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  • Long cold winter!

    Hello

    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 ūüôĀ 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………!

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    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

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    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 Рquite often a few would escape into the minis field Рneither lambs nor minis seemed to mind about this at all Рand 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 Рall 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 Рand 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……

    M x

  • Happy New Year!

    Well I said goodbye to our last guests of 2012 yesterday.  They were here for New Years and were really lovely guests.  Even the weather improved a bit for their stay, the Minis and our latest addition Maisie a 4 year old cob for me to ride (eventually РI need to break her in first!!!) were a real hit and Maisie even got an apple left for her! (the minis like polos not apples and are still a little nervous of taking food from peoples hands!)  They made full use of the hot tub during their stay & it was really good to see people enjoying it!

    The wet weather has taken its toll on some of the windows in the barn so I have a window company coming out tomorrow to replace them & to add a door directly into the garden, which I’ve wanted to do since we moved down here! ¬†This is the down side to living with such stunning views, it means that we are pretty exposed when the wind and rain sets in as it has done for the past 4 months!!!

    The new stable block is working really well for the minis and Maisie although we think we might move it as it currently faces the prevailing winds which blow from the coast.  Sometimes I forget that I am less than 2 miles (as the crow flies or seagulls in my case) from Mawgan Porth beach! Somedays I can even hear the sea from here Рbut thats not usually a good sign and it means that the waves are crashing but oddly I really like hearing it!

    I am hoping for another good year this year – I already have 7 weeks booked and enquiries for this year have started to come in now everyone is getting over the crazy Christmas break!

    I’m keeping my eyes open for any orphan lambs that need a home so fingers crossed I might just have a few more little people to add to my constantly growing family!

    All the chickens are doing well and laying loads of eggs! I thought that they were supposed to lay less during the winter but obviously no-one has told them that & they are laying away! I can’t get through all the eggs in a week so our guests benefit from their over production and they certainly don’t seem to mind! Doris update: she is still Doris!!! Somedays she can manage to find her way to the main chicken house to put herself to bed with the others but somedays she just gets a bit lost along the way! She is still the last one to get out of bed in the morning (but I don’t blame her – it is very cosy in there!). ¬†So my mummy services are still needed to check that she is in bed and safe in the evenings! Good – its nice to be needed!

    I appear to be feeding the pheasant population of Cornwall too! Some enterprising pheasants have decided that Middle Lanherne is a safe house and have chosen to hang out in the field, not content with this, they hop (pheasants are rubbish at flying!) over the fence and tuck into the chickens food! This causes a bit of commotion with the chickens and Mother has to come and evict the said interlopers!

    I think it would be nice to have some more chicks this year and there seems to be no shortage of broody hens for me to choose from! I plan to get some eggs for them to sit on in March and we will see if we can’t have some chicks for Easter! Hopefully we will get a higher percentage of girls this year! Annie is our only chick from last year as all the others were boys! The jury is still out on Smokey my grey chicken – she or he certainly doesn’t look like all the others and I am still not convinced that she will not turn out to be a he!!!!! No sign of any cockadoodledoo-ing yet though!

    I have decided to include welcome packs for free from now on! So all guests will now arrive to find eggs, bread, cheese, bacon, butter, milk, orange juice, scones, jam and clotted cream! Obviously I will still provide tea, coffee & sugar too so that hopefully it means that it will be even easier to relax as soon as guests arrive!

    Oh Oh Oh – very exciting news – I have a local Chinese restaurant that delivers to me….. Yes! you read that right – THEY DELIVER!!! The food is really very good and I can’t believe that finally I live somewhere where I can get take away food delivered – who would have thought that it would have been here! There is a menu in the barn for those who fancy a onsie snuggly evening in with no cooking!

    The Cornish Arms in St Merryn and the Beach Hut are still my favourite places to eat out… but there are so many amazing restaurants to choose from down here…. spoiled for choice!

    Obviously I, along with everyone else in the UK, ¬†am hoping for a much drier year this year so that we can enjoy the many events that go on in Cornwall like the Royal Show and the various events such as Polo on the Beach that take place at Watergate Bay – I think we deserve a warm sunny year don’t you?

