The Ultimate Country Kid!
Where to start with my post on outdoor fun, this week!
What an amazing week we had, as our family (along with the family “The Boy and Me”) were able to be country kids in every sense, after spending a week at the wonderful Coombe Mill. I really couldn’t wait to write this post, so that I could share our amazing stories and adventures.
Though there’s so much to tell and to share about our adventure at Coombe Mill, this post will focus upon my daughter, a true country kid!
Olivia and her new hat
Our favourite part of the day was the animal-feeding run, at 09.00. We would have a very quick, light breakfast, throw on our waterproofs and wellies, then head down to meet the farmer ready to start the day.
We’ve spent many day trips on different farms where the children get a small handful of feed to throw at the animals, and that would be the sum total of their farm experience.
Coombe Mill is very, very different.
The children take it in turns to drive the tractor, (and I really do mean drive the tractor), while the adults follow behind.
Olivia waiting for the Farmer to help her drive the tractor
The first stop was at the family of pygmy goats, with the most cute baby pygmy goats we’ve ever seen. We stepped into the pen, and my daughter and her cousin were quickly given one of the babies to cuddle. They were so beautiful and, when they snuggled into her arms, she was in love!
The pygmy goats
Next were the pigs. Again, children don’t stand by the side or away from the pen. They’re encouraged to get in with the pigs, throwing them their breakfast from the metal buckets. We worked out very quickly that pigs will eat anything and everything, so we were encouraged to save our food waste for the pigs to have, the next day.
The pigs waiting for their breakfast
Next, we went onward to the chicken, geese and hen enclosure. A huge variety of birds were freely running around, all trying to get at the feed. They scurried here and there, running quickly past us and were not at all bothered by the people invading their home. The best part was the addition of two baby wallabies who live in with the birds. Staying away from the crowd, the farmer made sure that the feed was thrown up to them. This was to ensure that they had their fare share, because the greedy birds would try to get it all away from them. Opening the small coops, the children collected the freshly-layed eggs, with 8 being the best find of the week.
One busy little farmer
Up to the billy goats, next, who were ready for their food, clambering through the fence and butting the buckets to try and get it quicker.
Then we had to feed the deer.
The deer had a huge open area with fantastic woods at the top of their field. As we walked in, we were met with a small group of deer slowly prancing their way nervously towards us, trying to make sense of the strange, two-legged creatures who had invaded their space. In and arround them strutted the mighty stag, who (very strangely) was the most nervous of the bunch! These animals were magnificent, stunning and beautiful, and were my favourite of all. I really could’ve sat watching them all day.
The beautiful deer
Then, we moved on to feed yet more sheep, more goats, the two ponies, and Rolo the donkey. They were all looking for their breakfast, as they’ve worked out that the noise of the tractor coming towards them meant that food was definitely on it’s way.
What a magical start to the day.
Absolute heaven for my daughter, whose confidence grew and grew with each passing day. By the 3rd day, she wasn’t looking around for me any more, and didn’t need anyone to prompt her what to do. She was just straight in there, and behaving just like a mini apprentice farmer.
Her favourite day was when Farmer Fiona was in charge. She followed Fiona around, happily engrossed in all the farm jobs and, as a parent who encourages outdoor adventures, it was amazing to watch.
I hope that the photographs help to illustrate, and add depth to, this post. My daughter was happy, engaged and confident. She didn’t worry about her clothes, if her hair was tidy, or that her hands were a bit mucky. All that mattered was the farm experience and the excitement of being involved.
In one simple sentence, she was totally happy and satisfied at becoming the ultimate county kid.
Thank you Coombe Mill.