Word of the day


Kalopsia – state in which things appear more beautiful than they really are.



4/10 in the Herald’s entertainment quiz – the result of four good and six bad guesses. Two of the four right were about people I haven’t even heard of before.



The making of pikelets was a Sunday evening ritual when I was a child.

As soon as my brothers and I were old enough to learn, Mum taught us how to make them.

Not all the pikelets survived to get to the table, in fact not all of the mixture got cooked because we knew it tasted good raw.

It’s a shameful confession for a farmer’s wife to make, but I can never rely on my scones turning out well. But (touch wood) I’ve never had a problem with pikelets and if I have sufficient warning of visitors who might need a little something sweet, this is what I make.

Even though months, sometimes more than a year, can go by without me making them I still know the recipe by heart.

This is a double mixture which should make at least 40 pikelets (depending on how much raw mixture gets tested).

2 eggs     1 cup sugar  1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups milk

2 cups flour   1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon melted butter.

Beat eggs, sugar and baking soda until well mixed and fluffy.

Add milk and beat gently to mix.

Add flour, baking powder and cream of tartar, mix well.

Add butter and mix.

Heat a frying pan or skillet; grease with oil or a little melted butter and spoon one pikelet on to test temperature.

(* I turn the element up high then back a bit, but every stove top is different, which is why you start with just one).

When bubbles appear and burst on top, turn over with a spatula or fish slice (the thinner the better) and cook other side.

If it burns, turn heat down, if it takes too long turn heat up a bit, if the bottom is golden, you’ve got it right.

Once you’ve got the temperature right, spoon on as many as will comfortably fit and allow you to turn them over.

Serve with butter or cream and jam.

Pikelets will keep in the freezer for a few days but are best eaten within an hour or two of making.

Rural round-up


Interest in merino born in childhood – Sally Rae:

Jayne Rive attributes her love of merino sheep to growing up on remote Halfway Bay Station.

She and her five siblings were all involved in daily station life, including working with sheep, on the property on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu . . .

Stock judge wins national title – Sally Rae:

Olivia Ross proved she has an eye for stock when she won the New Zealand Young Farmers national stock judging competition.

A member of Nightcaps Young Farmers Club, Miss Ross (23) works as a field consultant for Outgro Bio Agricultural Ltd . . .

Fitting milestone as CRT cracks $1b – Sally Rae:

Rural servicing co-operative CRT has cracked the billion-dollar mark – reporting turnover of $1.092 billion and an operating surplus of $8.4 million in the year to March 31.

That was up from a turnover of $801 million and an operating surplus of $5.1 million in the previous year. . .

Well managed systems key to dairy success – Mary Witsey:

The most profitable dairy farms in Southland are those which are well managed.

That was the message the province’s dairy farmers heard from Dairy New Zealand senior economist Matthew Newman, who was in the south last week conducting seminars.

Regardless of the size of the herd, or whether it was a low, medium or a high-input production system, the most profitable farms were those that made the best use of resources on offer, Mr Newman said . . .

Warning on dire state of apple industry – Peter Watson:

Nelson’s apple growers are in such a dire state the region risks not having a viable export industry in five years, leading local businessman John Palmer warns.

Speaking at a Nelson-Tasman Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday, he said it had got to the stage where many orchards were more valuable without their trees and would be “less of a cash drain growing grass than growing apples”. . .

New Fonterra boss wants positive impact – Hugh Stringleman:

A Canadian will hand over management of Fonterra to a Dutchman at the end of September, which indicates that the skills needed to run New Zealand’s biggest company are more readily found offshore.

Theo Spierings, aged 46, has been appointed by the Fonterra board as the new chief executive to take over from Andrew Ferrier, who has held the job for eight years . . .

Welcome end in sight for forced farm sales – Tony Chaston:

Is this just real estate spin or is rural real estate on the move again and can we expect modest price rises based on stronger product prices and profits?

As reported earlier from the June real estate figures, more farms are being sold than last year, but at values last seen in 2004. The banks have signaled their intention to lend more on profits and less on land value, so if product prices continue, we can expect more sales. . .

