Tag: country living

Cows: Life in the Country

You know you live in the country when the first thing you hear in the morning is the loud and aggressive mooing of Theo the bull, who likes to threaten the other bull, somewhere in another field… goodness knows where.  They like to holler to one another, I’m guessing they say a lot of “I’m bigger than you” in cow lingo.  I could be wrong of course, for all you know, cows are also like people, who like to talk about the weather…

I felt really sorry for the cows when were having unusual weather a few months ago.  The appearance of the beast from the East… twice, meant that they were unable to come out and were stuck in their barns.  When the snow finally cleared up and we all thought that Spring was finally on it’s way, it was the rains that came and made the surrounding farm land too wet and soggy for the cows.  When I heard the first moo in the field behind our house, I was really pleased to hear that they were back outside.  Not sure they were pleased to see us, especially our annoying dog Doc who likes to bark at them.

I’ve especially been spying on the mama cows and their calves.  I just find it so endearing the way they’re so protective of their young.  I guess all mothers are the same regardless of species and the thought just really warms my heart.  I can sit for hours just watching them.

At the moment, we have scaffolding all over our house.  We’ve had really bad damp and mould over the winter and we’re hoping the builder will be able to fix this.  When he is gone, I like to go up there and watch the cows.

I saw this mama and her calf a few days ago.  They were really near the back of our house.  This mama was actually standing a few feet away from her calf, but as soon as she saw me she quickly walked towards her young and gave me a bellow as if to say “You come near my baby and I’ll break your bones”.

I just sat there and watched from above.  I don’t think she liked my presence at all.  She stopped threatening me but turned to her young as if to say “Let’s move on.  I don’t trust that woman up there”.  Her baby which I’m guessing was just a day or so old, judging from it’s unsteady steps, just ignored the mum.  I guess the young are also the same regardless of species, they like to ignore their parents.  After more bellowing the calf eventually moved towards its mother.

And as soon as her baby was near her, like all mothers, she jostled her little one to get a move on.

And just like that, they left me watching them.

This Is The Life

Lately I’ve been missing the madness of city living again and if T didn’t love her school and her friends so much, we’d move in a heartbeat.  The yearning comes and goes but on a day like this particular one also reminds me to be thankful of where we live right now especially with a little child in tow and as the ever wise Dr. Seuss once said:

Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky.”

And indeed we are lucky to live where we live.  Beautiful beaches are within a ten-minute drive from our house.  If we wanted to venture out just a bit further, like a thirty-minute drive to our current favourite beach, we’re there soon enough.

Sandymouth beach in North Cornwall is our current fave.  We first discovered it last year.  It’s a lovely beach owned by the National Trust, some may find it a bit rocky, but it has many beautiful features like this lovely waterfalls.  If you’ve been reading this little online space of ours, you might have just read about this slice of heaven in past posts.  It also has a lovely National Trust cafe, so yes, a must-visit if you’re in the area.

It was summer the last time we were here.  Imagine T’s surprise when we came back and found the waterfalls over-brimming with water.  Last time we were here, it was a mere trickle.  Just look at these photos:

i just love the expanse of this beach.  It was nearing high-tide when we arrived, so we couldn’t really venture out further, but there was still enough beach for a lovely stroll.

From where we were walking, you could see people up in the headland enjoying the view.

After walking around, we spread our picnic blanket on top of the rocks and just enjoyed the scenery before us.  This is the life.  This is all you need.  The people whom you love the most and a flask of tea.  What more can you ask for?  Okay, maybe enough money to buy a house in the city 😉

“The beach is not a place to work, to read, write or to think”

  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Poor Doc – we weren’t able to let him off leash since there were a few families around with little kids.  Sadly, he still hasn’t outgrown the “jumping on strangers” with an eager beaver face.

After having our fill of quiet solitude and hot tea, we decided it was time for cake at the cafe.  While demolishing a lovely piece of chocolate cake, we noticed this really brave Blackbird perch itself up a few tables from where we sat outdoors facing the sea.  It didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence at all.

