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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After weeks of just Nick and I on the farm and the odd appearance from our own children it was a delight to welcome an excited group of youngsters for the February half term feed run. The tractor and trailer picks everyone up at 9 am sharp each day and after a few wise words from Farmer Nick about farm safety and from me requesting permission to take and share photos we are off to the farm.
Every year around half of the guests have been before and for the first day or so the confidence and familiarity these children bring makes them natural leaders, paving the way for others to follow their example. However so as not to make things too routine there are always changes, whether it is new animals, a different tractor route or new fields set up. Last year a national bird flu scare had us create a winter indoor home for our chickens to keep them safe. This year the biggest change has been moving our rabbits. A nasty viral disease meant we lost ours and have disinfected their home and moved our one new rabbit to a new location central to the morning feed run. The kids spent all week naming him. He was Brutus, Marshmallow, Polar Bear and Snowy at various times! He is a New Zealand White and a real gentle giant. We are on the look out for some friends for Brutus for the summer season.
Egg production from our chickens has fallen right off with the cold weather in February and there was never enough to go round, but we still managed one for every family during the week and searching for them is always a favourite morning task.
Despite the rain in January we have kept the duck field open for winter visits by lining the muddy slope with plenty of chippings to help stop anyone sliding over. Farmer Nick challenged the children to catch a goose, they had great fun racing round but in the end it was Farmer Nick himself who caught one for all the children to stroke.
The children were equally excited to try their hand at removing King Arthur’s Sword from the stone in the duck field. Groups of them pulled and tugged each morning, alas the next King or Queen remains a mystery!
It is only the brave who venture in to stroke the pigs as they gobble their breakfast.
When all the ducks, chickens, rabbit and pigs have full tummies for the day the children hop back onto the trailer for the next stop and a tour round the lake. The animals are tuned into the sound of the tractor and know it signals breakfast. Many call out to us, but not the deer; they hover nervously and wait for us to leave their breakfast and move on up into the far reaches of their field before coming down to eat. On the plus side their field is full of interest and adventure where the children love to stop and play (more on this next week).
The goats on the other hand are far from shy. The older children carried in their hay while the younger ones fed oats and barley though the fence. Goats don’t have upper teeth at the front of their mouths and so there is no danger of being bitten when hand feeding.
Back on the trailer for one last stop, the alpaca. These two cheeky moneys have been behaving really well and welcome being hand fed a chunk of carrot and a handful of hay.
We also have a field of pregnant (we hope) sheep who didn’t bother to come and see us for breakfast and two Shetland ponies currently grazing on the other side of the valley. Grooming them and bringing them back over to the farm will be a job for our Easter or May half term guests depending on how fast the spring grass comes through. Whenever you visit the farm there are things that will be familiar and things that will have changed; that’s the beauty of farm life and draws many families back year after year.
Have you ever stopped to think about the world we live in? Sometimes when I stand up on Bodmin Moor with far reaching views over rolling countryside and out to sea I ponder on the world in which we live, what will be come of it and weather the younger generations will want to understand and protect our fragile planet. Destination Planet Earth from Wide Eyed publications, part of the Quarto Group, takes children on a journey of discovery over our planet from its very core to high in the atmosphere. With fascinating facts and beautiful illustrations I believe any child with a chance to study this book will come away with both an understanding of our planet, its scope and fragility and ideas of how we can best protect it; not to mention a developing knowledge of science and geography. To discover more and be in with a chance of winning this great reference book read on.
A journey of discovery
Each page tackles a different area of the planet or topic from earthquakes and volcanoes to life at the Poles and the contribution of mountains to our weather and river to our landscape. The book begins with the earth as a whole and how it is made up between land and water and finishes with a stylish double page pull out map of the world which would look great on any young scientist or geographer’s bedroom wall.
What we love
The book is nonfiction and totally absorbing packed with interesting facts and explanations and supported with eye catching illustrations. Anyone who enjoyed dipping into the BBC’s series on Planet Earth or the Blue Planet will enjoy this book and appreciate the conservation measures we can all begin to take in everyday life.
Need to Know
age 7 +
40 pages plus a pull out poster map
25.4 x 0.9 x 30 cm
Tom Clohosy Cole
Wide Eyed (Quarto Group) March 2018
Video introduction to Destination: Planet Earth
For a quick gallop through what to expect from the book check out our little video
Win your copy of Destination: Planet Earth with Quarto and Coombe Mill
If you know someone who would enjoy this great reference book why not enter to win a copy; simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
I was sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this review however all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. The Coombe Mill copy is available for holiday guests to borrow from the book case in the games room.