Better information needed on farm technology – RadioNZ:

Pastoral Agriculture Professor Jacqueline Rowarth of Massey University thinks farmers are not being well served by some of the new technology they’re being urged to adopt, to lift production.

Professor Rowarth, who spoke at an Agricultural & Horticultural outlook summit this week, says New Zealand farmers are doing a good job of taking up new ideas. She says that’s clear from statistics which show  agriculture is one of the few sectors that continues to grow.

Market knowledge the key – Debbie Gregory:

KNOWLEDGE about commodity prices and markets helps farmers future-proof their businesses, says ANZ National Bank agri-economist Con Williams.

Speaking to farmers and others involved in the rural industry in Gisborne this week, he said commodity prices across the board had peaked and would soften, but should remain at a relatively high level compared with prices seen in the past.

“It’s not so much the level they have got to, it’s the speed they have got there,” he said . . .

Hat tip: Interest.Co.NZ

Local labour slogan without substance


Phil Goff says government departments will be required to give preference to firms employing local workers when awarding contracts under Labour’s procurement policy.

“What we want is a government procurement policy that does take into account the wider cost and benefit of New Zealand  companies providing these services, and a lot of other      benefits aside,” Mr Goff told NZPA.  

It sounds fine in theory but in practice it would be taking us back more than two decades to the bad old days when the economy was distorted by subsidies and trade barriers.

If everything else was more or less equal there could be a very good case for awarding a contract to a company which employs local staff.

But if the price was higher or quality lower it would be effectively a return to subsidies.

Goff acknowledges that too:

Asked if there was a danger that favouring New Zealand companies could end up costing more, Mr Goff said cost and quality would still be the paramount considerations.

In other words, the policy is a slogan without substance.

Government departments would be acting irresponsibly if they awarded contracts to companies which provided goods or services at a higher price or inferior quality just because they employed local staff.


Friends, allies, partners


Under past administrations a lot of energy went in to deciphering the nuances in pronouncements on the relationship between the United States and New Zealand, particularly the difference between being friends and allies.

But that no longer matters. After yesterday’s press conference with Barack Obama and John Key, we’re officially partners:

He said he was very pleased that the relationship with New Zealand was “growing stronger by the day.”

He also said: “I’ve always been stuck by the intelligence and thoughtfulness
that the Prime Minister brings to his work.”

. . .  Mr Obama made mention of the fact that the two foreign ministers – Hillary
Clinton and Murray McCully – were in Bali together at the ASEAN Regional Forum
and were looking at further ways to work together from “green growth to trying
to standardise regulations to increase the flow of trade”.

“And throughout this process whether it’s in Apec settings, now the East Asia
summit, we’ve always found New Zealand to be an outstanding partner.

“And Prime Minister Keys personally has always been an outstanding partner on
these issues.”

Given the difficulties the President is facing with the economy and the a senate unwilling to back his plans for recovery, the Prime Minister’s visit would not have been a high priority.

But we have much to gain in trade and security by a closer relationship with the United States and the meeting was another positive step towards that.

Apropos of the visit, in his speech to the Washington Chamber of Commerce, the PM said that:

 . . . while the US and New Zealand economies have many differences, we also have a lot in common.

At the most basic level, we share a commitment to the democratic, capitalist system.

Our governments are freely elected. Our economies encourage enterprise, hard work, and innovation. We trust people to get on with their lives and make the best choices for themselves. We also both understand the importance of world-class education.

For these reasons, our countries are amongst the most sought after places to live, raise families, and do business.

 He also noted that the US has contributed about 10% of the $90 million rasied for the Canterbury earthquake appeal.

July 24 in history


1132 Battle of Nocera between Ranulf II of Alife and Roger II of Sicily.


1148  Louis VII of France  laid siege to Damascus during the Second Crusade.

Asia minor 1140.jpg

1411  Battle of Harlaw, one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland.


1487  Citizens of Leeuwarden, Netherlands struck against ban on foreign beer.

1534  French explorer Jacques Cartier planted a cross on the Gaspé Peninsula and took possession of the territory in the name of Francis I of France.


