Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"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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Oh my, what a busy month April was here on the farm and we have plenty of fun going forward into May and June for you too. Grab a coffee and have a read.
Easter was a bumper few weeks for us here. We enjoyed some wicked Easter crafts with nature cards and decorative logs. The children made these to their own creative designs.
The Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday was a huge success as always, give or take a few melted eggs at the end of the trail thanks to the phenomenal Easter heat wave
On the Farm
It wouldn’t be Easter without lambs and this year didn’t disappoint with twins born on Easter Morning
Baby Robins Hatch
Farmer Nick had one of his tool trays in his big shed overtaken by a clever robin who thought it made a perfect nesting box. It was suitably sheltered and protected by being locked up at night from predators. We watched with interest over the month as her eggs hatched and the baby robins grew before finally flying the nest.
It wasn’t just robins laying eggs. We have a goose nest in the outdoor chicken house that we are expecting to hatch any day. However thanks to the location of the nest, half our chickens are still indoors since their home has been taken over! Once the goose eggs hatch all our chickens will be outdoors for the summer months. On the plus side the chickens lay better indoors and there have been enough eggs for everyone staying each day.
A lucky escape for Queenie
Queenie is our lucky goat. Not only was she rescued and hand reared by us at birth, but she has now just survived a traumatic emergency caesarean section at the vets. We knew she was heavily pregnant and had her separated from the other goats waiting for her to give birth. Sadly the kid was just too big for her and breached, I did my best as midwife to correct the situation when she went into labour under the guidance of our local sheep farmer; however it just wasn’t to be. Nick rushed her to the vet who carried out the necessary c section saving Queenie but sadly not the kid. Queenie is now recovering well with Prince Charles (her kid from last year) who is in with her for company.
A little beauty treatment from the farrier
The farrier came in April and gave all the ponies a little horse pedicure. Our miniature Shetlands, Scooby Doo and shaggy, weren’t at all sure about the merits of this. I received a good kick in the thigh and suffered trampled toes a few times in protest as I tried to hold them still against the fence for the farrier; however in the end they gave in and accepted their treatment. The timing worked perfectly for the feed run and the children were treated to a commentary from the farrier about what he was doing and why. They even had the chance to keep a bit of hoof clipping as a souvenir. You really never know what you are going to learn on a holiday here!
May looks like it will be just as busy going forward, hopefully with some more beautiful sunshine, farm antics and the sound of happy children playing out on the lawns. We’d love to see you here as part of this too.
Here are a few of the family Cornish events May 2019 locally we think you might like.
The Coombe Mill Easter Egg Hunt is one of the big events of the year here on the farm. Reserved especially for guests staying on Easter Sunday, it is a little chocolately fun the kids adore. It takes some careful planning to set it up without anyone seeing and much finger crossing for half an hour of favourable weather to make it enjoyable. I thought last year was good, but this year we succeeded on every level.
The morning starts early for me placing my premade the clues around the length of Coombe Mill at strategic points including popular play areas the children will guess. By the time we greet the guests for the 9am animals feeding, the clues are hidden and the eggs divided into bags for Clio to hide while we are on the farm.
Easter Day Animal Feed Run
We had the most amazing weather with the first heat wave of the year for Easter. All the children were soon excited by the farm, our new born lambs and driving the tractor. There is even the fun of Cadbury Crème Eggs laid by our Chickens on Easter Sunday!
Easter Egg Hunt Rules
By the time the tractor came home I was worried the eggs Clio had hidden could be melting as the heat was really beginning to break through. We agreed a quick 10 minute comfort break before meeting back for the Easter Egg Hunt. I made a hurried change into my DIY Easter Bunny outfit, added some bunny make up before heading back out to explain the rules and start the hunt with the first clue.
Let younger children have a head start.
No grabbing all the eggs, be considerate and share.
Search for the next clue at each stop and bring to me to read for everyone.
No running ahead and skipping / second guessing where the trail will go.
Let the Heat wave Easter Egg Hunt Begin!
As I read out the first clue the children were super excited guessing my first clue of “Ahoy Maties come and see, what treasures you can find on me” as the pirate ship play boat. They raced ahead and scoured the ship from top to bottom to start their egg collection.
The next two clues led them round the train routs and onto the Den building zone.
From here we skipped off to my favourite ‘the fairy garden’ where there are so many lovely places to hide sparkly eggs amidst the trinkets.
A rush along the lodge path via the Games room took the children to the kindness trail and on down to the end play area for their last clue.
I do like to finish at a play area as it is a great way for the kids to hang around and play, whilst munching on their haul. It made a full morning’s entertainment with the feed run as well and a lovely start to the holiday for all our guests. A Heat wave Easter morning no one will forget.
Our 2019 Heat Wave Easter Egg Hunt
You won’t be surprised to hear we are already taking bookings for Easter week 2020. We’d love you to join us if you can!
For nature and animal lovers the new book from Quarto Kids is simply a must. Sounds of Nature: World of Forests explores 10 different forests across the world, each on a double page spread. Packed with interesting facts and information, the book can’t fail to delight. The interactive sounds really bring each forest to life for the reader. Read on to discover more about the book and for your chance to win a copy here with us.