And then it was time to explore that headland, which we’ve never had the chance to explore till now.

That’s the National Trust cafe and parking lot (above photo).

Waterfalls seen from above.

What do you think?

Would you exchange all this for city living?

 

Winter is Dead …

thank goodness for that.  Up country, the trees have fully regrown their leaves.  Down here in Cornwall, even though Spring happens early, the trees are still recovering from the “deadness” of Winter.  Some of them are still bald, some are slowly sprouting tiny leaves, pert against the blueness of a Spring sky.  I understand why this is my husband’s favourite season.  He says he likes it because there is hope in the air.  I like it because it is beautiful.  Suddenly the greyness is gone and there is an abundance of colour.  What’s not to like about Spring?  You must be really dull or hate life not to embrace everything about it.

Spring break has also come and gone.  We spent the first week pottering about, mostly gardening, although there is still a lot to be done, we are slowly getting there.

We also visited my in-laws in the second week and did a day trip to the bustling city of London.  It was nice to spend time with the family, but it was great to drive back home to the country again.  I think I also understand why some people don’t like leaving their place.  It can sometimes be a bit cumbersome and I’m not alone in feeling this.  My husband heaved a heavy sigh as he stepped on the gas to make that long trip back up-country.  We haven’t even left and yet we were already longing for home.

Ah home.  At the moment, home is this 400-year-old farm cottage surrounded by cows and fields.  The house gets mouldy in Winter, I have yet to repaint the walls.  There are still remnants of mould even though we’ve tried our best to wipe them away, you can still see them on the walls like scars that haven’t healed.  I’ll get down to doing all that, hopefully this week.

Hope and Spring, such a lovely combination, don’t you think?

A Country Kid’s Post: Autumn Fun in the Garden

Our garden is carpeted in leaves.  We had absolutely lovely sunshine weather a few days ago, the kind that’s best spent outside, so T and I decided to hunt for a rake and do a little bit of tidying up in our lawn.

We couldn’t find one, what my husband found instead was his nan’s old small garden pea-rake.  “Yep, that will do!” I said to him as I grabbed it and handed it to little T who seemed really excited about it.  I promised that she could jump up and down in leafy piles after.

Hard at work with her great-grandmother’s small pea-rake.

And once she had a good pile of raked-leaves, she decided that it was a great burial ground for her baby.

 I warned her though that children’s services would take the her baby away if they found out. That stopped her. She took Ella away from the pile and started raking again, till she had a good amount of leaves to jump in.

Don’t you just love watching them have fun in even the simplest ways?

I do.

PS

My husband is right.  We do need a leaf-vac.

A Country Kid’s Post: Creating Childhood Memories

We used to live in a terraced house in a little village by the sea.  While it was quiet and lovely there, where everyone knew each other, whose kid belonged to whom that sort, I didn’t allow little T play outside.  Older kids played outside by our parking lot that was never full.  While it was safe, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of her playing outside, even though our neighbour’s child “F” who is from T’s school and is even a year younger than her once said to me “I’ll take care of her!”  I actually laughed when he first announced this, looking down at little T’s gallant knight who was (then) barely taller than her.

Not that I didn’t trust him, it was mainly because of the cars.  It wasn’t a busy road, but I did worry about the cars coming and going.

I want little T to have a childhood where she can roam freely without her paranoid mum breathing down her neck and I’m pleased to say that, she has that now.

We didn’t move far from that little village by the sea.  In fact, you could say we’re just down the road and still live by the coast.  We live in a private road where there are only three houses, including the farm that lives further down.

Now you’ll find T going up and down that private road in her scooter, along with Doc bounding up ahead of her.  We also help her practice her bike up and down that road.  In the summer, you’ll seldom find her inside, she’s out there in the garden jumping in her trampoline, playing with her friends.  She’s also gone exploring the country lanes, although she hasn’t done this on her own yet (still too young for that), we do go with her, an excuse to walk the dog, who doesn’t even need walking all the time anymore.  He actually takes himself out any time he wants.

