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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In early May the farm is teaming with wild garlic. Big green leaves, white bulb roots and pretty white flowers. I was keen to run an activity hour that would take us out on a nature appreciation tour searching for garlic and making something with it. Last year we made some delicious cheese and wild garlic scones, this year I thought we’d try my super easy pasta sauce. Since I knew it was very quick and easy to make I had a couple of extra jobs on the farm for us to do with the animals, and then nature obliged with a few more so that we totally overran our time, but no one was clock watching and tummies had been filled.
We began with a little sensory game. The children each sniffed a little wild garlic, rosemary and mint and tried to say what they reminded them of. Some of the things were so funny with the likes of strawberries and honey, but I was really impressed with the little girl who said roast potatoes on smelling the rosemary. I checked with her Mum and like me she adds rosemary to roasties!
Nature Appreciation through making Wild Garlic Pasta Sauce
Having seen and smelt wild garlic we watched my little video on how to make wild garlic pasta sauce.
Then we set off onto the farm to look for some wild garlic while Clio cooked a pan of pasta for us.
On our return we saved a little garlic to add to our recipe cards which were laminated for the children to take home then washed hands and garlic before setting to work on our sauce. The children helped me carefully chop the wild garlic including the leaves, flowers and bulbs and place them in the food mixer. Then we added olive oil and seasoning, replaced the lid and whizzed it all up.
Clio brought us out the steaming pasta and we put some into bowls with the sauce and grated cheese for the children to try. Despite the parents reservations on whether they would taste it, every child gave it a go and most really enjoyed it. Curiosity had the better of the parents and they all tried some too!
Nature appreciation with animals.
When everyone had finished their pasta we had a few farm jobs to do.
Our first job was to release an emperor moth. I had found her sunbathing on our doorstep just before activity hour and she was sure to be trodden on merging into the paving stones so I brought her along for the children to see. Carefully we freed her onto the grass next to a bush.
Our remaining jobs needed a walk back to the farm. Lambo needed her bottle, I had carrots ready as edible toys for the rabbits and Farmer Nick had made a sign we needed to put up to protect the nesting wild duck sitting on her eggs. We headed off over the fields with everything we needed and stopped first to add the sign and show the children the duck. She was pretty well camouflaged and we only found her in the first place when farmer Nick nearly mowed her down cutting the lawns!
Over the bridge and a hungry lamb was waiting for us.
Finally we took our sliced carrots into the bunnies and hung them from their toy. Grabbing their treat keeps the bunnies entertained and full up!
No wonder the time ran away, there is so much to do on the farm at this time of year and it’s lovely to have the children wanting to help. You might have thought they would be worn out after all their nature appreciation and chores, but there was still time for a play in the ford on the way back. It just goes to show that nature’s playground is pretty cool too!
Here at Coombe Mill we make so secret of loving games and educational toys that encourage children to think and learn whilst having fun away from technology. The lovely range of board games and puzzles from Orchard Toys delivers against these aims every time. Quality wipe clean recycled board at affordable prices are turned into simple but effective learning tools for younger children. We were invited to try out one of the new games for 2018: One Dog, Ten Frogs. The name had me taken from the start; an educational counting game with animals was going to be a winner here. Read on to discover more about the game and how you could win one to enjoy with your little ones.
Jumbo Cards for Matching and Sequencing
Essentially this is a giant game of pairs. Jumbo circular cards have numbers with the corresponding number of animals shown. Turn the cards and match the animals and numbers. When you are done make a long line in number order. It is as simple as that, yet gives so many opportunities to discuss and explain both number values and the cute animals depicted.
At just £10 we think this would make an excellent birthday present for friends and family members or perhaps a treat in preparation for starting school or nursery.
See just how easy the game is to play in our little video
Every year male deer shed their antlers. Our lead stag changes every few years, yet the week in which his antlers are lost is nearly always the same. It is mid May and just as Rudolph the stag is looking his most magnificent everything changes.
Farmer Nick had gone away up country leaving me in charge of the kids and the farm. It was on my two feed run mornings that each antler was seen missing. The first day poor Rudolf was looking a bit lopsided where one had fallen and one remained. By the second day both had fallen and he was looking half the man he was at the start of the week. That said it must be like the Queen removing her heavy crown as they really are quite weighty.
As I was leading the feed run I only had my phone at hand to grab a few photos. However the children were so thrilled to go on a deer hunt and track down the missing antlers with me that I still thought the photos were worth sharing, despite the sub optimal quality.
