Word of the day

June 1, 2015

Contraptor – a person who creates functional or practical steampunk devices. Also a person who extensively  modifies a device to meet the steampunk aesthetic yet maintains its functionality;   a DIY open source construction set for experimental personal fabrication, desktop manufacturing, prototyping and bootstrapping.


What Anne knows

June 1, 2015

Anne Lamott is an author.

The only book of hers I’ve read is Bird by Bird, a how-to on writing which is a delightful read.

Yesterday I came these words of hers on Facebook:

I am going to be 61 years old in 48 hours. Wow. I thought i was only forty-seven, but looking over the paperwork, I see that I was born in 1954. My inside self does not have an age, although can’t help mentioning as an aside that it might have been useful had I not followed the Skin Care rules of the sixties, ie to get as much sun as possible, while slathered in baby oil. (My sober friend Paul O said, at eighty, that he felt like a young man who had something wrong with him.). Anyway, I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.

  1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.
  2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.
  3. There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of last way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve, or date it. This is the most horrible truth.
  4. Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can’t save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. When people respond by saying, “Well, isn’t she full of herself,” smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea.
  5. Chocolate with 70% cacao is not actually a food. It’s best use is as bait in snake traps.
  6. Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart–your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it’s why you were born
  7. Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly-evil men I have known were all writers who’d had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published (see #1.). Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes. It won’t, it can’t. But writing can. So can singing.
  8. Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. (See #1 again.) At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it’s a miracle that this annoying person even lived. Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants. When Blake said that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love, he knew that your family would be an intimate part of this, even as you want to run screaming for your cute little life. But that you are up to it. You can do it, Cinderellie. You will be amazed.
  9. Food; try to do a little better.
  10. Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings. The mystery of grace is that God loves Dick Cheney and me exactly as much as He or She loves your grandchild. Go figure. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, “Help!” And then buckle up. Grace won’t look like Casper the Friendly Ghost; but the phone will ring, or the mail will come, and then against all odds, you will get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness, even if you are sick of me saying it.
  11. God; Goodnesss, Love energy, the Divine, a loving animating intelligence, the Cosmic Muffin. You will worship and serve something, so like St. Bob said, you gotta choose. You can play on our side, or Bill Maher’s and Franklin Graham’s. Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up. My pastor says you can trap bees on the floor of a Mason jar without a lid, because they don’t look up. If they did, they could fly to freedom.
  12. Faith: Paul Tillich said the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. If I could say one thing to our little Tea Party friends, it would be this. Fundamentalism, in all its forms, is 90% of the reason the world is so terrifying. 3% is the existence of snakes. The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God; although cats can be so bitter, which is not the god part: the crazy Love is. Also, “Figure it out” is not a good slogan.
  13. Jesus; Jesus would have even loved horrible, mealy-mouth self-obsessed you, as if you were the only person on earth. But He would hope that you would perhaps pull yourself together just the tiniest, tiniest bit–maybe have a little something to eat, and a nap.
  14. Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this. If you are in a wheelchair, you must do chair exercises. Every single doctor on earth will tell you this, so don’t go by what I say.
  15. Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to. We Christians like to think death is a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you. All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, “Take off your shoes.” We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know.

I think that’s it, everything I know. I wish I had shoe-horned in what E.L. Doctorow said about writing: “It’s like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little aways ahead of you, but you can make the whole journey that way.” I love that, because it’s teue about everything we tey. I wish I had slipped in what Ram Das said, that when all is said and done, we’re just all walking each other home. Oh, well, another time. God bless you all good.


Rural round-up

June 1, 2015

Fonterra signals major shake-up – Neal Wallace:

Fonterra has signaled the possibility of a major shake-up throughout its operations entailing job losses from senior management down.

Fonterra has signaled the possibility of a major shake-up throughout its operations entailing job losses from senior management down.

It today confirmed it had launched an in-depth review of its business, when questioned by the New Zealand Farmers Weekly. . .

 Synlait’s tough road to riches – Neal Wallace:

Potential riches bypassing Synlait became apparent a year after the Canterbury company opened its milk drying plant.

Customers were buying powder to make their own infant formula and while Synlait had plans to eventually enter the added-value game, such was the demand for its powder and rate of international growth in formula, a strategy rethink was required, managing director John Penno said.

“It gave us an insight to the demand. We saw growth, we saw the market and we saw why they were coming to Synlait.” . . .

 The great Kiwi earthworm survey:

AgResearch scientists want farmer help to better understand the distribution of one of the little known heroes of New Zealand agricultural production.

Earthworms play a vital role in the soil by decomposing organic matter, making nutrients available to plants and creating burrows in the soil to improve the movement of air and water. Studies have shown the introduction of surface-active earthworms improves annual pasture growth significantly as well as boosting environmental performance and extending the growing season. . .