More about Sounds of Nature: World of forests
The clever sound system to play on each page keeps the reader matching each sound to an animal following the number guide. The deciduous forest of the New Forest in the UK will be the most familiar to most with easily identifiable animal sounds, however even here there are some surprising facts to learn. Did you know there are wild pigs in the forest to eat the fallen acorns and other nuts that might otherwise be poisonous to the grazing ponies and cows? We know how much Sally, our holiday farm pig, loves the fallen acorns here.
Move away from familiar territory, especially outside of Europe, and the sounds of the forest become more mysterious and intriguing. We enjoyed the sounds from the Boreal forest, Mangrove Forest and Desert forest. Though our Alpaca at Coombe Mill are camelids and sound rather like the Dromedary camel of the desert forest.
What we love
Interactive sound system with number guide to match each animal with its sound.
Colourful illustrations which build the forest scene.
Informative facts for each animal
Quick paragraph detailing each forest habitat
Education made fun
Video of Sounds of Nature: World of Forests.
Need to Know
Robert Frank Hunter
Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.6 x 12.4 inches
Wide eyed Editions (Quarto)
Quarto Kids online, Amazon,
Comes with 3 AG-13button cell batteries (3*1.5v = 4.5v) replace with similar.
Win your copy of Nature: World of Forests with Quarto and Coombe Mill
For your chance to WIN a copy of this lovely book with sounds simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
We were sent our copy of Sounds of Nature: World of Forests for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. A copy of the book can be found in the Coombe Mill Games Room for our holiday guests to borrow.
Easter Holidays bring Easter crafts. Here on the farm the weather has been dry and sunny inspiring plenty of fun on the farm and friendship building. We have been rounding off the Easter weeks with a lovely nature inspired outdoor Easter card and decorative log craft session.
Setting the challenge
It is always a joy to be able to set up outdoors in the sunshine for our craft session. I was soon joined by some eager crafters keen to discover what we would be making. I showed them my example Easter card and Decorative log pointing out that none of the things to make theirs were in sight. This had them a little confused, until I handed out a list of things for them to go and find for themselves in the fairy gardens.
They didn’t need telling twice and raced off with their lists in search of all the things they would need. There was quite a few items to collect and it kept them busy hunting.
Easter Decorative Log Craft
Once back at the craft table, the children set straight to work on their log craft. In anticipation of a large group I had a big tub of flour and water paste ready for them to all dig in and start designing. I love the creativity that emerged, they may have taken inspiration from my log, but they certainly added their own Easter design and took an enormous amount of pride in their creation.
As the finishing touches were added to the decorative logs I began to explain how to twist the wool around their Easter card frame.
Next they scoured the surrounding field for pretty spring flowers and leaves to weave into the frame. Finally they opened their cards to write and draw their chosen Easter Messages.
A treat from the Easter Bunny
They were some delightful results with both the Easter cards and decorative logs. With so many attending I was glad I had prepared well with all the basic elements, leaving the children with the creative finding and decorating. I know from our Christmas Logs and Halloween Logs just how much time they can take. There was just one final treat, the Easter Bunny had revisited the Fairy Garden while the children were working and hidden some little chocolate bunnies for them to find.
Don’t you just love spring? The countryside is transformed as hedgerows come to life in vibrant greens and colourful flowers. Here on the farm uplifting change comes not only from the trees and meadows but also from new life. There is something quite magical about the first spring lambs, little piglets and kid goats. However alongside our farm animals, wildlife is responding to the spring conditions too. Imagine our surprise and delight when Farmer Nick discovered a perfect little robin’s nest hidden in a cunning location within his shed. We have watched from eggs through to baby robins flying the nest.
A safe nesting spot
If finding the perfect home preoccupies us as humans, imagine how important it must be in the wild. One clever little robin opted for the middle tray in Farmer Nick’s nuts and bolts collection. We were quite oblivious to this homemaking until Farmer Nick pulled out the draw in search of a 2 inch screw only to find the most perfect nest, Mummy Robin and a clutch of eggs sitting in there. She must have taken a liking to Cornwall’s Pirate fm radio, which is always on in there, or more realistically the dry windproof conditions!
They could be Cadbury Mini Cream Eggs.
The little robin eggs really do remind me of Cadbury Mini Eggs in looks and size. I popped my ring in next to them just to show how little they are. It has given me some wonderful inspiration for my Easter crafts with the holiday makers this year!
Newly hatched baby robins
Mummy Robin continued to sit on her clutch of eggs and listen to the radio as Farmer Nick pottered about his business, until he noticed she was flying in and out more often. A closer inspection revealed 5 perfect little baby robins all reaching up for food. No wonder she had been flying in and out.
Nature is harsh
Sadly within the week, despite her cunning nesting location, there were just two baby robins in the nest. Nature can be harsh, but looking at how they fill the little nest I can’t imagine there being space for more. Curiously made me research this, according to the RSPB website site only around 57% of a clutch will make it to fledgling chicks, so our Mummy is typical after all.
Almost ready to fly
The two survivors gradually put on weight; we watched their wings grow in preparation to fly the nest.
Farmer Nick get’s his screws back.
They have now flown the nest and Farmer Nick can reach his precious screw collection again. If you wanting encourage nesting birds, recommend a trip to a DIY store for these organisational trays and a nice sheltered spot in a shed or garden to attach them!
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.