Hunting for antlers in a large Jurassic field is a little like searching for a needle in a haystack. As we walked every fallen and chewed branch looked like a possible antler. I’m not sure who was more excited, me or the kids, when on both mornings, after trekking high into the field, we found the antlers. The little ones referred to the antlers as their “trophies” as they held onto them tightly. I was somewhat worried about them poking each other in the eye in their excitement but didn’t want to take their trophies away. Thankfully everyone managed a good turn at carrying them before placing them in the tractor and trailer without any mischief coming to the children or the antlers!
Rudolf the stag at the start of the week with a full set of antlers.
The children find their first missing antler.
Another day and another antler found to make the set.
A quick snap of everyone crowding round to see
Rudolf looking less than majestic and no doubt feeling light headed without his antlers.
Did you know deer have antlers but sheep and goats have horns? Antlers are shed and re-grow annually. Horns grow just once and if they break they are missing for life.
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 #50 things along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
You know summer is knocking on the door when…..
Rudolph has lost his antlers. This is one of the regular signs of early summer here on the farm. Our magnificent stag is looking somewhat less majestic without his headgear much to the delight of the children who found it! The plants, and weeds, are running away, we are through lambing and the evenings are stretching out into the night. What’s not to love about the outdoors now? Please come and join me with your adventures 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.
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.
Thanks to all of you who joined in last week and for the comments you took time to leave, we had a week with nojust one link dumper. Please don’t do this it isn’t fair!
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 May Rockfish Wellies:
I love it when I have an idea that jut grows. We had such fun back in half term up in the deer field, where Farmer Nick was explaining the ice age history of the woodland there and I began to think about how we could incorporate this into an activity hour. My mind moved from the ice age landscape to the dinosaurs who would have roamed the Jurassic landscape back then. Creating a dinosaur world from the ancient parts of Coombe Mill began to take shape in my mind whilst I was cycling over Bodmin Moor. Farmer Nick was out shopping and as my plan came together in my mind I had to stop and phone him to ask him to buy me a bag of plastic dinosaurs. He is used to my strange requests and came home with just what I wanted. A little more planning and creative thought and I had our dinosaur world of discovery mapped out.
Dinosaur know how
As everyone assembled the children began to look through 3 lovely dinosaur books we have on the farm from Atlas of Dinosaurs and Lonely Atlas of Dinosaurs which covered the age range of the children perfectly. I was surprised how knowledgeable the children were on their dinosaurs, telling me names, habitats and even how long ago they lived on earth (180 – 65 million years ago) and theories on they became extinct.
I focused in on the Atlas of Dinosaurs and the page on the UK which depicted a beautifully illustrated landscape that could have been Coombe Mill. The children quickly identified the river and the forested deer field as looking just like the book.
By now everyone had arrived and we set about painting dinosaur rocks out of old Coombe Mill scavenged ancient chunks of rock which I had pre primed with white paint as a base.
The children painted their favourite dinosaurs and we set them on one side to dry. I later took them home and varnished them so they could be taken home with the children the following day and kept or hidden locally. My own is now hidden at Coombe Mill and added to our Coombe Mill Rocks page on Facebook.
Creating our dinosaur world
Next we arranged cereal box backing into supermarket vegetable trays as the base of our Jurassic world. When everyone was happy with the fit of the two items we took just the tray with us on a farm scavenger hunt to look for and collect evidence of where the dinosaurs might have lived and what they might have eaten at Coombe Mill. We stopped to look along the river, to collect and smell wild garlic which we all agreed dinosaurs would have enjoyed and headed up into the deer field.
A play in the trees followed, along with collecting moss as a carpet to our dinosaur world. We also searched for ferns and leaves which we had read they liked to eat.
Back at the craft table the children tipped out their scavenged items, added the backing board back and began to assemble their own mini Jurassic world replica.
There was just one thing missing, mine had a dinosaur in and no one else’s did. I had a last activity up my sleeve. Clio had laid a dinosaur trail for us while we were on our scavenger hunt. This took us from the games room up to the sand pit where 9 dinosaurs were hidden in the sand; one for each child. They raced along spotting and collecting the clues and enjoyed digging up their dinosaurs. The Play Expert diggers were very handy for the job!
Finally with dinosaurs in hand they headed back to place them in their newly made home.
It’s amazing how much fun we had with some lovely books, little dinosaur toys and 30 acres of ancient dinosaur landscape that makes Coombe Mill.
“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.