Dear Diary Tuesday 15th March 2011

Posted on March 15th, 2011 -

The farm today – Tuesday 15th March

Why do I always end up writing this so late at night? I guess I can answer that quite easily….it is the only quiet minute of the day! We had another glorious spring day at up to 15% at one point, we are so very sheltered down here in the valley that we really do have our own micro climate. I always warn guests when they go a mile up the hill into the village they will need an extra layer! All this warm sunshine is really showing the farm off at its best with spring growth all around us – animals and plants! Farmer Nick has been busy in the orchard most of the day with stakes, rabbit deterrents and new planting. I think we have apples, pears, plums and cherries now, yet to see any fruit mind you, but you never know, this could be the first year! the daffodils are blooming and even the grass seed is beginning to take down on the recently re landscaped lodge path.
Wondering back from the orchard and looking across the river I could see 3 naughty goats on the loose. We knew Hudini could escape, but it appears she has taught her friends a trick or two! they were all having such a lovely time foraging along the banks of the river I didn’t have the heart to try and put them back and left them to their business figuring they would return to the safety of their field and shelter at night.
Poor Farmer Ted drew the short straw on such a beautiful day and was to be found donkey deep (well not literally) in paint inside Water Mill. we are turning the property upside down again repainting and updating furniture and lighting in the rest of the house in the with the lovely modern transformation made to the living room and downstairs bedroom. Now the whole house will be in the same modern style in time for Easter – if I can get the sewing machine to work for my new curtains!

Dear Diary Monday 14th March 2011

Posted on March 14th, 2011 -

Evening to all who choose to follow my chatter. Another action packed day which has disappeared in a blur! Again I am racing the clock….would really like to see waking the dead in 15 mins, lamb is bleating in the kitchen for her evening bottle but on the positive side I have 5 out of 6 kids in beds with a night night kiss and a reasonable stab at the evenings homework!
I do so love sunny days. Why is it that when we only have a few properties filled with guests we have the best weather, then when we are at peak prices and full to bursting in August it pours with rain! Anyway I am ever the optimist and determined we are having hot sunshine this August so panic not if you have booked then, Mistic Meg Cambouropoulos has predicted good weather!
Anyway the highlight of my day has to be my afternoon stroll around the farm before the children came homef from school. The animals like me were lapping up the suns warmth in various stages of afternoon nap. I couldn’t resist a few pics, they all looked so peaceful!

My excuse for the stroll, yes I need an excuse to drag me away from the computer, the house and daily chores, was to see Domino, our orphan lamb, who was spending her first day out with the other sheep and newborn lambs. She had an hour yesterday, but the children rescued her when the other sheep butted her on coming too close. Today we decided to let her tough it out for a few hours, but I just had to go and see how she was getting on. To my relief she seemed quite happy, a bit distant from the others but keen to become friends with them. She still ran over when I called and welcomed her bottle, only to act like a typical teenager afterwards, edging away from me and skipping back off to explore the field. I felt a little hurt at her lack of need for me but also very happy that she was so keen to intergrate with her own kind.

She is now safely tucked up in the kitchen for the night awaiting her last feed, but I am confident she will be ready to meet her new friends in the field again tomorrow.

Till tomorrow….keep following!

The merits of children earning their pocket money

Posted on March 13th, 2011 -

Should you give your children money each week, at what age? how much? on what bais? What do they and don’t they have to pay for themsleves with it?

This is a a minefield of controversay which every parent will go through with their children at some stage. We all make our decsions based on very little guidance and a lot of peer presure from what others are doing. there is no right and wrong in this, we all just do what we feel is best. Would love to hear your views on the subject.

Just for the record ours get nothing without working for it. This may sound harsh but actually when you run a business like ours there are so many ways in which the children can help it actually makes it easy. Chores range from caring for the rabbits daily to manning reception, making kindling to sell and animal feed and of cause helping with changeover day stripping beds and putting on washing etc. As for how much, kindling starts at 25p per bundle they chop and tape up to £2.50 per week on the rabbits and up to the cleaners rates for cleaning a property to the full standard – only my eldest is up to this one and it takes him all day to clean a property as he is such a prefectionist – no good at all when we are busy! A day stripping the beds in summer and bagging up the laundry is £10. They are about age 10 before they can do this one.
What they are expected to buy with their money is also contentious, our eldest is saving to pay for a school skiing trip next year at £800 for which we have contributed £200. His friends apparently don’t need to pay for themselves so it is a bit unfair, but so is life and we feel he is gaining good experience and appreciation of money by working for this goal. He can make the target but will need to work his summer on the farm and cleaning. Om the other hand our 6 year olds are thrilled when they earn a £1 and head straight for the village shop to work out how many sweets they can afford. Fortunatley they are well known there and the staff are very patient when they try to buy too much or claim they thought their 10p was a £1 coin!

Diary on Sunday 13th March

Posted on March 13th, 2011 -

Collected our boys from their scouting adventure after no sleep, soaked from the rain, freezing, exhausted….you get the picture! Still they were high on adrenalin and talked over one another all the way home about the adventures of the night, which team won, who could and couldn’t light thier fire, remember their knots etc. Needless to say within an hour of being home both were asleep!
Funniest thing was Felix waking at 4pm while I was cooking dinner and going to claim a bowl of cerial, swearing blind to me it was still the morning!
It was the most beautiful of spring days again. Perfect for the feedrun with our new guests for the week. Domino also made a guest appearance enjoying her first tractor ride!

Sadly I was unable to follow the feed run this morning as our youngest, Clio had her first tap and ballet exams. Gutted to be missing such a beautiful day we set of for the dance studio. It was smiles all round when she came out so hopefully it was all worth it – 2 weeks till we find out.
Chores on the farm in the afternoon and cooking super, clean plates all round and much retelling of scouting adventures and ballet moves!

Diary on Saturday 12th March

Posted on March 12th, 2011 -

Morning to everyone. A diary of life on the farm seams like a good place to start my blog….or it did this morning. Can’t tell you how much has happened since I started this first sentence and now it is 11pm. Managing a business, home and family with 6 children, should I really be surprised that all my ambitions to keep our facebook site, twitter and now blog upto date is a challenge? Well it works so long as I don’t need too many hours sleep!

Anyway not really knowing the protocol of blogging I am going to throw order out of the window and just pick a few of the days highlights. We had one of those early spring days when you really start to feel some warmth in the sun. Domino, the orphan lamb, joined my husband and 2 of our chldren to feed the animals early doors.

Watching them all enjoing the morning chores I had one of those reflective moments, you know the ones, when you stand back and watch and think how lucky you are. A great sence of pride and thankfulness of our lovely children and souroundings washed over me.

A blur of tasks filled most of the day from cleaning properties, feeding chidren, showing in guests answering the phone, email and such like, however I did have another success moment with our 8 year old Theo who took his shetland pony out on our most successful ride around the farm yet, we managed to trot and walk with no pony naughty moments for the first time, poor Domino (the lamb who insisted on coming with us) was quite exhaused at the end and downed a huge bottle of milk before settling down for a quiet kip in the garden. Not quite sure what the newly arrived guests made of Theo and I with Dinky the pony and Domino the lamb troting past thier properties!

Sitting here now at nearly midnight I can just hear the pitter patter of rain on the roof, not sure if I will sleep tonight,our older 2 boys are out on a 12 mile adventure hike with the scouts. I tell them its all good boy stuff and to have fun, but feel a bit of a hypocrite when I then return home and worry about them! Guess that is just what Mums do.