Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on January 31st, 2014 - Fiona

National Bird Watch

Last weekend was Big Garden Birdwatch Day from the RSPB and we decided it would be fun to join in and see what was happening in our garden. We gave our bird table a good clean and set to work on making a range of delicious tempting treats to see what we could entice into our garden. I have enjoyed several bird food making posts on Country Kids this season and remember the fun we had making and filling our table last year

We set to work out on our garden bench with some cereals and raisins, a pan of melted lard and a ball of wool. I was delighted at how enthusiastic the children were happily threading cheerios onto lengths of wool. Even a teen came to join in, always a bonus!

Birdwatch making cheerio chains

Next the children crushed up bran flakes and added them to the melted lard together with oats and raisins and gave them a good stir to combine.


 Birdwatch making cereal balls

It took a few minutes for the lard to begin to solidify leaving just enough time for a quick game on our Christmas trampoline which is still in daily use. They have developed a game of their own involving a football and much bouncing and shouting. I am so glad we have a good safety net which is needed rather too often as they reach for the ball.


Trampolining kids


As the mix began to set I called the children back over to get their hands stuck into the mix and make it into balls. They then placed their bird balls on the table and hung the Cheerio chains around the edge.

 Bird Watch - Hanging up the homemade food


Satisfied with their efforts they retreated to watch and they weren’t the only ones!

Bird Watch - Ready & Waiting


It wasn’t long before their efforts were rewarded. Well once they stopped jumping on the trampoline and playing football in the garden I mean. We saw blackbirds, a magpie, a cheeky robin that collected the fallen pieces from the garden bench as well as from the bird table, a pair of blue tits and a chaffinch However whenever I had the video running there was nothing to see just a beautiful bird song against the backdrop of the river.


Bird Watch at Coombe Mill


We will be keeping our table topped up until spring when nature brings its own food once again for our two legged friends.


Bird Watch Rewarded

Joining in with Country Kids.

Country Kids is all about enjoying the outdoors. It is so easy to stay inside on these winter days, relax in the central heating and watch something on television. However children have energy to burn and they settle so much better to the comfort of indoors after a blast of fresh air. So grab your wellies, wrap up warm and have a little outdoor fun. Take a camera with you and come back and share your adventure. Whether it is the garden like us this week, a day out, an interesting walk to school or a play in the park I love to see what you have been doing. Please grab the badge code below and be inspired by the others who have linked up here too. There are always some great ideas.

A few of my favourite posts from last week: 

Wild Women Wear enjoys the local nature reserve in the evening light.

Podcast discovers the wildlife trail at Clandon Park

Diary of the Evens-Crittens supports the Team Honk Relay with some adventure park challenges

I love the “just do it” attitude to the weather with these muddy walks from Mummy of Two and Redpeffer

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Silent Sunday / Project 52

Posted on January 25th, 2014 - Fiona

Coombe Mill Fallow Deer Stag




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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on January 24th, 2014 - Fiona

The prospect of a sunny weekend fills me with hope and the love of life; I just have to get out in some form and enjoy that fresh air. This was one of those days. We have had such a long stretch of wet winter weather it was wonderful to see snowdrops appearing and a properly sunny day and we all agreed to leave our various chores for a stomp up Rough Tor.

Snowdrops for Spring

Rough Tor

Pronounced ” Rou Tor” is a collection of rocky granite outcrops high up on Bodmin Moor. At only a fifteen minute drive from Coombe Mill it is perfect for a Sunday afternoon walk.  I hadn’t realised until we parked up in the free car park that it is part of the Forestry Commission. We weren’t the only ones with this idea; the car park was full to overflowing with everyone wanting to enjoy the sunshine.


The Forestry Commission Car Park at Rough Tor

My children are growing tweens and teens, yet still they have a young child’s approach to clothing. If it is warm when they step out of Coombe Mill they can’t imagine that fifteen minutes up the road it might be very different. In reality we are tucked away in a lush warm valley and Rough Tor is high up and exposed to all of natures finest weather. Guy had seriously under dressed and it wasn’t long before he had persuaded Clio to lend him her coat while I lent Clio my gillet; just as well Mum had layers to spare! Anyway the explanation is necessary for Guy to agree to photos in a purple coat! He had at least worn his wellies, Clio her trusted Muck boots & me my Rockfish Wellies in anticipation of a few puddles along the way. 


Puddles Galore


Felix, Theo and Jed set off at breakneck speed on some sort of race to the top and I had no chance of catching them. The rest of us took it at a more leisurely pace, chatting, admiring the magnificent views and debating our route.


Enjoying a winter walk up Rough Tor


Clio, Guy and I were last to the top after taking the hardest route up the face of the rocks. At times I felt I was back at Go Ape in France but without the safety harness! 


Rough Tor - a Tricky climb

We made it safely to the top and joined the others who were hopping from stone to stone and suggesting I could do the same. I think I am relatively fit but there is no way I am as agile as my children or have their head for heights. It was more of a careful climb for me just to say I stood on each summit! 

Rough Tor - at the top

I love this photo with them all looking so carefree.

Rough Tor - On top of the world

There is an impressive cast iron memorial plaque on one of the highest rock faces in memory of the 42nd Wessex Division who lost their lives serving in the war between 1944 and 1945. A little Google research suggests these men were ground troops in Germany creating a route out for paratroopers who had evaded capture along the river Rhine and heavily involved in missions to capture German crossing points. Reading these accounts make me very glad we live in the modern day.

