All My Lovin’


George Harrison would have been 67 today.

Fool If You think It’s Over


Happy Birthday Elkie Brooks – 65 today.

Toys for the kitchen


When they were doing up their kitchen the contents of the cupboards and drawers were packed up and put in another room.

When the renovations were finished they put only those things they were going to use back. After a year there were still some things they hadn’t used or missed.

I suspect most of us would be in a similar position – big people’s gadgets are a bit like children’s toys. There’s ones which are used regularly and you wouldn’t want to part with and others are fun for a while but soon get forgotten.

My post on outdoor toys attracted votes for diggers, chain saws, a John Deere harvester, a Yamaha raptor and a Harley, and advice to change my mind on a water blaster.

It’s time now to consider indoor toys.

Let’s start by acknowledging that things which make housework easier like automatic washing machines, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners aren’t toys but necessities for modern life.

At the opposite extreme to those are the the ones which couldn’t be considered necessities, were used a few times but are now in the back of a cupborad like the ice cream maker.

That leaves appliances which I use regularly and while I could do without them, would prefer not to: 

* the Kenwood mixer my mother-in-law gave my farmer and me as an engagement present (still working after 27 years).

* food processor (not as hardy as the mixer, I’m on to my third).

* breadmaker – it used to be used every day when I fed staff, it’s not used so often now but still often enough to not want to give it up.

Green beats brown


The problem isn’t that New Zealand’s running out of water, it’s that water is running out of New Zealand.

This is Federated Farmers’ line and they’re right.

We have the soils and temperatures to make us the most efficient producers of food in the world. What lots of land with huge potential for primary production lacks is rain, but what many of those areas do have is rivers which could be used for irrigation.

Some already are. Some of those have no more water to allocate without compromising the health of the rivers and that of the fish and other species which live in them.

But other rivers still have water to spare and even some of those which are fully allocated might have excess water at times if it could be diverted into dams.

Some people believe that rivers should be left to flow from the mountains to the sea untouched. But if you accept that using some for irrigation is okay, the way to do it with the least impact on the water way is to store it during periods of high flow.

On the east coast that is usually during the spring snow melt but there are other occasions when rain in the mountains leads to high flows. This can be good for the health of the river, clearing out weed and debris but during floods there is still some to spare which could be diverted into dams.

That is however, much easier said than done and I’m not just talking about the engineering and other practical challenges. There are also major political hurdles.

When we applied to take water from the Kakanui River to supplement an existing dam on our property it took more than two years and many thousands of dollars to get resource consent. And that was only for a secondary take which would have no impact on existing irrigators.

People trying to develop larger, community irrigation schemes face higher hurdles, more expense and longer delays. The government’s tidying up of the Resource Management Act will help reduce some of the problems but it’s not just the impact on the rivers which upsets some people.

The opposition to the applications for the large dairying operations in the Mackenzie basin is not just to the possible impacts of intensive animal farming on a fragile environment. Some of it has been directed at irrigation in general.

Requiring irrigators to use water efficiently without damaging soils or water ways is fair enough. That is why the North Otago Irrigation Company requires all of its shareholders to have an environmental farm plan which is independently audited each year.

But telling people they can’t irrigate because green isn’t natural in a brown landscape is the triumph of emotion over fact.

Drought isn’t good for fragile landscapes either. With irrigation the Mackenzie hills will still be brown and we’ll have a better view of them if the flats aren’t blowing away in a dust storm.

This was first published in the ODT’s Paddock Talk on 22.2.10.

February 25 in history


On February 25:

138 The Emperor Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius, effectively making him his successor.

Bust Hadrian Musei Capitolini MC817.jpg

1570 Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I.

El Greco 050.jpg

1778 José de San Martín, Argentine general and liberator of South America, was born.



1793 George Washington held the first Cabint meeting as President of the United States.



1797 Colonel William Tate and his force of 1000-1500 soldiers surrendered after the Last Invasion of Britain.

Carregwastad Head, the landing site for Tate’s forces

1836 Samuel Colt received an American patent for the Colt revolver.

1841  Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French painter, graphic artist and sculptor, was born.