Real life sometimes needs a little lift, especially in February which is not renounced for its beauty. Personally I’m at that stage where I’m done with winter but as I said a couple of weeks ago it is not yet done with me and keeps rearing its wintry head just when I think it’s time for spring. So, back to that little lift, photo editing can be a great way to generate the mood you want in the place you want it. I find that Instagram is the place that responds best to fun editing, I feel the more I edit a photo to create the mood I’m after the better it does, while here on the blog I like to keep things more real. To show just what I mean my weekly photos today show one view, on two very different days, edited as I do for Instagram and just marginally nudged as I do here for the blog. Both photos were just snaps on my now aging i-Phone but they capture the mood I wanted to share.
A Misty Morning
The week started with a real pea souper down here in Cornwall. The top of the valley was shrouded in fog all day with the only clearance right down on the river at Coombe Mill. I was out checking the animals ahead of the morning feed run and couldn’t resist a snap of the lake against the mist.
Morning on the Lake in Mist
This photo has next to no editing and is how I would generally share photos here on my blog.
Creating mood with Photo Editing for Instagram
This is the same photo put through its paces in editing. It created a beautiful mood and a great response on Instagram just as I’d hoped.
What a difference a day makes, the sun shone and the temperature dropped. The same photo looks quite different in a new light.
Morning on the Lake in Sun
Again this photo is hardly touched in editing, Coombe Mill has its own natural beauty.
Creating Mood with Photo Editing again for Instagram
Having learned from experience, putting the same photo on Instagram works best with a blast of edited enhancement.
There are so many editing tools out there. I use Be Funky on my PC for my website and blog and Snapseed on my phone for Instagram. Both of these are free and you can really have some fun with the effects on them.
Which tools do you use most and what works for you on different social platforms?
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.
Are we in the Arctic?
Burrr! I think the UK has moved to the Arctic this week! I am so happy to see frosty mornings, sunsets and blue skies again but oh my it is cold! Never has warm hats and gloves been more necessary but it has been wonderful for drying out the farm after it became so wet and muddy last week with little feet trampling the same patches. If you have been on half term this week you’ve certainly been the weather winners! I hope you have a tale 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:
Merlinda from Pixiedusk who commented on 18 posts.
Thank you no link dumpers again this week! Do remember I comment count on Thursday after lunch so get your comments in before then if you want them to be counted and please approve your comments by then if they need moderating so I can see others leaving you the blog love. Also remember if you comment anonymously on a post I won’t know who you are, there were two this week but I’m afraid I didn’t know who to credit the comments to.
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 February Rockfish Wellies:
Top commenter from this week Merlinda from Pixiedusk.
I love an outdoor fire for cooking, but Four Acorns takes it a step further with amazing looking pancakes on the fire!
The snowdrops are stunning in the countryside right now, Stopping at Two discovered the odd 5 million in Rococo Gardens, personally counted of course!
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.
Our February half term activity hour is always well supported by our hardy winter guests. It may have been freezing cold but we had warm hearts inspired by fun Valentine’s Day crafts. We even included a little Valentine’s treat for the wild birds and the fairies that in turn rewarded the children.
While we waited for everyone to gather, we had a look at the new Orchard Toys jigsaw I’d been sent. The children had no problem putting it together and pointing out the things they could see. There was some pretty bunting included which I promised them they would be making later in the afternoon.
Valentine Day heart craft.
When everyone was gathered round we set to work on our first craft. We shaped clay into simple hearts, added a hole with the end of a paintbrush and painted them to make simple decorations for the children to keep.
Valentines treat for the birds.
The hearts were going to need time to set before they were taken home so we laid them aside to begin our next task. I had premixed melted lard and bird seed which was now just beginning to set and perfect for moulding into shapes. With their new found heart making skills from the clay the children made heart chunks for the birds. We wrapped them in wool for them to take back to their gardens and hang up for the birds. Everyone took a bird spotter sheet to go with their food so they could see which birds came to their gardens to eat during their holiday.
Valentine’s Day Cards.
A quick clean up and we were onto Valentine’s Day card making. Our first job was to find some pretty pink petals. The children knew just where to look and raced off towards the Coombe Mill train tack and our flowering pink camellia bush.
Armed with petals we returned and set about cutting paper cards with pop out hearts to which we stuck the petals with a flour and water glue mix. The children added their own messages and pictures to personalise their cards.
Valentine bunting for the fairies.
Finally we made some valentine bunting to decorate the fairy gardens full of happy wishes for the fairies. We hung this up and in return the fairies sent the children looking for hidden treats in the gardens. Magically there was one for everyone with some careful hunting high and low. I do love our Coombe Mill fairies!
I think I sent this group home happy and tired with fond memories of Valentine’s Day. Fingers crossed they slept well and gave their parents a lovely evening together too!
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Emma and our 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.