It’s a lovely life, living in the country really.  It’s as if time stands still, and nobody really worries much about tomorrow, after all it’s not here yet, is it?

Do you allow your child to play outside?

A Country Kid’s Post: A Lovely Summer Walk

After constantly moaning about the weather last week, we thankfully had glorious weather over the weekend.  And last Sunday was one of those lovely days where the sun was out and it was nice and warm(ish), a perfect day for a walk through farmlands.

We are lucky our lovely neighbours own about 500 acres of land surrounding our house and has kindly told us that we ca roam it freely.  They even gave us a map!  And since it was a lovely day, we decided that it’s about time we did some exploring with the dogs.

We also decided that it was best to put the dogs in their leash, we knew there were cows, but weren’t sure if there were sheep too.  We were also dog-sitting our friends’ dog Wilbur, who also happens to be Doc’s best-friend.

And there’s little T leading the walk …

Little T decides to stop and admire the view.

As you can see, we don’t live far from the coast, although of course not as near as where we used to live.  But I love our house and I’m okay with seeing the sea in the horizon.  On a clear day, you can even spot it from our back garden too.

With the map in hand, we just walked on and on and on.

Passed the cows who looked at our little group suspiciously.  Couldn’t resist taking some photos of wild flowers by the path.

Now if only we had more days like these, summers in England would just be heavenly.  After awhile T announced that she was getting tired and the dogs seemed thirsty, so we decided to head back home.

And what better way to end a beautiful day out in the sun, by dining al fresco in our garden of course.

Yesterday though and today, all that is forgotten, as we are once again cloaked in grey and rain.

Did you have a lovely weekend too?

Do share.

Missing the Ocean

A friend of mine asked “Do you miss the coast?” when we told her that we’ve finally moved.  At that time, I said no, especially since we don’t live far from the coast either, although admittedly unlike the old house, it isn’t walking distance anymore.

It used to take us about 5 minutes from our door, especially if Doc and I walked at a steady pace without faltering, we’d smell and hear the ocean even before we could see it. And once near it, Doc would break into a run so fast, there was no way I could keep up with him.  I do miss the ocean.  I do miss it now.

At our new house though, it takes us about 10 minutes to get to the nearest beach by car.  To be fair though, even in the old house, it took about the same amount of time to get to the nearest beach since there wasn’t really a beach in the old village where we lived.  What it has is an ancient harbour with lovely views of the coast.

I repeat, I miss it now, especially when I take Doc out for a walk.  The current house is surrounded by farm land.  Our neighbour owns about 500 hectares of farm land all around us and has kindly told us that we’re free to go anywhere we please on their land.  Actually, if Doc and I kept walking, I know we would reach the beach, but that would mean having to walk all the way back, not something I’d be looking forward to.  Maybe once the summer holiday starts and we could do it as a family adventure, all four of us.

There is a private road to get to our home and there are only 3 houses standing a part from each other, and down that private road is the farm house.  It is lovely and quiet where we live.  All you can hear are the cows and did I mention farmlands?  Loads of that.

To be fair though, Doc doesn’t seem bothered much and loves it here.  He likes having adventures with the cows and looking for the smelliest thing he can roll on.  I don’t even bring his leash when we go out, he’s just running around freely.  When I say it’s time to go home now Doc, he finds his way home ahead of me.

Even though the coast isn’t within walking distance anymore, I wouldn’t exchange the house where we live in right now for anything, unless one can uproot it and plonk it right along the coast, although I’m not sure that’s a good idea either.  Life is all about compromises, isn’t it.

Have you compromised on a house move too?

Do share.

A Country Kid’s Post: Underneath the Cornish Sky

The weather did improve over the weekend, but it was only for one day.  Thankfully we managed to spend some time of it outdoors, if only to walk the dog in our usual jaunt, up the headland.

