Sunday, 1 April 2018

First lambs

Our first lambs have been born. One, in the worst of the snow storm nights, lovely little Portland ewe lamb we are calling Snowflake and she is a beaut! Born in the field, in the snow, poor little might, but she survived and was swiftly tucked up with mum in a straw filled stable, as soon as we discovered her.
Water, mud and snow may have put back our opening time from Easter to May because the grass and driveway are just not ready to accept customers, but it has not stopped our lambing.

Apologies to all those who believe in purebred lambing, but we have crossed our Portland ram Moonlight with a couple of our Zwartble ewes this year, to see whether this crossbreeding enhances the flavour and quality of the meat. Never fear though, the Portland ewe lambs have been retained as purebreeds.
Not a bad year for our tiny flock, triplets, twins and a single Portland and the triplet ewe seems to be feeding all three without any supplements.
Have been a bit 'soft' and kept them in the stables for a couple of weeks and overnight for a few more nights, more to give them a bit more of a start and help the ewe with triplets to produce enough milk, before turning them out to face our wet and furious weather.
Put them in the sheltered reservoir garden for a few days, to crop the grass.....the ewes seem to love the pennywort on the walls!

Although we keep a few sheep, we do not profess to be shepherds or farmers and we aren't great at herding. We try hard, but I am sure most sheep farmers would find us embarrassing! So in an effort to perform a little better, we have decided to increase our menagerie with a 'man's best friend', one who is supposed to have a 'natural' instinct for herding sheep.
So, meet "Devonairs Quad" our newly acquired Australian kelpie.
Poor chap is on information overload at the moment, never been in a car before, not sure if he has ever had a bath before, never met horses, or geese, or chickens before. 
But he seems to be coping with it all, although very sensibly more than a little bit wary of the geese, who are particularly grumpy at the moment because they are laying lovely, large eggs.
And fortunately our labrador Rowan seems also to be coping with having a six month old puppy on the property. Let's hope they become best of friends.
  And let's also hope that spring is only just around the corner.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

S.N.O.W at campsite

Well what a winter wonderland surprise!

I cannot remember when we last had snow like this, it has to be at least ten years ago.
Many thanks to the schools for closing early and throwing the children out, because, oh boy did we have FUN!
Dom created a tractor-doughnut collage in the campsite 
...snow angels with the dog
and he tried snowboarding on a sledge with the lawnmower tractor dragging him.
The sheep all had extra rations when the snow set in

..the poor treeferns looked bemused, but brilliantly jolly in their orange and yellow and green netting for protection and I hope they will prove resilient  .. 
..the snow was so fine and dry after a cold snap that it lay everywhere, blanketing picnic tables,
it even sneaked into the compost loo....
Although the snow looks wonderful and provides a lot of fun, it does create all sorts of problems in a county that is not conditioned to it. For us, the cold reality soon set in.
Frozen water pipes, despite inventive lagging, no water and no grass, frustrating the four legged animals and confusing the chickens and geese ....
...fortunately a hay bale arrived just as the snow started,
so fodder for our animals was sorted by another means.

Water was a little more problematic, but all minor annoyances compared to other people's problems. I know farmers who had to throw gallons and gallons of milk away because the collection tankers could not collect, folk had bust water pipes and those living in caravans and poorly insulated homes were very, very cold. Cars were abandoned, public services and hospitals stretched and women were worried about delivering their babies unattended by appropriate medical practitioners and/or in the snow! The reality of the problems that come with snow and ice are endless.
But I am a firm believer that there must always be silver linings, you just have to look hard for them.
Lucky for me, my silver linings were close to hand and I had the opportunity to snap some gorgeous photos of the snow covered beaches in St Ives. So for any camper who had hardships, I hope these pictures bring a silver lining to any of your ordeals.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Cold old start to the 2018 year

