October 15, 2009

Another reminder that it’s  International Rural Women’s Day:


“Waddya mean resign . . . y’can’t resign . . .  the boy leaves next week, and besides . . .  we’re married.”

From The Best of Jock  by David Henshaw.


October 15, 2009

Apropos of International Rural Women’s Day:

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“My husband would die before he’d see me labour in the fields – painfully.”

From Edna Four  by Malcolm Evans, published by Moa-Merc Press.

A new breed of rural women

October 15, 2009

Some women are rural by birth, some by choice and others like me become rural by marriage.

It’s now more than a quarter of a century since I took on my farmer. Back then it was the norm if you married a man of the land to follow him to his land regardless of whether or not you could follow your own career in the country.

Now, many younger women place a much higher value on their right to follow their chosen path then my contemporaries and I did. But some still find that they can’t have it all. It isn’t always possible to follow their careers if they follow their hearts and find themselves on a farm too far from a city for commuting.

Irrigation has brought farmers’ offspring and other young people back to our valley for the first time since the ag-sag of the 1980s. Some are women coming home to farm, more are men and many of them have  brought partners or wives with them.

Among them are intelligent, well-educated, confident young women with established careers and some find they aren’t able to carry on working in their chosen fields.

Improved communication through texting and the internet mean they aren’t as isolated as they would have been a decade or two ago. It helps that it is no longer unusual to have women working as stock agents, fertiliser reps, vets and in other positions which were once regarded as “men’s jobs”. But the women who choose farmers still have to adapt to a different way of life in the country.

They aren’t martyrs, though. Some take an active role on the farm, some find other ways to use their talents in paid work and in the community.

The theme of this year’s International Rural Women’s Day, which is being marked today, is rural women at the heart of innovation.

The new breed of rural women is living proof of that.

Kiwi’s #1

October 15, 2009

The kiwi is New Zealand’s number one bird according to a Forest & Bird poll.

The top 10 birds in this year’s poll are:

1. Kiwi (1586 votes)
2. Rifleman (1230 votes)
3. Kea (1093 votes)
4. Kakapo (829 votes)
5. Tui (619 votes)
6. Takahe (571 votes)
7. Fernbird (462 votes)
8. Fantail ( 395 votes)
9. Karearea/native falcon (383 votes)
10. Pukeko (382 votes)

This is the fifth year the competition has been run. Last year the kakapo won and the kiwi didn’t make the top 10.

Previous winners were: the tui in 2005,  the fantail in 2006 and the grey warbler in 2007.

Bean here, growin’ that

October 15, 2009

Scoop reports New Zealand’s first vanilla harvest is underway.

This is the first harvest of vanilla grown outside the tropics.

 Heilala Vanilla is a family owned and run business in Tauranga.

It sounds good and I’m impressed by the entrepreneurial approach. But I wonder how the costs of production compare with those for growing these orchids in the tropics where nature put them.

The farmer takes a wife

October 15, 2009

Apropos of  International Rural Women’s Day, today’s book is The farmer takes a wife by Mary Moore, illustrated by Helen Moore.

The stories were first broadcast on National Radio, the book came after thousands of readers responded positively to them.

They tell the tales of Alice who “had married George for better or worse . . .  The better was much better than she could ever have dreamed. The worse much worse. The really bad incredible worst always had something to do with animals. . .”

Fortunately Alice has a sense of humour which comes across in all the stories and each leaves the reader with a grin.

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Post 15 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

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Over at In A Strange Land Deborah posts on Tane’s Weta by Jennifer McIvor, illustrated by John Rundle.

Rob’s giving us a double helping  of Maurice Gee – Ellie and the Shadow Man and Going West.


October 15, 2009

A woman called police to report her marijuana had been stolen.

Is this why they call it dope?

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