For my weekly photos this week I thought I’d share an early glimpse of our Halloween fun. The Ghost train was just a small part of an action packed day of Halloween activities on the farm; please pop back and check out Country Kids this Saturday where I will share all the fun from the day. For now I’m just sharing a taster from the Ghost train at dusk. Our railway tunnel really does lend itself to a little pimping up for special occasions and Halloween is one of my favourites. It was full of home made crafts combined with shop bought scary beasts with sounds and lights to give a thrill for children young and old.
I crouched in the tunnel waiting for the train to appear
Train driver Guy drew to a halt and I handed out my spooky treats amidst the Halloween sounds and sights
The faces on the children were a picture as they took in the ambiance of the tunnel
Guy drove them safely back to the station and waiting parents where more children were queuing for a turn. It took at least half an hour to make sure everyone enjoyed a spooky ride.
I mounted the Go Pro on the engine next to Guy to give a child’s eye view of the fun aboard the train:
Our next festive makeover will be Christmas. Do come and join us and ride on our very own Santa Express each night with a visit from the man himself on Christmas Eve, We still have 3 properties remaining and a great 10 days for the price if 7 offer.
Guy has become our resident fisherman this year. He adores the sport and is only too happy to help any of our guests wanting to learn, not to mention while away hours himself with a flask of tea and a book.
However at this time of year the top lake is prone to becoming heavily coated with pond weeds and though it seems to clear itself eventually it makes fishing in autumn tricky and the lake unsightly. Guy had done his best with a rake to pull weed from near the bank, but it became clear this was going to be a long job and leave the bulk of the lake inaccessible.
There is nothing like the prospect of a new toy to enthuse children with a task. Nick scoured ebay for a boat and an outboard and managed to secure both on separate bids. The pair set off for the lake to test things out only to be disappointed when the battery needed replacing on the outboard. I made matters worse by laughing at the boat and calling it a bathtub, which of course stuck!
Undeterred they invested in a new battery and HMS Bathtub was good to go. Now they could really give it a test and as if by magic there was a queue of siblings and me all waiting to have a turn and a giggle at each other’s steering.
The ducks were less than impressed by all the commotion on their lake and I expect the fish felt somewhat confused too.
It has to be said clearing the lake of weed didn’t progress beyond untangling it from the outboard that afternoon but it was great family bonding time. Seeing the fun we all had I would still love to have more gentle pedalos on this lake for the guests to enjoy, however so far this suggestion has met with a frosty reception from our insurance company!
I’d love you to come and share your outdoor fun with me here on the linky. All posts are welcome from playing in the garden to days out. All I ask is that the post is predominantly outside, away from screens and enjoying some fresh air. I’d be delighted if you would take my badge or link back here and please remember to check out some of the other posts, it might just be the inspiration for your next adventure.
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A few of my favourites from last week:
The freedom of the woods after a busy term at school was just what was needed for Something Crunchy Mummy
Over mud, hills and rocky tracks with a castle in the middle for Motherhood Journeys
Pumpkins all around for Mummy Here and There
Such a fun time conker hunting from Stopping at Two
Making the most of NT membership at Canons Ashby House for Becoming a SAHM
I am delighted to announce that Muddy Puddles have joined with Coombe Mill to sponsor the Country Kids link up. My favourites each week will be considered for a pair of Muddy Puddles Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. If you are not already familiar with this wonderful outdoor children's range please do take a look at their website where they have everything needed for year round country kids. The wellies we offer may change each month but are always high quality, comfy and stylish so keep an eye out here on Country Kids to see which designs are up each month. For more more information on the Muddy Puddles wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here
My Muddy Puddles winner for October is Amanda from city girl gone Coastal with her lovely post about a wild October day in the sea. For me this post embraces the essence of Country Kids, having fun in nature at no cost and throwing a little caution to the wind. Amanda wins a pair of Muddy Puddles Puddle stomper wellies to enjoy more Country Kids adventures.
Holding a party for a group of young children can feel daunting, however with a little thought and a good theme they can be great fun and inexpensive. When Party Bags and Supplies contacted me to see if I would like to review some of their range I jumped at the chance. With activity hour to fill each week a few props are always welcome. After a good browse of their website I choose the Ultimate Jake’s Pirates Party Pack for 8 to review which my preschoolers soon put to the test for our special afternoon party.
We set our pirate themed table up in front of the Coombe Mill pirate play ship and fortress to give the full pirate experience. The children were soon drawn to the colourful table for a bite to eat and drink. I even used some of the card packaging to make pirate decorations for the cake and made use of some of the napkins for bunting on the ship.
