Thursday, 23 February 2017

No 2017 camping this year

Apologies to anyone reading the blog and hoping to book for camping at Ashfarm, but we have decided to concentrate on our sheep and horses this year and not to open for camping after all.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

We are now open for bookings, 2017 season here we come

I cannot believe that we are at the end of January already, where did all the months go?  I had intended at least writing an autumn and a festive season blog, but they have not happened and now here we are open for bookings for our 2017 summer season. Have included a festive photo of The Sloop in St Ives by way of an apology!
Each year our season varies, and this year, summer season will be for the summer school holidays, a bit before and probably not much after, but maybe the October half term if the weather is good, so just phone and see whether we can fit you in!
Having finished our 2016 summer season a little early, so that the egg entrepeneur and a school friend could go for a week of work experience on Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park, we travelled up and pitched a bell tent for a week, two mums and two boys.
It was just what the mums needed, R&R in bucket loads.
We were treated to a gorgeous week of weather, it was hot and sunny virtually all week. Perfect!
And the boys had a wonderful time. The workforce at Cotswold Park are a fabulous bunch, they made the boys feel welcome and put them to work with 'meet and greet' tasks, assisting with displays and animal husbandry chores
and filled them with new knowledge of how to work in a team and interact with the public and lots of wisdom about how a farm park functions.
Ofcourse, all week the boys were on the look out for Adam and after a few glimpses they were thrilled to say hello to the man himself and get a special 'thankyou' note in their copies of his new book, 'Like Farmer Like Son'.
And what did the mums do you ask yourself? Reading, playing bananagrams, walking,  visiting markets and arboretums, sitting in the sun and relaxing, it was horribly difficult to do!

Living in Cornwall, I had forgotten how arable the rest of the UK and in particular the Cotswolds is, fields and fields of barley and sheep everywhere!
The campsite at the park is lovely, not too big and not too small, circa 32 pitches with adequate clean, hot showers and toilets and beautiful countryside all around, perfect for long walks and finding friendly pubs and watching race horses on the gallops.
Since then, the weeks and months have just flown by. We bought three Zwartble ewe lambs in the summer to test our ability to care for them and so far, so good. Worming or drenching them has been not too difficult and we set up a little pen to help. Trimming their feet was a little more challenging, but each time we do it we learn a bit more.
And having been introduced to some rare breed sheep at Cotswold Farm Park, we added to our flock and bought two ewes and a Portland ram in October (and a wether to keep the ram company, when not out with the girls)
The ram, romatically named Moonlight has been strutting his stuff and doing his job in the autumn. Both the ewes had raddle marks on their bums, so keep watching the blog to see if they produce lambs in March 2017.  High on that success, we also borrowed a zwartble ram and hope the three Zwartble ewes might also lamb in April 2017. The ewes are now all in together on some winter grazing ,with a view and the rams and wether have their own paddock.
Over the autumn and winter, fences have been erected with rabbit wire (stock fencing is not user friendly for the horses, who will rotationally share the grazing) to keep the sheep safely paddocked and safe from dogs on the footpath at the bottom of the field.
We may not have a proper working farm, just a hobby farm, but Dom has been honing his tractor driving skills every saturday on a working farm over at Morvah. He has immersed himself in anything farming and milking orientated.
There was a ploughing match to attend, watching tractors plough fields is a real 'boy' thing...
..but the horsedrawn ploughs were amazing....(girl thing I think)
The produce displays from the Young Farmers Groups were fantastic and so colourful, isn't nature wonderful.
And I was very proud of the egg entrepeneur and his first prize eggs....please note these prize winning eggs are nearly always on sale at the campsite in the summer.
In November we planted 500 trees, shrubs and hedging plants in the bottom of the long field, to form Horsefield Wood for future generations.
Many thanks to the Woodland Trust for providing us with a grant to help fund the 2 and 3 year old treelets and thanks to all the villagers and locals who turned out to help us plant. We would have taken forever to plant them all, without their help and it would not have been half so much fun.

We have planted Oak, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Rowan, Hazel, Alder, Elder, Crab Apple and Dog Rose and Hawthorn. The wood just looks like plastic tubes at the moment,
but with some imagination.............we have put a wooden bench down there at the edge of the footpath that crosses the field so anyone can sit and comtemplate and enjoy the view.

