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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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This is an age old debate, and now I'm trying to apply it to tomatoes here at Struan Farm. You see, it looks like a "Super Steakhouse" hybrid tomato has taken out our "Tomato of the Year" for 2020. The contest has been based on weight historically, with the heaviest... Continue reading
Posted 30 minutes ago at Struan Farm
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This week I was away up in Auckland for most of the week. There's never a particularly good time to be away from Struan Farm in summer, but I had some longstanding appointments sandwiched between farmstay guests and in concert with John's schedule. I was also needing a bit of... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Struan Farm
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A few days ago I was thrilled to find a "Vintage Brandywine" heirloom tomato in the Piopio Community Fruit & Veg Stand. I'd put some plants of this special heirloom variety in the stand earlier in the season, grown from seeds saved from two tomatoes I came across grown by... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Struan Farm
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We are starting to get to the end of this year's strawberry season here in Piopio. You can sense it at Piopio Berry Orchard, that relief of being through the holiday peak is palpable. The summer recruits have gone back to school and it's family members and long time employees... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Struan Farm
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The lack of rain is starting to get serious here at Struan Farm. John has been keeping an eye on the spring from which we get our water, while all of the paddock water troughs for the stock are fed from roof tanks which are still okay. There has never... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Struan Farm
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My Valentine had to be away this past Friday. Duty called, a business meeting up in Auckland that ended quite late in the day, so no time to return to Struan Farm that evening. Can I just say this must have been scheduled by a man? No woman would do... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Struan Farm
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I thought it was worth giving this Super Steakhouse tomato a weigh, and I was right: 520 grams. Hopefully this is the first of many, but my fingers are still crossed that Purple Cherokee will deliver for the heirloom tomato cause. Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2020 at Struan Farm
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I find myself laughing at myself a whole lot more as I've gotten older. Not sure why. Maybe I'm able to see my idiosyncrasies for what they are: endearing personal quirks. Or I just don't take myself all that seriously anymore having gained a bit of life experience and perspective.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2020 at Struan Farm
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I was in Piopio this week to have a new tire put on my car. We won't go into a long story with all the gory details on that, except to say that I cut someone's driveway entrance a bit short and bumped into a low stone wall with the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2020 at Struan Farm
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I pulled into the entrance to our drive off the main road here at Struan Farm the other day, and was stopped dead by a rather curious sight: A native wood pigeon, "kereru," standing on the concrete cattle stop on the track/drive that heads down to the pond. I popped... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2020 at Struan Farm
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John and I went over to nearby Aria on Waitangi Day last week to see what was happening at the annual "Sports Day" held at the Aria Domain. It was a wonderful, family friendly event, with dog trials, equestrian events, a shearing competition, and rides and games for the kids.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2020 at Struan Farm
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There are reasons John rolls his eyebrows sometimes, this I know. And this would be one of those times! I returned to Struan Farm from a trip to New Plymouth a few days ago with some swan plants in the back of the car. Swan plants loaded up with Monarch... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2020 at Struan Farm
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It's pretty much all on here at Struan Farm in the veggie gardens and orchard areas, "production mode" that is. This past week I've been picking "June's Northland" nectarines along with heirloom tomatoes every night plus ripening Luisa plums, zucchini, beans and corn. The peaches and Initial apples are almost... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2020 at Struan Farm
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Please note that I'm referring to the coriander growing in the veggie gardens here at Struan Farm, not myself! The slow bolt coriander I planted early this season transitioned into flowers, which both the bees and I love, and is now going to seed. I've decided to see if I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2020 at Struan Farm
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This summer isn't turning out to be the best for tomatoes here at Struan Farm. Even though it's very hot and dry, we had a stretch of chilly weather when the plants were flowering and the fruit was starting to grow; the weather may have shocked them a wee bit.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2020 at Struan Farm
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I've been out and about picking plums again for the Piopio Community Fruit & Veg Stand. My first assignment last week was at an old homestead site on the main road, where I'd spied a roadside tree dripping with fruit. I managed to track down the name of the elderly... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2020 at Struan Farm
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I've finished harvesting the potatoes growing in the backyard here at Struan Farm, aka "Veggie World." This year I planted "Rocket," "Purple Heart," "Kowiniwini," and "Urenika" in the bed dedicated to spuds by the glasshouse, where they seem to do well. The latter two are Maori potatoes/taewa. "Purple Heart" potatoes... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2020 at Struan Farm
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For some time now I've noticed at our Piopio Community Fruit & Veg Stand that people tend to take only the "perfect" fruit or vegetables. If something looks slightly flawed, it often gets left. Recently we had a huge box of oranges contributed. They weren't pretty, but they were juicy... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2020 at Struan Farm
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Hooray, John's Silk Tree has finally decided to flower here in the gardens at Struan Farm! Also called "Persian Silk Tree," Albizia julibrissin is native to southwestern and eastern Asia. It was named after an Italian nobleman, Filippo degli Albizzi, who introduced it to Europe in the 18th century. With... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2020 at Struan Farm
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This season the Monarch butterflies have been missing from around the gardens here at Struan Farm. I saw one fly over the house around Christmas, but it migrated elsewhere, did not stick around. It may still be a bit early, but I've been keeping an eye out for them. I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2020 at Struan Farm
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John and I were out wandering around the orchard areas and gardens a few days ago here at Struan Farm, figuring out where I might be able to fit a few additional heirloom fruit trees and where to construct an area for chickens he's wanted to have for some time... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2020 at Struan Farm
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Things keep growing here at Struan Farm. Fruit, veggies, flowers, but also weeds. A few weeks ago before the tsunami of farmstay guests hit I had a window of time to crack into weeding down at the Homestead gardens. I guess I should say "the much neglected Homestead gardens." The... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2020 at Struan Farm
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Both Clifford and I have been months overdue for our routine beauty therapy appointments. We were so busy September/October/November with John's mayoral campaign and election that I lost track of time, and couldn't get Clifford booked with his groomer until January. And at a time of year when he's shedding... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2020 at Struan Farm
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We harvested the first of our potatoes this week here at Struan Farm. Rather than digging everything up at once I'm taking an incremental approach this year and digging a few at a time. Especially since the plants have just started to die down. First spuds off the rank are... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2020 at Struan Farm
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I've reported previously that we're trying to contend with naughty birds here at Struan Farm. They've put a dent in the plum harvest, and have been ripping into any tomatoes starting to turn pink. As you might expect this sort of thing has me seeing red. NOBODY goes after my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2020 at Struan Farm