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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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You'll need to hang with me and have a bit of vision on this one. At the top picture a three metre high Rhododendron Cornubia, with bright red flowers, beside Camellia japonica Katherine Nuccio, a camellia of about the same size with rose-red double blooms. On "the shelf" below, a... Continue reading
Posted 1 hour ago at Struan Farm
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Yesterday I finally took some time to visit Hairy Feet Waitomo, the Piopio location used for filming part of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," just up the Mangaotaki River from Struan Farm. (Of course) I've seen the film as well as the second installment, "The Desolation of Smaug," so was... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Struan Farm
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I'll be happy when the builders finish up the baseboards around the bottom of the new house at Struan Farm, for a few reasons. The past few nights the sheep in the paddock below have taken to sleeping under the house, where it's warm and dry. They've woken us up... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Struan Farm
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I know the old saying says to make lemonade, but I'd much rather make lemon curd! Our organic Meyer lemons are so lovely and juicy, and they just keep coming. I was struck by how almost all of the ingredients are bright yellow: lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, eggs. The... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Struan Farm
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The first daffodil bloomed at Struan Farm this week! She's a prima donna, this one. The other three hundred or so I popped in this past autumn are still biding their time. And while I was wandering in The Homestead's woodsy gardens, managed to notice some snow drops, hellebores and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Struan Farm
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We've had clear, sunny, beautiful weather this week at Struan Farm. I've been able to get outside and work in the gardens, hooray. But it also means two things at this time of the year: frost, and frosty mornings. Here's an interesting rather abstract shot of the iced car windscreen:... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Struan Farm
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Since our first twin lambs arrived (very early) last week at Struan Farm, we've realized that one is much, much smaller than the other, check this out: Since no others have arrived as yet we are enjoying watching these two play together. The larger one actually jumps over the smaller! Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Struan Farm
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The first hellebores made their appearance this week at Struan Farm. We're very happy to see our "winter roses." There's not much else in the gardens right now except for the early camellias, and they aren't the best in arrangements for the table, while hellebores are. I love these fragile,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Struan Farm
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We've finally moved into the new house at Struan Farm. Still some things to finish up on the house itself, mostly outside, and then there's the landscaping, etc. etc. But the big news is that we're in and we love it. It's warm, quiet, comfortable, really everything we want and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Struan Farm
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John decided that it would be a good thing to put "sheep nuts" out for the ewes grazing in the Pet Paddock at Struan Farm. This is supplementary feed, rather like dog kibble, good as grass starts to dwindle this time of year. It took awhile for them to find... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Struan Farm
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My baking efforts have fallen off the cliff lately, too much happening at Struan Farm with the new house, gardening, landscaping, etc. etc. But I decided to reverse this trend this past weekend and bake John a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is wonderful winter comfort food, and so easy now... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Just a wee bit of wet weather these past few weeks at Struan Farm. We know it's been really wet when a pond begins to form at the back of the Pet Paddock, something like this: When/if the ducks appear we'll start constructing the ark! Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Sister-in-law Anna and I took a road trip one rainy day this past week to Wairere Nursery in Gordonton, Hamilton. Purpose of the journey was to pick up some special camellias, rhodos and hellebores to plant under the redwoods at the new house entrance at Struan Farm. Anna and I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Over lunch at Struan Farm's Homestead yesterday John looked out to the Pet Paddock and announced that we had our first lambs, hooray! Twins. They've arrived quite early, but we're happy to see them. I'll be paying more attention now... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Not financial, rather of the gardening kind. It's that time of the year, when I gird my loins and grab my secaturs and loppers to start the cutback of the hydrangeas and roses in the gardens at Struan Farm. I started this week between rain storms, and managed to get... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Farmer John recently delivered a new black ewe to join my flock of coloured sheep at Struan Farm: She has been christened "Licorice" by the girls, and joins Sooty and Oreo. (Note: we only name the black sheep, not the rest of the mob.) Although she doesn't seem to associate... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Good thing we have kids in the family, who clued me in to the latest trend: making "loom bands." Catherine sported a band during her recent tour of New Zealand with Prince William, and now most school age girls here are swept up with this craze. Read more about it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Two of the four members of The Jelly Bean Brigade were at Struan Farm over the weekend to install the Jelly Bean Table in the Tree Hut, also to celebrate Daniel's birthday. I made a chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese icing for the birthday dinner, topped by (what else?)... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at Struan Farm
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It was all on this past week at the new house at Struan Farm: builders, painters, electricians, plumbers, fencers, and last but not least the digger. We're taking soil from beside the new workshop to even out this side of the orchard area, which is quite steep, making it easier... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at Struan Farm
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I've had this project on my "To Do" list for quite some time: making signs to help guests find their way around Struan Farm. While we don't think it's that complicated, and pretty obvious really, we've found that visitors aren't always so confident to go off exploring around the farm... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at Struan Farm
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I think I'm directly responsible for this particular family tradition at Struan Farm. I started it by stashing a supply of jelly beans in a felted gingerbread house in the dining room of the Homestead, offering up two-three jelly beans to those children who had finished their dinners. At this... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2014 at Struan Farm
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Very exciting to have the fencers on site at Struan Farm this past week to build the retaining wall and fencing in front of and surrounding our new house! Topsoil will then be filled in and the area grassed to create our front lawn. Once the fencing is finished, which... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at Struan Farm
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The last time Ella and Livy visited Struan Farm I captivated everyone one night with a simple piece of kitchen string, trying to remember how to do Cat's Cradle and Jacob's Ladder. These were games I used to play for hours when I was young, and while I was able... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2014 at Struan Farm
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It's that rare time of year at Struan Farm when nothing is blooming in the gardens except for the random camellia. So the best choice for our table arrangements is greenery by default. In this case fern, variegated euonymus, and some sort of holly (I'm guessing on this one!). Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2014 at Struan Farm
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This past week we finished the demolition of the old hen house at Struan Farm. On a parallel track, we're starting to plan an area for chickens near the new house. Yes, "chook world" is starting to take shape! They will have their own dedicated paddock, to be shared with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2014 at Struan Farm