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Karen
Piopio New Zealand
Knitter, banker, farmer
Interests: knitting, cooking, gardening, photograhy, walking the hills with Clifford our dog, watching lambs frolic, being creative generally
Recent Activity
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Over the past week we've started to see signs of autumn at Struan Farm, finally. They're much later than usual, and the temperatures are still quite warm, even in the early a.m. While I do like crisp autumn mornings, now that we're getting some rain the warmth does allow for... Continue reading
Posted a moment ago at Struan Farm
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Don't go away! Not exactly what you want for a long holiday weekend and the school holidays, but we need rain so much that no one is complaining. Plus we've had some sunshine between solid downpours. This is a great for the gardens and the paddock grass, especially since it's... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Struan Farm
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Progress was made on the Tree Hut at Struan Farm over the long holiday weekend with the construction crew on site. The corrugated metal roof got painted and put on, along with the sign: Next time the crew needs to close off some gaps in the front and sides, and... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Struan Farm
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Ella, Livy and Daniel came to visit Struan Farm for the long Easter holiday weekend. So in preparation I hopped to it (pun intended), dyeing eggs to help the Easter Bunny, and making an Easter Cake decorated with special marshmallow "peeps" from the USA and jellybeans. I hadn't dyed brown... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Struan Farm
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Perhaps I've been watching too much Food TV or reading too many cooking magazines of late, but I've been noticing references to the word "providore." Is it only me? Quick homework uncovers that it means "one who makes provision, a purveyor." Current usage seems to imply that a "providore" is... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Struan Farm
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Anna recently gave me a little red wagon that can be towed by the lawn mower. I've been filling up the trailers that John leaves for me each week at Struan Farm within a day or so. And since I'm not (as yet) driving the tractor, I'm unable to empty... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Struan Farm
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John and I have discovered a somewhat funny occurrence down at the pond at Struan Farm, near our spring/water source. Every evening a huge number of birds congregate in the big bamboo bush. The chattering that goes on is quite loud, with the birds numbering into the hundreds. And this... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Struan Farm
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It's still quite warm at Struan Farm in Piopio, especially for this time of the year. Usually by April we're into crisp mornings, possibly a frost. Not this year! So I shouldn't be complaining, except for the fact that we're seeing the last of this year's roses in the gardens.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Awhile ago I posted about the fact that there are two "home guard" stations that date back to WW2 at Struan Farm. One is easier to access than the other, but there are obvious trenches that were constructed. (John's brother Carrick made little copper signs years ago as well.) We... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2014 at Struan Farm
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We all love violets, right? Subtle clusters of purple, lavender, pink or white hiding in the woods. In Victorian times they symbolised modesty and humility, the ideal woman, and were extremely popular cut flowers. When I arrived on the scene at Struan Farm, I remember asking my mother-in-law Rosemary if... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Any idea as to what this is? I found it on the ground in the gardens at Struan Farm. Looks almost like a nashi, but it's actually a camellia seed capsule. I looked around and found more beneath a different camellia: So as you might suspect I've popped them into... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Struan Farm
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I've been up close and personal with quite a few limestone rocks of late at Struan Farm, de- and re-constructing a number of our rock gardens. And I've noticed lots of fossils, mostly shells, embedded in the rocks. Many are quite large. While we tend to take them for granted,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Readers will recall that we've had a rather large wasp's nest in the tractor shed at Struan Farm for some time: Our friend Aaron saw it, and suggested contact be made with Robert Atkinson, the local bee specialist. John and I had thought they'd go away in the winter, however... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Struan Farm
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A few weeks ago I received an early, early birthday package from friend Laura in Pasadena, with instructions to open the box upon arrival. There was something perishable therein. Of course I did as instructed! A fantastic surprise, at least from my perspective: packs of chocolate chip and chocolate cookies... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Reading, needlepoint, and at long last KNITTING again at Struan Farm. It felt really, really good to get something new on the needles, as if there had been a huge void in my life that was now being filled. This past week I made Purl Bee's Bandana Cowl, in Misti... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Almost. The Night Owl is the latest new offering in the ever expanding Fat Pigeon empire in Piopio, which currently includes The Fat Pigeon Cafe, The Crafty Pigeon (gifts and crafts), and The Owl's Nest Motel. It is due to open on Easter or thereabouts for dinner seven days each... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Yes, infrastructure advances at Struan Farm! Our friend Aaron was able to use his digger to take a water tank down the river track. We will run a pipe down from the roof overflow tank up at the new house to provide water for Jim's Hut. The pipe has yet... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2014 at Struan Farm
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No, we weren't singing the Christmas carol at Struan Farm, rather John decided to improvise using a charcoal chimney and old grate to roast chestnuts. Not just any old chestnuts, rather Johnny Moo chestnuts, organically grown by our friend farmer John down the road in Mahoenui. They are now being... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Struan Farm
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It's that time of the year when we're in tomato overload at Struan Farm, so I was happy to find an interesting recipe for Green Tomato & Roasted Walnut Salad from the current issue of NZ's Dish Magazine. Green tomato, zucchini, telegraph cucumber and fennel are sliced thinly on a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2014 at Struan Farm
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We've got alot happening right now at Struan Farm. Apart from my own work projects, builders, painters, plumbers, electricians and stone masons are at the new house, and the digger is trenching for phone lines, moving soil for landscaping, and grading my veggie garden area. On top of all this... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Or perhaps I should say one stocking down. Drum roll, please! I am finished with Ella's needlepoint Christmas stocking. It was started about three (?) years ago but I lost steam, didn't have alot of time, and simply hadn't picked it up due to competing priorities. Peaceful evenings at Struan... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Not gossip but topsoil, actually! This past week I've been shoveling it into my wheel barrel and replenishing good soil in the rock gardens along the Homestead roadside at Struan Farm. (Must confess it's not easy to photograph a pile of dirt, pretty impossible to have it look pretty, but... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at Struan Farm
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It was opulent orange for the table arrangement at Struan Farm this weekend. Last year when Lisa Cruse was here for her embellishment workshops (and I can't believe it's already been a year!) we all had a debate about orange. It's not a color that usually comes to mind as... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Some would say "pudding" rather than "dessert" here in New Zealand, but I made Nigel Slater's Roast Quince this week, using my beautiful first quince plus others supplied by Anna. I know, I've raved on about this dish previously, it's seriously yum. The quinces are halved, peeled, rubbed with lemon,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Struan Farm
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And yes, in addition to the pine cones, the walnuts are starting to fall at Struan Farm. It's early days, and I don't think we'll have a bumper crop this year, but they're happening: Will gather and dry them before shelling, after which I store them in ziplock bags in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2014 at Struan Farm