Saturday, 30 December 2017

Where did that time go?

Well, I simply cannot believe that long has passed since I have been here to tell you what we are up to! I only managed to introduce Jimbo the ram in the last post and he is now a daddy to the first of his baby lambs born here yesterday. They are possibly a few days early and very tiny but extremely sweet. The mummy is one of our lambs that we kept for breeding and is proving a very attentive mother. Thinking about this has made me realise where the time has gone.....we have just been to
busy to notice it whizzing by!

We had our main flock lambing in October and November alongside all the usual farm activities and October also proved to be a busy month for glampers in the Shepherd huts. It was all systems go for us here in lovely Devon! 

We have been delighted to have some visitors return for a second trip already and it has been wonderful to have visitors coming because we had been recommended to them.
We have loved meeting our guests and are delighted that 2017 saw the start of something we had talked about and planned for such a long time.  We have been lucky enough to meet people from all sorts of places and to chat to them about our life on the farm. It is easy to forget that most people live very different lives and their interest and enthusiasm for what we do has been both touching and encouraging. 
Thank you to all who have in any way contributed to our first 6 months as a Glamping Site!!
Happy New Year and Happy Glamping!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Waving Goodbye to Summer.

Well, with the Autumn Equinox yesterday I guess that our summer is now officially over. I find this quite sad as the short days are always a race on the farm to beat the daylight and I am something of a sun worshipper!. Am am, therefore, delighted that the weather has taken pity on me and we are having the most glorious sunny day here in Devon today. Our glampers that chose this weekend chose very well and were treated to a wonderful sunset last night and some real warmth in the sun today. Unfortunately most of September so far has been quite changeable so it is lovely to get a sunshine fix now.
Although Autumn is coming on we still have quite a lot of bookings to come through October and into November. We are particularly pleased to have our first visitors by recommendation here at the moment and to have a repeat booking with a return visit in November following a visit in August.
We have also been busy with harvesting here and now we are preparing for lambing which is due to start on (or near) 8th October. We have also taken delivery of a new ram for our younger home-bred ewes who will hopefully lamb in the new year.

Meet Jimbo - our new Horned Dorset ram
Amongst other things we were happy to be asked to do a few surprise 'extras' for one of our guests on a special birthday.
One of the things I love about this whole thing is seeing our glampers building new memories in our beautiful huts so having the opportunity to help a little and do a spot of special shopping on their behalf was a pleasure. It was well worth while to see the pleasure our birthday girl got from it! :)  <3

This week we managed to escape for long enough to pay a visit to this years Glamping Show in Warwickshire. We were just on the look out for some exciting new additions that we could add for our 2018 season and we found these fantastic fire-pit cum pizza ovens and some truly gorgeous handmade wooden swinging chairs. They are on order and we are very much looking forward to getting them. As they are both made to order and we asked to have them for next year I don't expect them to arrive any time very soon but it is something more that our visitors will be able to enjoy and hopefully make good use of.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Another month and another hut.

Well somehow another whole month has raced on by. Life on the farm has been busy in what is usually a fairly calm period as our glamping dream has been been becoming a reality. We have had our first guests in 'Oak' hut with it being occupied each weekend since arriving as well as a few week nights in between. Then to complete our site we had to be kept on our toes as the arrival of 'Bluebell',

Iain overseeing Bluebell's arrival

Umm-ing and ahh-ing as we got Bluebell lined up properly for her water and waste points.
due on the 4th August, was delayed until 8th August which made me a little anxious and was only just in time to get the gas all connected, tested and signed off, the patio and hot-tub sited and the inside sorted out ready for our first Bluebell guests on 11th August. Now it is very exciting to see a regular change of guests in both huts and to hear some truly lovely feedback from people and very positive comments about their time with us. 
Bluebell in her spot.
Just beautiful :)
We have also been delighted to get our first booking directly from the recommendation of one of our guests which is wonderful as it makes us feel something must be right with all that we have worked so hard to achieve. 
Bluebell's cosy kingsize.

Beautiful Bluebell.
Amongst all of the other goings on we have been scanning the first group of our pedigree Dorset flock of sheep and now know who is carrying how many lambs. We also know that lambing is due to start around 10th October for about 6 weeks for the main group if you fancied being here and popping along to the lambing shed to meet some of our mums and babies.
We also have had a visit from the very handsome 'Big Bob the Boar' for our gorgeous Gunter. She is hopefully now in pig for farrowing (giving birth) at the end of October/ Start of November. Gunter is our Gloucester Old Spot breeding sow and a pig's gestation period is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. They are usually pretty spot on with this but obviously with a natural mating we can't be 100% sure which day the deed was done although we are fairly confidant and basing our birth predictions on that. She has now gone back to the sheep field for her holidays and last night I happen to know she made her first friends with some of our glamping guests. We will have to see how she behaves but she is very friendly and I hope people don't find her presence in the field intimidating.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Time to open

It is hard to believe that after all the dreaming, hoping, planning and working towards our goal we are now open to guests!
The last few weeks have been pretty full on here in Devon as we worked towards being ready for the arrival of our Shepherd huts. The first hut finally arrived on 3rd July. We had got the site mostly ready but were unsure how much space we would need to actually get the hut in place. We moved the hottub and storage shed for the first hut before hand.

