Tag Archives: animals

Farm stay

9 Feb

Every year, we go away with a particular group of friends for the Australia Day long weekend.  We’ve been doing it since I was pregnant with Hannah.  We go somewhere different each year.  This year, we decided to do a farm stay and chose Honeycomb Valley Farm as our destination.

We arrived to two immaculately clean cabins, OJ, milk, butter, jam, and bacon in the fridge, fresh farm eggs on the counter, and a bunch of different single serving boxes of cereal in a basket.  I was kind of expecting the cabins to be dusty and farmish, but they get professionally cleaned after each guest leaves, and there wasn’t a bit of dirt of grime to be found.  Our family got one cabin to ourselves, and our other friends stayed in the other one.  No one else wanted to be woken up at 6am by little kids who don’t yet know the joys of sleeping in, no matter how tired they are or how late they stay up.

One of the goats at Honeycomb Valley Farm thinks it's a person.  She even came up on our porch when we first arrived.

One of the goats at Honeycomb Valley Farm thinks it’s a person. She even came up on our porch when we first arrived.


We spent most of our 3 days there outside.

Daniel playing in a big hole in one of the paddocks.

Daniel playing in a big hole in one of the paddocks.

Each morning, guests can (but don’t have to) help feed the animals.  You can do as little or as much as you want, but we helped every day and the kids, especially Hannah, enjoyed it immensely.  Farmer Andrew started with different animals each day we were there so that we got to experience something new each time.  I asked lots of questions and learned heaps.

Selfie with an alpaca.  She was very cooperative :)

Selfie with an alpaca. She was very cooperative 🙂

The first morning, he took Hannah and I around some of the far away paddocks in a trailer (with a mattress in it for comfort) attached to a quad bike. Daniel was constipated (I guess he gets holiday poo shy just like me), grumpy, and didn’t want to go on the trailer, plus Aaron was minding our friends’ daughter so they could do a beekeeping lesson, so the three of them went back to the cabin for a nap/quiet time while Hannah and I had all the fun.

Chickens chasing the trailer we were sitting in

Chickens chasing the trailer we were sitting in

We especially enjoyed seeing the chickens that day.  One of the flocks (is a group of chickens a flock?) anyway, there are a few of them.  Andrew converts old travel trailers that were destined for the tip/scrap yard into mobile chicken coops and moves them around the farm every couple of weeks.  During the night, the chickens are safely tucked into the converted trailer that has a wire mesh floor, and during they day they are let out to free range.

Hannah with the chickens in front of the "hens on holiday" moveable coop

Hannah with the chickens in front of the “hens on holiday” moveable coop

Hannah liked collecting eggs and watching all the interesting, unusual breeds of chickens eat the kitchen scraps we brought them.  Some of the chickens even laid green eggs!  Some eggs were big, some were small, and one from an older hen was even quite wrinkly.  All were delicious though.

Some of the different eggs we collected

Some of the different eggs we collected

We also got to see our friends in their bee suits at the bee hives.  One of the other mornings, we saw the native australian stingless bee hives and the bee motel (where solitary bees lay their eggs).  Then we walked up and down hilly paddocks with Daniel on my shoulders and Hannah on Aaron’s to get to the cows.  We didn’t have to do that, of course, but we wanted to see the cows and there were too many of us to fit in the trailer since all of us were helping feed the animals that day.  It was also good exercise, and practice for the Spartan race.  A 7kg bag of sand on my shoulders while I trek up a steep hill is nothing compared to a 12kg boy on my shoulders for at least a kilometer.

The bee hotel

The bee Motel

The morning feeding routine takes a couple of hours (at least), but Hannah didn’t get bored at all.  When it wasn’t feeding time, we still had plenty to do.  One day we went to the dam and rode the paddle boats.  Aaron wanted to have a race but was flabbergasted when I smoked him.  He claims his boat was faulty. HAHAHAHAHA if only.

Aaron and Hannah in one of the paddle boats

Aaron and Hannah in one of the paddle boats

We were allowed to go in any of the paddocks at any time, so we spent lots of time just running around pastures with the kids.  Daniel was quite fond of jumping up and down in poop piles.

There was also a solar heated pool to play in after all that running around, plus a swing set, balls to kick around, a fire pit and bbq area, and a kids pedal tractor, although the pedals didn’t work.  They didn’t seem to care though, and pushed each other around in it, or got me or Aaron to push them.

The kids enjoying the swingset

The kids enjoying the swingset

Daniel on the pedal tractor

Daniel on the pedal tractor

They have honey and tea tastings on a big covered deck attached to the converted shipping container shop.

Honey tasting

Honey tasting

And Hannah got to milk a goat.

Hannah milking a goat.  She was quite good at it.  I gave it a go, but I failed.

Hannah milking a goat. She was quite good at it. I gave it a go, but I failed.