Doors open at training farm:

Waipaoa Station Training Trust is holding an open day on June 6 and 7 as part of its selection of cadets for 2016.

The two-year cadet training scheme is based at Waipaoa Station, a commercial sheep and beef farm 70km from Gisborne.

Each year five new cadets are selected, to learn practical skills and sit in classroom lectures. The cadets live on the station. . .

New Zealand ‘brand’ not being seen:

Many overseas consumers are unaware their food originates in New Zealand, undermining attempts to promote our “clean and green” and premium brand image, a new study finds.

It shows there are significant opportunities for New Zealand premium consumer food and beverage products in overseas markets but we are missing out because we are not communicating to consumers.

“Maximising Export Returns; Communicating New Zealand’s credence attributes to international consumers”, by Lincoln University Agribusiness and Food Marketing Programme Director Nic Lees andAgribusiness and Economics Research Unit director Professor Caroline Saunders, finds having a visible label and a good relationship with industry buyers could improve the situation. . .

Growing knowledge through collaboration:

A collaborative workshop to help food producers gain specialist knowledge and skills was held at Lincoln University 27 May.

Entitled “Growing You”, it is part of a series covering topics such as sustainable weed management and sustainable pest and disease management, and was a joint effort of the University, MG Marketing, and the Lincoln-based Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU) and Bio-Protection Research Centre (BPRC).

MG Marketing is a co-operative organisation with over 90 years of growing, distributing and selling fresh vegetables and fruit. . .

 TB rate collection to continue one more year:

Waikato Regional Council has today agreed to continue collecting the rate for the national bovine tuberculosis (TB) programme, but at a reduced amount of $500,000.

Only ratepayers with properties two hectares or greater in area will pay this rate, which will be 23 per cent less than in 2014/15.

In making its decision during the first day of 2015-2025 Long Term Plan deliberations, the council made it clear 2015/16 would be the last year it would collect the rate. . .


Takin’ Care of Livestock

June 1, 2015

The latest from Peterson Farm Bros:

You can follow them on Facebook and find out more about them here.


Flag of the day

June 1, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There’s more than 2000 in the gallery already.

This one is From the Mountains to the Sea by James Schollum.

flag


Recognising service

June 1, 2015

Among those recognised in the Queens Birth Honours today Is Dave Hill of Oamaru for his many years of service to paralympic sport and health:

In 1973 Mr Hill was a founding member of the North Otago Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association (now Paralympics New Zealand) and helped fundraise for the North Otago Clubrooms in Oamaru. He arranged the building of a hot mix track for wheelchair sprint and slalom race training and organised competitive wheelchair games. He managed the 1978 National Games in Oamaru at Waitaki Boys’ College. He chaired the Paralympics New Zealand National Sports Technical Committee and provided support for the New Zealand team at the 1980 Paralympics. He spearheaded fundraising initiatives for wheelchair racers to participate in the 1981 Japan Wheelchair Marathon, the 1984 and 1992 Paralympics and formed New Zealand Road Wheelers for half and marathon events. He was team manager or Chef de Mission for several international Paralympic events including the 1987 World Championships, Assistant Chef de Mission in Seoul in 1988, the 1992 Paralympics and the 1990 Commonwealth Games where he originated the Wheelchair Race demo for male and female racers. He was involved with the Salvation Army’s Oamaru district until retiring in 2004 due to Superficial Siderosis. Mr Hill has since created a newsletter and run a plain language website for the illness allowing sufferers of Superficial Siderosis to establish a global information and support network.

Sally Rae profiled Dave, his work and his health battles in this story cruel twist slows, not stops Hill.

The full Honours List is here.


Owen Poole CNZM

June 1, 2015

Owen Poole, of Wanaka, has been recognised for his service to the meat industry and business with a CNZM – Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

He began work as an office boy at Southland Frozen Meat and worked his way up to Chief Executive before leaving the company.

When he returned to help with the integration of the Alliance Group and Waitaki International five years later the company was in a very precarious position. He turned that round as Chief Executive then Chairman, built a strong foundation for the company and turned it into the biggest sheep processor and exporter in the world.

His hard work, strategic thinking, knowledge of the industry, industrial relations, and markets has made Alliance not just a national success story but an international one too.

Under Owen’s leadership the company took a series of tough decisions to rationalise killing space in response to falling stock numbers. Under his guidance, Alliance became the leader in the introduction of shift processing to large scale plants and more recently it has adopted multi-species processing in several plants.

Owen’s interest and dedication was not just to the company but to the wider meat industry. He was a valued member of both the Meat Industry Association and what was then the New Zealand Meat and Wool Board.

The Alliance Group is a co-operative. He was a firm believer in that model and the importance of good governance.

Owen devoted more than 30 years to the Alliance Group and the wider meat industry, leaving them both much better for his dedication, vision and leadership.


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