I was a little apprehensive about the drive there. I don't have a very good relationship with country lanes. Years of horse-riding around villages led to me being witness to many loony drivers and accidents. Touch wood, I haven't had an accident yet, but I still get very nervous when the roads get narrower and the corners are blind. *shudder*
Fortunately, we got there, on time (we were all out of the house with lunches packed by 9am!), with no issues - yay for me! I'm so glad we went, it was well worth travelling the distance.
Upon arrival we got taken to see the Llamas. Although not owned by the farmer (really lovely chap named Gerald with an equally lovely and welcoming wife), we were told about their wool and uses. They were kept next to a field of equines. And gorgeous equines they were too - wanna see?
Did I mention the farm had the first ever 3 headed Llama? *grin*
We then went for a wander down the lane and talked about the wild flowers. Very interesting and I learnt a huge amount. I really do want to learn more about nature, I know so little! Gerald talked about identification and really engaged the children.
|Examining the Shepherd's Purse|
We were taken to see the Rape Seed crop, and talked about the uses of its oil. Each child had a pod to open...
Then we talked about the Winter Wheat...
|What a fabulous classroom!|
As well as discovering a very ancient scarecrow...
We walked on to the lake, where Gerald talked about creating it and it's fish stocks. Isn't this just beautiful?!
All the time as we were walking around, we were being told about the various plants and trees, including the history of trees such as the Horse Chestnut and Oak. It really was eye-opening to see just how much flora there were in the hedgerows, so much I would have missed if I had been alone.
We talked about sheep, their breeding, fleece and meat, whilst watching the mothers with their lambs...
Then we settled on the island in the lake for our picnic lunch.
|(identity protected of those that I didn't have permission to blog)|
One thought that kept buzzing around in my head as we walked was what an amazing childhood the farmer's children must have had. All around the farm there is evidence of outdoor fun and games - a treehouse in one of the fields, a swing rope tied to a tree in the lane, sheep bones hung to "warn off visitors" from a private hideout where they didn't want to be disturbed. How I wish my own children could have such a free childhood, spending their days amongst the flora and fauna, and clearly enjoying to the fullest the outdoors. One day. One day.
Back to reality.
Whilst I was ambling away the minutes thinking about perfect homes, dreams, and the imagination such an ambience could invoke, what were the kiddies doing? Acting out Pirates of the Caribbean of course!
They had a lot of fun. I had a lot of heartstopping "You're too close to the waters edge!" moments.
They all stayed dry.