366 days of gratitude

April 12, 2016

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is almost never the question with me.

The only time I decline to be immunised is before travelling when the risk of contracting an obscure disease is remote.

The benefits of an annual flu jab were explained to me by a doctor and reinforced a few years ago when neither my farmer nor I got round to getting immunised and both of us got a dose of a very unpleasant bug.

It could have been much worse, though, neither of us died and influenza does kill. While the elderly, very young and people with other health problems are at most risk, otherwise fit and healthy adults and children don’t always survive it.

 

I’ve had this year’s jab and am up to date with the other vaccinations and I’m grateful to medical science that we are now protected from many of the diseases which used to kill or disable people.

 


Word of the day

April 12, 2016

Oleaginous – rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily or greasy; exaggeratedly and distastefully complimentary; obsequious; falsely or smugly earnest; unctuous.


Rural round-up

April 12, 2016

Water brings back ‘marvellous’ times – Sally Rae:

“Lower Waitaki – The Community That Water Saved” was the theme of a recent media tour organised by the Waitaki Irrigators Collective and IrrigationNZ and coinciding with IrrigationNZ’s 2016 conference in Oamaru. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae hopped on the bus to discover just what irrigation has done for the area and its inhabitants.  

When Jim Dennison’s father bought Drumena in 1919, the Hilderthorpe farm was in a “desolate state”.

Local women pitied his new bride moving to such a property to try to make a living. . .

Harnessing the sunshine for record-breaking crop yields – Pat Deavoll:

Farmers talk about growing feed, but North Otago crop and dairy farmer Chris Dennison says he is “harvesting sunshine.”

His world record-breaking crops of barley and oil seed rape were the combination of heavy soils, a coastal environment, reliable water and sustained sunshine, he said.

“Here at Hilderthorpe (just south of the Waitaki River) we get a cool easterly wind which gives a lull in the growing season for cereal and oil seed rape, so the crops can utilise more sunshine.”

Dennison took over the farm from his father Jim in the early 1980s. Traditionally it was a mixed sheep and beef property but when Dennison arrived home he brought with him an interest in cropping. . . 

Waitaki water key to reliable farming – Sally Rae:

Reuben Allan’s dairy shed has one heck of a view.

It overlooks the vast Waitaki River which provides not only recreational opportunities for his family, but also has allowed them to transition from a “feast or famine” dryland operation to one with reliable irrigation.

Mr Allan grew up on Fairway Farm, which used to be a dryland sheep property, near Ikawai.

Irrigation began on the hills in the mid-1990s and the move was made into intensive beef finishing. . . 

Irrigation provides reliability – Sally Rae:

Matt Ross first arrived in North Otago “more by accident”.

But his decision to return, once he completed his university studies, was deliberate as he had identified the potential opportunities in the district.

Mr Ross and his wife Julie operate Kokoamo Farms, which comprise two dairy farms near Duntroon, milking 1730 cows at peak, and lease a run-off property.

Their farming operation is a showcase: lush green grass, extensive plantings, including a wetland development that is home to more than 100,000 plants, and impressive infrastructure. . . 

Still turning them (tractors) on at 85:

North Otago’s Don Fraser is a man who loves his tractors. His love affair has been so intense he is still driving them at the ripe old age of 85.

Part of the hard-working team at EGL Pastoral for 26 years, and a farmer most of his life, Mr Fraser remembers the old style tractors (crawlers) when he first started out and recalls they were so noisy you needed hearing aids. “There was no silencers then and we didn’t have air con back in the day, but then we didn’t need it when a keen souwester was blowing through.” . . .

Sheep Industry Awards celebrate success:

This country’s sheep industry will celebrate its best and brightest at Beef +Lamb New Zealand’s fifth annual New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in the Wairarapa in July.

Entries are open for the Awards which recognises this country’s top sheep farmers, breeders, scientists and industry innovators.

People can put their name forward, or be nominated for the Award categories; Science Trainer of the Year, Innovation, Significant Contribution to the New Zealand Sheep Industry and the Emerging Talent Award. . . 

Focus on forages is key to sustainable farm profits:

Pastoral farming is a huge earner for New Zealand worth over $23 billion in export revenues last year. Forages – the grasses and other plants grazed by farm animals – are a critical part of pastoral farming systems. Industry participants consider there is significant scope to lift the contribution forages make to the underlying productivity and profitability of the pastoral sectors and to achieve these outcomes in an environmentally sustainable manner.

This is why an initiative to improve the sustainability and profitability of New Zealand’s forage grazing systems has the buy-in of everyone representing the pastoral sector. . . 

Bostock New Zealand experiencing highest quality apples for several years:

New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower is harvesting some of the best quality fruit it’s experienced for years – thanks to near perfect growing and harvesting conditions.

Bostock New Zealand Director, David Brasell says the weather has been outstanding for the harvest and the fruit has sized well.

“The quality of our apples this season is very, very good. The colour is great, the fruit is clean and the size is excellent. . . .

Time to guard against costly nutritional deficits:

A small investment in autumn feed testing can be good insurance against mineral deficiencies in dairy and beef cows that can lead to low growth rates and poor milk yields.

Winter feeds like fodder beet, low pasture phosphorus levels in some regions, and lower seasonal availability for copper can lead to deficiencies of both of these key minerals during late pregnancy, early lactation and calf growth.

Consultant nutritionist to SealesWinslow, Paul Sharp, says for around $100 a comprehensive pasture mineral test will provide the right information to farmers. . . 