    Well thats all for now, I hope you all have a wonderful, healthy & happy 2013 and look forward to seeing our lovely repeat guests as well as new guests during the year.

    Bye for now

    M x

     

     

  • My first summer in Cornwall….

    In a word…..wet! We have had occasional sunny hot days and the odd week here and there which have been lovely but all in all I think we have all had a bit of a wet one! ¬†The wet weather has had a knock on effect with us getting some animals…I have had to wait for our farmer Ivan to come and cut the hay, which was done much later than planned as you have to have 3 – 4 days of sunshine to cut hay so it has time to dry out! ¬†He did finally manage to cut it and we have 70 round bales of hay in the field, now the problem is getting the round bales dry enough to get them moved so we can get on with hedge trimming and getting the fencing done for the mini donks and sheep!¬†

    I have put a deposit down on two beautiful mini donks – ‘Matilda’ who is 6 months old and not yet weaned from her mum and 2 year old ‘Pebbles’ who we will be able to cover next year which will hopefully result in our first foal in 2014! I’ve been clearing out one of the old stables which will be perfect for the two of them to be snuggly and warm during the winter. ¬†Mini Donks don’t like being wet, they don’t have a waterproof coat like horses and they need shelter and hardstanding. ¬†Mine will be the most pampered Mini Donks! I also plan to get a mobile field shelter for the field so that they can get out of the rain and the wind if necessary. ¬†If I’ve learned one thing since living here it is that the weather can change very quickly so its important that they can get out of the elements should they need to. ¬†Hopefully they will arrive here in the next 6 weeks.

    The guests have loved the barn, despite the weather, and have had lots of fun exploring Cornwall and playing in our fields. ¬†One particular family really got the most out of their time here with us and we just loved having them here! It was fantastic to hear squeals of laughter as they played leaky leaky in the fields in the evening and Autumn & Willow were waiting for me every morning and evening at ‘Chicken O’Clock’! They even managed to remember all the chickens names and were awarded with a very special T-Shirt as a prize. I am delighted that they rebooked for next year before they left and we can’t wait to see them all again! ¬†I have bookings all the way up to the end of September and am getting enquiries for Christmas and New Year already. ¬†If I get a booking we plan to decorate the barn complete with Christmas Tree and outside lights so it will really look magical!¬†

    The high winds have caused us a few problems with the hot tub cover again! I have fashioned some straps now that I put in place when the wind gets up which stops the cover blowing off down the fields! I guess the winds are the price we pay for having such stunning views and although they are a bit of a pain the views more than make up for it and they still blow me away (pardon the pun!) every day!

    I am also hoping to get a few sheep, we would like to get Wiltshire horn sheep as they do not require sheering – their fleece just falls out when the weather warms up! Its makes keeping them much easier and they don’t suffer so much with fly strike. ¬†I have never kept sheep before but the place that we will be getting them from offer a one day course to teach the basics! It will be lovely to have some lambs at easter bouncing around in the field and sheep make excellent companions to donkeys and horses as they are far less fussy about how they graze!

    I have had some friends down visiting over the summer so I’ve got to do lots of fun stuff like Karting at St Eval Kart track which is only 5 mins drive away! Everyone enjoyed it as they cater for all ages – even the little ones can drive little baby carts with an adult who controls the speed and, if necessary, the steering! My niece Daisy who is 5 just loved it and her brothers who are 8 and 10 loved the faster karts. ¬†They all loved it so much we had to go back again at the end of the week!

    I also went to Crealy Adventure Park which is also very near.  They have everything from small animals, ponies, donkeys and pigs to rides and slides and the best thing about it is that once you have paid to get in it is free to return for the rest of that week! Again I ended up going twice! 

