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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The year continues with so much happening here, I can’t wait to fill you in on the exciting news from the month and share some of the events coming up for June I think you’ll enjoy. Have a scan through, there’s sure to be something to catch your eye.
Booking with us
We have very few summer holiday spaces left now, but if you can come week commencing 17th or 24th August you could still be lucky. Outside of this June, early July and September still has some availability and some cracking prices, so pop on over to check them out if these weeks or short breaks work for you.
Our Den building zone was created around 5 years ago. It has been greatly enjoyed by the children here who have rebuilt and created in there week after week. However the large structural branches had begun to rot out and break and the whole area needed a rethink.
Spare branches are not hard to come by here and farmer Nick gathered a whole new set which we used during an exciting Activity hour to recreate the den building area on the site of the old bug hotel. The bugs never used their purpose built space, preferring to house themselves under the fairies toadstools! The space was perfect for a fire pit and den building zone. We enjoyed a happy afternoon building the first camp there and making garlic bread from wild garlic along the river bank on the fire pit. It is now ready for children to enjoy and redesign to their hearts content.
Over the other end of the farm, the zip wire wooden cross beams suffered a structural split. This has always been popular with the children and Farmer Nick wasted no time in ordering up new wood to rebuild this. It took a little help from our older kids to help him lift everything into place, but it is now up and running again. Now everyone can enjoy a safe ride with the added feature of a non slip starting platform.
I had the pleasure of being the first to test ride it and ensure it the wire was correctly tightened for the perfect ride.
On the Farm
This month has been all about new arrivals with nature’s usual tale of winners and losers.
Last month I mentioned we had been keeping the chickens indoors as Toulouse the goose was incubating her eggs in their outdoor field shelter. Sadly it turned out all the eggs were in fact infertile. The chickens are now enjoying free ranging for the summer and Farmer Nick is looking for a new Gander for Toulouse.
Christmas the Turkey on the other hand hatched 2 live chicks from her clutch of eggs. Despite placing Christmas and her chicks in a lovely safe indoor house with plenty of bedding, food and water she lost both chicks in the first week leaving us stumped as to the cause. Our little day old Lavender Pekin chicks on the other hand are all thriving to the delight of the guests.
Scruffy has babies
I was feeling quite sorry for Scruffy the guinea pig towards the end of her pregnancy, she was looking twice her normal width and I knew she was carrying a few. Turns out we have 3 little mini me’s running round the guinea pig house. Unlike rabbits they are born looking perfectly formed with eyes open and fur. Scruffy has her work cut out now keeping the inquisitive little ones under control. Scruffy and babies.
What no antlers!
Out in the deer field Rudolph has shed his antlers for summer. We went on a hunt and found the first. The following day he did a hop skip and a jump right in front of us on the morning animal feed run and dropped the second. That was a once in a lifetime sight we’ll possibly never witness again.
Remember I said we had a full house of boy piglets again this year? Well it turns out that was just a case of trying to sex them too young. In fact they are fairly evenly split. In an attempt to wean the boys and separate them from mum, Nick thought they might enjoy some of the beautiful May sunshine in the “Sin bin” field. The piglets were in heaven, but they were churning the field into a soup before our eyes therefore their time there had to be limited. Chasing them back in to the pig sty on concrete was amusing to watch! They are now looking to be re-homed so that Sally and the girls have more space for the summer. Anyone want a piglet?
That brings us up to date with events on the farm this month. We are looking forward to the arrival of fawns in June and enjoying the lovely long evenings which are perfect for BBQs, watching the kids out playing and sipping wine in the beautiful gardens here. There are also some great family Cornish events June 2019 locally we think you might like. Which will be your favourite?
What’s on Guide Cornish Events June 2019
Events June 2019
Find out more
Distance from Coombe Mill
Music by the River with Silver band,food, drink and kids activities
For our final week of Easter Holiday activities I decided on a giant Den Building mission and a campfire bringing the children back to basics with some wild garlic cooking. It was an ambitious undertaking with a large group, however with so many older children so keen to take part it felt like the right activity.
It’s all in the preparation
As always with my activity sessions, preparation is everything. Farmer Nick had been talking about moving the Den building zone for some time and this prompted the activity. The old zone had been standing for many years and the branches were becoming so dry and brittle they were beginning to snap. Since we were talking about re stocking with new trees and branches we also agreed on a new location which I knew would be popular with the children.