On the big day I was very grateful for Iain's nerves and driving ability to get the Shepherd hut from the road where it was unloaded from the lorry up our narrow lane to the glamping site. The little travel wheels looked a little precarious but all went to plan. 'Oak' had a safe journey.

The next job was for the hut builders to permanently fix the solar panels back in place and to replace the travel wheels with the lovely cast iron ones,

Then for us to 'dress' it and fill it with all our glampers could need. Finally to begin the task of bringing out all the things we had stashed at home over the last months!

At this point we still needed to lay a few stepping stones and complete the fencing between our glampers and our sheep but it was looking pretty special to me.

 Now everything is finally in place inside and outside 'oak we are so happy with how it has all come together. We are also delighted that our first visitors have been pleased with what they found. Hopefully we will have many more glampers enjoying this amazing corner of the world over the coming years. 

The next step for us will be the arrival of 'Bluebell' hut at the end of the month and, although we know it can be done, until it is successfully in place I will still be keeping everything crossed and holding my breath!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Another week of progress in Devon

Checking the ladies in the sunshine.
 We have had another week of activity here in Devon preparing for our glampers. It has been mostly lovely weather (although there was a huge storm which had to be one the night that our 11 year old and 3 of her friends had chosen to camp in the garden...!) which has been good for us. Last weekend was a very exciting time as it saw the installation of the solar panels which are to power the water pump and filtration system to bring our
borehole water safely to our glampers in the huts. They are all wired up and the water is pumping well. Now we just need to wait for the next lot of samples to be tested to finalise the filtration requirements. The reservoir is in place and the she that will be the pump house to keep all the electrics and controls in is ready to be built. Amazing to see the little dials going round thanks entirely to the sun. :)
We have also got most of the other pipework back underground now and waiting to be used. The next big delivery here is stone for the lane improvements tomorrow. Offgrid is great but we still need our glampers to be able to get there easily!
I am hopeful that in the next week or so we shall be able to get the area fenced and the bases for the huts and hottubs sorted. It is very exciting and getting closer but I still need to use a little imagination to see everything there!
Meantime, life on the farm continues in it's usual busy manor. The sunshine makes it more pleasant to move and check the animals. 
Some young ladies out for a stroll.

Sheep check in the sunshine.
 As well as the day to day tasks it is nice to grab the chance to enjoy our lovely space in the world. After a lot of running our lovely working dog, Swift enjoys a paddle and drink in Holly Water a my favourite resting spot. Not only did she have a little rest but we also got the chace to admire some of the local residents in these gorgeous.
Damselflies. They don't like to sit still for long but are just beautiful.
Another little job that was just asking to be done was to gather some Elderflowers for cordial. A lovely smelling kitchen is the result! Happy days in Devon!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Lots of little steps closer!

I can't believe another couple of weeks has passed already - where has it gone?! Amongst other things we have taken delivery of most of our 'plumbing' and it is now safely in the necessary places in the ground. The septic tank was taken up to the site on the front loader of the tractor with a straw bale to protect it if it swung - all very farmer-ish!! The trench you can see here is now filled in again and hides the waste pipes all connected up to the septic tank and some fresh water pipes. Now we are expecting the solar panels for the fresh water pump to be installed next week and then it will just need the huts on the other end!
We have plumbing!
Septic tank with it's straw bale buffer!

Lane work in progress
 We have also made a start on the access lane which is in need of some improvement. The next step is to roll what is left there now and then come to a final decision on the surfacing. I'm told the roller might need a driver at the weekend...! 😲

Freshly prepared homemade apple juice and jam. Yum!
This week I have also raided the freezer stocks of last years fruit to make some jam and juice to put into our bottles and jars with our new labels. I think they look quite good, if I do say so myself. I hope that our glampers enjoy them.
We also took some photos for the website to show our standard welcome baskets and the 'Extras' option. All you need to do is put the kettle on and relax.

'Extras' option 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

It's all happening in sunny Devon!

Things have been quite busy around here over the last couple of weeks. The sheep are now rather less woolly as they have finally all been sheared.


As we lamb in November this is part of our preparation before 'tupping' or putting the rams in with the ewes. The ewes are now being given the choice of mineral buckets in their fields to help make sure they are in the best condition for conceiving and hopefully growing us another year of lambs.

Also on the farm there has been the start of 'silly season' with the first of the grass being cut and stored to make silage for the winter feed for the cows. Some of the fields have already been re-ploughed and planted with maize for the next crop.

 It has also been exciting to see some work being done this week on the actual site for our Shepherd's huts. The water has been tested and we are awaiting results to know what, if any, treatment is required and more visible is the arrival of a digger to level the site and put in some trenches for the necessary pipe work. I have to admit to having mixed feelings when first seeing the topsoil being removed but I realise it has to look worse before it can look better and we are a step closer to that now. We also took delivery of timber for some fencing and expect the arrival of the septic tank on Thursday - not everybody's idea of exciting but it is all leading us towards our amazing escape that we want you to be able to enjoy. :)
Meanwhile, the girls seem completely un-fazed by the assorted activities around them and enjoy the shade under one of their favourite trees!!