366 days of gratitude

April 19, 2016

The first time I came across Parmesan cheese I was waitressing in Whitianga during the university’s summer break.

I don’t remember which dish it was served on but I do remember being told to explain to diners who might order it that they shouldn’t worry if the cheese smelt a bit like vomit, it tasted much better.

Surprisingly after that some did try it.

That was a few decades ago when Parmesan was a foreign taste. Now it’s a familiar one and I use it often to add more flavour with less cheese.

It usually comes in small blocks but I rarely use it all in one go so grate what’s left and freeze it.

Tonight I’ve tossed potatoes in a mixture of Parmesan, thyme, paprika and black pepper. Placed in a lightly oiled dish and baked until golden they’ll be a tasty accompaniment to cold lamb, baked tomatoes, courgettes and broccoli.

Today I’m grateful that tastes which once were foreign are now familiar and enjoyed.


Word of the day

April 19, 2016

Maffick – rejoice with loud emotional display; celebrate publicly with extravagant and/or hilarious demonstrations.


Rural round-up

April 19, 2016

Genetics addicts – Anne Hardie:

Jesse Huffam and Renee Mason have managed a 110-cow herd through to 1600 cows, operated high-input systems as well as grass-based and their ultimate goal is to find a marginal sheep farm in a remote corner of the country that can be developed into a profitable business.

The Springs Junction couple scooped the West Coast-Top of South Share Farmer of the Year title, two years after being placed runners-up in the Waikato Farm Manager of the Year award.

And it would never have happened if Renee hadn’t got hooked on the Australian McLeod’s Daughters television series as a teenager, or Jesse hadn’t turned his back on dairying and followed a career path toward shepherding. . .

Escape to paradise – Anne Hardie:

The Haupiri Valley on the West Coast gets an impressive 4m of rain a year, yet Matt Birchfield prides himself on the pasture management for the 785 cows he manages in an environment surrounded by bush and mountains.  

The 36-year-old took out the 2016 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Manager of the Year in his first attempt at the coveted title, which he entered for experience.  As production manager for farm owners Murray and Gaye Coats he is in charge of the herd, dairy and staff of what was a high-input farm before the payout drop lowered its inputs to palm kernel.  

Measuring pasture is a key aspect of the farm’s management which is collected by a pasture meter on the front of the Gator utility vehicle. . .

National farm sales drop in tough year – REINZ – Tim Fulton & Gerard Hutching:

Farm sales so far this year are down about 10 per cent on 2015, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures show.

Nationwide 383 farms were sold in the three months to March – down 42 on the same period last year.

Dairy farm sales were “dramatically down” but horticulture sales continue to rise, The Real Estate Institute (REINZ) said.

Only 48 dairy farms were sold compared to the 86 sold in the first quarter last year. . . 

Marlborough wine grower co-operative quietly confident for grape harvest – Mike Watson:

Bringing in the grapes is a nervous time for a co-operative’s growers, but there is nothing but smiles on their faces during a “dream” harvest.

Marlborough’s annual wine harvest is drawing to an end but there will be no let up until the last grape has been picked.

Working 24 hours around the clock have been harvesters, truck drivers, supervisors and growers for the past two to three weeks throughout the region. . . 

Profitable farms underpin rural communities – James Parsons:

When farmers do well, rural communities do well. I know this may be stating the obvious to many; however it is a topic worth exploring a little more deeply.

On 23rd March we held the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) AGM at Waitangi. A good number of farmers turned out, with one couple travelling from as far afield as Gore. The Northern Farmer Council put together a great showcase of leading Northland farmers who had worked with B+LNZ as project farms over the last 10 years. By having a strong team around them, each had improved their business performance significantly. . . 

NZ beef, lamb and mutton prices fall in first half of exporting season – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand export beef, lamb and mutton prices fell in the first half of the current season, which tapered off after a strong start.

Prices for beef and veal fell 2.5 percent to $7,350 a tonne in the six months ended March 31, while the volume of exports fell 3.7 percent to 204,200 tonnes, said Beef + Lamb NZ. The price of lamb fell 4.2 percent to $8,500 a tonne as volume climbed 5.9 percent to 162,700 tonnes. Mutton prices fell 10 percent to $4,800 as volume rose 0.5 percent to 51,200 tonnes.

Beef + Lamb said the price decline would have been worse if not for a weaker kiwi dollar. . . 

Excellent environmental stewardship earns couple supreme title in 2016 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Redcliff farmers Shane Gibbons and Bridget Speight are Supreme winners of the 2016 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 14 (2016), the couple also collected the Farm Stewardship Award in partnership with the QEII National Trust and New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the Environment Southland Water Quality and Biodiversity Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award. . . .