Usually when we go away, we have to find things to do with the kids when it’s not nap time.  Last year during the trip, we even went to a shopping centre just for something to do.  At the farm though, we didn’t have to go anywhere else.  We could have stayed another whole week and they still wouldn’t have been bored.  We did end up going out one afternoon, but only because we’d never been to a winery before, and we were in the Hunter Valley.  It would have been silly not to visit a couple, especially since they were only a couple k’s down the road.

Aaron and the kids running between rows of grapes in a vineyard

Aaron and the kids running between rows of grapes in a vineyard

After the kids went to bed, we played board and card games with our friends.  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of, or played Cards Against Humanity, but oh my, it’s hilarious.  I usually end up laughing so hard that I cry when we play it.  This trip was no exception, especially when I used the below white card in answer to the black one:

So wrong, but so funny

So wrong, but so funny. I won that round.

I am one of those weirdos who laughs at the very mention of the word fart.  Or poop.  Or anything of the sort, so with this one, I was pretty much on the floor laughing hysterically, and everyone knew who played the fart card as soon as it was turned over.

I was quite impressed with the farm in general.  Though they are not certified organic, they do farm organically, and make a huge effort to educate others about conservation and farming responsibly.  There is a huge solar oven that they make cakes and dinners in, plus a smaller one that they melt all the beeswax that they collect in. There are worm farms, a solar fridge, a shop made from an old shipping container (where we bought 3kg of raw honey), a native bee sanctuary, and they are even going to build an earthship (which I am particularly fascinated with and was shocked that they knew what I was talking about when I said something about them) shed.

Hannah riding a horse.  Maybe it was a pony, I'm not sure what breed/height it was

Hannah riding a horse. Maybe it was a pony, I’m not sure what breed/height it was.  It was either a big pony or small horse.

The kids didn’t want to go home, and Hannah keeps saying “when we buy another house, can we buy the one on the farm?”  She wants to move there, and both kids are still talking about the farm.  Pretty much every day, Daniel says something about how we went to the farm and saw all the animals.

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Why isn’t it purple?

1 Sep


I don’t know who was more excited, me or Mommy.  Mommy had been telling me for days that her and Daddy were taking me to the Penrith show.  I think Mommy likes shows (although she calls them fairs because “she is American”).  Mommy said that I’d get to see lots of animals.  I do like animals.  I see lots of animals in my books every day.  Oh, and on my toys.  Some of my toys are animals.

As soon as we got to the show, Mommy got really, really excited.  I think she even jumped up and down a little.  She was tugging on Daddy’s shirt, saying there were pony rides.

“Isn’t she too young for  pony rides?” Dad asked.

“NO!” Mommy declared.  Mommy said she started riding horses when she was way younger than me.

I didn’t know how I’d possibly ride a pony.  Aren’t  ponies really small?  My toy ponies are way smaller than me.  Maybe the ponies were going to ride me.

“Look, there’s a pony!” Mommy and Daddy said.  I looked where they were pointing.  Wow, ponies are really big!  Daddy put me in the saddle and I held on while Daddy walked next to me and Mommy hid behind her camera taking endless photos.  Riding is really fun!  We only got to go in a little circle though, so I got bored after a little while.  I really like ponies!

I got to see a cow too!  It was laying down and the nice man let me go in it’s playpen and pat it.  I was a bit scared of all the animals at first.  They make really loud, funny noises.  Mommy and Daddy always tell me that a cow says “Moo” and a duck says “quack” and a sheep says “baa,” but they don’t sound anything like that!  I think Mommy and Daddy need to practise their animal noises.  I soon got used to their actual noises and then I wasn’t shy with them anymore.

The show even had a petting zoo!  Daddy got me out of my pram and took me inside the animal playpen.  There were goats and chickens and a baby pig and even a pen full of piggies (guinea pigs, Mommy and Daddy call them piggies)!  Oh, and there were a couple of puppies too!  I like puppies.

Someone gave me a carrot and the goats all wanted some.  I was the most popular little girl in the playpen (when I had a carrot)!  I got to feed and pat all of the goats!  It was so much fun!  I was having so much fun that I didn’t even realise someone stole my balloon while I was in the petting zoo.  It’s not very nice to steal someone’s balloon 😦 .

There is one thing that I don’t understand about the animals though.  Why aren’t they purple?  Or pink?  Or even yellow, or blue or green?  All of my toy animals are brightly coloured.  I have a blue sheep, a pink and purple pony, a green koala.  Maybe they only wear their special colourful fur when they go to weddings or parties.  Yeah, I suppose that’s it.  I only wear my really nice clothes when I go to a wedding or something like that.  I bet their mommies don’t want them to get their nice furs dirty wearing them everyday.  I know my mommy doesn’t want me to get my nice clothes dirty all the time.

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