Posted on April 21st, 2018 - Fiona
What a delight to have spring chicks chirp on the farm again. It has felt a long winter in the farming community. Like many, we have run our hay supply right to the wire waiting with baited breath for the spring grass to start to grow. Last week I shared our homeward bound farm ride and the first shoots of green coming through in the hedgerows. This week we saw storms and high winds and thought things would never improve just as the first taste of summer days followed. The grass is finally rocketing away, our baby lambs and kid goat are thriving and now we have 3 healthy chicks as well.
The chicks are spending their early weeks under a heat lamp in Farmer Nicks specially designed shed, however if the summer sun continues they will soon be off this and then moved to a larger home with real daylight. They are a ray of sunshine in themselves; there is nothing more special than new life on the farm. Looking for names for these chicks I have decided they have to be Jessica, Sophie and Peanut. Anyone in the parent bloggingshere who knows Louise George will know by now of her tragic news which coincided with the birth of our chicks. Thanks to the support of the blogging community Louise and her family will be coming to stay at Coombe Mill in time and hopefully meet our chirping chicks who are already growing into their names.
Day one last weekend wondering what life is all about
The children staying were very excited to look in on the chirping chicks
With a helping hand the children stroked their fluffy bodies.
Day 3 and our spring chicks chirp as they see the outdoors for the first time
There is a Just Giving page for Little Hearts Matter if you would like to contribute to the charity that supported Jessica and her family. Email me if you’d like to contribute to their family stay here ([email protected]).
Posted on April 20th, 2018 - Fiona
Sometimes I forget just how much we have at Coombe Mill. We are always building and developing, if not a holiday lodge or cottage then a new play area or activity for children to enjoy. Whether it is outdoor play or indoor play, structured or free play we have it covered so that being on holiday doesn’t mean always needing to go out for the day to keep everyone entertained. It was one of those ‘fill in’ sorts of days on the farm for my kids before their little cousins headed home. With a long car journey ahead playing on the farm in our specially built under 5s play areas was the sensible option.
Cars, bikes and scooters go beep beep!
Clio and Guy caught up with their cousins and their dog in the little ride on play area while their parents packed the car. This is a lovely fully fenced and gated play area especially for children under 5 – and their carers! I love watching the cousins together, despite the age gap it is a lovely bond they are developing.
I think my own kids were quite exhausted with their little cousins constant requests to be pushed, pulled, watch this and watch that and follow them on equipment they had long since outgrown .
Seeing the joy in the little ones faces reminded me of the hours I spent with my children playing in this same space; I remember it as a blissful hour to enjoy a hot drink and sit back to watch them play. The chippings have been replaced by tarmac since then which is much easier for the ride on toys. The little play house seen below is now in the chicken field, currently housing the start of a spring goose nest. and Farmer Nick has built a new bigger play house in the Play area.
Back to the here and now and the new play house built by Farmer Nick is in the middle of this under 5’s play area has steps to climb up and a lovely space to play. There is handy storage underneath for the ride on toys to keep them dry.
Finally tired out by his cousins, Guy thought he could kill two birds with one stone and get the dog to pull the Little Tikes car around. Needless to say the children much preferred Guy on the job as the dog soon went the wrong way!
Under 5’s Play barn
I think the little ones would have happily stayed riding round but my own were keen to move on and took them across the path to the play barn. Again this is gated and just for children below the age of 5 with plenty of space for adults to sit and watch, or in the case of my kids, chase them round and round.
From ball pit to slide and back again they went, tumbling over and under obstacles. The laughs and squeals were quite infectious.
By the time it came to hop into their car seats these two were ready for a good kip on the long ride home.
Under 5s Play Areas loved by kids and parents
Posted on April 14th, 2018 - Fiona
Last weekend we were away for Greek Easter leaving our oldest children running the farm. The weather here in Cornwall was glorious and we returned to happy guests and sunburned teenagers! However April can be very changeable. It turns out we brought the drizzle from Sussex back home with us for the rest of the week. It wasn’t a wash out by any means but there was a certain amount of shower dodging. As it was the second week of the school holidays for many, including here in Cornwall, the farm was busy with school age children. They were great at dressing up in wellies and overalls and coming out to feed the animals regardless of the weather. The farm ride can take a good hour and a half and children often drift off before the end, my photos this week are from the end of a drizzly farm run with some very enthusiastic children who stuck out the weather and completed the course. So often I share photos of the tractor going to the farm but I realise I never share the homeward bound journey. What I noticed most after 4 days away was how much the spring growth was starting to show in the hedgerows and along the tractor path. Even through the dampness of the morning there is something spring like that appealed to me when I looked back at these homeward bound photos.
