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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 realised that it's time to plant some winter salad greens in the glasshouse here at Struan Farm while it's still warm during the days. So after nephew Mike knocked out a few planter boxes I'd commissioned from recycled timber, and our heap of potting soil was restocked, I was... Continue reading
Posted 12 hours ago at Struan Farm
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Life at Struan Farm involves contending with many things, including various pests. And no, I'm certainly not talking about John, Clifford, or the pet lambs! At certain times of the year things happen with bugs and rodents in particular. I could almost diarise some of them. We need to be... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Struan Farm
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The third annual Asplundh Arbor Camp is happening this week at Struan Farm. Men up on ropes in our huge feature trees in the Pet Paddock, practicing the finer points of pruning. What's not to like about that? The trees are useful for this purpose because they're 50-60 years old... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Struan Farm
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Of course we enjoy having returning farmstay guests here at Struan Farm. But it seems the naughty little pigs across the road, the ones I've christened "Porgy" and "Bess," can't stay away from Struan Farm either! Nephew Mike reported seeing them in our front Pet Paddock, so I went down... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Struan Farm
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As advertised, I've made ANZAC biscuits this week for the contractors staying in the Cottage here at Struan Farm. New Zealand's ANZAC commemorations are today. I make ANZAC biscuits that are soft rather than hard and crunchy by undercooking them slightly. My recipe is calls for one cup wholegrain oats,... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Struan Farm
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Yep, had a birthday this past weekend. No major milestone, except perhaps to acknowledge that I'm still alive, happy, and gardening. "Milestones" used to be stone markers along the roadside to indicate how far one had travelled. Today "milestones" refer to our journey through life's significant events. As for me,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Struan Farm
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This year my pumpkin patch took over quite a bit of the back lawn and area around the water tank. It just kept going and going. Since we're nearing the end of the season I did start to cut it back so John could mow and so the plants would... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Struan Farm
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Since we're having so much rain this autumn at Struan Farm John and I decided it was time to plant out the two seedling peach trees Mrs. Preston from Ruawai had given us last year. They were quite small when we got them, so I've been growing them on in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2017 at Struan Farm
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We've had a team of contractors staying at the Cottage during the week for a number of weeks now. They're working to reinforce an unstable cliff face in Paemako, just up the main road. Struan Farm ended up being the most convenient accommodation to the work project, plus we let... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at Struan Farm
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I must give credit where credit is due on this. My friends at Country Trading posted a beautiful updated profile photograph last week of clean, trimmed garlic on their Facebook page. I was impressed, and it gave me pause. I'd dropped the ball--I was meant to clean and trim the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at Struan Farm
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Struan Farm's Gandalf has been stationed outside the Garden Cottage since he arrived at the farm almost two years ago in the passenger seat of John's car. He positioned himself in the Homestead gardens to make sure no trolls sneak up the Mangaotaki River valley from nearby Hairy Feet Waitomo,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at Struan Farm
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Of course most people have been eating far too many hot cross buns over the Easter period. But guess what--we haven't! So when I saw this recipe for Chocolate Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding by Nadia Lim I decided Easter weekend was time for us to take the plunge. She... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2017 at Struan Farm
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Sometimes I'm a bit tardy on these trends, living as I do in rural New Zealand at Struan Farm. I'd been noticing references to "Hygge" for awhile, seeing books, etc. I was curious somewhat and finally took the bait on a rainy day in an effort to learn more. I'm... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Struan Farm
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We've had so much rain of late here at Struan Farm that I haven't been on top of gathering walnuts from the Pet Paddock. I did suggest to some farmstay guests last week that they were welcome to grab a bucket to take some home, which they did. And of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2017 at Struan Farm
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Two more trees down this past week on the edge of the new(ish) house lawn at Struan Farm. There is definitely more of a view looking out to the hills now as a result. John is in charge of this project, but I think one-two more trees are meant to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at Struan Farm
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A few years ago we decided to test growing feijoas here at Struan Farm, and planted two at the back gate of the Homestead. I'm happy to report they're thriving! The one with the larger fruit is a variety called "Kaiteri," while the other is currently called "Karen Forgot to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at Struan Farm
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John headed off from Piopio for the day to dodge eating quince, I'm sure of it! Just kidding, but he isn't particularly fond of them, certainly not as much as I am. So I don't worry about having them when he's not around. This is our first real harvest of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at Struan Farm
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John came back from some wanderings around the property to report that he'd found two pigs in the front Pet Paddock here at Struan Farm. Pigs! What next? They'd been on the road and had come through our fence somehow. When he saw them on the road at first he... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2017 at Struan Farm
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Ignoring this week's flood and raging river that is! Improvements continue at Struan Farm. Nephew Mike has been working down at the ablution block near Jim's Hut at the river, making a wooden seat on the front deck and gate to the steps that lead down to the outdoor solar-heated... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2017 at Struan Farm
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Very excited (two blog posts in one day--can't you tell?) to report that my Lemon Verbena Shortbread recipe has been published in NZ Gardener magazine's latest special issue "Growing and Using Herbs & Superfoods." See the first section on p.42 "Fragrant Desserts." I had to look carefully, since there's another... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2017 at Struan Farm
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I looked out and saw Clifford sitting right in the middle of one of the new garden beds John has just re-dug here at Struan Farm. I'm meant to be planting once the weather permits, we've had so much rain that I'm tempted to get started. But I'll have to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2017 at Struan Farm
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But the old man and/or old woman certainly aren't snoring here at Struan Farm, too much is happening! I'd scheduled a post today called "The Latest at the River," which has been pre-empted and moved to Saturday. Because here's the latest, latest at the river: We've had 7 inches (180... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at Struan Farm
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I'm still in a bit of denial on this score, autumn that is. I know it's here officially, but it doesn't seem that summer was. Is that fair? John reported that he ran over some walnuts mowing in our roadside front Pet Paddock at Struan Farm and I needed to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2017 at Struan Farm
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Rather autumnal, I know, but boy was it good! These are "verjuice, thyme and cinnamon roasted pears" from the latest Donna Hay Magazine. Very simple to make: halved pears are combined with sprigs of lemon thyme, verjuice, caster sugar, cinnamon and scraped vanilla seeds and pods then roasted for quite... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2017 at Struan Farm
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It was all happening this weekend at Struan Farm! The team from North & South magazine were in the Cottage, while friend Tracy Hawkins and her son Dan from Maine were in the Homestead and Garden Cottage. We figured out that Tracy and I hadn't seen one another for 23... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2017 at Struan Farm