366 days of gratitude

April 27, 2016

I’ve always aspired to be one of those hostesses who has everything done and is ready and relaxed when guests arrive.

This evening, by taking a realistic approach to how much I could do in the time available, keeping the meal simple and delegating the cooking of the lamb on the parilla to my farmer I did it and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

April 27, 2016

Macrologia – long-speaking or long-winded with the connotation of tedious conversation; using more words than necessary to appear eloquent; longwindedness.


Rural round-up

April 27, 2016

What makes a good farmer? – Bryan Gibson:

It seems that everyone has an opinion on the qualities that make up the perfect food producer, especially at the moment when times are tough.

Judging by the number of emails I’m getting detailing roadshows and information days, it appears the average farmer isn’t short of advice.

Whether they are bankers, consultants or other support company staffers or even other farmers, the range of opinion can be overwhelming.

Now, New Zealand farmers are already good at what they do.

But this dairy downturn means almost every farmer will be looking at his or her balance sheet and strategy and looking to make positive changes. . .

Environmental showcase ‘good farm practice’ – Pam Tipa:

Environmental initiatives began as just good farming practice for the first-ever supreme winners of the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

Richard and Dianne Kidd, of Whenuanui Farm, Helensville, began fencing and planting about 35 years ago for stock health and farm management. But enthusiasm also grew for the environmental side as they started to see the benefits.

The BFEA judges described the Kidd family’s 376ha sheep, beef and forestry unit, as “a showpiece farm on the edge of Auckland city”. . . 

Farmers fear rights being eroded – Glenys Christian:

Changes to the Resource Management Act and freshwater management proposals might force farmers to increase consultation, Auckland Federated Farmers fears.  

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, now at select committee stage, will make it mandatory for councils to involve iwi authorities in the appointment of hearing commissioners as well as in the critical stages of preparing council plans, Auckland Federated Farmers president Wendy Clark said.  

While she agreed consultation with iwi before plan notifications was appropriate, she argued there should be consultation with anyone directly affected by the plans. . . 

Base labeling on science not superstition:

The left can be quite smug about its allegiance to science. And quite selective, too. That’s particularly true of the environmental movement’s relentless and often hysterical attacks on genetically modified food.

The nation’s food industry is locked in a battle with Vermont over a state law set to go into effect July 1 that will require the labeling of all food products to indicate whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Agricultural and grocery associations have a pending federal lawsuit claiming state-by-state labeling requirements will make mass distribution of food nearly impossible. They’re also concerned, rightly, that the unwarranted fear campaign pressed by opponents of GMOs will drive consumers away from the products. . . 

Extra payment as Miraka grows :

Milk processing company Miraka will set its own price for the 2016/17 season starting on June 1.

The company, which is owned by Maori and overseas interests, already pays its suppliers in the central North Island 10 cents more than Fonterra for every kilogram of milk solids.

Chair Kingi Smiler says there will be an additional premium paid for suppliers who meet Te Ara Miraka farming excellence standards. . . 

Do you eat? Then you should care about agriculture policy – Adam Diamond, Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Danielle Neirenberg:

Even though only 2 percent of Americans live on farms in 2016, agricultural policy remains extremely important. Why? Everyone has to eat.

It is unsettling to observe that, while Iowa’s caucuses in February forced presidential candidates to pay lip service to agricultural policy, the subject quickly receded from their radar. Food and farm issues may be hard to package in 30-second sound bites, and they certainly do not lend themselves to cutting debate repartee, but that does not mean they should dwell in the shadows of this 2016 election season. Far from it.

Today, Americans are more concerned than ever before about what they’re eating, how it was grown, where it was grown and by whom. And just as those vying to lead our executive branch need to have a basic grasp of foreign affairs, they also need to understand the basics of the farm and nutrition policies that touch us all, every day of the year, in the most visceral way. . .

Farmers United - We love our animals's photo.


Project Manuka sweeetens life

April 27, 2016

This is a honey of a story:

A group of young Kaikohe men who have never had full-time work have begun planting manuka as part of a pilot project aimed at improving their future and that of their small Northland town.