1567  Mary, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate and replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI.


1701  Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded the trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later became the city of Detroit, Michigan.

1715 A Spanish treasure fleet of 10 ships under Admiral Ubilla left Havana  for Spain.


1725 John Newton, English cleric and hymnist, was born (d. 1807).

1783 Simón Bolívar, South American liberator, was born (d. 1830).
1802 Alexandre Dumas, père, French writer, was born (d. 1870).

1814  War of 1812: General Phineas Riall advanced toward the Niagara River to halt Jacob Brown’s American invaders.

Jacob Jennings Brown.jpg

1823  Slavery was abolished in Chile.

1832  Benjamin Bonneville led  the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains by using Wyoming’s South Pass.

Pd photo benjamin bonneville.jpg

1847  After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young led 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City.


1864  American Civil War: Battle of Kernstown – Confederate General Jubal Anderson Early defeated Union troops led by General George Crook in an effort to keep them out of the Shenandoah Valley.

1866  Reconstruction: Tennessee became the first U.S. State to be readmitted to the Union following the American Civil War.

1874 Oswald Chambers, Scottish minister and writer, was born (d. 1917).


1895  Robert Graves, English author, was born  (d. 1985).

1897 Amelia Earhart, American aviator, was born (disappeared 1937).


1901  O. Henry was released from prison after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank.


1911  Hiram Bingham III re-discovered Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas”.


1915  The passenger ship S.S. Eastland capsised in central Chicago, with the loss of 845 lives.


1923  The Treaty of Lausanne, settling the boundaries of modern Turkey, was signed.

Turkey-Greece-Bulgaria on Treaty of Lausanne.png

1927  The Menin Gate war memorial is unveiled at Ypres.

Menin Gate.jpg

1929  The Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as an instrument of foreign policy went  into effect.


1931  A fire at a home for the elderly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania killed 48 people.

1935  The world’s first children’s railway opened in Tbilisi, USSR.

1935   The dust bowl heat wave reached its peak, sending temperatures to 109°F (44°C) in Chicago and 104°F (40°C) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1937 Alabama dropped rape charges against the so-called “Scottsboro Boys“.


1938 First ascent of the Eiger north face.

1943 World War II: Operation Gomorrah began: British and Canadian aeroplanes bombed Hamburg by night, those of the Americans by day.


1950 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station began operations with the launch of a Bumper rocket.

1959  At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a “Kitchen Debate“.

1966 Michael Pelkey and Brian Schubert made the first BASE jump from El Capitan. Both came out with broken bones.

1967  During an official state visit to Canada, French President Charles de Gaulle declared to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: Vive le Québec libre! (“Long live free Quebec!”). The statement, interpreted as support for Quebec independence, delighted many Quebecers but angered the Canadian government and many English Canadians.

1969 Jennifer Lopez, American actress and singer, was born.

1969  Apollo 11 splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

Apollo 11 insignia.png

1972 Bugojno group was caught by Yugoslav security forces.

1974 Watergate scandal: the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and they order him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.

1974 After the Turkish invasion of Cyprus the Greek military junta collapsed and democracy was restored.

1977  End of a four day Libyan-Egyptian War.


1982 Anna Paquin, Canadian-born New Zealand actress, was born.


1982  Heavy rain caused a mudslide that destroyed  a bridge at Nagasaki, Japan, killing 299.

1990  Iraqi forces started massing on the Kuwait-Iraq border.

1998  Russell Eugene Weston Jr. burst into the United States Capitol and opened fire killing two police officers.

2000 Private Leonard Manning became New Zealand’s first combat death since the Vietnam War when he was killed in Timor-Leste.

New Zealand soldier killed  in Timor-Leste

2001 – Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, becoming the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office.

2001 Bandaranaike Airport attack was carried out by 14 Tamil Tiger commandos, all died in this attack. They destroyed 11 Aircrafts (mostly military) and damaged 15, there are no civilian casualties.

2005 Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France.


2007  Libya freed all six of the Medics in the HIV trial in Libya.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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