Let’s have a race, says T.  Even before her dad and I could answer, she was up and running.

 I’m glad I managed to grab the camera before heading out, the colour of the sky and sea was absolutely amazing.

I think Cornish skies are one of the best!

Then again I know I’m biased because we live here.

What do you think?

Do share.

What I think about when I’m Walking Doc

I usually walk Doc around lunchtime, we try to avoid other dog-walkers, not that I’m anti-social (though admittedly I can be sometimes), but all the dog-walkers here are all lovely and friendly.  We give each other a lovely smile and do the customary talk about the weather as we pass each other by and when our dogs are acting like loonies, we also give each other a sympathetic smile or rolling of our eyes.

Going back to the reason why we avoid them, it’s only because Doc, little T’s over-excitable two year old dog, let’s just say acts a little bit too much when there are other dogs around, Yes, I know what you’re thinking, he ought to be socialised more and he does.  I swear 😉

But what do I think about as soon as I step out of the house?  Here’s what …

The Weather

I know how very British!  To talk about/think about the blimming weather, especially when it can’t seem to make up it’s mind about whether it’s spring already or the tail-end of winter.  I always step out wearing a coat and then end up taking my coat off and walking with it awkwardly in my arms like a forbidden toy.  In my mind, I curse it “Damn you weather!  Can’t you make up your flipping mind?.  It’s May now for goodness sake.  The clocks have already gone forward an hour!  This is supposed to herald the beginning of summer!  In case you haven’t received the memo?!”  

Dinner Menu

That is if I haven’t decided earlier on.  I plod and walk on thinking about what to cook and racking my brains and mentally thinking about the contents of our fridge, freezer and pantry.  Oh sheesh, what else can you do with chicken?  Curry?  Baked?  Fried?  Can’t we just have the same meals again and again?  If only it were considered acceptable to feed your little one with ready-to-cool meals day in and day out without being labelled a bad mother.

List of Things-to-Do

Walking also seems to be the best time to think about ticking off mental list of things to do for the day, or perhaps, adding more to that list.  Laundry (check), ironing (still needs to be done)… What have I done for the day?  Walked the blimming Dog, that’s it!

Photographs

Mostly I berate myself for not taking my camera with me.  This always happens on days that the sky is the bluest of blue or the sea is dramatic and would make interesting captures.

Wild Flowers

I love them.  I really do like to think of them every time I walk the dog.  I have a friend who knows all their names, and every time she comes down for a visit, she tries to re-teach me their names over and over again.  But I keep forgetting.  One of the reasons why I love walking up in the headland, especially in the spring time and summer, is that you’ll find many wild flowers strewn all over and I like to bend down and inspect them.  If I’m lucky enough to have my camera with me, I of course take a photo.  Most times I just stop and marvel at them and it doesn’t matter whether I see them every single day.

What about you?

What do you think about when out for a walk?

Do share.

March Chat with a Mum: Fiona of Coombe Mill

If you are a UK Parent Blogger, chances are you’ve already heard of Fiona of Coombe Mill. Apart from running the lovely must-visit self-catering cottages specifically made for families in Cornwall, she also writes about country living in her blog and hosts the famous #countrykids linky which I’m a follower of.  Grab a cup of tea or coffee you lovely folks, and get to know the lovely woman behind Coombe Mill:

Tell us something about yourself and your children (age & sex)

Hi I’m Fiona, married to Nick, or Farmer Nick as all the children here on holiday call him. I’m a full time Mum to our 6 children, working full time at our holiday business and squeezing a little blogging and social media into my spare time, that’s a lot of full time jobs in one but thankfully I thrive on very little sleep. My children are all coming up to birthdays but are currently 17, 15, 13 and 11, the 11 being my triplets. Only the youngest (by minutes) is a girl so she and I are rather outnumbered in our household.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

