366 days of gratitude

May 17, 2016

Our second son would have been celebrating a birthday today.

But he died just 10 days after his fifth birthday. He had a brain disorder that left him with multiple handicaps and had led to the death of his older brother, Tom, when he was only 20 weeks-old.

When Dan died I was sad, but I was also relieved. Looking after a five year-old who could do no more than a new-born child was demanding and I knew our lives would be easier without him but I also know they are better because he lived.

His death freed us up to do things which were difficult to do with him but his life made us realise we shouldn’t take them for granted.

It was easy to say he couldn’t do anything but he taught us to appreciate simple pleasures, to lose the ignorance we had about intellectual disability, how fortunate we are to be part of a close extended family and circle of friends, that ability isn’t a right but a privilege and that love really is stronger than death.

Today I’m grateful for all of that.


Word of the day

May 17, 2016

Prestidigitation – performance of or skill in performing magic or conjuring tricks; conjuring tricks performed as entertainment; sleight of hand; legerdemain; skill or cleverness, especially in deceiving others.


Rural round-up

May 17, 2016

Venison outlook positive – Sally Rae:

New Zealand invested in a second venison processing plant because it was confident about the future of New Zealand venison, marketing general manager Glenn Tyrrell says.

The company, previously known as Duncan and Co, bought out the other shareholders of Otago Venison 18 months ago, to become the sole owner of the Mosgiel-based processing facility.

Mr Tyrrell, who has been involved with venison marketing for 30 years, told those attending the recent deer industry conference in Dunedin that the outlook was “very positive”. . . 

Fonterra advised to better inform – Sally Rae:

Fonterra’s milk price signalling needs to “drastically” improve for its farmers.

That is the message from Federated Farmers Otago dairy chairman Stephen Crawford, who says many need the information sooner to make decisions regarding wintering options and discretionary spending options.

“I understand farmers are sending a clear message to Fonterra this must improve,” Mr Crawford said in his annual report. . . 

Excluding stock from waterways concern for farmers – Sally Rae:

Stock exclusion from waterways may prove more contentious for meat and fibre farmers than the implications of the Otago Regional Council’s 6A water quality plan, Federated Farmers Otago meat and fibre chairman Simon McAtamney believes.

Late last year, the Land and Water Forum published its fourth report on water management and one of its key recommendations was to exclude all large livestock from waterways to protect the water quality of rivers and streams.

In his report to the branch’s annual meeting in Balclutha, Mr McAtamney said while sheep were exempt, it got “a little more complicated” with cattle and deer. . . 

Regulations among most challenging matters – Sally Rae:

Water quality, water quantity and local and regional government remain the principal challenges the collective agricultural industry faces, Federated Farmers Otago president Phill Hunt believes.

In his report to the branch’s annual meeting, Mr Hunt said the Otago Regional Council’s water quality plan 6A was still in its initial stages.

Implementation was ‘‘always going to be a challenge” and he was pleased compliance rates seemed to be increasing. . .

Biodiesel plant ready to fuel NZ cars – Adam Hollingworth:

Bits of beef and lamb we’d otherwise throw away are about to be turned into fuel by New Zealand’s first commercial biodiesel plant.

The plant will soon go online — and it’s hoped it’ll offset the carbon produced by as many as 17,000 diesel cars.

Ninety percent of what goes into the plant will come from cows and sheep, while the fatty bits will be melted into a green slush called tallow.

“It’s not used as a food source. A hundred percent of its produced here in New Zealand so there’s no deforestation associated with the production of tallow — it’s a by-product,” Z Energy biofuels manager Steve Alesech explained. . . 

Livestock Improvement flags proposal to split into two, allow outside investors – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Livestock Improvement Corp, the farmer-owned cooperative that focuses on dairy herd genetics, farm software and automation, has proposed splitting into two businesses and allowing outside shareholders to invest for the first time.

LIC, as the business is known, will embark on a nationwide roadshow starting on June 7 to discuss proposed changes to its capital structure. The split would create a genetics/farm management cooperative, working with New Zealand’s dairy farmers, and a new agri-technology company that would put LIC’s existing agri-tech activities into a new corporate structure and “invest in new and innovative products, servicing customers in New Zealand and offshore.” . . .

Fonterra confirms early final dividend payment:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today confirmed it will pay part of its forecast final dividend earlier, to support farmers during a time of extremely tight on-farm cash flows.

