Waiting for our happy ending

March 22, 2015 at 11:30 PMCoombeMill


Spring animals on the farm are such a delight, I make no secret of the fact it is my favourite time of year here at Coombe Mill, yet I forget from one season to another the heart break that can come with it too. While our little star Rocky the goat is making amazing progress we have had much less luck in lambing. Last year I was rejoicing in our first ever year of not losing a single lamb or mother, just having to hand raise Ebony.


Clio and Ebony

What a difference a year makes. We followed all the new procedures we put in place for 2014 with the same feed, supplements, and the same combination of field rotation and brought the ewes down to our most secure fields to lamb.


Lambs from 2014


It turns out nature had different ideas. This was the first year we had one of our own young ram boys from 2 years ago service the ewes over the autumn. There is always a worry that he is perhaps not up to the job until the first lambs are born; I had my concerns right from the start when he met his first lady friend. Yet at the beginning of March the first lady gave birth overnight to twins. Sadly they were still born and looked to have been aborted. Nick always checks the farm in the early hours of the morning so that our guests never find anything distressing. We were encouraged that the Ram was in working order but sad to have lost our first lambs.

More than a week was to pass before the next lamb was due; this is expected as we like to stagger our lambing in order for as many guests as possible to be able to enjoy seeing a newborn. However Farmer Nick's early morning rounds showed that while the next lamb had been born healthy it had been savaged within hours that same night by a badger.  We couldn't believe our misfortune. With deterrents in place for the badger we hoped it would be third time lucky. We were rewarded with triplets from the same mother to deliver them last year; two boys and a girl, named of course after our triplets Guy, Jed and Clio. They were all healthy if a little scrawny and all captured, tagged and placed with Mum in the nursery. Here they had a snug shelter, fresh grass and secure fencing that a badger couldn't tunnel through.


Triplet Lambs


They thrived on their first day all feeding perfectly from mother with no help needed from us. Nick made sure they were in their shelter before bedtime and had no reason to worry over night. Yet on his morning rounds the lambs were gone and Mum was bleating. No left tail or insides, no struggle evident, just three missing lambs and a dejected looking mother.  After the morning feed run we scoured the field for any clues as to what could have happened. Eventually we found a trace of blood on the fence and a little on the pathway. Being so small something had dragged them through the fencing, all three of them, but what could it have been? We were speculating on the possibility of an otter, stoat or weasel; whatever it was had to be small to have made it into the field or strong and timely enough to have dragged three lambs through from the outside.  To find out more Nick set up his night vision camera over the now empty field and places some cat biscuits just inside the fence to see if the perpetrator would return to the scene of the crime for second pickings and sure enough when we downloaded the recording the following morning, look who we saw sniffing around.

Fox Visitor


Now we had racked up 3 failed lambing attempts, 3 sad mothers and 6 lost lambs and no live ones on the farm, thank goodness for Rocky the goat entertaining the guests.


Rocky the star at Coombe Mill Farm. A working farm holiday in Cornwall

There followed four more tense days of checking and counting sheep each morning before one gave birth just as Nick was on his early rounds. We were hopeful that as it was already morning there would be no predators watching, apart from perhaps a lurking magpie waiting for a chance to peck out an eye, their favourite tipple! Mum and daughter were soon tagged, stamped and ringed with the guests on the feed run and this time moved into Peacock world where the rabbits had been housed over winter. 



Nothing was going to be dragged through this fencing, there was a roof to ensure nothing could swoop in and the door was bolted so that only we could enter to feed Mum and change her water. It is not the space we would have liked for them but at least they were safe. Rocky was fascinated by the new arrival dancing up close to the enclosure then jumping back when the lamb moved.  

Mum, Baby and Rocky

It was then to be musical fields as within the week twins were born up in the main field. Our already strengthening lamb and Mum moved into the Nursery in the knowledge she was now far too big to fit through the fencing and newly born Solar and Eclipse, twin boys moved into Peacock world. No prizes for guessing when they were born in the cold and dark morning light, but by the time we had tagged and moved them it was warming up into a beautiful spring day.


Newborn Twins


It has been a long month already, nature can be so cruel, but I'm hopeful we are now on our way to a success for the rest of the lambing season. Mr fox and Master Badger it is time to look elsewhere for your next meal!


Finding our Happy Ending


If you fancy seeing our new born lambs and goats we hope to have them arriving all through April and into early May. We still have some spaces and can accommodate short breaks at this time too so please do ask or visit our price and availability page.


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Silent Sunday / Project 52 / My Sunday Photo

March 21, 2015 at 11:50 PMCoombeMill



Ewe and Twin lambs at Coombe Mill Working Farm Holidays, Cornwall. UK




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Posted in: On the Farm | Weekly Photo


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

March 20, 2015 at 11:50 PMCoombeMill

Match of the Season

My football crazy triplets had their latest league match away. It was a beautiful sunny day if chilly and I was on rota to take them. From the day before it was looking increasingly likely that Jed wasn't going to make it. He lives for his football playing on the trampoline with Guy and around the garden at every opportunity.