Project Manuka is a joint venture between Northland College and the government to reboot the moribund local economy.

The school owns 450ha of land, gifted decades ago for educational purposes, and has run it as a dairy farm and forestry block giving students opportunities to learn agricultural skills.

In its latest venture, it has begun replanting some of the land in manuka for honey production.

There is currently fierce competition for manuka as beekeeping takes off as an industry in the north.

Under a scheme backed by several government ministries, 11 long-term unemployed people have been training in forestry skills over eight weeks and preparing scrubby hillsides for planting in the valuable crop.

None of them have held a full-time job before, and none have formal qualifications.

Their tutor, forestry training contractor Jack Johnson, has had them training at the gym, on the hills cutting tracks and in the classroom swotting for Level 2 NCEA forestry papers. And all eleven have passed.

“A Level 2 certificate in anything – that’s a huge achievement for these boys,” said Mr Johnson.

“Passing a drug test was a huge achievement. The challenge I’ve given them now is refraining altogether from drugs. That’s a life change that they need to make – not only for themselves, but for their families.”

It’s a challenge the workers themselves seem happy to meet. . . .

Drug free, legitimately employed, gaining new skills and qualifications – life will be sweeter for these men and their families.

The official leading Project Manuka is Ben Dalton, from the Ministry of Primary Industries, who says the pilot scheme is intended to lead to much bigger things.

The three priorities for the government in its Northland Economic Action Plan were to increase productivity in existing industries, attract new industry and investment to the north and to build a workforce capable of meeting the needs of that industry.

Mr Dalton said there were 86,000 hectares of undeveloped Māori land around Kaikohe and a huge pool of unemployed people who would relish the chance to escape poverty and improve their families’ lives, given the training.

“These are good people,” he said. “They just haven’t had the chances. All of these guys cost the New Zealand taxpayer a lot of money. So if you spend a fraction of that helping them to become employable and also to see a brighter future, then I think it’s a worthwhile investment. ” . . .

It’s far better to invest money in helping people help themselves than keep on investing in misery.

The chairman of Northland College’s board of trustees, Ken Rintoul, dismissed any suggestion that a new generation of young Māori were being trained just to be labourers.

A percentage of all these students will go into management.

“They’ll be earmarked at the end of this course to be crew leaders, or business owners “

Mr Rintoul also chairs the Youth Enterprise Scheme in Northland which aims to get young people into governance.

“Three years in a row now local Māori have won the National Awards, so we must be on the right track,” he said.

Mr Rintoul said the eventual proceeds from the Northland College manuka plantation would go back to the school.

This is an opportunity for people to escape poverty which brings social and economic benefits for them and the country, and the project will eventually provide an income stream for the school.


366 days of gratitude

April 27, 2016

Whoops – I forgot to do a gratitude post yesterday.

I was about to write it when an email arrived and distracted me.

Thinking about its contents makes me grateful that – at least sometimes – I’m able to work out what’s important and let the unimportant go.


Quote of the day

April 27, 2016

First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. Cecil Day-Lewis who was born on this day in 1904.


April 27 in history

April 27, 2016

1124 David I became King of Scots.

1296 – Battle of Dunbar: The Scots were defeated by Edward I of England.

1495 Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was born (d. 1566).

1509 Pope Julius II placed the Italian state of Venice under interdict.

1521 Battle of Mactan: Explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the Philippines by people led by chief Lapu-Lapu.

1539  Re-founding of the city of Bogotá, New Granada (now Colombia), byNikolaus Federmann and Sebastián de Belalcázar.

1565  Cebu was established as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

1578  Duel of the Mignons claimed the lives of two favourites of Henry III of France and two favorites of Henry I, Duke of Guise.

1650 The Battle of Carbisdale: A Royalist army invaded mainland Scotland from Orkney Island but was defeated by a Covenanter army.

1667 The blind and impoverished John Milton sold the copyright ofParadise Lost for £10.

1749 First performance of Handel’s Fireworks Music in Green Park, London.

1759  Mary Wollstonecraft, English philosopher and early feminist, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was born (d. 1797).

