Posted on July 29th, 2017 - Fiona
So the school summer holidays are here and we have enjoyed our first full week on the farm. I forget how much the farm dynamic changes as the age range increases over the holiday period. Much as I adore the look of wonder and excitement on the faces of the tiny tots here in term time, there is something equally contagious about the enthusiasm and energy of the older children. The feed runs last that little bit longer as curiosity, stamina and engagement lead to a thousand and one questions for Farmer Nick. It keeps us all on our toes and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This week saw a perfect balance of regular guests and newcomers to the farm. With the regulars leading the way driving the tractor and feeding the animals, it encourages new comers to join in as well. Children learn from one another so much more than from us and without even knowing it they are all mini teachers. By the end of the week everyone is on a level playing field in animal knowledge and confidence, friendships have been forged and memories made.
For Nick and I the rate of rebooking is the ultimate test of holiday fun. I’m pleased to say the school summer holiday season has made a flying start. Fingers crossed the weather is on our side to make each week as good as this past week.
Farm highlights from the 1st school summer holiday week on the farm
Egg collecting is always a favourite job on the farm.
We have baby chicks at the moment that the children love to hold.
Our trampolining goats are great entertainers.
A deer hunt with Farmer Nick is side tracked as the children embark on their own nature jump challenge.
The bunny house is where friendships are formed.
Posted on July 28th, 2017 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:
“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”
Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
Summer Holiday Fun
So the summer holidays have begun. If you have children home from school for the holidays I hope you are enjoying some quality family time. We have been out fruit picking this week, making ice cream from the proceeds and enjoying the crazy zip wire at our local fruit farm. Remember the sun is strong if you are out in the middle of the day, cover up with cream and hats and I hope you’ll have a few adventures to share on the link up below.
Guidelines for Joining in:
- Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
- Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
- Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
- If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
- Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
- Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
- I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
- By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
- There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.
My top commenters from last week:
- Emma from Crazy with Twins who commented on 16 posts.
- Sara from Mum Turned Mom who commented on 15 posts.
- Michelle from Mummy from the Heart who commented on 9 posts.
We have no bloggers link dumping this week, although do remember I comment count on Thursday after lunch so get your comments in before then if you want them to be counted.
A massive welcome to Rachel from The Little Pip and Escape With The Family, who joined in for the first time this week!
Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.
Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the July Rockfish Wellies:
Top Commenter : Emma from Crazy with Twins
Shadow puppets are a great idea over at Right from the start blog for a creative garden day.
Wave to Mummy shares her favourite beach to visit for a family day out from London.
Country Kids Communities
I’d love you to join me:
Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too.
Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.
Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.
I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 5190 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @catrionamackenzieblog @mrs_hs_fav_things @pamleboutillier and @courtneykickery. Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following
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Posted on July 28th, 2017 - Fiona
Once a year our quirky alpaca are sheared. We have one of the few expert shearers in England come to us and he is in high demand covering all the country and Europe too. They don’t call him the alpaca whisperer for nothing. He has a way with these funny beasts that will make your heart melt. While Farmer Nick risks being spat and kicked, Colin the shearer has them practically kissing him with affection!
Preparing for shearing
We had moved the alpaca from their favoured field down by the river up to the winter chicken enclosure with the usual ‘stand well back and hope with a big stick in hand just in case’ technique. Here they munched happily on hay overnight and most importantly kept their coats nice and dry for the morning.
For the previous 2 mornings Farmer Nick had warned the guests the shearer was coming at 8am and that they would need to be down at his shed bright and early to catch the action. Well an 8am start isn’t everyone’s idea of holiday fun, but surprisingly we had one of the biggest turnouts ever to watch the action. I had to ensure all the pre-farm checks were complete ahead of this as we knew it would run straight into the morning feed run while Nick helped the shearer set up in his shed. Thankfully it was a beautiful morning and it was no hardship being up early.
The alpaca whisperer in action
By 8am Colin was ready for his first alpaca and the guests all assembled to watch. Toffee was out first, except he just sat down in the chicken coop doorway and had to be carried into Nick’s shed!
In no time at all the ’50 shades of Grey’ style restraints had Toffee stretched out and Colin was good to go. He did spend a little time filling our guests in about the restraints and reassuring them it didn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable, this was a comfort to our curious guests. Parents and children alike were mesmerized by Colin’s quick and thorough work.
In just minutes the first coat was off
The legs and head take a little longer but our Alpaca whisperer makes it all look easy. It is a good opportunity for the children to come forward and stroke the alpaca and his trusty assistant clips the hooves then too. There is a little souvenir piece of fleece for everyone.