The Bug hotel next to the fairy garden was a bit of a white elephant. The bugs never inhabited, preferring instead the giant toadstool seats of the fairy garden to hide under. Nick took it all down and spent a morning anchoring supports for a new Den building area in its place. He then chopped a load of branches and placed them all outside ready for me to use with the children. Felix, who was home from university, set up a lovely stone fire pit and seating for me and I prepared some cheesy bread mix. It all looked so natural I was delighted.
Excited den building kids
The children all came home from their days out super excited by the den building task ahead. Everyone had been eyeing up the growing mound of branches and couldn’t wait to see where they were going to take them. One by one the children dragged the branches to Felix at the Den building zone who took them from the children and agreed with them where each would go.
In no time at all the den was forming and Felix was struggling to keep pace with the arriving branches
We were racing against the rain too and keen to get a good canopy over our den. It all worked a treat and easily housed all the children.
Felix explained to the children how to start a good campfire with dry wood and firelighters. He showed the purpose of the stone surround and let them help develop the fire once it was lit.
There is nothing quite like a campfire to excite children and they all crowded round adding firewood.
Cooking with wild garlic
Wild garlic is one of my favourite foraged herbs in spring and we have plenty on the farm. The children collected and chopped the wild garlic, then mixed it into a chunk of cheesy bread dough. Finally they wrapped it round a stick.
By the time the kids had prepared their garlic bread onto the sticks the fire was ready to cook on. The smell was wonderful and I wish I had a chance to toast one for myself!
I love how the children were drawn back into the den to enjoy their garlic bread.
A pack of marshmallows finished off the session. After all who can resist toasting one of these on a campfire?
It was such a busy afternoon but one the kids all adored. Each took home some happy memories of fun on the farm with Farmer Nick and wild den building and campfire cooking with me.
Oh my, what a busy month April was here on the farm and we have plenty of fun going forward into May and June for you too. Grab a coffee and have a read.
Easter was a bumper few weeks for us here. We enjoyed some wicked Easter crafts with nature cards and decorative logs. The children made these to their own creative designs.
The Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday was a huge success as always, give or take a few melted eggs at the end of the trail thanks to the phenomenal Easter heat wave
On the Farm
It wouldn’t be Easter without lambs and this year didn’t disappoint with twins born on Easter Morning
Baby Robins Hatch
Farmer Nick had one of his tool trays in his big shed overtaken by a clever robin who thought it made a perfect nesting box. It was suitably sheltered and protected by being locked up at night from predators. We watched with interest over the month as her eggs hatched and the baby robins grew before finally flying the nest.
It wasn’t just robins laying eggs. We have a goose nest in the outdoor chicken house that we are expecting to hatch any day. However thanks to the location of the nest, half our chickens are still indoors since their home has been taken over! Once the goose eggs hatch all our chickens will be outdoors for the summer months. On the plus side the chickens lay better indoors and there have been enough eggs for everyone staying each day.
A lucky escape for Queenie
Queenie is our lucky goat. Not only was she rescued and hand reared by us at birth, but she has now just survived a traumatic emergency caesarean section at the vets. We knew she was heavily pregnant and had her separated from the other goats waiting for her to give birth. Sadly the kid was just too big for her and breached, I did my best as midwife to correct the situation when she went into labour under the guidance of our local sheep farmer; however it just wasn’t to be. Nick rushed her to the vet who carried out the necessary c section saving Queenie but sadly not the kid. Queenie is now recovering well with Prince Charles (her kid from last year) who is in with her for company.
A little beauty treatment from the farrier
The farrier came in April and gave all the ponies a little horse pedicure. Our miniature Shetlands, Scooby Doo and shaggy, weren’t at all sure about the merits of this. I received a good kick in the thigh and suffered trampled toes a few times in protest as I tried to hold them still against the fence for the farrier; however in the end they gave in and accepted their treatment. The timing worked perfectly for the feed run and the children were treated to a commentary from the farrier about what he was doing and why. They even had the chance to keep a bit of hoof clipping as a souvenir. You really never know what you are going to learn on a holiday here!
May looks like it will be just as busy going forward, hopefully with some more beautiful sunshine, farm antics and the sound of happy children playing out on the lawns. We’d love to see you here as part of this too.
Here are a few of the family Cornish events May 2019 locally we think you might like.