1845 George Reid, fourth Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1861 Rudolf Steiner, Austrian philosopher and educator, was born.

1870 Hiram Rhodes Revels becamethe first African American to sit in the U.S. Congress.

1873  Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor, was born.

1890 Dame Myra Hess, English pianist, was born.

1890  Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet politician, was born.

1901 Zeppo Marx, American actor, was born.

1901 J.P. Morgan incorporated the United States Steel Corporation.


1908 Frank G. Slaughter, American novelist, was born.


1912 Marie-Adélaïde, the eldest of six daughters of Guillaume IV, becomes the first reigning Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

1917 Anthony Burgess, English author, was born.

Clockwork orange.jpg

1919 Oregon placed a 1 cent per U.S. gallon tax on gasoline, becoming the first U.S. state to levy a fuel tax.

1921 Tbilisi, capital of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, was occupied by Bolshevist Russia.

1925 Glacier Bay National Monument (now Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve) was established in Alaska.

1928 Charles Jenkins Laboratories of Washington, D.C. became the first holder of a television license.

1932 Adolf Hitler obtained German citizenship by naturalisation, which allowed him to run in the 1932 election for Reichspräsident.

1933 The USS Ranger (CV-4) was launched, the first US Navy ship to be built solely as an aircraft carrier.

USS Ranger CV-4.jpg

1935 Sally Jessy Raphaël, American talk show host, was born.

1941 February Strike: In occupied Amsterdam, a general strike was declared in response to increasing anti-Jewish measures instituted by the Nazis.

 De Dokwerker in Amsterdam remembering the February strike

1943 48 Japanese prinsoners and one guard were killed in the Featherston Prinsoner of War riot.

49 killed in Featherston POW riot
1943 George Harrison, English musician (The Beatles), was born.
Black-and-white shot of a mustachioed man in his early thirties  with long, dark hair.

1945 Elkie Brooks, English singer, was born.

1945  Turkey declared war on Germany.

1946 Jean Todt, French executive director of Scuderia Ferrari, was born.

1947 State of Prussia ceased to exist.




1948 The Communist Party took control of government in Czechoslovakia.


1950 Néstor Kirchner, President of Argentina, was born.

1951 The first Pan American Games were held in Buenos Aires.

Flag of PASO.svg

1953 José María Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain, was born.

1954 Gamal Abdul Nasser was made premier of Egypt.

Head and shoulders of a man in his  forties smiling. He has dark hair that is pulled back, a long forehead,  thick eyebrows and a mustache.  He is wearing a gray jacket and a white  shirt with a tie.

1956 In his speech On the Personality Cult and its Consequences Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced the cult of personality of Joseph Stalin.

An aging, balding man  with glasses reads from papers.

1971 The first unit of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, first commercial nuclear power station in Canada, went online.

A unit at  the Pickering plant

1973 Julio Iglesias, Jr., Spanish singer, was born.

1976  Chris Pitman, American keyboardist (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1980 The Suriname government was overthrown by a military coup initiated with the bombing of the police station from an army ship of the coast of the nation’s capital; Paramaribo.

1985 Benji Marshall, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

Benji Marshall (26 April 2009).jpg

1986 People Power Revolution: President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines fled after 20 years of rule; Corazon Aquino became the first Filipino woman president.

President Aquino, 2003

1991 Gulf War: An Iraqi Scud missile hit an American military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia killing 28 U.S. Army Reservists from Pennsylvania.

1992 Khojaly massacre: about 613 civilians were killed by Armenian armed forces during the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Memorial to the victims of Khojaly Massacre

1994 Mosque of Abraham massacre: In the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein opened fire with an automatic rifle, killing 29 Palestinian worshippers and injuring 125 more before being subdued and beaten to death by survivors. Subsequent rioting kills 26 more Palestinians and 9 Israelis.

2009  BDR massacre in Pilkhana, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 74 People were killed, including more than 50 Army officials, by Bangladeshi Border Guards.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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