    We managed a day on Perranporth Beach building sandcastles and the boys even tried their hand at body boarding! They didn’t have wet suits and I think they were very brave to go into the water! They loved it and I have a feeling that they will be getting wetsuits before they come down again next year! I was amazed at how prepared everyone else was on the beach – families had almost set up camp with wind breaks and beach tents. ¬†Some of them looked like they could happily move in for the week….until the tide came in that is! Our set up was a bit more basic with just a couple of coolers with the picnic in and some beach towels but as it was a sunny day it really didn’t matter! ¬†We all had a lovely Cornish ice cream at the end of the day and enjoyed mooching round the shops once we had dropped our buckets, spades, fishing nets, body boards, beach bags and coolers back at the car!¬†

    We had a day at Treasure Park in Redruth too. I was a little concerned as it was the day after we had been to Crealy, that they would find it a little tame in comparison, but I shouldn’t have worried. ¬†We all had a great time panning for gold and gems, playing crazy golf and building a bear! We spent a very enjoyable 5 hours there and even had a delicious lunch and yet another ice cream!

    Watergate bay has polo on the beach in September and I am really looking forward to going (just hoping for a sunny day) I’ve never seen Polo on the beach before and Watergate bay is one of my favourite places.

    Well bank holiday weekend is nearly upon us and that means just one thing…..more rain! I have lots to do – there is always lots to do here! I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that we have a few short sharp showers rather than incessant rain all weekend!

    Have a great bank holiday!

    M xxx

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Ark Needed!

    So much rain! I can’t believe how much it has rained in the past couple of months. ¬†It is so frustrating as there is so much to do outside and we can’t get anything done. ¬†We have had to put getting more animals on hold for now as the farmer can’t get in to cut the fields and the grass is so long!¬†

    The Chickens are all doing well – except the lovely Stevie who died suddenly one day. ¬†She had been such a good mum to the chicks and it was really sad when I went out to put them to bed at night and found her just lying there. ¬†I have to say I shed a few tears, which I know is silly but she was such a lovely chicken. We have laid her to rest in the garden so she will always be with us! The baby chicks are all grown up now, it turned out that we had 3 boys and just one girl. ¬†As the boys had already started fighting they were relocated at the weekend to Jackie Chickens and we bought back another little girl to keep Annie company. So Annie and Essie are now part of the chicken clan and have been accepted well into the group. ¬†Doris is still Doris and refuses to put herself to bed at night or get out of bed on her own in the morning so I have to do it! If you have seen the film Finding Nemo, she reminds me of Dori! She is literally like a goldfish and can’t remember anything, so every time I pick her up is like the first time she has ever been picked up! She’s so funny and you can’t help but love her to pieces.

    I have been out and about a bit and went to the seal sanctuary a couple of weeks ago. ¬†It is a really lovely place to go, the seals look so well and healthy and the staff were extremely helpful and informative. ¬†The good news was that there were no seals in the hospital. ¬†I was expecting a bit of a fishy smell to the place but there really isn’t and I think its a great place for kids and adults to spend a couple of hours and if the weather is nice to take a picnic! ¬†If it were nearer I would literally go every couple of weeks!

    The highlight of my week last week was to go horse riding at Newquay Riding Stables. ¬†We had a lovely couple staying in the barn and Sarah is also a keen horse rider mentioned that she might like to ride. ¬†I offered to go with her if her husband didn’t fancy it and off we went last Thursday. ¬†We had a severe weather warning that day, forecasting storms, thunder and all sorts of horrid weather, but we decided to tough it out and go anyway! So in all sorts of wet weather gear we arrived at the stables and we given our horses, Eddie for me and Pie for Sarah. ¬†They were both lovely coloured cobs (like gypsy horses) and they were very well behaved. ¬†We rode for 2 hours, through the sea, on the beach, through little villages and up onto open moorland. ¬†It was really lovely and it did not rain once! We did get a bit hot due to all the wet weather gear we were wearing but we didn’t care! NO RAIN! Whoo Hoo! ¬†If i’m honest my knees did ache when I got off (i’m not as young and riding fit as I once was!) and the next day I could feel bits of me i’d forgotten I had, but it was so worth it and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is coming down this way. ¬†They take kids from 7 years old and cater for beginners and more experienced riders. ¬†Its a really lovely way to see Cornwall and if you need someone to go with well…….look no further! ūüôā