Trampoline fun with a football at Coombe Mill

However he had been complaining of a sore throat since coming home from school on Friday from an amazing school match down in Truro and by Saturday had retreated to the sofa with a dovet. I knew then he wasn't going to make the village league match the following morning but hadn't the heart to dampen his spirits, instead telling him we'd see how he was feeling. After a desperate night, no sleep and a burning temperature it was clear I was taking the team without Jed.


Poorly Jed unable to play football

When we arrived at the away team grounds I discovered there were three absentees all with similar symptoms to Jed and we were struggling to put a team together. The home team agreed to play 6 a side, the sum total of our team. This gave them a bank of substitutes to use as they set into their hour long match.

There was a quick warm up and a pep talk from our leader to bolster their spirits before they lined up to shake hands with the opposition, a lovely touch to begin and end all their matches.


Preparing to play the Dobwells v St Tudy Football league game


Guy was standing in for Jed as goalie instead of his usual position in defence. He put his all into the game and really wanted to keep the teams winning run this season alive. Throughout the first half the team worked well and their energy up and down the pitch was commendable. 


Ist half of the Dobwells  v St Tudy Football league game

Guy was put through his paces in goal, with some saves and some frustrating misses. All of which left him coated in mud on the slippery pitch. At half time the score was 4: 2 to us.


Guy in Goal for the St Tudy Team under 11's football match

By the second half we could have done with some substitutes, our boys were beginning to flag and the parents and coaches were shouting encouragement and directives to rally them on. The away team brought the scores to a draw and Guy looked crest fallen; the team had to dig deep but had plenty of support. Clio had taken residence on top of the away team spectator's stand and was shouting louder than everyone else put together. She knows all the team and the rules and was directing them all from her elevated position, matched only by the alpaca watching from the field across the pitch! 

 Clio and the alpaca watching football

Not one but two more goals expertly slid by their goalie in the second half with just one flawing Guy to leave St Tudy with a win of 6 : 4.


2nd half of the St Tudy v Dobwells under 11's football league game

The boys triumphantly shook hands with a sporting Dobwalls team as they came off the pitch and took a well earned drink suitably proud of themselves.


 Sporting end of match handshake


I had planned to nip off to Trago which is only 5 minutes away while they were playing, but the game was far too intense to leave even for my shopping loving daughter.


 Football Victory at Dobwells for St Tudy Football Club


By the time it came to run the evening train for our young guests Guy was still in football mode kicking his ball across with him. His new Chelsea Ball did a victory lap pushed by the train. 


Guy's Football Train Ride

After locking away the train Guy showed the curious three year old passengers how to kick the ball.  It was the sweetest moment of the day to me; the twins were thrilled as they booted the ball towards Guy and he made a play of saving it from the imaginary goal and gently gaving it back to them to try again.   


Football lessons at Coombe Mill from Driver Guy at Coombe Mill


I hope my children's love of the game continues, it is such good exercise and a brilliant team sport which is supported and run so well in our local village.



Joining in with Country Kids

Country Kids is all about getting children outdoors, away from screens and sofas and using their energy in physical play, learning or crafting in the fresh air. While we wait for the spring warmth to take hold it can be tempting to stay indoors, however a little outdoor family fun each week is healthy for mind and body. If you have an adventure to link please grab the badge code and remember to check out the other posts linked up too.  

Country Kids is around in these 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 (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays's board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.

Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet

A few of my favourites from last week:

Lambing is in full flow around the country and here at Coombe Mill. Bubbablueandme enjoyed a lambing weekend. 

Playing in nature is great for children. I was really taken by the secret den from Wild about there and the mud kitchen at Raisie Bay and a muddy river walk by Baked Potato Mum

How cool would school be with activity sports like these from Susan Snaps

Finally much as I love cornwall travelling away with children looks fun with Outdoor Families and One Tiny Leap 


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Finally I'm putting myself out there for BIBs, I'd love to considered if you have a vote to spare on social media or any other category you choose for me.





Posted in: Country Kids

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My Little Pony Giveaway

March 16, 2015 at 10:50 PMCoombeMill

Friendship is Magic


Gallop Away with May The Best Pet Win

The horse may have bolted but My Little Pony has galloped out on to DVD with episode 7 to 11 from season 2 of the popular My Little Pony series with May the best pet win. Join Rainbow Dash and friends on their latest adventures.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: May The Best Pet Win is out now on DVD

What's in the Box:

1. 1x DVD with 
  • May the Best Pet Win
  • The Mysterious Mare Do Well
  • Sweet and Elite
  • Secret of My Excess
  • Family Appreciation Day
2. 1x Surprise My Little Pony Figure
  • I received a Lilac Hearts toy but it may be a different figurine in your box

What's in the Box

After realising that she is the only one in her group of friends not to have a pet, Rainbow Dash organises a competition to determine who the best pet is for her. The pets must race one another through seven rounds of a challenging contest, resulting in a final battle against Rainbow Dash at ‘Ghastly Gorge’. 