Homeward bound from the farm with spring growth visible.
Racing on the last leg home
The children always squeal in delight as Farmer Nick revs the tractor up for the last few yards home.
Drawn to the fairy gardens at the end of the feed run.
There was no running off indoors for these three as they set off to explore the fairy gardens.
Along came the sun
The day developed into a spring beauty and the farm continues to bloom. In fact we hit 20 degrees here by mid week.
Posted on April 13th, 2018 - Fiona
I love Easter time. The farm is bursting with new life and the options for Easter crafts seem endless. I had so many ideas for activity hour around the Easter theme and an eager group to come and join me on Good Friday.
Making Easter Bunny bonnets
Easter wouldn’t be complete without an Easter Bunny. We have 3 new little bunnies on the farm and I thought I’d make some Easter bunny bonnets with the children. This was a very simple but effective craft from a paper plate and strips of fabric. The children needed a little help cutting out their paper plate and negotiating the fabric with not very sharp kitchen scissors but apart from that it was all their own work.
The finished results certainly warranted a group photo
Designing Easter Eggs for the Fairies
Now wearing our Easter Bunnies we set about covering Easter egg card shapes in silver foil and decorating them with Duck Tape colours and floristry ribbon to make decorative Eggs for the Fairy Gardens.
Out last craft before going off to hang our eggs was to make Easter cards. The children delighted in carefully colouring the Easter egg designs before cutting them out to stick onto coloured card of their choice. Messages inside went to family members, it was lovely to see them colouring and writing in the chilly March weather and really taking pride in their work. We parent were all for moving on from our Easter Crafts but the children were determined to take their time to make their cards just perfect.
Hanging Easter Eggs and a thank you from the fairies
Finally everyone was ready to take their Eggs along to the fairy gardens and find a branch to hang it from.
There was one surprise left; the fairies had left some chocolate eggs to find in return for their beautiful decorative eggs. A treat no one could refuse!
It was a lovely set of Easter crafts to kick start our action packed Easter weekend here on the farm.
Posted on April 7th, 2018 - Fiona
Last week I shared the safe arrival of 3 new lady friends for Buster the Rabbit. Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail, as they have become affectionately named, spent 2 weeks in the chick shed but it was time for them to move. The rabbits are New Zealand Whites and bred for eating more than as pets, as such they eat a huge amount and grow very fast. I swear they have doubled in size in the 2 weeks since they came to us and very quickly made the chick shed look too small. Furthermore Farmer Nick is off to the fowl auction next weekend in hope of buying some day old chicks that will need the shed. Buster had a grumble with his home too; the rain blew through the wire mesh making his straw damp. Farmer Nick has been moving a few chickens each morning from their winter house into Jurassic Park for the summer and this was then the perfect summer home for the rabbits. A good clean down, together with a new door system to let the children in without the rabbits escaping, and we were ready for the big move.
Farmer Nick leads the way with Buster.
Buster’s little yellow paws are evidence of the rain overnight seeping into his house. His new home is all water tight but still allows the fresh air and natural daylight in. He will be kept separate from Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail for a few weeks yet as a safeguarding intervention from us, however in time I’m hoping we will be able to welcome our own new born New Zealand White baby bunnies to the farm.
Next up Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail enter their first big home carried by Farmer Nick and Theo.
Happy bunnies and happy children
The three sisters couldn’t believe the space of their new home. It is perfect for them to find their feet and run around whilst allowing plenty of room for the children to all climb in and see them. It didn’t take long for the bunnies to be scooped up and cuddled. I wonder how long they will be able to do this before they become too heavy to lift like Buster.
The chickens are equally delighted to be back outdoors free ranging for summer.
Chasing, carrying and feeding the chickens in the field has always been a favourite with the children.
Don’t forget we are open all year if you fancy trying your hand at catching a chicken or cuddling a bunny.
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