    Its a busy time of year now as I have guests back to back till September, I really hope the weather improves, fortunately there is still lots to do when it rains down here. ¬†I had one guest email me about finding a riding stables for her boys ages 3 and 5, I did ask at the stables I rode at but due to insurance they are unable to take novice children under 7 years old. ¬†While driving round a roundabout i’ve driven round hundreds of times about 5 miles from here I saw a sign for Springfields Fun Park and Pony Centre, so I went to see what it was all about. ¬†Its a pony centre with other cute animals and indoor and outdoor play areas, the children can ride ponies and tractors and generally have fun regardless of the weather! It looks great and I’m looking forward to my niece and nephews coming down so I’ve got an excuse to go!

    Here’s hoping for some sunshine soon!

    xxx

     

     

     

     

     

  • Blowing a Hooley, Segways & Miniature Donkeys!

    Well its June – not that you would know it by the weather over the past couple of weeks! Last week we had the WORST weather we have experienced since moving down here, 70mph winds and driving rain for 3 days! Being on top of a hill has its downsides when the winds blow. ¬†It was so bad it took the hot tub cover clean off the hot tub, despite being clipped down and launched it down the field! Fortunately our lovely guests retrieved it for us before too much damage was done! The timing of the bad weather couldn’t have been worse as it was half term, the Jubilee bank holiday and the Royal Cornwall Show. ¬†I had been really looking forward to going to the Royal Cornwall Show so on Thursday despite waking up to strong winds and rain, I made my way up the road to Wadebridge where the show ground is. ¬†I left really early in the morning as the traffic is really bad and arrived at just after 8.30am, It is a huge show with so much to see and do. ¬†Locals had told me that you need 3 days to see it all and I have to say I didn’t believe them but they were right! Unfortunately due to the weather, after 4 hours I was so cold and wet that I decided to come home. ¬†I know that some of the tents were damaged due to the wind and they had to tow cars out as the car parks got so muddy from all the rain. ¬†I feel really sorry for all those who were exhibiting at the show and the organisers, I can imagine that it takes a huge amount of work to put on a show like that and the vile weather certainly put a dampener on the show. ¬†Its in my calendar though for next year and hopefully the weather will be better.

    I went to see some Miniature Donkeys a couple of weeks ago and fell in love, they are without a doubt the cutest creatures in the world. ¬†We are waiting for the weather to get better and we can then get the fields cut for hay and at the end of July we can get the hedges sorted. ¬†Once this is done we can sort out the fencing and hopefully then we can get some animals here! I can’t wait! We are going to start with some sheep and mini donks …….we are also planning to move the chickens to another “garden” so we can use the area they are currently in as a vegetable garden. ¬†Hopefully we can get the beds built by the end of the summer so that they are ready for planting for next year. ¬†I haven’t got a clue about growing vegetables but I am looking forward to learning!

    On the plus side all this rain is filling up our water butts nicely! However, we found we had a water leak in our main water pipe – the reason we found this out was the horrid damp smell that was permutating our cottage. ¬†Knowing you probably have a leak and finding it are two very different things! We found a damp spot by the side of the drive and set about digging that up but it wasn’t till we were half way across the drive that we found the leak! It is now fixed and we were pretty proud of ourselves as neither of us have ever fixed a pipe before. ¬†We did, however, manage to get the Kango stuck in the ground and it took an hour to get it out! Hopefully its all fixed now and once we have a dry day we can get the concreting done! We are learning that we can do so much more DIY than we thought we could and our confidence is growing all the time.

    We had some family down over the jubilee weekend and we did loads of fun stuff but the most fun we had was over at Goonhilly with Cornwall Segways where we rode segway for an hour and a half. ¬†They are great and everyone had such fun, especially the men who spent most of the time trying to push each other off! I would highly recomend it if you are coming down – they also have a centre in Newquay if you don’t fancy travelling so far.