During the race, Rainbow Dash finds herself in trouble when her wing becomes stuck under a boulder. Things are looking dire, but after almost completely giving up hope, help arrives in the most unlikely of friends.

As ever there is a serious underlying message for children coming through as the ponies discover that the most important quality in a pet, friend or relative is not how cool they are but that they are there when you really need them.


May the Best Pet Win DVD is out now with a special Limited Edition My Little Pony Toy included. The toy itself is plastic and sturdy but be careful with very young children as it is only 4 cm by 4cm.

Lilac Hearts Pony Toy

We have a copy of the DVD here at Coombe Mill for guests to watch in their holiday cottage or lodge.

Watching the my little Pony DVD


This would be a great way to chill out with some quiet time after a busy day on the farm meeting our little ponies Skippy and Dinky who love a cuddle and for someone to groom them.


Horse Grooming


Win your copy of My Little Pony - May The Best Pet Win

If you fancy winning a copy of this magical DVD produced by Hasbro Studios just follow the instructions below. Good Luck to all taking part and remember if you don't win it is now available to buy for £7.00 on Amazon (price as of 14th March 2015).


a Rafflecopter giveaway

We're going on an adventure

Welcome Rocky

March 15, 2015 at 9:50 PMCoombeMill


Spring has to be my favourite time on the farm. New life is bursting forth with snowdrops, daffodils and buds on all the trees and the excitement builds on the farm as we watch bellies swell and try to guess who will be first to give birth.


Spring growth on the farm at Coombe Mill Cornwall


We had been letting our Pigmy Billy goat gruff run free with the ladies over the winter months and were hopeful of a spring kid. As we headed into March one of the goats was looking as wide as she was long and we were worried she was about to give birth amidst the horrid week of cold hail showers. In anticipation Nick rigged her up a shelter in his shed and iKomms SW popped round to install a camera overhead so I could begin 'operation goat watch'.

 Pregnant goat at Coombe Mill Farm coming indoors to kid

Clearly our lady had been eating more than her share of the food as she seemed to go down in size once we had her in her VIP quarters! The weather warmed and it felt only fair to let her go back to her friends again.

Meanwhile Ginger, the bad tempered mother of our adorable kid from last year was showing signs that she might also be close, we left her in the field as the weather had warmed and just made sure there was plenty of straw in the shelters.


 Ginger and Titch the goats at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays


Then last week she ran down for breakfast with the rest of the goats but looking half her size, Nick suspected that she may have had her kid and embarked on a thorough search of the field. There in one of the shelters quivering in the corner was a dear little newborn trying to stay warm lying on his already dead twin. That was the end of the feed run, thankfully we only had one family with us that morning and they fully understood. I was away with Clio at the dentist and Nick was on a mission to save the goat.

By the time I came back with Clio, minus 2 back teeth, the goat was next to the boiler and refusing the special colostrum Nick had gone out to buy. I took over and spent the rest of the day trying to syringe drops of milk into one end and cleaning up the other!


New born kid goat in a crate


He was a fighter in every sense; he refused the milk dribbling it down his chin but also refused to give up on life. By the time the children came home from school he was beginning to bleat but still not drinking and I was warned them as they cuddled him that he was unlikely to make it through to tomorrow. They have seen it all before but still the first one we lose each year hits us all hard.


First Night Cuddles 

Finally I had all the children in bed knowing that what would be would be and began the night shift. By the early hours of Wednesday morning I had made a breakthrough, he had finally begun to swallow his first drops without a fight and was looking brighter. I was so delighted I began sharing with a few late owls on twitter.  Eventually I crawled into bed around 3am having managed to get down a full two ounces of milk.

By morning I had a different animal. I was welcomed by a bleating and the children who had beaten me downstairs and already squabbling over giving him his first feed. He was out of the danger period and strengthening by the hour.  I enjoyed a quiet minute myself feeding him outside and introducing him to the outdoors when they were all safely in school.


Feeding the abandoned baby goat

I had no time to pander to him though as the pre school were due for a farm fun day as our Comic Relief fundraiser, however guess who stole the show.

St Tudy Pre-School meet Rocky

Kido just wasn't doing it as a name so I introduced him on facebook where Rocky came back as the overriding vote. I think it really suits him, as he is sweet and colourful just like a rocky road treat though he needs to beef up a bit to step into Sylvester Stallone's shoes!


Facebook Naming Rocky


I'm pleased to say he has continued to strengthen this week and has become the family pet with my children taking it in turns to feed him and play with him, even my Screenager has him lending a helping hand whilst gaming. He is rarely alone for any time.


Rocky the family pet at Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays, Cornwall, England, UK.


Out on the farm he joins in with the feed run, stops by the properties for anyone wanting a cuddle and spends the rest of his days while the children are in school enjoying the space in my greenhouse and waiting for them to return and take him out to play once again. He has even had a ride on the Coombe Mill railway. 


Rocky the star of our working farm holidays


Rocky's first week captured.




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Coombe Mill

"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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