand for photos by turning sideways and pushing your chin out and then looking slightly down, yet I managed to totally forget in my photo after with the stunning Katy Hill who of course is looking gorgeous and was doing it all right. Grrr, I can’t be cross though as she is such a delight to be around and welcoming person to everyone there.
I felt wearing my Coombe Mill badge was a great way to be recognised but discovered I had spend half the day with it flipped round the wrong way! Despite this I felt I managed to see more people than last year thanks to one on my bag and a few who actually knew me as more than a logo.
I proved myself to be a total country bumpkin and couldn’t find my way from the Premier Inn to The Brewery even once on my own. Thank you to Alfa Wilmore who walked all the way there and back with me to check in on Friday.
I didn’t win in my BIBs category of social media but I am delighted for Darren Coleshill who did. All the finalists were amazing candidates and I was thrilled to be one of them.
The machine broke before I could have my bespoke Coke bottle made last year so I was careful to make over to the coke stand early this time. I was ridiculously proud of my Coombe Mill Bottle.
There is no such thing as too many boards or too many pins. Keep adding and repin to more than one board if relevant.
Title boards with keywords, that means I need to remove Coombe Mill from titles and make them more generic
Don't use hashtags; they are not relevant on Pinterest.
Focus on aspirations and make boards as desirable as possible don't just pin your own posts.
Education is a big area. I have a whole section for education on my site and am relaunching this together with Twinkl and will be talking to them about a joint board for all our wonderful ideas.
"Rich Pins" are the way forward, there are five areas of product, place, article, recipe and movie, use them to add more information on your pin with more search opportunities. These are available for business accounts; another reason to have one.
Pinterest is a form of social media, take time to repin, comment and follow just as you would on any other platform. Obvious but something I don't do enough.
Watch me become a Pinterest Queen over the coming months!
There were some great insights from this session too. Here are my main pointers:
Remember Google Plus is a part of Google and it can influence your blog ranking too. Having more active followers here is one way in which Google will rank you.
Google personalizes search information for you if you are in someone's G+ circle you are more likely to appear in their searches too
Large photos need to be at least 510 pixels in size. It was mentioned that 710 by 915 is ideal for Pinterest and this also works well for G+
If you are a business as I am it is worth having 5 reviews as this will get you a gold star on Google Local. I only have two reviews so if anyone is feeling generous who knows me this is the link to write a review for Coombe Mill and I would be most grateful.
More text is good so don't restrict yourself. A paragraph or two of good copy to draw your reader in is a good idea
Use the link box to link to your blog post as this will help your blog SEO. However you will need to publish again with the link in the text box to enable a decent size photo. Try and make the description different if you are duplicating your post in this way.
Add a "rel=publisher" tag in the header of your website to connect your blog to your G+ page or profile.
The learning was a bonus and I felt the sessions were more helpful than last year. However as far as I am concerned I bought my ticket and travelled to Brit Mums to meet the online friends I feel I have made over the years all in one place. From excited hugs to drunken conversations I really delighted in every person who spoke to me after recognised me or my logo (when it was facing the right way). I may have gone a little overboard on the photos but if I saw you I probably snapped you too, not my best pictures but indoor spot lights and coloured lighting were kind to skin but not ideal for photography. Never the less I delighted in capturing the smiles and silly faces of the moment. I award myself a BIBs in portrait quantity over the two days if not quality!
A huge thank you to all who obliged me in the silly and sane photos and took time to talk to me, you made the two days so worthwhile.