Yealands Launches NZ’s First Vineyard Tour Guide App:

The first kiwi wine app that allows the user to take a self-guided vineyard tour – and take in Yealands’ famous White Road hot-spots.

One of the only vineyards to actually let visitors drive through its vineyard, wine innovators, Yealands Wine Group have released a mobile application that allows visitors to its Seaview Vineyard in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough the unique opportunity of taking their own self-guided vineyard tour. . .


Magic Biscuit

April 12, 2016

A biscuit is just a biscuit:

 


Quote of the day

April 12, 2016

What I find interesting is how close you can run the laughter along the seam of seriousness, and occasionally cross it, so that half the house genuinely doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Custard pie humour is fairly universal, but at the other end, which I’m more interested in, there’s the humour that hovers on the darkness, that walks in the shadow of something else, not always that obvious. – Alan Ayckbourn who celebrates his 77th birthday today.


April 12 in history

April 12, 2016

467  Anthemius was elevated to Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

1204 Constantinople fell to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, temporarily ending the Byzantine Empire.

1432 – Anne of Austria, Landgravine of Thuringia was born, (d. 1462).

1557 Cuenca was founded in Ecuador.

1606  The Union Flag was adopted as the flag of Great Britain.

1633 The formal inquest of Galileo Galilei by the Inquisition began.

1776 American Revolution: With the Halifax Resolves, the North Carolina Provincial Congress authorised its Congressional delegation to vote for independence from Britain.

1799 – Henri Druey, Swiss lawyer and politician, 2nd President of the Swiss Confederation, was born (d. 1855).

1820 Alexander Ypsilantis was declared leader of Filiki Eteria, a secret organization to overthrow Ottoman rule over Greece.

1861 American Civil War The war began with Confederate forces firing onFort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

1864  American Civil War: The Fort Pillow massacre: Confederate forces killed most African American soldiers who surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

1877  The United Kingdom annexed the Transvaal.

1883 – Imogen Cunningham, American photographer and educator, was born (d. 1976).

1902 – A train accident in South Africa killed 16 NZ soldiers.

1902 – Louis Beel, Dutch academic and politician, 36th Prime Minister of the Netherlands, was born (d. 1977).

1908 – Ida Pollock, English author and painter, was born (d. 2013).

1913 HMS New Zealand began a tour of New Zealand.

HMS New Zealand begins tour of NZ

1917 World War I: Canadian forces successfully complete the taking ofVimy Ridge from the Germans.

1919 Billy Vaughn, American musician and bandleader, was born  (d. 1991).

1927 April 12 Incident: Chiang Kai-shek ordered the CPC members executed in Shanghai, ending the First United Front.

1929 – Elspet Gray, Scottish actress, was born (d. 2013).

1932  Tiny Tim, American musician, was born (d. 1996).

1934 The strongest surface wind gust in the world at 231 mph, was measured on the summit of Mount Washington, USA.

1934 The US Auto-Lite Strike began, culminating in a five-day melee between Ohio National Guard troops and 6,000 strikers and picketers.

1935 – Wendy Savage, English gynaecologist and activist, was born.

1935  First flight of the Bristol Blenheim.

1937 Sir Frank Whittle ground-tested the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft at Rugby, England.

1939 Alan Ayckbourn, English writer, was born.

1942 Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, was born.

1945 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt died while in office; vice-president Harry Truman was sworn in as the 33rd President.

1946 – George Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, Scottish politician and diplomat, 10th Secretary General of NATO, was born.

1947 Tom Clancy, American author, was born.

1947 David Letterman, American talk show host, was born.

1949 Scott Turow, American writer, was born.

1950 David Cassidy, American singer and actor, was born.

1955 The polio vaccine, developed by Dr Jonas Salk, was declared safe and effective.

1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space inVostok 3KA-2 (Vostok 1).

1963 The Soviet nuclear powered submarine K-33 collided with the Finnish merchant vessel M/S Finnclipper in the Danish straits.

1968 Nerve gas accident at Skull Valley, Utah.

1978 Guy Berryman, British musician (Coldplay), was born.

1980 Brian McFadden, Irish Singer (Westlife) was born.

1980  Samuel Doe took control of Liberia in a coup d’état, ending over 130 years of national democratic presidential succession.

1980 – Terry Fox began his “Marathon of Hope” at St. John’s, Newfoundland.

1981 The first launch of a Space Shuttle: Columbia launched on the STS-1mission.

1990 Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition opened at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

1992 The Euro Disney Resort officially opened with its theme park Euro Disneyland.

1994 Canter & Siegel posted the first commercial mass Usenet spam.

1998 An earthquake in Slovenia, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale occured near the town of Bovec.

1999 US President Bill Clinton was cited for contempt of court for giving “intentionally false statements” in a sexual harassment civil lawsuit.

2002 Pedro Carmona became interim President of Venezuela during the military coup against Hugo Chávez.

2002 – A female suicide bomber detonated at the entrance to Jerusalem’sMahane Yehuda open-air market, killing 7 and wounding 104.

2007 A suicide bomber penetrated the Green Zone and detonated in a cafeteria within a parliament building, killing Iraqi MP Mohammed Awad and wounding more than twenty other people.

2010 – A train derailed near Merano, Italy, after running into a landslide, causing nine deaths and injuring 28 people.

2014 – A wildfire ravaged the Chilean city of Valparaíso, killing 16, displacing nearly 10,000, and destroying over 2,000 homes.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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