Toffee went out as he came in, being carried! Caramel is the friendlier of the two and walked in no problem. Our Alpaca whisperer showed his skill on Caramel who really relished the attention. Even the older children came to stroke him just free standing with Colin. I was so mesmerized I managed not to take a photo and am now kicking myself.
Farmer Nick may be some way off becoming an alpaca whisper; however he did successfully move the pair back into the stock trailer and over the river into their summer field next to the rabbits to enjoy the rest of the summer without their heavy coats. This means they are on the morning feed run route and in with a chance of some cornflakes from the children.
What happens to the Fleece
The guests certainly had a tale or two to take home with them and a good chunk of fleece. The rest will go to Kaye, our local crafting friend who makes rugs and these gorgeous mini alpaca to sell at the local craft fairs. This one is our souvenir from last year’s fleece; a remarkable likeness to Caramel don’t you think?
Posted on July 24th, 2017 - Fiona
With a large family we can pile through yogurt here each week. I love the plain Greek yogurt for cooking and making dips and the traditional Greek dish Tzatziki and the kids love the flavoured yogurts as snacks after school. I have always fancied making my own yogurt but had no idea where to begin. Growing the pro-biotic culture and managing this safely has always put me off trying. Then I discovered EasiYo which does what it says in the name – it allows you to make yogurt at home the easy way. No mess, no ingredients needed, just add water and wait. Bingo, I had to give it a go and you can too by entering to win an EasiYo yogurt maker and two complimentary sachets of flavoured yogurt to get you started. Read on to find out more.
EasiYo really is so simple you’ll be amazed
Follow the carefully written instructions to ensure you have your water in the correct quantities and the correct temperature and the rest is easy peasy. This would be a great activity to do with children. They will love making it with you and it stores in the fridge just like fresh yogurt bought at the supermarket.
Check out my under 1 minute video to making super quick super easy yogurt.
What we thought of the yogurt maker and yogurt
To be fair I say super quick as the involvement in making it is just minutes. However it does need to set for 8 – 12 hours before it is ready to eat so you need to prepare this one in advance. We made ours in the evening and left it to set overnight. The yogurt takes on a set consistency at first; we stirred ours to give a creamy smooth consistency very like Greek yogurt. We tested the mango and coconut first which I liked but the kids didn’t like the bits of coconut in it. They loved the raspberry and lemon which is completely smooth. There are variety of flavours to choose from when you buy the sachets so there is one for everyone.
Need to know facts
No moving or electronic parts
Easy to clean and store.
|RSP Yogurt maker||£16.75|
|RSP yogurt sachets|
1kg £2.60 – £.330
3*500g sachets £4.99 – £5.75
Variety of flavours
All are gluten free with no artificial colours or flavours
EasiYo on line shop
Holland & Barrett
Win your EasiYo Yogurt maker & Two Sachets with Coombe Mill
If you fancy making yogurt yourself with EasiYo then why not enter to win here. Just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
EasiYo Yogurt Maker and 2 Yogurt sachets
I was sent my EasiYo yogurt maker for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted on July 22nd, 2017 - Fiona
Guy is our resident fishing expert here on the farm. We have two beautiful lakes that often feature in my photos but I rarely mention the fishing lesson opportunity here too. For a bargain £10 Guy will give you an hour’s tuition and set up a beginners rod for you to use for the lesson and keep afterwards. It is a system that has worked well over the past few years. It gives Guy a little pocket money while teaching his favourite hobby to others.
Having arranged one such lesson for after the Sunday feed run last week I decided to creep on in with my camera to capture a few photos of the lesson in progress. Despite a dry feed run the drizzle had set in so Guy sensibly set up with his Umbrella for them both. A family just the week prior had caught an enormous fish and the challenge was on. They struck up quite a rapport together talking bait and impressive catches while practicing casting.
Setting up for a fishing lesson
Patiently waiting for a catch
Could this be the catch of the day?
I left them too their fishing lesson convinced there would be no catch this time despite seeing many fish circling the line in the water. Guy returned home looking quite stunned with the rod they had been using in two pieces. It would appear they were on the cusp of beating last week’s giant catch, except our 22lb plus carp was clearly too much for the beginners line. When they tried to real her in it simply snapped. Even the hook had bent itself straight allowing the carp to slip back into the lake. Guy did give the young lad another rod to keep and practice his new found hobby during the week and he proudly showed me a photo on his phone of his 4lb catch.