With tummies full the children each took their loot bags over to the pirate ship where Guy had hidden some homemade treasure. The children had a great time climbing, sliding and searching for their pirate treasure still wearing their eye patches which came in the pack.
With loot bags full Clio untied a balloon for everyone from the play fortress while Guy brought out the Coombe Mill Train. Every one enjoyed a pirate train ride waving their balloons and carrying their treasure.
It was a lovely way to spend a sunny winter’s afternoon. The party packs are designed for age 3 plus, but all our pirate party guests were actually 18 months plus and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. If you want to expand your party theme into a full 2 hour party then do have a look at my pirate crafts which are suitable for preschool age upwards. These together with the party packs would make a perfect party indoors or outside with maximum fun at minimum cost.
The pirate pack costs £16.35 with tableware for 8 and little extras to make your pirate theme:
To win your chance to choose from the great selection over on the Party Bags and Supplies website follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part. Remember if you don’t win you can always buy your supplies from the website, there are some great ideas to transform a home party into an afternoon to remember.
We were sent our pirate pack to test and write this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own
For a while we have been keeping a close eye on our Billy goat. He has proved great at fathering kids this year and been the friendliest working Billy we have ever kept, however there was a worrying development we knew needed attention. Poor Billy had a misshapen horn, not only was it unsightly and not going to win him any beauty awards but it had become dangerously in growing. Rather like an in growing toenail it was not something we could ignore, particularly as it was heading in towards his skull.
During the feed run poor Billy was by passed by as all the other animals were fed to the sound of much plaintiff bleating. Nick explained to our holiday makers that he was having an operation later and in order to catch him his breakfast was being held back until after his operation. The guests accepted this simply inquiring what he was having done and how far the vet had to come. Nick’s face was a picture as he feigned fainting at the prospect of calling out a vet! It is an operation he has performed before on a ewe with a horn growing into her eye and so he knew it was one he could do. That said the hideous smell of burning keratin from the horn and steady hand needed whilst holding Billy still meant there were significant risks and it is certainly not a pleasant job. After the feed run had finished and the guests gone home to plan their day we brought Billy to the shed in the stock trailer blissfully unaware of what lay ahead. The First job while we had him captured was to give him a syringe of wormer.
Meanwhile Nick had set up the angle grinder and was ready to operate. He deftly secured Billy beneath him and turned on the grinder as I held my breath and crossed my fingers. As predicted the noise of the grinding was like fingernails down a blackboard and the stench from the horn sick making.
Thankfully Nick blocked out all these distractions including the bleating from Billy focusing on completing the job as quickly and as safely as he could.
The offending clump of horn fell to the ground and Nick withdrew the grinder without cutting Billy’s skull. A quick spray of blue antiseptic for the horn stub and Billy was good to go. He couldn’t have been too fazed as he instinctively munched on some hay.
Guy drove him back to the farm and carried his food into his field while Nick let him out the trailer to follow. Billy had other ideas and before he could concentrate on breakfast took advantage of a quick trot up to the girls field; a reminder to us that he will soon need a girlfriend for some spring kids.
A man can only be without his breakfast so long and the rustle of the bucket soon had him turn for home with a last longing look at the ladies.
Finally Farmer Nick could enjoy his farm breakfast knowing all the animals were taken care of. A quick reminder that we are open now till 7th November before our annual closure where we have many projects in the pipeline. We will of course be open again in time to welcome guests for Christmas and New Year.
My weekly photo on the farm this week takes a look at the same place at two times of day. We have had some beautiful chilly mornings last week with mist rising off the river and ground clearing to blue skies. As we are right down on the river in a lush wooded valley the sun is late arriving at Coombe Mill in the mornings. Currently it emerges over the valley at around 9am. I nipped out to take this first photo of our cottage lawns just after the school run marvelling at the sun’s rays caught in the rising mist. Within half an hour the mist had lifted and the warmth of the day it would be come filtered through.
The downside of valley life is that not only do we have to wait for the sun in the morning but conversely we lose it early in the afternoon too. The sun sinks over the valley top trees just before 4pm. The photo below was taken at this time standing in the same spot as for my morning picture. It still looks like mid afternoon but this was in fact just before we lost the sun.
Cornwall does have some beautiful sunset and sunrises, however it is a hike up the hill to admire them from Coombe Mill. On the plus side we are very sheltered and the prevailing south westerly winds sail straight over us barely stirring a branch. I always warn my guests they will need an extra layer to venture up the hill into our nearest moorland village of St Breward.