The Coombe Mill Easter Egg Hunt is one of the big events of the year here on the farm. Reserved especially for guests staying on Easter Sunday, it is a little chocolately fun the kids adore. It takes some careful planning to set it up without anyone seeing and much finger crossing for half an hour of favourable weather to make it enjoyable. I thought last year was good, but this year we succeeded on every level.
The morning starts early for me placing my premade the clues around the length of Coombe Mill at strategic points including popular play areas the children will guess. By the time we greet the guests for the 9am animals feeding, the clues are hidden and the eggs divided into bags for Clio to hide while we are on the farm.
Easter Day Animal Feed Run
We had the most amazing weather with the first heat wave of the year for Easter. All the children were soon excited by the farm, our new born lambs and driving the tractor. There is even the fun of Cadbury Crème Eggs laid by our Chickens on Easter Sunday!
Easter Egg Hunt Rules
By the time the tractor came home I was worried the eggs Clio had hidden could be melting as the heat was really beginning to break through. We agreed a quick 10 minute comfort break before meeting back for the Easter Egg Hunt. I made a hurried change into my DIY Easter Bunny outfit, added some bunny make up before heading back out to explain the rules and start the hunt with the first clue.
Let younger children have a head start.
No grabbing all the eggs, be considerate and share.
Search for the next clue at each stop and bring to me to read for everyone.
No running ahead and skipping / second guessing where the trail will go.
Let the Heat wave Easter Egg Hunt Begin!
As I read out the first clue the children were super excited guessing my first clue of “Ahoy Maties come and see, what treasures you can find on me” as the pirate ship play boat. They raced ahead and scoured the ship from top to bottom to start their egg collection.
The next two clues led them round the train routs and onto the Den building zone.
From here we skipped off to my favourite ‘the fairy garden’ where there are so many lovely places to hide sparkly eggs amidst the trinkets.
A rush along the lodge path via the Games room took the children to the kindness trail and on down to the end play area for their last clue.
I do like to finish at a play area as it is a great way for the kids to hang around and play, whilst munching on their haul. It made a full morning’s entertainment with the feed run as well and a lovely start to the holiday for all our guests. A Heat wave Easter morning no one will forget.
Our 2019 Heat Wave Easter Egg Hunt
You won’t be surprised to hear we are already taking bookings for Easter week 2020. We’d love you to join us if you can!
Don’t you just love spring? The countryside is transformed as hedgerows come to life in vibrant greens and colourful flowers. Here on the farm uplifting change comes not only from the trees and meadows but also from new life. There is something quite magical about the first spring lambs, little piglets and kid goats. However alongside our farm animals, wildlife is responding to the spring conditions too. Imagine our surprise and delight when Farmer Nick discovered a perfect little robin’s nest hidden in a cunning location within his shed. We have watched from eggs through to baby robins flying the nest.
A safe nesting spot
If finding the perfect home preoccupies us as humans, imagine how important it must be in the wild. One clever little robin opted for the middle tray in Farmer Nick’s nuts and bolts collection. We were quite oblivious to this homemaking until Farmer Nick pulled out the draw in search of a 2 inch screw only to find the most perfect nest, Mummy Robin and a clutch of eggs sitting in there. She must have taken a liking to Cornwall’s Pirate fm radio, which is always on in there, or more realistically the dry windproof conditions!
They could be Cadbury Mini Cream Eggs.
The little robin eggs really do remind me of Cadbury Mini Eggs in looks and size. I popped my ring in next to them just to show how little they are. It has given me some wonderful inspiration for my Easter crafts with the holiday makers this year!
Newly hatched baby robins
Mummy Robin continued to sit on her clutch of eggs and listen to the radio as Farmer Nick pottered about his business, until he noticed she was flying in and out more often. A closer inspection revealed 5 perfect little baby robins all reaching up for food. No wonder she had been flying in and out.
Nature is harsh
Sadly within the week, despite her cunning nesting location, there were just two baby robins in the nest. Nature can be harsh, but looking at how they fill the little nest I can’t imagine there being space for more. Curiously made me research this, according to the RSPB website site only around 57% of a clutch will make it to fledgling chicks, so our Mummy is typical after all.
Almost ready to fly
The two survivors gradually put on weight; we watched their wings grow in preparation to fly the nest.
Farmer Nick get’s his screws back.
They have now flown the nest and Farmer Nick can reach his precious screw collection again. If you wanting encourage nesting birds, recommend a trip to a DIY store for these organisational trays and a nice sheltered spot in a shed or garden to attach them!
“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.