 Farmers urged to remain on lookout for late-emerging velvetleaf:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is urging farmers to remain vigilant in their management of the velvetleaf pest plant.

MPI’s Velvetleaf 2016 Response Manager, Carolyn Bleach, says the window of opportunity to control plants that haven’t yet seeded is narrowing and it’s very important farmers remain on the look- out.

“Farmers and landowners need to maintain a watchful eye until crops have been grazed, particularly as some late emerging plants have been found in crops that have already been inspected. . . 

Upgrade for farm menus:

Farmers are being offered extra environmental protection advice through an upgraded version of the hugely popular “farm menus” produced by Waikato Regional Council in co-operation with eight agriculture sector partners.

Since their launch in 2013, the first farm menus have been picked up by more than 4000 farmers and rural professionals in Waikato and elsewhere. They offer methods for reducing the impact of farming operations on water quality.

The initial menus – covering nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment or micro-organisms getting into waterways – had a focus on reducing nitrogen leaching. Now the outcome of further research means the upgraded menus have more options added for reducing phosphorus and sediment loss. . . 

Fonterra to Divest Share in Dairy Technical Services:

Fonterra Australia has today announced it has signed an agreement to divest its shareholding (36.02 per cent) in Dairy Technical Services (DTS) to a consortium comprising Bureau Veritas Singapore and AsureQuality Limited.

DTS was originally set up as a cooperative testing service company for dairy companies in Victoria, and its other shareholders are The Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Group, Murray Goulburn and AsureQuality. . . 


Taking drops from the ocean

April 19, 2016

A new report by the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) says oceans could rise by a metre this century if we don’t stop emitting huge amounts of carbon and methane.

Around 95% of New Zealand’s rivers flow into the sea.

If we had a considerable increase in water storage and irrigation would that make a difference or would that be so insignificant that it would just be taking drops from the ocean?

While we’re on the topic of climate change, (via Kiwiblog),  fracking is good for the environment:

. . . As a nation, the United States reduced its carbon emissions by 2 percent from last year. Over the past 14 years, our carbon emissions are down more than 10 percent. On a per-unit-of-GDP basis, U.S. carbon emissions are down by closer to 20 percent.

Even more stunning: We’ve reduced our carbon emissions more than virtually any other nation in the world, including most of Europe.

How can this be? We never ratified the Kyoto Treaty. We never adopted a national cap-and-trade system, or a carbon tax, as so many of the sanctimonious Europeans have done.

The answer isn’t that the EPA has regulated CO2 out of the economy. With strict emission standards, the EPA surely has started to strangle our domestic industries, such as coal, and our electric utilities. But that’s not the big story here.

The primary reason carbon emissions are falling is because of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking. . .

Yet those of a dark green persuasion are strongly opposed to fracking.

Fracking technology for shale oil and gas drilling is supposed to be evil. Some states have outlawed it. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have come out against it in recent weeks. Schoolchildren have been bombarded with green propaganda about all the catastrophic consequences of fracking.

They are mostly lies. Fracking is simply a new way to get at America’s vast storehouse of tens of trillions of dollars worth of shale oil and gas that lies beneath us, coast to coast — from California to upstate New York. Fracking produces massive amounts of natural gas, and, as a consequence, natural gas prices have fallen in the past decade from above $8 per million BTUs to closer to $2 this year — a 75 percent reduction — due to the spike in domestic supplies.

This free fall in prices means that America is using far more natural gas for heating and electricity and much less coal.

Here is how the International Energy Agency put it: “In the United States, (carbon) emissions declined by 2 percent, as a large switch from coal to natural gas use in electricity generation took place.” . . .

Science and technology have achieved far more than politics and emotion.


Quote of the day

April 19, 2016

I certainly did feel inferior. Because of class. Because of strength. Because of height. I guess if I’d been able to hit somebody in the nose, I wouldn’t have been a comic. – Dudley Moore who was born on this day in 1935.


April 19 in history

April 19, 2016

65 – The freedman Milichus betrayed Piso’s plot to kill the Emperor Nero and all the conspirators were arrested.

531 – Battle of Callinicum: A Byzantine army under Belisarius was defeated by the Persian at Ar-Raqqah (northern Syria).

1012 – Martyrdom of Alphege in Greenwich, London.

1529 At the Second Diet of Speyer, a group of rulers and independent cities protested the reinstatement of the Edict of Worrms, beginning the Protestant Reformation.

1587 Francis Drake sank the Spanish fleet in Cádiz harbour.

1686 – Vasily Tatishchev, Russian ethnographer and politician was born (d. 1750).

