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Karen
Piopio New Zealand
Lamb wrangler, gardener & knitter
Interests: knitting, cooking, gardening, photograhy, walking the hills with Clifford our dog, watching lambs frolic, being creative generally
Recent Activity
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I returned home to Struan Farm after my holiday away to find this: The road crew had taken out five listing poplar trees on our roadside bank, and left us the mulched wood chips to use in the gardens. Only problem now is that I need to weed the steep... Continue reading
Posted 9 hours ago at Struan Farm
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This was my first full weekend home at Struan Farm following my recent holiday. And of course it rained! But John and I found projects to do. I'd brought a cedar plank back with me so that we could try roasting salmon on the BBQ, something people in the Northwest... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Struan Farm
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I've headed off to warmer climes for a short winter break. Need to go find some avocados given the prices for them here in New Zealand, I'm craving them! Nephew Mike is holding down the fort at Struan Farm, feeding Clifford, watering glasshouse, etc. Will be back on deck sometime... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2016 at Struan Farm
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I tackled the first instalment of the lamb cheeks a few nights ago here at Struan Farm, making the lamb cheek taco recipe I'd found online. Just a few observations on the front end: Lamb cheeks coming directly from an abattoir need to be trimmed, and this takes time. Some... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2016 at Struan Farm
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Struan Farm. "Struan" is a Scottish word for the eldest son of the Robertson clan, derived from "sruthan," a word meaning "small stream." It is also a place on the Isle of Skye. While John's grandfather, Sir Carrick Robertson, came from Glasgow, we aren't aware that his family had any... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2016 at Struan Farm
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A few days ago I grabbed some of my recycled pots and dug into our small mountain of potting soil to pot up the native flax seedlings that I've managed to germinate in the glasshouse here at Struan Farm. I also decided to pot one tray of the kahikateas (native... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2016 at Struan Farm
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The pet lambs here at Struan Farm have their own ways of expressing unhappiness with all the rainy weather we've been having of late. Do you remember a form of protest called a "Sit In?" It was a form of non-violent peaceful protest used in the 1960's, most recently I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2016 at Struan Farm
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Well, we woke up the next morning after the digger did its thing to the sound of roadwork once again below the roadside bank here at Struan Farm. Guess what? That section of bank that was cracking fell off onto the road, with a smallish tree. We'd raised it as... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2016 at Struan Farm
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Further on the bank slipping onto the road here at Struan Farm: the digger came, the digger worked, and the digger went. My fruit trees survived, phew. The driver did an amazing job threading his way between them, no fruit trees were harmed in the process. John did dig up... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2016 at Struan Farm
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Good news, the lamb cheeks I'd recently ordered from Taylor Preston have arrived in Piopio. They had a somewhat interesting journey from Wellington, since the big refrigerated truck originally scheduled for delivery wasn't going to make it up the drive here at Struan Farm. Plan B entailed delivery care of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2016 at Struan Farm
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A wet tour of Struan Farm's wooded gardens indicates the hellebores are starting to happen, just. They tell me I'm being a bit too keen, and to be patient. They're shy types. But you know me, don't you? Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2016 at Struan Farm
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I was wanting a bit of excitement given all the rainy weather we've been having in Piopio, but this is far more than I wanted or bargained for. A few days ago between showers I heard a scraping noise was coming from the road, down below the top bank that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2016 at Struan Farm
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There are winter days when I get a bit of cabin fever here at Struan Farm. Guess you can see why? John's latest suggestion is for me to grab a spade while it's pouring down rain like this to go out and check the drains beside our gravel farm tracks.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2016 at Struan Farm
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Yes, yet another fungi here at Struan Farm! This time it's the "Common-basket stinkhorn," Ileodictyon cibarium. I noticed three of these growing under the redwoods at our entrance to the new(ish) house. We've had so much rain, and it's been unseasonally warm, so the fungi just seem to keep coming... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2016 at Struan Farm
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John and I went off on a short road trip this past weekend to pick up the bare root Luisa plum trees I'd ordered from McGrath Nurseries in nearby Cambridge. They're a commercial nursery, so we had to order a minimum of five trees, but they're the only nursery here... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2016 at Struan Farm
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I came across this huge fungi (?), right inside our entrance gate at Struan Farm! It's been an interesting season for them, both in terms of variety and numbers. It's the size of a human head, no joke, and also looks somewhat "brainy." I wasn't able to identify it in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2016 at Struan Farm
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A few weeks ago I rescued a kingfisher who got stuck in the back of our garage here at Struan Farm. I christened him "Freddy." Now we have a pair who've decided to make our front lawn and orchard part of their territory. We've been watching them perch on the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2016 at Struan Farm
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We had viisitors coming for morning tea a few days ago here at Struan Farm. It's that time of the year when there's not much happening in the gardens. The hellebores, which save me in winter, haven't started to bloom as yet. However, this year is somewhat different--although we've had... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2016 at Struan Farm
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John and I were momentarily diverted from our gardening and mowing efforts at the Homestead a few days ago by an unusual bird call. It sounded somewhat like a tui, but different, and was coming from one of the camellias in the roadside wooded garden. Off we went to investigate.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2016 at Struan Farm
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In NZ the phrase "being cheeky" means being smart or sassy in a nice, teasing way. But here at Struan Farm we're giving this phrase new meaning--I've recently discovered beef cheeks. Much of the thanks goes to MasterChef Australia, where I've watched many contestants slow roast them to rave reviews... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2016 at Struan Farm
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Clifford really misses John when he's away from Struan Farm. It's most evident when the lord and master returns to the castle--I hear these happy yips, unlike any other sound Clifford makes. I know they signal John is home. I certainly don't get those same yips out of Clifford when... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2016 at Struan Farm
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My intent when I started baking these "Dream Bars" was that I was making them for a friend. She is going through a bit of a health crisis at the moment, and I thought they might lift her spirits, make her smile. We used to eat/devour these at Smith College,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2016 at Struan Farm
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In a quest this week for a new winter pudding recipe I stumbled upon "Cranberry & cinnamon bread & butter pudding" in Sophie Gray's great cookbook "Fill the Tins." Everything I've made from this book has turned out well, and this was no exception: And not a bad way to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2016 at Struan Farm
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Must say that the new gardens I'm meant to be planting this winter at Struan Farm are taking time. I'm making progress, but it's been slow going. While some of this has been due to rainy weather, a large part of it is that I simply haven't been able to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2016 at Struan Farm
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I came across yet another good winter salad recipe this past week, "Raw Winter Salad with Mandarins & Almonds," in the Winter 2016 issue (#24) of Nourish Magazine. Finely sliced raw brussel sprouts, fennel and broccoli are tossed with slivered almonds and mandarins (I used my Zyliss mandolin to slice... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2016 at Struan Farm