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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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John sometimes accuses me of being a "glass half empty" kinda girl. I don't really see myself that way, think I'm a relatively upbeat, positive person. But compared to John that might be a fair comparison. He does always look on the bright side of things as a dreamer, while... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Struan Farm
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By chance we learned that one of the two heirloom poppies we have growing in the gardens at Struan Farm came from to Piopio via a friend of one of John's sisters. She lived in the Wairarapa, had an old villa surrounded by wisteria and poppies. This sister gave some... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Struan Farm
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Wow! Early strawberries, rainy day, what's a girl to do at Struan Farm but kick into making the first batches of strawberry jam for this season? Normally I crack into jam making in December, but everything it seems is happening early this year. Hopefully not the case for Christmas, since... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Struan Farm
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Interesting to see the honey bees enjoying the poppies amongst the various flowers in our gardens here at Struan Farm. I hadn't expected that these would be flowers that would attract them, and have been proved wrong! Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Struan Farm
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It's an unusual season here in the flower gardens at Struan Farm. Normally we don't have roses in bloom until after Christmas. Except perhaps for Madame Leonie, who makes a habit of arriving early, just like me. But this year all of the roses are in full, glorious bloom in... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Struan Farm
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Forgot to tell you that our friends at Piopio Berry Orchard are open and have strawberries available! It's the earliest they've ever had them, and they're wonderfully sweet. John is always a bit dubious about early strawberries, being quite sensitive to anything sour. But even he agrees these are quite... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Struan Farm
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Having a wee bit of an issue with birds in the backyard at "veggie world" here at Struan Farm at the moment. I realised that they'd pulled out some cornflower seedlings in my edible flower troughs, also a bit of spinach and one bean seedling. Normally I protect the rows... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2018 at Struan Farm
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You may remember that two seasons ago we had a glasshouse full of basil plants here at Struan Farm. I went a bit over the top, as I'm wont to do, growing basil for Piopio's Fat Pigeon Cafe and Night Owl Restaurant. I hadn't realised quite the number of plants... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Yep, it's all been happening with the macrocarpa trees here at Struan Farm. I was chastised for groaning about the sound of chainsaws at 6:45 a.m. one morning, told I was sounding like a townie! We're liking the expansive view that's been exposed so far. Our house remains protected from... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2018 at Struan Farm
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John and I were wandering around the orchard here at Struan Farm a few days ago, picking off some leaf curl on several young peach and nectarine trees. Even though I do spray with copper in spring and autumn it's something they go through adjusting to our relatively wet climate... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Clifford, our dog here at Struan Farm, has looked progressively rattier ever since the local dog groomer developed carpal tunnel syndrome and stopped grooming. It's been several years since his last session, and he's now 15. He'd had one spectacular grooming after our move to Piopio, during which he moaned... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Yesterday morning John came in from his early rounds and feeding the pet lambs to report some sad news. I could tell by his face, and the fact he woke me up to tell me, that it wasn't good. He'd found pet lamb Diva dead under a tree. She'd died... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Here in New Zealand the lead up to Christmas is called the "Festive Season," normally because of the amount of holiday festivities that go on. Here at Struan Farm we celebrate festive a different way: by potting up hundreds of Italian Parsley "gigante" seedlings. I was interested to read that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2018 at Struan Farm
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A new view of the world has started to emerge from our house here at Struan Farm as the macrocarpas start to come down. Here's the action on Day One: Several more instalments of "during" to come, and "after" is going to be quite some time. We won't start re-landscaping... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Virginia Woolf would be rolling her eyes, but then again she was a gardener, so perhaps not. The wee garden shed that John and nephew Mike set up under the tawas behind my veggie gardens here at Struan Farm has gone mostly unused. This was an old laundry shed from... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Fans of MasterChef Australia will know what I'm talking about immediately: panna cotta. I made my first panna cotta over the weekend, using a new Fresh As plum panna cotta mix. Let me say up front that I didn't have the proper dariole moulds required, I used oiled ramekins instead.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2018 at Struan Farm
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John had a good laugh. I sent him down to gather a bunch of forget-me-knots from the wooded garden at the Homestead here at Struan Farm to decorate a Lemon Syrup Cake with Elderflower Mascarpone Icing I made over the weekend. I've recently discovered that forget-me-knots are edible flowers, which... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2018 at Struan Farm
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John and I travelled down to New Plymouth from Struan Farm over the weekend to visit a few of the gardens open for the annual Powerco Garden Festival. We also called in to his sister's for a flying catch up and brief visit with our former pet lamb Bubbles. This... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2018 at Struan Farm
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John and I took a trip down to Jim's Hut at the river here at Struan Farm to do a quick tidy up a few days ago. The contractors working on goat control in the area spent a few nights down there and we hadn't had the time to check... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2018 at Struan Farm
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This spring the wisteria growing over the pergola at the Homestead here at Struan Farm looks quite lovely. It seems to have discussed the situation with Madame Leonie, who is also growing and blooming away on her respective end of the pergola. They're putting on a good show. Wisteria symbolises... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Last year at Struan Farm I planted out our granddaughter's New World "Little Garden" vegetable plants in the raised bed at the Homestead. The bed has good soil, but I hardly ever get down there to water. I'm lucky if it's once a week vs. morning and night for our... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2018 at Struan Farm
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This is the sort of thing that happens when John goes out to dig potato bed #2 at Struan Farm: Heaven knows how or why these antique "screw pickets" ended up buried at the back gate behind the tractor shed, but these things do happen around the place more often... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2018 at Struan Farm
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This long Labour Holiday weekend signalled the beginning of the summer vegetable season, happy days. I spent quite a bit of time out planting here at Struan Farm. The weather is now meant to be warm enough for beans, corn, lettuce/mesclun, potatoes, zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin, butternut squash, and chile plants... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Our heirloom poppies are starting to flower here at Struan Farm. John's mum always had them through the garden and now I've got some up in the gardens at the newish house too. It's nice to see the bright pops of pink, they self seed everywhere and I also toss... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2018 at Struan Farm
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Piopio School held its annual "Calf Club Day" yesterday, without calves this year due to the Mycoplasma Bovis issue infecting some dairy cows around the country. This is an annual event at most schools around New Zealand, some call it "Ag Day," others "Pet Day." But regardless of what it's... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2018 at Struan Farm