It has been a cold and wet start to the year, with plenty of challenges trying to ensure the sheep and horses all have some grazing and are not in too much mud!
I am sure it is the same over most of the UK and probably our friends in Europe are struggling too with the wet, but life is full of challenges, whether you live in the city or in the countryside, some of them are very different......mud may not be high on the list of problems in the city......but keeping cheerful and warm, when life is a little challenging, is a problem wherever you live. So I hope all our potential campers are keeping both cheerful and warm.....
...and making the most of any views they can get - to 'keep the soul happy' - when the sun does come out and the rain stays away. Here I am, on a quick lunch-break in the car.... no more perfect a place to live than Cornwall!
Hens have been out having a 'perfect' dust bath underneath the steps to the compost toilet too.
For a short time they are having to share with the Pomeranian and the Call Ducks. Mr Fox came a calling yesterday and picked off one of the Pomeranian ducks for tea, so in an effort to keep them alive I have moved them to the reservoir garden with the hens. Last time I did this they just flew and waddled right back to their sheds at the top of the long field. 
So today they will have to share in the little pen and sleep in a different hut adjacent to it, in the hope that tomorrow if I let them out, they will be content to remain in their 'new home' which is closer to me and hopefully further away from the hungry fox.
My new year's resolution was to try and live off-grid in the new cabin for the campsite manager, to see how it works, in preparation for being on-site for the camping season. I like to set myself a challenge. No point waiting for the season and finding it doesn't work as an option. It also sounded like a bit of fun.
I am adapting! It can be a little cold first thing in the morning - because the cabin has no insulation - a chilly 4-6 degrees sometimes, approximately 1 degree more than the outside temperature, but no wind chill factor. However, my Nautipod stove
is AMAZING and so worth every penny spent on it.
Let me introduce Nelly! Not only does she look gorgeous, but she is bonzer to cook on: chilli, stir-fry, toast, eggs, omelette, pasta, rice (she cannot do a sunday roast but I can go back to the cottage for that) and she can get the cabin from 6 degrees to an almost ambient 12 degrees by the time I have finished the first cup of tea!  And when I am in the cabin working, she will keep me in a lovely 16 degree environment, which is perfect. (She will also take me to a high of 20 degrees, but to be honest that is too warm and I have to start peeling layers off then).
Welcome to my tackroom and campsite manager's office.

I do cheat a bit. It is too cold at the moment to use the outdoor gas heated shower - or one could argue that I am not hardy enough - either way, the cottage is just fine for showering and laundry.

The cabin brings me really close to nature and it's rhythm. I love hearing the sound of the rain and feeling the wind 'rock' the cabin. When the gusts are up to 46mph I worried a little initially, but since I have not been 'blown away'- like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz - I now just ride them out and enjoy the movement from nature. The cabin is almost like being in a tent, but not!
Here's a 'view from the loo'.

Bookings are beginning to come in for the coming camping season and I look forward to the weather improving so that the garden can be tidied in preparation for campers from Easter. Meanwhile, when I can, I am on my usual beast on the beach ensuring a picture to keep the bloggers happy!

Welcome to 2018.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2018

Happy New Year to all bloggers, all those who have camped with us in 2017 and all those hoping to camp with us in 2018.

I have been decidedly 'slack' on the blogging and twitter front in 2017, lots of excuses and not really any, so my new year's resolution is to do better in 2018!

As a quick 2017 resume then, our camping season was fairly strictly based around the school holidays. Families and children were our predominant guests for the first 3 weeks and it was lovely to be really family friendly. We only have 6-8 pitches at any one time, so we keep the site small but roomy, which is just as well, because 2017 saw some enormous tents for some relatively small families - which has caused me to rethink tariffs for 2018 - more of that in another blog.
Couples and groups of friends favoured us for the rest of the holidays with a Duke of Edinburgh group and several people en route to the Isles of Scilly, using us as a stop off point.
There were a few additions to the site this year, we built a small cabin for the campsite manager to be on hand for 'meeting and greeting' in 2017, which doubled as a shady spot for the hot labrador!
The cabin also provided a comfy and 'cooling' den for the nephews to read and relax, whilst their parents took down the tent and packed up the car.
Next year, the plan is to rent out the campsite cabin with bunkbeds for two, as an alternative to sleeping in a tent.
There were a few new is one..............not mine, it belongs to the fourteen year old
this one is mine, although most of the time it is commendeered by the boys in my team......
As always the weather was variable, with our fair share of the wet stuff, which I have to say has continued into the 2017 autumn and winter - as can be seen from this winter picture of the ride-on lawnmower 'toy'! Fortunately, we also had an equal amount of sunshine, enough to keep us smiling and walking and cycling and swimming and surfing and horseriding and paddleboarding, lying on a beach and eating icecream and so on.  And on a sunny day, this is the sort of view you can expect on a cliff walk on the southern coastal path from Porthgwarra.
You can swim in a crystal clear pool through a chasm in the cliffs.....with or without the dog. Wonderful!
wander along gorse and heather footpaths
Look for creatures and faces in the rocks and stones, this cliff even looks like an Easter Island face.
And as a project to keep us busy over the autumn and winter, we have created...
with hard work and diligence and a lot of manpower from the dedicated campsite team
a slightly bigger cabin, for tack and 'tat' and the campsite manager to do more meeting and greeting...............
Despite all the hardwork from the boys and all the varnishing, varnishing and more varnishing that she needed to complete, it was necessary for the campsite manager, as always to ensure the equine was exercised - all work, no play makes Jill a very dull girl after all -
More recently it has been the season to be jolly, so a little christmas shopping in St Ives was required
.....not a bad place to christmas shop? Actually it is am amazing place for festive shopping.
And then there are the lights of Mousehole to enjoy and Tom Bawcock's Eve to dance and jig at
and not forgetting the homemade mince pies
and the festive winter walk on a beach....Sennen
Happy New year everyone....see you in 2018!