1773 The British parliament the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.

1777 American Revolutionary War: The Battle of Ridgefield: A British invasion force engaged and defeated Continental Army regulars and militia irregulars.

1791 Samuel F. B. Morse, American inventor, was born (d. 1872).

1805 First Barbary War: United States Marines and Berbers attacked the Tripolitan city of Derna (The “shores of Tripoli” part of the Marines’ hymn).

1806 – Moehanga (Ngāpuhi) became the first recorded Māori visitor to England.

1810 Beethoven composed his famous piano piece, Für Elise.

1813  War of 1812: United States troops captured the capital of Upper Canada, York (present day Toronto).

1822 Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th President of the United States, was born. (d. 1885).

1840 Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster was laid by Lady Sarah Barry,  wife of architect Sir Charles Barry.

1861 President of the United States Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ ofhabeas corpus.

1865 The New York State Senate created Cornell University as the state’s land grant institution.

1865 – The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, exploded and sank in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom were Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons.

1893 New Zealand’s Premier John Ballance died.

Death of Premier John Ballance

1904 The Australian Labor Party beccame the first such party to gain national government, under Chris Watson.

1904 Cecil Day-Lewis, Irish poet and writer, was born (d. 1972).

1909 Sultan of Ottoman Empire Abdul Hamid II was overthrown, and succeeded by his brother, Mehmed V.

1911 Following the resignation and death of William P. Frye, a compromise was reached to rotate the office of President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

1927  Carabineros de Chile (Chilean national police force and gendarmery) was created.

1927 Coretta Scott King, American civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr, was born (d. 2006).

1927 Sheila Scott, English aviatrix, was born (d. 1988).

1932 Pik Botha, South African politician, was born.

1941 – World War II: The Communist Party of Slovenia, the Slovene Christian Socialists, the left-wing Slovene Sokols (also known as “National Democrats”) and a group of progressive intellectuals established theLiberation Front of the Slovenian People.

1945 World War II: German troops were finally expelled from Finnish Lapland.

1945 World War II: The Völkischer Beobachter, the newspaper of the Nazi Party, ceased publication.

1945 World War II: Benito Mussolini was arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, while attempting escape disguised as a German soldier.

1947 Peter Ham, Welsh singer and songwriter (Badfinger) was born  (d. 1975),.

1948  Kate Pierson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1950  Apartheid: In South Africa, the Group Areas Act was passed formally segregating races.

1951 – Ace Frehley, American musician (Kiss), was born.

1959  The last Canadian missionary left China.

1959 Sheena Easton, Scottish singer, was born.

1960  Togo gained independence from French-administered UN trusteeship.

1961 Sierra Leone was granted its independence from the United Kingdom, with Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister.

1967 Expo 67 officially opened in Montreal with a large opening ceremony broadcast around the world.

1967 Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Dutch heir apparent, was born.

1967 Erik Thomson, Australian actor, was born.

1972  Constructive Vote of No Confidence against German Chancellor Willy Brandt failed under obscure circumstances.

1974 10,000 march in Washington, D.C. calling for the impeachment of US President Richard Nixon.

1977 28 people were killed in the Guatemala City air disaster.

1981 Xerox PARC introduced the computer mouse.

1987 The U.S. Department of Justice barred the Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.

1992 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, was proclaimed.

1992 Betty Boothroyd became the first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history.

1992 Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics became members of theInternational Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

1993 All members of the Zambia national football team lost their lives in a plane crash off Libreville, Gabon in route to Dakar to play a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Senegal.

1994  South African general election, 1994: The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote.

1996 The 1996 Lebanon war ended.

2002 The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10.

2005 The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 made its first flight from Toulouse.

2006 Construction began on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Centre.

2007 Estonian authorities removed the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet Red Army war memorial in Tallinn, amid political controversy with Russia.

2011 – The April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak devastated parts of the Southeastern United States, especially the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. 205 tornadoes touched down on April 27 alone, killing more than 300 and injuring hundreds more.

2012 – At least four explosions hit the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk with at least 27 people injured.

2014 – Popes John XXIII and John Paul II were declared saints in the first papal canonization since 1954.

2014 – A tornado outbreak over much of the eastern United States killed more than 45 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: