Long cold winter!
As I’m writing this we are still all struggling with cold temperatures and it does seem to have been a never ending winter for us all. We managed to escape the snow down in Cornwall which I suppose is a blessing but I was looking forward to putting my brand new never-been-used sledges to use in the back field , which is on quite a slope and would have been excellent fun to sledge down (but probably quite an abrupt and painful stop in the brambles at the bottom). Alas it was not to be as Cornwall very rarely has snow 🙁 So our sledges remain unused hanging in the garage….maybe next year…?
Our season has started again after quite a few guests in November and over New Year. Our guests at New Year had a fantastic time and spent New Year Eve in the hot tub with bottles of bubbly (quite a few bottles at that!) Needless to say, they weren’t up and about very early on New Years day!!! Little did I know that, as we still had no direct access to the garden at that point, they came up with an ingenious plan of climbing out through the window!!! This only came to light after I posted a photo of the brand new door on facebook a couple of weeks ago!! It did make me laugh! Still no need anymore – I have a door (i’m a poet too didn’t you know!). Due to all the rain we had last year the windows in the end bedroom and one of the windows in the lounge leaked (not surprising with the horizontal rain we had some days), so in March we replaced the leaking ones with lovely new (horizontal rain proof) ones and replaced the window opposite the front door with a fabulous stable door. I know its crazy to be excited by a door but I have wanted to have one there since I bought the barn and now that its in it looks fabulous! See………!
On a very sad note I lost our lovely little ‘special’ chicken Doris in March too. She had become a firm favourite with all our guests and as she never could remember how to get in and out of the chicken house at night and could often be found asleep in random places in their garden, I would have to go and carry her to bed EVERY night. She lived much longer than everyone expected her to, when I got her I really didn’t expect her to live longer than a month so I had another 9 months with her and I feel very blessed to have known her. She was a real character and the other chickens all seemed to understand that she was ‘challenged’ and never pecked her or minded when she bumped into them! One of the downsides of Doris not having a memory (like Dori out of Finding Nemo) was that she would always react when I picked up up as if she had never been picked up before, flapping and kicking up a fuss…..until you tucked her under your arm and then she relaxed and seemed to enjoy being there. I do think she gave me one egg – as I found a really tiny one (about the same size as a mini creme egg) in the nesting box one day! I was amazed that it was egg shaped at all as I always said that if she ever did lay an egg it would be square! I didn’t have the heart to eat it! RIP Doris xxx
The minis have coped very well with this long, wet, cold winter and are becoming more Diva-like every day! They have got rugs (little tiny ones!) which they wear when its raining hard as Donkeys don’t have waterproof coats like horses do, and I installed an infra-red heat lamp in their stable so that they don’t get too cold at night! (yes they are very spoilt!). Our guests all love them and our current guests children, Hannah & Nathan, help me put them to bed at night and seem to spend most of their time out playing with them in the field – the minis hate every bit of this attention – NOT! They have a day time stable to shelter from the wind and the rain and an evening stable to snuggle up in their deep straw bed – I know they do this because I can see little mini donkey shaped nests in the straw in the morning! Cute! They are developing their characters and can often be found climbing up the bank at the back of the stables braying loudly if they think i’m late with their evening carrots (yes every night they go to bed with carrots – heavens only knows what would happen if they didn’t get them!) ‘Tilda is still the bossy boots and is very bold and Pebbles is slowly coming out of her shell – although she will never be as bold as ‘Tilda she certainly knows her own mind! Trying to lead them anywhere is a tricky task and I usually end up pushing them instead – its a hilarious sight I can tell you! I decided not to breed from Pebbles yet – she is old enough now as she turned 3 in March and that is the age that you can start to breed from donkeys, however, as she is quite a timid little person, I feel that it is better to wait till ‘Tilda is 3 (2 more years to wait) so that they can have babies together, this will also mean that there will be 2 foals and they can play together! This will give me time to sort some fencing out in the back field, which is next on my hit list!
One of my local farmers grazed his sheep on the back field for 6 weeks and it was really lovely to watch the lambs springing about the place – quite often a few would escape into the minis field – neither lambs nor minis seemed to mind about this at all – and I would often come home to find them grazing side by side!
Maisie the cob has been sent to boot camp! She was becoming a bit big for her boots and really needed to do more than just eat and boss the minis about! A lady down the road is a professional horse woman and breaks and schools young horses (she is very brave, kind and patient!). She has had Maisie for 6 weeks now and Maisie is a reformed character and loves being ridden! She has lost quite a lot of weight too (which she needed to!) and hopefully at the end of the week I will ride her for the first time (excited and nervous in equal measures!). Maisie is going to stay living down the road for a bit till we get used to one another and so that I can have some help with her – young horses have a tendency to test you from time to time in the first year of being ridden and its nice to have some ‘back-up’ when this happens!
Bookings for the barn have been coming in nicely – all the lovely reviews on Trip Advisor have certainly helped and I am very grateful for those guests who have taken the time to put these reviews on for me. The summer holiday weeks were all booked up by the end of last year – and I actually had to turn people away in the early part of the year due to the windows being done. I still have half term weeks available and it would be lovely to have guests in at Christmas this year. I have been so lucky with my guests and keep in touch with many of them via the Middle Lanherne Barn facebook page.
Well thats all for now – hopefully spring will spring into action in the next couple of weeks and the warmer weather will be very welcome all round!
Until next time……