1713 With no living male heirs, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 to ensure that Habsburg lands and the Austrian throne would be inherited by his daughter, Maria Theresa of Austria (not actually born until 1717).

1758 – William Carnegie, 7th Earl of Northesk, Scottish admiral was born (d. 1831).

1770 – Captain James Cook sighted Australia.

1770 Marie Antoinette married Louis XVI by Proxy marriage.

1775  American Revolutionary War began at the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

1782 John Adams secured the Dutch Republic’s recognition of the United States as an independent government. The house which he had purchased in The Hague, became the first American embassy.

1809 An Austrian corps was defeated by the forces of the Duchy of Warsaw in the Battle of Raszyn, part of the struggles of the Fifth Coalition.

1809 The Austrian main army was defeated by a First French Empire Corps led by Louis-Nicolas Davout at the Battle of Teugen-Hausen in Bavaria; part of a four day campaign which ended in a French victory.

1810 Venezuela achieved home rule: Vicente Emparan, Governor of the Captaincy General was removed by the people of Caracas and a Junta was installed.

1839 The Treaty of London established Belgium as a kingdom.

1847  New portico at British Museum opened

1855 Visit of Napoleon III to Guildhall, London.

1861 American Civil War: Baltimore riot of 1861, a pro-Secession mob in Baltimore, Maryland, attacked United States Army troops marching through the city.

1884 – Royal honour awarded to NZ woman for first time. – The Royal Red Cross was awarded to Miss Alice Crisp, matron of Auckland Hospital, in a ceremony at Government House, Auckland.

1892 Charles Duryea claimed to have driven the first automobile in the United States.

1893 The Liberals subdivided the Cheviot Estate.

Liberals 'burst up' Cheviot Estate

1894 – Elizabeth Dilling, American author and activist was born (d. 1966).

1919 Leslie Irvin of the United States made the first successful voluntary free-fall parachute jump using a new kind of self-contained parachute.

1927 Mae West was sentenced to 10 days in jail for obscenity for her play Sex.

1928  The 125th and final fascicle of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.

1935  Dudley Moore, English actor, comedian and composer, was born  (d. 2002) .

1936 First day of the Great Uprising in Palestine.

1937 – Joseph Estrada, actor and 13th President of the Philippines, was born.

1941 Alan Price, English musician (The Animals, The Alan Price Set), was born.

1942 World War II: In Poland, the Majdan-Tatarski ghetto was established, situated between the Lublin Ghetto and a Majdanek subcamp.

1943 World War II: German troops enter the Warsaw ghetto to round up the remaining Jews, beginning the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

1943 Eve Graham, Scottish singer (The New Seekers), was born.

1943 – Bicycle Day – Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann deliberately took LSD for the first time.

1946 Tim Curry, British actor, was born.

1951 – General Douglas MacArthur retired from the military.

1954 – Constituent Assembly of Pakistan decided Urdu and Bengali to be national languages of Pakistan.

1955 – The German automaker Volkswagen,  founded Volkswagen of America in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

1956 Actress Grace Kelly married Rainier III of Monaco.

1960 Students in South Korea held a nationwide pro-democracy protestagainst their president Syngman Rhee, eventually forcing him to resign.

1961 The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba ended in success for the defenders.

1967 – Dave McKenzie set a new course record of 2 hours 15 minutes 45 seconds and became the first New Zealander to win the Boston marathon.

Dave McKenzie wins the Boston Marathon

 

1971  Siaka Stevens became first president of Sierra Leone Republic.

1971 – Vietnam War: Vietnam Veterans Against the War began a five-day demonstration in Washington, DC.

1971 – Launch of Salyut 1, the first space station.

1975 India’s first satellite Aryabhata was launched.

1984 Advance Australia Fair was proclaimed as Australia’s national anthem, and green and gold as the national colours.

1987 The Simpsons premiered as a short cartoon on The Tracey Ullman Show.

1989  A gun turret exploded on the USS Iowa, killing 47 sailors.

1993 The 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian building outside Waco, Texas, ended when a fire broke out. Eighty-one people died.

1993 – South Dakota governor George Mickelson and seven others were killed when a state-owned aircraft crashed in Iowa.

1995 Oklahoma City bombing: The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was bombed, killing 168.

1997 – The Red River Flood of 1997 overwhelms the city of Grand Forks, ND. Fire breaks out and spreads in downtown Grand Forks, but high water levels hamper efforts to reach the fire, leading to the destruction of 11 buildings.

1999 The German Bundestag returned to Berlin.

2005 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of the Papal conclave.

2011 – Fidel Castro resigned from the Communist Party of Cuba’s central committee after 45 years of holding the title.

2013 – Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police. His brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured while hiding in a boat inside a backyard in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia


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