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.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Half-term heaven

Phew....what a busy half-term week we have had. The campsite was full......remembering that full for us is 15-18 persons or 4 families and a couple........on several nights, but still enough space not to feel cramped.
There were children, campfires, the slack-line went up, the hammock got a swing and sunshine, sunshine, sunshine!

It was a wonderful week and some super families camped with us, all nationalities too, who mingled and mixed and shared information.
We had some great campfire stories and some spectacular smells coming from the barbeques and campfire cooking.
Personally, I would like to say a huge thankyou to everyone that has camped this week, because it feels like we have been on holiday ourselves and we haven't had to go anywhere!
Big tents too this week, bigger than our cottage in the village some of them. And for a couple of days there was a strong northerly wind to contend with, but the tents all stood tall and safe and not a drop of rain!
The kids got a few treats, grooming the shetland and having a little ride on him, but they also helped with chores, feeding the menagerie and picking up poo in the paddock!
We do not offer helping-with-chores as part of the 'camping package' but, if we are around and doing them and it seems appropriate, then often kids can join in. (But it is not a promise, so please do not be too disappointed if it we are too busy or it doesn't seem appropriate to us)
Popular visits this week that everyone talked about were:-
Higher Trenowin Farm Shop
St Michael's Mount
The Minack Theatre
Port Isaac (best fish and chips ever apparantly)
Geevor Mine
Gwithian Beach from the Bluff
Porthcurno Beach
Mount's Bay Beach
St Ives
Penhalwyn Trekking Centre

Monday, 23 May 2016

March, April and now we are May. We open on May 26th

Well, February post might have been delayed, but March and April just rolled into each other and disappeared into May as far as I am concerned. And we open on May 26th!
The last two months have gone by in a whirlwind. We have been moving 20 years of accumulated livestock related 'stuff' out of the barn and barn paddock, that we have rented for the same period of time, onto what is now our own land.
Feels good, but it has taken forever and has required several ritual burnings, but the eldest son always loves a bonfire!
The geese have had to be relocated into a new shed and their bath got moved too.

Boundary fencing has had to be put up, along an access track between the campsite paddock and our long field.
Hay and feed bins have been moved to a lovely little haystore and new gateways have been made.
A new man-shed has been put together, to house sundry items of man-style stuff, useful for campsite maintenance and the like. And in due course the chicken and duck house and pen will also get moved.
But for the moment we are concentrating on making sure we are ready to open on May 26th. We are only open through June and July this year, but this will include the 27th May Bank Holiday weekend and half-term.
So,the horses have been in cropping the grass in the campsite paddock and the men folk have been mowing and raking today.
Our inherited heaps of 'SWW surplus' in the area that has been 'under management' since we opened, four years ago, has now been managed! The additional usable space now houses a small hay and feed store.
Next to the hay store is a grassy knoll to picnic on and a reclaimed timber sleeper provides a late afternoon spot to sit and feel the last of the sun's rays on your face.

Bloggers who have camped with us will not be surprised to hear that as always on Ashfarm, we are a work in progress, so although the three lovely tree ferns - now known as the Three Sisters (Jimmie, Susie and Gloria, though which is which I have not yet decided) - seem to be adapting to life in Cornwall and being transplanted from their pots into the ground

and the view from the compost loo is now even prettier, elsewhere in the reservoir garden, beds and plants have been sadly neglected since spring arrived.
So campers, please forgive the weeds growing amongst the flower and succulent beds, I will endeavour to bring it a little more under control as summer progresses, whilst allowing nature's mix of pink campions and blue bells to continue their own pretty display.
Despite all this work going on, my youngest son and I managed to squeeze in a little recreation. During our trip to collect the tree ferns we took in Alexandra Palace in London for a dog walk .....
..and tracked down some culture in the form of a Barbara Hepworth sculpture in the grounds of Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath, ironic it was admired by a St Ives schoolboy and almost outdone by a beautiful magnolia, which also do so well in Cornwall.
Barbara Hepworth moved to St. Ives in 1939 in order to escape a panicked London shortly before the declaration of the Second World War. Although her arrival was not auspicious, Hepworth admired the ‘barbaric and magical countryside’ of Cornwall, studded with ancient standing stones and hemmed by dramatic coastal landscapes. Thirty years later, and towards the end of her life, Hepworth declared the area her ‘spiritual home’.
On Hampstead Heath, something of the totemic phenomena of the Cornish landscape has been enshrined among the rhododendron bushes beside Kenwood House. Hepworth’s Monolith Empyrean (meaning ‘heavenly stone’) is carved from a limestone block rich with fossils. The sculpture’s outline is humanoid, but the viewer is invited to look through and beyond the sculpture by cavities that pierce right through the block, framing shifting perspectives of the gardens.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

A slightly late February post

Apologies for a slightly late February post. Although I realise it is not compulsory to portray only positives in the ashfarm blog, I try not to be negative in my musings, especially not about the weather, who wants to feel down-in-the-dumps by visiting our blog or our campsite!  And we live and work in such a beautiful place!
I have really struggled this month though and have kept waiting and waiting to snap some sunny pictures to share. I seem to have either been working in the 'day-job' on the nice sunny days, or the weather has closed in, when I have finally got around to thinking about photos for the blog, whilst the 'day-job' is managing without me.
I always claim to campsite visitors, that this land I live in and particularly this cornish land I live in, is only such a 'green and pleasant land' because of the rain. So rain is mostly positive, it makes our grassland lush, nevertheless, a wee drop of sunshine on a day I can enjoy it, helps with the lushness and would also be very pleasing to my eye.
The weather has given me the excuse to visit my favourite bookshop in St Ives though and have that extra cup of tea, curl up on the sofa by the Aga and get absorbed into a couple of really good-reads this month. One was a children's book, Sally Gardner The Door that led to Where, a young teen book, but so very enthralling, reminded me of Deborah Harkness and A Discovery of Witches' trilogy and Jennifer Donnelly's Tea Rose trilogy.
Do I care that I am reading teen fiction? I don't think so.  It was a wonderful book. The 12 year old egg entrepeneur thought so too.
The other good-read, was Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, which again I could not put down. Absolutely absorbing. I do like a little 'magic' in my books and if there is a whisper of a witch in there too, even better!
A few dry days allowed us to get some tidying-up done at the campsite. The boys got to sharpen their axes, sat on the bench in the sun, ready for splitting logs and to spend a short while fooling around with the shetland.
And the chickens and ponies all got to enjoy some lush grass in the campsite paddock instead of their muddy and barren field and we had a couple of silly selfies with the dog!
One of the delights at this time of year though, is planning ahead for the camping season and allowing the imagination to run wild, with ideas about what one wants to happen.......they won't all come to fruition........and many of them change shape as quickly as they formulate in the mind, but it is nevertheless fun to ruminate over the different opportunities and possibilities.And ideas and plans require neither sun, nor rain, just an element of peace.