But ofcourse, inbetween all of the work, some of us have squeezed in the odd scrumptious lunch at Tremenhere Kitchen
and pleasant walks at Tremenhere gardens, where the views are sculpturally stunning.

There have been some strange natural occurrences, like shoals of washed up pilchards on the beach at Marazion, whether brought in from freak tides or lost from a boat, either way they made for an interesting ride as the sea birds swooped and cried above us

And it is amazing who you come across on the moorland and clifftops around our Peninsula, especially when certain TV series are being filmed, mentioning no P******k names
But for the moment we are concentrating on trying to finish our new surprise at the campsite, will give you a sneaky peak, but it is still a work in progress.....
However, the 2017 diary is by the phone and we are now taking bookings for 2017, so I will leave you all, with a couple of winter photos of St Ives, looking lovely as ever in the sunshine.

Looking forward to meeting old and new campers in the 2017 season.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Well that's the summer season over for us

It has been a short summer season for us this year, just June and July with some weeks off in between.
As usual it has been a lot of fun, with some lovely new friends and campfires being made with campers.
We have had some smashing reviews, please look at our review page to read those left in our visitors book.  This one was captured from a holiday diary and put straight on twitter, thankyou Amelie.
Forgive us, those potential customers, who wanted to come in August, but this year we need the school holidays to ourselves, to try and bring to fruition some of our plans. Next year we hope to make it up to you, by opening July and August instead.
We are only hobby farmers. I am a farmer's daughter, with no farm to show for it anymore and Graham worked on a farm as a lad and has worked in the industry for the last twenty years, but we would never profess to be farmers. However, our youngest son would love to be a farmer, so we are trying to put in a few farming basics, like chickens and geese and ducks, pigs occasionally and some fruit trees.
The above picture is a 'pig-in-poo' aka Dominic, attending a Junior Tractor Driving course, over two days, learning safety principles and how to drive BIG John Deere tractors! The course is for 13-16 year olds and was his birthday words can describe adequately the enjoyment he got from this course ..... thankyou Duchy College, Stoke Climsland.
Back at Ashfarm, there is now a field shelter for the ponies and a hay store for the animal feed and bedding. Both are beautifully built by him-who-knows-how, to be both pleasant on the eye and very practical. But there are still more fences to put up and gates to hang and so the list goes on. More work for Graham.
A permanent fence has been erected already in the long field to enable us to turn some sheep out. We are starting an Ashfarm flock of Zwartbles. Let me introduce you to our three ewe lambs. Wonder how long it will take them to find a way over the hedge?
Unfortunately one of our Pomeranian ducks died, leaving the Pomeranian drake a little lonely and although we have searched locally, we have not been able to find him a replacement mate yet - so we are hoping the autumn poultry sale in Truro might provide us with what we need.
Meanwhile he has been mooching around with the geese and we have bought four Muscovy ducklings to grow on and build up our duck numbers, so that eventually he will have some species company.
And following much excitement and anticipation and disaster (of the three duck eggs we put under the broody hen, a magpie stole one, she pushed one out into the cold and it rolled under the nesting box, without us realising) finally, our broody hen has hatched a Pomeranian duckling!
The treeferns have openend their fronds and matured as the summer has gone on and are looking fantastic.But my reservoir garden this year has had to go grow wild, looks green and pretty enough but to a gardener, it would look very unruly. Still there is always manjana!
For the moment though our open season is over. We have had lots of different tents and campervans and BBQs and socialising under the stars and it has been wonderful to see campers come together around the campfire. Our last week included a family who came for half-term returning and there was much laughter and many marshmallows on sticks and chocolate minirolls to 'toast'.
So, once again want to say thanks to everyone who has camped with us this year. We would love you all to return next year. Sometimes we can accomodate groups out of season, so do get in touch if you are a group of 8 adults or more for 4 nights or more.
But for the moment, have a lovely summer everyone, keep reading the monthly blog to see how are plans progress and to see what we are up to, or you can join me on twitter @ashfarmcampsite and we look forward to catching up with you next year.