 Remembrance plaque on Rough Tor Summit

I remembered there were some fun caves and tunnels between the rock formations; of course the children had already discovered these and lead me down to see. As they clambered through the tunnels I realised how much they had grown since I last watched them scamper through these tunnels three years ago!


By the time we had finished our hilltop play and wound our way back to the car we had whiled away the whole of the afternoon sun. It was an afternoon I was so pleased to have encouraged everyone out, all bar farmer Nick who we left sorting out the problems of waterlogged drains back on the farm, well that wouldn’t have made for nearly such a fun post now would it?

 A beautiful walk to Rough Tor


Joining in with Country Kids

I hope the January blues haven’t kept you indoors. Take those opportunities for some natural outdoor fun when you can, grab a camera and enjoy the fresh air. The forestry Commission has some real gems with plenty to stimulate young minds. If you want to find your nearest site there is a map on their website. Otherwise, parks, beaches and even the garden can be perfect for a little outdoor fun. Please grab the badge, link up and check out some of the other lovely ideas here for outdoor fun and learning.  

A few of my favourite posts from last week

Stick Man rules at the Forestry Commission sites this season as enjoyed by Lakes Singles Mum and Over 40 & Mum to One

I love the adventure in this walk from Over There to Here which reminds me of our trip this week making the most of the natural beauty around us. 

The Project Lab combines castles and beaches in a winter weekend away.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Silent Sunday / Project 52

Posted on January 18th, 2014 - Fiona


New Baby kid goats on the farm


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Love All Blogs Better Photos Project

Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on January 17th, 2014 - Fiona

This week Nick and I were lucky enough to have a two night break away in Devon. Farmer Kym stayed with the children and looked after the farm for us. We are shut here till half term so it felt like an opportunity not to be missed after a busy fun filled Christmas period.

Mum & Dad Away

However while we were enjoying ourselves, back on the farm our goats had begun to kid. We have been unsuccessful with baby goats for two years and then they arrive on a bleak January day while we are away. Let me just remind you of Nick’s farm timetable:

Farm Planning for baby animals

So things have not gone quite to plan! Back in the autumn Nick bought some local goats to add to our collection, he was advised that they might be in kid, but nothing was certain. It turns out the advice was sound, though January is far from ideal. We cut our break short keen to get back to the farm and meet our new arrivals and more importantly sort out a safe home for them as their current field, whilst offering a lovely cosy field shelter, was in danger of a visit from the local fox.


Goats & Kids in the field shelter


We found one Mum doing fine with twins and another with one kid. However abandoned in the straw was a poor little mite who was far from fine and another goat in the field who looked to be distressed. To be safe Nick called the vet.

Within half an hour the vet was in the field and giving resuscitation jabs to the poor wee abandoned kid in the field shelter. The goat in distress had given birth, I had remained in the field and watched the first of her twins be born and all looked well there with front paws then head sliding out. Nick and the vet had a check on the whole field while I took the poorly little one indoors to make up some first milk the vet had brought and try and warm her through.

goats, births & the vet


Our children arrived home from school and it was all hands on deck to help us build a new maternity wing in Nick’s shed so the kids would be safe from foxes and badgers at night while they were so young.


maternity wing for goats


First out was Guy followed by Theo and Felix. Jed had an after school lesson and dashed out in his school uniform as soon as he could, and for once I didn’t have time to argue as we needed everyone to help round up those in kid. The farm was so sodden after all the rain the tractor and trailer struggled and slid on the incline to the field. It was a real game of chase trying to round them all up as there was no way of explaining to the goats that we were trying to help them!  


Goat herding

Finally we had them all into the trailer and transported to the new wing. Guy, Jed and Theo all hopped in the trailer with the goats.


transporting  goats


There was a fair amount of pushing between the goats and the children were worried about the kids, however I reassured them that the mothers were just protecting their young from each other and establishing their positions within the new home. Guy and Jed were finally persuaded to leave them and just watch from the log pile. They sat here for about an hour ensuring everyone was feeding properly from their mothers.


Guy & Jed as Guardian Angels


Meanwhile Theo took responsibility for nursing the poor we kid indoors. She was warming through but still not responding to the milk and very lethargic. I had warned all the children we were most likely fighting a losing battle but would give her all the love and warmth we could. It was a long night with everyone wanting to hold and feed her but despite our love she lost her fight in the early hours of Friday morning.

 Goat love

Farm life can be tough and lessons in life are seen by my children in their most raw state. They have grown up with this reality and while they understand, losing a life is always a blow. Thankfully we have five healthy kids to focus on which is a bonus considering we were doubtful of any, least of all in January. If you are planning to visit for February half term there will be plenty to make you go “ah” here on the farm! 

Joining in with Country Kids   

Country Kids is all about leaving the sofa & screens and enjoying the outdoors together. Farm life makes that very easy for my children but a little outdoor fun is healthy for everyone. Whether it is the garden, the woods, the park or a day trip, please grab the badge and link up. Every week I am inspired by all the amazing activities here, please take a little time to visit some of the posts; it might give you a good idea too. 

A few of my favourites from last week: 

Forest fun from 92three30

No time for Ironing shows how a relaxed day can unfold outdoors after a potato picnic.

I may need to look out National Trust membership looking at the fun The Reading Residence are having with theirs

and Mummy Constant reminds me how much kids love the beach in winter.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall