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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
Lately while gathering walnuts here at Struan Farm I've been thinking that most people seem unable to disagree respectfully with one another. Yes, politics and views have become far more polarised. Misinformation is accepted as "alternative facts." Social media allows people to attack others they don't know from Adam. People... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2021 at Struan Farm
It's been a sad week here at Struan Farm, New Zealand's America's Cup win excluded. Our beloved dog Clifford went to sleep, aged 18. He really didn't want to leave us, but his back legs and bladder gave out. While he wasn't in pain, we couldn't let him go on... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2021 at Struan Farm
Long time followers of the Struan Farm blog will know that our Christmas cards each year involve pet lambs decked out for Christmas. I convince the little darlings to humour me while they are still innocent and trusting, conducting photo shoots out in the paddocks. I usually manage to pull... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2020 at Struan Farm
You might start to get the impression that chooks are taking a bit of my time here at Struan Farm of late, and that would be right. While I like the birds more than I thought I would, and ours are seriously productive little layers, they do require attention. More... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2020 at Struan Farm
Little Leroy and Little Tinker, our smallest gnomes here at Struan Farm, have been pestering me for awhile now to introduce them to the chooks. I've been holding off to give the chooks time to recover from a recent visit from the grandkids, which put them off laying six eggs... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2020 at Struan Farm
I've been busy in the gardens here at Struan Farm the past few days with some decent weather. In addition to some seriously overdue extreme weeding, on which I made a respectable dent, I potted up a few hundred heirloom tomato seedlings ("Big Red Heirloom," "Super Steakhouse," and "Vintage Brandywine"... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2020 at Struan Farm
Word seems to have gotten out about me. I got a phone call over the weekend here at Struan Farm from a local lady I didn't know, alerting me that a section in town behind her house was being redeveloped, and quite a few lovely red currant bushes were being... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2020 at Struan Farm
The plum, nectarine and peach trees have pretty much finished flowering in our orchard areas here at Struan Farm. Now it's time for the quince, pears and nashi to take their turns. The pear trees especially are covered in blossoms. We harvested our first few fruits from those last year... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2020 at Struan Farm
It seems John, nephew Mike and I have been conscripted into the ranks of "Beefeaters" this week here at Struan Farm. We've been called up to defend the occupants of "Cluckingham Palace" against marauding magpies, who apparently can attack and kill hens! John learned this yesterday afternoon from our friend... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2020 at Struan Farm
The past few days we've had more wild weather here at Struan Farm, high winds and heavy rains. Last night I could have sworn I was feeling the changing weather in my bones. My hands and one knee got sore. And I hadn't been working outside doing extreme gardening, so... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2020 at Struan Farm
Farmer John rang us on Saturday morning this past weekend to ask if I'd be willing to take two lambs into the Pet Pen here at Struan Farm. Their mum had delivered triplets at his property in Mahoenui, but she was too weak to look after all three. Of course... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2020 at Struan Farm
Such are the things that occupy my time here at Struan Farm: edging all the gardens. This season getting the gardens up to snuff has been more than a mission given the weather, but after two summers of low rainfall/drought you will not find me complaining about the rain. The... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2020 at Struan Farm
This year was been the exception on so many fronts, hasn't it? I suspect we'll all remember 2020 for quite a few reasons. For us here at Struan Farm we only have one pet lamb, Tiger. And he hasn't been our typical pet lamb, abandoned at birth. His mum died... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2020 at Struan Farm
It's been a big week at "Chook World" here at Struan Farm, the paddock where "Cluckingham Palace" and our six new Hy Line hens are located. They spent the first week after arrival cooped up in their house to acclimate to home not-so-sweet home. On Monday afternoon I opened their... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2020 at Struan Farm
I've managed to have good luck this season here at Struan Farm growing seedling heritage damson trees from stones. So far. I won't tempt fate by being too cocky! Both the "Mapiu" and "Grandpa Anselmi" damsons, hooray. The Mapiu damsons have been grown from fruit from an original settler tree/homestead... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2020 at Struan Farm
This time of the year the glasshouse at Struan Farm kicks things up a notch, although I will say it's had a busier winter than normal in 2020. I was concerned about the prospect of food shortages due to COVID, along with most everyone else, and went a bit crazy... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2020 at Struan Farm
This past week "Veggie World" in the backyard here at Struan Farm experienced a major clean up. I needed to get the troughs and beds prepped for spring and summer planting, and pull out winter veggies that have done their dash. Quite a bit of weeding happened. Right now the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2020 at Struan Farm
John's avenue of "Awanui" flowering cherry trees along the drive that runs from the Homestead, past the Cottage and up to our house here at Struan Farm is almost at its seasonal peak. We had a fantastic sunny spring day on Saturday; the tuis and bees are enjoying the trees... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2020 at Struan Farm
Yesterday afternoon I ran out with broom and bucket in hand to clean out the chicken coop here at Struan Farm. The "ladies" are meant to stay in their house for this week to acclimate themselves to home sweet home, and things are "accumulating" so to speak. As I was... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2020 at Struan Farm
It's been an exciting week here at Struan Farm. On Tuesday I travelled south to Inglewood and picked up our six new laying "Hy Line" hens, transporting them back to Piopio and the new chicken coop. The breeder had them packed in boxes, along with a sack of mash, which... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2020 at Struan Farm
This past week at Struan Farm I've had some challenges since pet lamb Tiger was liberated from the Pet Pen out into the paddock. You may remember he was 2-3 weeks old when his mum died, so getting him to adjust to life on bottles fed by humans took some... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2020 at Struan Farm
This year I am learning how to grow kumara, a NZ type of sweet potato, here at Struan Farm. With considerable thanks to Kath Irvine at Edible Backyard, who has a well written tutorial for those of us who need help. The "mother" kumara or kumaras are put on a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2020 at Struan Farm
Yes, a new garden here at Struan Farm, but it's not what you think. I've been reading about and seeing pictures of some wonderful focaccia gardens during COVID lockdowns around the world. It's amazing how creative people can get when they are cooped up! This weekend I finally had a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2020 at Struan Farm
There's a big old brilliant red rhododendron "Cornubia" just inside the front entrance gate here at Struan Farm. It was planted by John's parents outside the Homestead, their former home, many years ago now. So when we started landscaping up at our new, now not-so-new, house, I was determined to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2020 at Struan Farm
There are so many of my former pet lambs having lambs in our paddocks here at Struan Farm now that I can walk pretty easily in their midst without causing major panic. Some ewes look at me a bit sideways at times, but they don't bolt. They might just quietly... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2020 at Struan Farm