A Farm Riddle

February 28, 2016 at 9:00 PMCoombeMill



How do you let animals roam safely and the cars pass through a field without having to open and close gates to the road ?


Install cattle grids!


New Cattle Grids on the Farm


Well it may sound simple but actually this project has been rumbling on forever. It was last year when Nick came up with the idea to combine our top fields behind the properties allowing a wide grazing area with a path right down to the rabbits. His vision was to finally have all the animals on the farm accessible from the morning tractor and trailer rides without little legs having to walk too far.  The fields in question cross the main entrance to the Scandinavian lodges and the prospect of asking guests to open and close gates every time they entered the farm really wasn't practical and so thus far anyone staying while either the ponies or sheep have been tucked away in these far away fields have often not found them all week.


Pony in the Top Field

Cattle Grids felt like the answer, they worked up on Bodmin moor for the ponies and sheep there so why not for ours.


Cattle Grids on the Moors


Looking up a supplier of cattle grids was our first hurdle, they seemingly don't exist! We ended up needing a blacksmith to make them for us to our required measurements. The massive stainless steel grids cost us a whopping £3000 and so Nick decided he would economise after after taking delivery and install them himself.


Cattle Grids arriving


I was less than happy with this as they were so heavy I had visions of lost limbs before the job was completed. Undeterred by my concerns Nick, with the help of our boys at weekends, spent weeks digging the holes, laying concrete and finally positioning the grids into place.



He even included a soak away for excess water and a little escape route for any smaller wildlife becoming trapped inside the grids.


Small Animal Escape Route

The grids were now safe for cars to drive over, and hopefully strong enough for heavy building vehicles in the autumn when we start building a new lodge, but it still wasn't safe for the animals who could bypass the grids. Nick is an expert at fencing and in no time he had a professional looking fence either side of the grids.

Building the new Fences


All that remained was to add hinged gates for walkers to pass through.


Pedestrian Gates


The moment of truth came when we opened the gates to the top fields housing the ponies and sheep and waited to see if they would come out to investigate the alpaca in the lower field and vice versa.

We didn't have to wait long, the sheep led the way across the road catching the alpaca by surprise.


The two fields merging

Nick began feeding them down near the rabbits and they soon learned to congregate there for breakfast, now the guests could finally see all our animals without a huge hike.


Feeding the animals by the rabbits


Now that we are open for the season, cars can come and go freely, well apart from having to hoot at the odd animal on the path, and the animals have enjoyed having a much larger field to graze and learned to rub alongside one another quite happily with all the space.

As for me, I'm just delighted Nick and the boys managed to see the project through with no injured limbs! I fear one of these days they are going to take on too much but I hope that is just me being a protective mother and wife!


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Welcome sunshine on the farm

February 27, 2016 at 8:50 PMCoombeMill


Finally we saw the sun reappear. I became a little over excited seeing our soggy farm bloom again and found myself out snapping away rather than working in order to soak up the rays and appreciate the beauty around me. As a result I've struggled to narrow down my favourite photos this week but have settled on the most story worthy: 


First sunlight of the day rising over the hills and reaching our valley. I love how it just catches the mossy roof top of our log store and reflects off the still damp Cornish slate tiles. It gives a promise of the day that was to follow. 



A dry day gave us the chance to have a huge bonfire clearing out the last of the internal wood from the old Riverside lodges and pieces of wooden furniture left after our charity sale, more on this one to follow in a separate post. I find a good fire quite mesmerising and couldn't resist a little slow mo of the dancing flames. 




Needless to say the animals were delighted to feel the sun on them. I threw a handful of grass in for the rabbits on passing and giggled as two of them munched on the same piece from outside in till they met in the middle and looked like they were kissing!

Shhhh....... we also had babies born this week, but without fluff they look more like like baby mice at the moment, hopefully they will be old enough to take out of the nest for a quick photo next week. 



Munching their grass together in the sunshine. #rabbit #bunny #farmstay #farmholiday

A photo posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on


 My personal favourite photo of the week was this i-Phone snap taken walking up our lane as the sun set. 

Cornish sunset in February

I hope you've had a good week and are looking forward to spring now that March is almost here.


#CheckOutThatView   OneDad3Girls

Strong boys on and off the pitch

February 26, 2016 at 10:30 PMCoombeMill

Country Kids from Coombe Mill

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Guy and Jed had taken up Rugby; they absolutely love it and will go out in any weather, happily rising on a Sunday morning when previously they would lie in.


