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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've been out picking the first grapes to grow on the vines planted at our pergola here at Struan Farm. Finally they have triumphed over being chewed to pieces by the feral rabbits, which have been nowhere to be seen this season. As previously acknowledged, John and I aren't exactly... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Struan Farm
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It's that time of the year here at Struan Farm, the seasonal experiments continue as the veggie garden and orchard deliver almost daily. This past week with the quince harvest beginning they've included "membrillo," a Spanish version of quince paste, or what the Brits call "fruit cheese." We've been enjoying... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Struan Farm
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You may know that I've grown a fair bit of Italian parsley this year here at Struan Farm. I got a bit carried away growing seedlings in the glasshouse (oh really Karen?), and I pretty much saturated the market for the seedling plants at the Piopio Community Fruit & Veg... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Struan Farm
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Like most of us our dog Clifford isn't getting any younger. He's approaching 16, which is saying something for a dog. He's on doggie aspirin monthly for his leg injury (chasing turkeys, twice) and his hearing isn't what it used to be. We've stopped tying him up at his house... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Struan Farm
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It was time this week to do a purge of the older basil plants in the glasshouse here at Struan Farm. The last crop of the season is now out of the growing cells and potted up, so I am able to de-commission their exhausted predecessors. I cut the usable... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Struan Farm
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The moral of this story is to follow the birds at Struan Farm. Especially the kereru, our native wood pigeons. One day this past week John sat down in the living room to watch the midday news before lunch and kept seeing a large number of kereru flying into and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Struan Farm
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I've been very excited this year to see the NZ heirloom "Black Boy" peach fruiting for the first time here at Struan Farm. These peaches are quite unique, a free stone variety with a fuzzy grey skin and red flesh. There is conflicting information on their origins; some people believe... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Struan Farm
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We've harvested the first Granny Smith apples from grandson Charlie's apple tree here at Struan Farm this season, hooray! It's quite a decent amount of apples too. This is the first instalment, more remain on the tree yet to be picked in the Old Orchard area of the farm. Pet... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2019 at Struan Farm
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As reported earlier this year the bluebells at Struan Farm have started to take over in the Homestead gardens. John, who previously was protective of them given that they were one of his mum's favourite flowers, gave me a directive to get them under control. All I will say on... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2019 at Struan Farm
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This had John and me scratching our heads. A few days ago when it rained we looked out in the paddock in front of our house here at Struan Farm and saw a large group of sheep standing completely still, not moving at all. Often when it rains they will... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2019 at Struan Farm
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Yesterday afternoon I went outside to the veggie gardens in the rain here at Struan Farm to dig up some beetroot for pickling. It was a good day for that sort of thing. And we really needed the rain, so there were no complaints about the weather from anyone here.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2019 at Struan Farm
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I was thinking perhaps that titling this post "gross negligence" might be appropriate instead, but decided to be kinder to myself since that's a healthier approach. So let's just say I dropped the ball for the past month as it relates to the flower gardens here at Struan Farm. Anyone... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2019 at Struan Farm
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We need rain in most areas of the North Island at the moment. We haven't had a decent day or days of solid rain since December, which doesn't happen very often here in NZ. I haven't heard whether or not a drought has been declared officially, but many communities are... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2019 at Struan Farm
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John's mum grew sedum near the Homestead rose trellis for years and years here at Struan Farm, along with nepita. While I've always loved the combination of the purple nepita below deep red Dublin Bay roses, I never particularly appreciated sedum's subtle appeal until now. It's a hardy succulent, easy... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2019 at Struan Farm
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Here's hoping that's the case! We inadvertently discovered our female native totara trees fruiting about a week ago. This prompted a seed gathering frenzy the past few days around Struan Farm, as we tried to figure out what is seeding right now and what isn't. We found six female totara... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2019 at Struan Farm
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Last week John and I had friends visit Struan Farm for a few days from Seattle, Washington. It was their first trip to Piopio, so we booked a tour at nearby Hairy Feet Waitomo, our local Hobbit film location in Piopio. While we weren't sure how much they were into... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2019 at Struan Farm
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I'm thinking this should be "protected forever" rather than "forever protected." Regardless of that, the area supervisor for the QEII National Trust came by this week to inspect our two areas of protected bush reserve at Struan Farm. This happens every two years or so to make sure there aren't... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2019 at Struan Farm
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The weekend before last John and I went to nearby Ohaupo to see the TreeChurch. It's a very special place, as we've told you. We were particularly struck by the white birches, which are the same variety of tree, Betula jacquemontii, that we have along our front roadside Pet Paddock... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2019 at Struan Farm
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A few days ago we were showing farmstay guests around here at Struan Farm, talking about our efforts to grow and plant native trees. We were explaining that there are male and female totara trees, and pointed out the tree from which last year we've grown 1,000 seedling trees (so... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2019 at Struan Farm
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John has declared war on the Japanese walnut trees in our immediate area. We've killed any that were growing here on Struan Farm, so he's now extending his efforts to adjacent roadsides and our neighbour across the road. With their consent he has just ring barked a big tree on... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2019 at Struan Farm
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Long time readers of the Struan Farm blog may remember I've had to rescue a kingfisher or two from the garage or on the deck previously. This week it was number three. It seems I've perfected my technique. John mentioned he'd thought a bird had flown into the garage before... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2019 at Struan Farm
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We've been seeing vintage American cars travelling south over the past week here at Struan Farm, heading down to New Plymouth's annual "Americana" car festival. And over the weekend they all travelled back, many stopping in Piopio at the Fat Pigeon Cafe for coffee and/or a meal. It was lovely... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2019 at Struan Farm
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If you're one of our blog readers who gets squeamish when we talk about having to deal with the various non-native feral pests around Struan Farm, this isn't a post for you. There's been a huge mob of feral turkeys roaming around the farm for about three weeks now. We've... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2019 at Struan Farm
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I was very excited this week to see Monarch Butterfly caterpillars starting to appear on the swan plants in our gardens here at Struan Farm. You may or may not know that there's a bit of a crisis globally with Monarchs. Butterfly aficionados are seriously concerned about their dropping numbers... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2019 at Struan Farm
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My damson experiences continue here at Struan Farm. Over the weekend I managed to make the "Damson and Rosemary Cheese" from Kylee Newton's book "The Modern Preserver." (Unfortunately the recipe isn't online, so I can't share it with you.) It's a version of paste, so not anything for the faint-hearted.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2019 at Struan Farm