I can sum my birth stories up as long, boring and conventional right up to the triplets. Each was 48 hours of hell as far as I’m concerned but reading the stories of others I know I was actually very lucky and felt right as rein straight after giving birth. I even took the older children to a 2 year olds birthday party in the afternoon after giving birth to my 3rd in the morning, so yes I was lucky. The triplets on the other hand were a pain free c section; though I still remember lying there watching the reflection in the rim of the ceiling mirror and seeing a distorted view of what was happening inside me the other side of the curtain! I was kept in with them for 3 weeks as they were born at 33 weeks and only tiny. It was only when I came home and had to instantly be on hand for the older children and the business I realised what a rest hospital was! Poor Farmer Nick had been amazing back home on his own with the other 3 children and the business in that time and having to furnish our first Scandinavian lodge alone; it still has a very minimalistic male touch to it! As for the next 2 years with 6 children under 6 and the business, I have only limited memory; survival of each day was my only goal!

KF2-2002

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one?

Oh everything! I didn’t even know how to change a nappy, I was as clueless as anyone could be and I wish I had put my first down more, sterilized everything less, and accepted every offer of help I turned down. I wised up with subsequent children. I think the triplets almost brought themselves up and I never sterilized a thing, they were my most healthy babies!

How do you manage your “me” time?

I’m addicted to fresh air and exercise. I can’t manage as much as a day indoors. I sneak an hour mid day most days to go for a run, cycle or swim or surf, often with a friend or with one of my teens if it’s after school or just on my own to think. It is one of the biggest benefits of working from home, having the freedom to take a break when I feel I need one. When the children were tiny I’d wheel the pram round my running route.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your children?

Oh plenty, but I think the thing I find most amusing and annoying is never knowing ‘who did it’. Whatever the misdemeanor it is always “I didn’t do it” I” I saw ….” I”I wasn’t there” finding out who broke something or ate something I was saving etc is impossible, they cover for each other no matter what and Nick and I don’t stand a chance. I think it is probably a big family thing.

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

I cherish the sense of belonging to a big family and of loving and being loved. The family bond is so very important to me.

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike about what would it be?

My biggest dislike is the 11 – 13 age when the children go through puberty, the mood swings and aggression is tough and for a while I feel I’m losing them, I now know it is a phase and to just love them and give them the space they need and they come back to you, the things they say along this journey can be hurtful but they don’t mean it. Fear not if you’ve not yet reached this stage, they don’t all go through it in such an obvious way but at least half of mine have and the triplets are right in it now. Like the terrible twos, there are of course lovely days too at this stage, it is just an emotional roller coaster.

What’s a typical day like for you and your kids?

Our days change throughout the year with the changing needs of the business, all the kids have jobs around the farm on different days though it is fair to say they do enjoy time off in the holidays except our busy Saturday changeover when they are all needed.

KF2-2002

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Be consistent, make rules you can stick to and follow them through.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Use your intuition, do what feels right, take advice from others but don’t feel bound to anyone else’s word, every child and parent are different and there is no one rule that fits all; do what works for you and your child.

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities as well?

The age old work life balance! We have family time over dinner every night, meals often take an hour now as with teenagers there is plenty of humour, banter and debates that take place around our dining table, and this is our daily family catch up time. In summer family trips out are much harder as changeover and business needs take over, however we try for a family outing on a Sunday between the animal feeding and even train rides then in the winter close down period we value our weekends together. My blogging time is either mid week while the kids are at school and the guests out for the day or late in the evening as I’m a bit of a night owl.

Thank you so much Fiona!  

And if you’re planning to visit North Cornwall over the Easter break and looking for a place to stay with your family, why not stay at Coombe Mill?  It’s nothing like your usual holiday self-catering cottages – it’s a working farm and Fiona and her lovely family have fun  activities planned for your little ones that will surely make your holiday even more special. 

Click here to visit Fiona’s blog and if you haven’t read last month’s chat with a Dad, do have a read here