Strong Boys On and Off The Pitch

I'm keen to support their enthusiasm as it is a great team sport, fantastic exercise and they both seem to show a talent for it; Guy as prop and Jed as wing. I turned up early to collect them with my long lens just to see how they were progressing and was quietly impressed with the skill they showed and the quality of passing between them and their team mates. It was only a practice session but they have since played in 2 matches and helped their team win against Newquay last week.


Boys at Rugby Training


Coming home it was straight in the bath as they were caked in mud, however they may as well not have bothered, there was some bleating coming from the top field and Guy, volunteered to go and check it out. He had his knife in anticipation it was yet another ewe stuck in the brambles in our top field. As expected as soon as Guy approached the eve she gave a huge tug and freed herself together with a trail of brambles and speed off down the field. As he was already up the top he decided to carry on round the perimeter of the field, there lying in the undergrowth was a lone sheep. As he approached she made no noise, nor did she attempt to stand up, he was sure she was dead, yet when he leant over to touch her she flinched. He tried to free her of brambles and help her to stand with no luck. It was pouring with rain and he had no choice but to return to the house for assistance. Ally was on hand to put his gym work to good use and carried her down the field to a waiting tractor and trailer, please excuse the photo quality it was torrential and I just grabbed a few phone shots.


Rescuing the Sheep


Safely in the shed we rigged up a heat lamp as she was shivering violently, added a bucket of water and some feed and left her in peace. We kept popping back to check on her each time fearing the worst but amazingly she was still hanging on, yet still unable to stand. As a result she couldn't access her water so we used one of the bottles ready for lambing and took it in terns to feed her while Nick gave her a syringe of magic antibiotic.  


Bottle feeding and antibiotics


We were becoming optimistic as she began to gain strength, however we worried that there was a more serious problem as despite her kicks she couldn't put weight on her legs, even with us trying to help her up. Hours became days and we kept turning her over and feeding her with her bottle and despite beginning to look brighter she still couldn't stand. Farmer Nick had a word with our farming neighbours who specialises in sheep and he have us a bottle of liquid molasses he uses for ewes struggling with twins; warming the syrupy mix seemed to make it quite palatable to our young lady. 


The Magic Gloop

Eventually I had a final go at righting her knowing we would soon be going away for half term and with a wobble and a stumble she stood! The kids couldn't believe it when they came home from school and it took just one more night in the trailer before she was strong enough to go back out in the field again. She really is a miracle sheep, I have never seen one come back from looking so near death before.


Miracle sheep stood up and in field


I was very proud of how the children had pulled together on the wettest of days, helped the ewe, nursed her and refused to give up on her. Hopefully the lamb she will be carrying will have survived too, we won't have to wait too much longer now to find out, as we begin lambing any day! 

Joining in with Country Kids 

I'd love you to come and share your outdoor fun with me here on the linky. All posts are welcome from playing in the garden to days out. All I ask is that the post is predominantly outside, away from screens and enjoying some fresh air. I'd be delighted if you would take my badge or link back here and please remember to check out some of the other posts, it might just be the inspiration for your next adventure.

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


               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

Two chances to Win with Rockfish & Country Kids

Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly

Win with Rockfish Wellies 


I am delighted to announce that Rockfish have joined with Coombe Mill to sponsor the Country Kids link up. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish 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 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. The wellies we offer may change each month but are always high quality, comfy and stylish so keep an eye out here on Country Kids to see which designs are up each month. My February winner will be able to choose any welly form the online range. For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here

A few of my favourites in with a chance of the February Rockfish Boots:

Possibly my favourite Stick Man post of all time from Little hearts, big love

Boys united on a forest fun run from I wasn't expecting that

Cannons and  castles makes for a perfect day out for Over 40 Mum to one

Making the most of a day at the beach from Mummy Mishaps 

A day of snow in France makes the holiday for Chelsea Mamma

Win 25% off weekly with Rockfish

On top of the monthly free wellies, Rockfish has kindly offered everyone who enters #CountryKids this week a chance to win of 25 off at their online store, a little extra incentive for some affordable outdoor fun

25% Off Rockfish Wellies Week 4

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



Welcoming the Savvy Londoners

February 21, 2016 at 8:00 PMCoombeMill

We have a lovely herd of Fallow deer here on the farm, but despite growing up with us they are still very shy remaining just out of reach on the morning feed run, yet delighting us with their stylish prance and charm. With only one fully grown Stag, Rudolph, we have to be careful of inbreeding and every few years we need to introduce fresh blood to the herd.


