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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 haven't done a "word du jour" blog post for awhile, but am prompted to do so after hearing the word "umami" repeatedly on recent MasterChef Australia episodes. I'd first come across it a few years ago in Pasadena, California, where there's a trendy burger restaurant by this name in... Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at Struan Farm
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At this time of the year most people have plums coming out of their ears, and are looking to deploy them or give them away. Unfortunately this is not the case for us at Struan Farm just yet, the plum trees we've planted in our orchard have yet to fruit,... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Struan Farm
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The old post office building in Piopio, right along the main street in our little village, has recently undergone a much needed restoration and facelift thanks to new owners. It was built circa 1910, and at one time operated as the town's post office, telephone exchange, and bank. Actual operators... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Struan Farm
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The tawa grove at Struan Farm has always been one of my favorite places at the farm. I love the trees, they are rather majestic and have lots of character, with interesting undulating trunks and roots. Of course the grove is now home to our residents gnomes, but at this... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Struan Farm
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I came across an interesting recipe for a "Warm Apple Salad with Honey, Pecans & Thyme" in the current issue of NZ House & Garden magazine (March). As previously reported, we've got greens coming out of our ears in the veggie garden at Struan Farm, along with some apples from... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Struan Farm
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At one point a few months ago I was worried about not having enough fresh salad greens in the veggie gardens at Struan Farm, they couldn't grow fast enough for me. Clearly nothing to worry about now! I am distributing fresh, organic greens nightly to our farmstay guests as well,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Struan Farm
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The editor's letter of the current issue of NZ Gardener Magazine makes mention of "zoodles" as a great way to use surplus zucchini from the garden. This was a new one on me-- noodles made out of zucchini with a "spiraliser" vegetable peeler. I was intrigued! A quick search on... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Struan Farm
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John and I took a walk this week through our other QE II Trust protected native bush reserve, on the way to an area of adjacent paddock that he's fenced off to plant more trees. We're extending this existing track down to the river, so visitors can walk down one... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at Struan Farm
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It was time to pull the plug at the pond at Struan Farm. We do so every five or so years, when the weeds start to encroach and the algae gets bad. We choose not to dump chemicals into the water to try to deal with this for a few... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at Struan Farm
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This is one of those "as only knitters can" stories. The New Zealand National Army Museum put out "A Patriotic Call to Yarn," asking the general public to make one hand crafted poppy for every New Zealand man and woman killed during war or conflict ahead of ANZAC Day this... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at Struan Farm
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This is one of those good news, bad news stories. The good news is that beautiful autumn raspberries are now available at Piopio Berry Orchard. There is a very short window of time when strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all available at Piopio Berry Orchard, and this would be it.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2015 at Struan Farm
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Made a quick trip to Auckland at the end of last week for some minor surgery, so I was away from Struan Farm briefly. The good news part of it was that John and I had time to visit Manukau Institute of Technology's School of Horticulture. The school has an... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2015 at Struan Farm
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We're a bee friendly place at Struan Farm. We've made an effort to plant trees and flowers that attract them. In our backyard veggie garden I've planted borage, hyssop, and bergamot bee balm, all of which attract them. But they've been enjoying the zucchini blossoms too. Whatever makes them happy... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Struan Farm
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I've planted a few Jack Humm crab apple trees near the apple trees in our two orchard areas at Struan Farm. I was told that they help apple trees to fruit, and they're pretty trees, so why not? They are doing really well, are full of beautiful fruit. So much... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Struan Farm
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You will recall Struan Farm's resident dog Clifford is a somewhat complicated, eccentric personality. (We won't talk about how dogs sometimes reflect the personalities of their owners, will we?) His latest stunt is eating apples that fall off the trees in our orchard. He walks out with me in the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at Struan Farm
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I came across two abandoned bird nests this week at Struan Farm. The first was in one of our two stands of QE II Trust protected native bush: Wedged in the center of a ponga/tree fern, what a creative, cozy nesting spot! The occupants were long gone. The second nest... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at Struan Farm
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We've got a pretty reasonable crop of kale in our backyard veggie gardens at Struan Farm. My first batch got munched to stubs by caterpillars, but I managed to protect the next one with my companion planting and a bit of Derris Dust. (I also get the hose out to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2015 at Struan Farm
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John and I went for a wander this past weekend in one of the two stands of QE II Trust protected native bush reserves we have at Struan Farm. Our nephew Mike has been helping us with some work projects around the farm, including cleaning up the existing walking track... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2015 at Struan Farm
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Kiwis say "toe-mah-toe," I say "toe-may-toe" still. Think I'd sound silly otherwise. But regardless of how one pronounces it, the first Black Krim tomato has been delivered up by the veggie garden at Struan Farm, big day! I seized the moment (and the tomato), sliced it up with buffalo mozzarella... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Struan Farm
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Crochet has been having a huge renaissance overseas in the U.K. and U.S. in particular. Yes, even granny square blankets have been making a comeback, but this is not your Nana's crochet! Designer Cathy Bebelman will be visiting Struan Farm in March to teach a special crochet workshop. Cathy designs... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Struan Farm
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While we've had the odd one or two, this is the first year we'll actually be able to harvest a decent number of apples from our new orchard at Struan Farm. Monty's Surprise and Peasgood Nonsuch. The other apple trees we planted in the Old Orchard Paddock (Granny Smith, Bramley,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2015 at Struan Farm
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A relatively new neighbour came over to Struan Farm this past weekend for afternoon tea. Plans were a bit hastily arranged, so after baking up a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies I dashed down to the Homestead gardens for some flowers: Pink and white roses with sweet peas, we... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at Struan Farm
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Don't mean to bore you too much with (yet) another post about watching the veggies grow at Struan Farm, but I've been VERY EXCITED to see ears of corn forming on my corn stalks this week. Last week the plants flowered at the top, while this week shocks of green... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at Struan Farm
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It's been really, really, really hot these past few weeks at Struan Farm. (p.s. Have we told you it's been hot?) So much so that we decided to bag sweltering over various work projects over the weekend and take a picnic lunch down to the Mangaotaki River. John and granddaughter... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at Struan Farm
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I made two great summer "puds" (aka desserts) this past weekend at Struan Farm: a "Summer Pudding Loaf" and an "Apricot and Almond Cake." While they were both extremely yummy, Ella and John preferred the apricot cake, and I really liked the summer loaf. Recipe for the (upside down) apricot... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Struan Farm