Welcoming the Savvy Londers


Farmer Nick had phone call from the game keeper who found Rudolph for us a few years ago. He made us an offer we couldn't refuse. A London Park needed to thin it's stock and were happy to pay for them to be captured and loaded for transport providing they were going to a good home. The gamekeeper immediately thought of us and was willing to give his time to transport the deer all the way from Hammersmith asking in return simply that we cover his diesel. Given we were thinking it was time to introduce some new blood anyway this was a golden opportunity.

A Slippery Start

The van arrived just as my friend and I were returning from a wet winter's run, already muddy and keen to meet the new arrivals we agreed to help take them over to their new field and meet our gang. However with a soggy waterlogged farm and a heavy trailer this proved a mammoth task involving getting well and truly stuck in the fields with tractors pulling, land rovers pushing, diggers pulling tractors pulling.... you get the picture, oh and a good bit of cursing into the bargain. An hour or so later the Farm looked trashed and the entrance to the deer field remained tantalisingly out of reach.


Struggling into the field


The poor deer must have been fed up with the whole ordeal and have wondered what was happening. That said peeping through the trailer they looked remarkably calm compared to my expectations.


Deer in the trailer

Finally Farmer Nick and the Gamekeeper took the sensible option and aborted this particular delivery option driving instead all the way round the road to the Coombe Mill Stables where there is a hard surface access to the Deer field. Finally backed into the field we were able to open the trailer doors and watch them bolt out.


Deer Leaving the Trailer

I had expected them to head straight for cover in the dying bracken and trees, but instead, they paused halfway down the field and turned to watch us and even come back towards us, then I knew these were going to be savvy deer at the front of the breakfast queue each morning with no fear of humans.


Deer Watching


It wasn't long before the new Londoners had integrated into the herd and found their place in the ranks beneath our Rudolph. Come breakfast time the regulars led the newcomers down the field, yet to everyone's delight instead of prancing away when the children crept close the Londoners stayed and ate out of the children's hand!


Hand Feeding Deer


Now we are hoping these savvy Londoners will impart their bold ways onto the rest of our herd and not steel all the treats for themselves!


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Half Term On and Off the Farm

February 20, 2016 at 9:50 PMCoombeMill

I can't believe half term is almost over. It felt like such a long term for the kids at school and mine were definitely ready for some free time. Here on the farm we had been working really hard to finish a number of projects ready for opening and to ensure everything inside the properties was welcoming for the first week of the new holiday season.

Half term was a chance for us to enjoy a little family time as well as ensure those staying with us made the most of their week. For the first time we took a few days mid week to visit family in London and left our eldest two studying and in control of the farm with Amber, our able assistant. It was a real pleasure to be away knowing the farm was in good hands and to return to hear everyone had enjoyed their stay. Leaving Coombe Mill is never easy but our kids need a little holiday too, we have promised the older boys a holiday treat in the summer when they have finished their GCSE's and A levels.   

I love this photo of Farmer Nick explaining about our deer to the guests on the feed run. There is a whole post to follow this one on the new additions to the herd and the impact they have made.


Farmer Nick explaining all in the Deer field this morning #farmstay #ukholiday #cornwall

A photo posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on


We added new wood burners to Honeysuckle and Willow cottages and they were a perfect welcome feature for our new guests.


Leaving the farm in glorious sunshine for our mini break we became tourist in the capital.


Being a tourist in the city #Londoneye

A photo posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on


For once we didn't just look up at the London Eye but actually went aboard too

 On the London Eye: a mini break for Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


The sunshine continued in Brighton as the kids played on the beach


Fooling around at the  #beach on #holiday at #brighton

A photo posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on


And Nick and I remembered 21 years ago, almost to the day, choosing my engagement ring in this lovely shop in the lanes.


There was so much more we packed into 3 days, all of which I'll be sharing over the next few weeks, however coming home and seeing farm life continuing happily without us was the best feeling ever. Thank you Amber, Alistair and Felix.



Falling over each other for a handful of grain! #goats

A photo posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on



I hope you have has enjoyed a wonderful half term week wherever it was spent.   



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Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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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Here at Muddy Puddles we believe ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong kit!’. We’re on a quest for all children to be fit for adventure, and to embrace the outdoors.

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