Chairman John Wilson said a solid performance during the nine months to 30 April in the current financial year enables the Co-operative to declare the 10 cents per share dividend today. Payment will be made on 7 June, bringing dividend payments so far this year to 30 cents per share.

“While the milk supply and demand imbalance continues to impact global milk prices and our forecast Farmgate Milk Price, the business is delivering on strategy and has maintained the good performance levels seen in the first six months of the financial year. . . 

Fonterra’s milk collection takes a dive – Tina Morrison:

Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in New Zealand and Australia — its two largest markets — in the first 11 months of the season, during a period of weak dairy prices.

Milk collection across New Zealand fell 3.3 percent to 1.499 billion kilograms of milk solids in the season through to April 30.

The decline came exclusively in the North Island, while good weather conditions kept South Island production unchanged, Fonterra said in its Global Dairy Update. . . 

#431AM – Ansering the farmers of Fontterra’s call to “Tell Our Story“:

Our 10,500 farming families do amazing work – taking the purest of dairy from New Zealand to the world. They’re also proud of the Co-op they own and their contribution to our country.

It’s a great story that we see every day but the rest of New Zealand doesn’t always get to see it or hear about it.

While the rest of NZ sleeps, some people are up and at it – including the farmers of Fonterra. We want to celebrate the people who get the country up and running. . . 


GMI pest free

May 17, 2016

Great Mercury Island is pest free:

An eradication programme partly funded by the island’s part-owner Sir Michael Fay and involving DOC expertise has wiped out the population of introduced kiore, ship rats and feral cats.

“Sir Michael’s commitment to this project with DOC has produced a result that they could not have achieved working by themselves,” Ms Barry says.

“Forging a partnership with DOC’s scientific knowledge and the commitment of local volunteers has enabled the island to become a safe haven for native wildlife.”

After the rat eradication in 2014, two years of surveillance and regular pest-hunting dog patrols have found no rodents remaining on the 1872 hectare island.

“We’re now able to formally declare Great Mercury/Ahuahu pest-free,” Ms Barry says.

Today’s announcement means the entire Mercury island group, along with the nearby iwi-owned Ohinau group and the Aldermen Islands, is pest free.

The eastern Coromandel islands are home to a tusked weta found nowhere else in the world, kaka, saddleback, little spotted kiwi, tuatara, ten different species of lizards and hundreds of thousands of seabirds.

“Since 2014 Great Mercury already seen the return of kakariki and seabirds which had been driven off it by pests – a sure sign the eradication has worked,” Ms Barry says.

“As a result, the chain of islands has become a showcase for New Zealand’s island conservation management.”

Sir Michael says the goal of removing pests from the island has been achieved but the real challenge – keeping it that way – will require constant vigilance.

“We gladly celebrate this milestone on Ahuahu today, but these islands are still at risk because all it takes is for one person to allow a stowaway pest on their boat to escape and undo all the hard work that has gone on here in recent years,” he says.

For more information on the Great Mercury Island/Ahuahu pest eradication project visit www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/ahuahu-great-mercury-island/

I spent a school year on GMI, supervising the then-manager’s children’s correspondence lessons.

I went back last year and was very impressed with the improvements since I’d left around 30 years ago.

Pasture, stock, fences, tracks and buildings were all of a much higher standard than they’d been.

Instead of gorse taller than me, there were pine trees with natives regenerating in their shelter. The challenge now is removing the pines without damaging the natives.

The bird population was also much bigger since they were no longer in danger from mice, rats and cats.

This is a significant achievement for made possible by the owners working with DoC to protect and enhance native birds.

 


Quote of the day

May 17, 2016

The trouble with words is that you never know whose mouths they have been in. – Dennis Potter who was born on this day in 1935.


May 17 in history

May 17, 2016

152 Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason.

1536  George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford and four other men were executed for treason.

1590  Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen of Scotland.

1642 Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve  founded the Ville Marie de Montréal.

1673  Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette began exploring the Mississippi River.

1749 Edward Jenner, English medical researcher was born (d. 1823).

1775  American Revolutionary War: the Continental Congress banned trade with Canada.

1792 The New York Stock Exchange was formed.

1805 Muhammad Ali became Wāli of Egypt.

1809 Napoleon I of France ordered the annexation of the Papal States to the French Empire.

1814  Occupation of Monaco changed from French to Austrian.

1814 The Constitution of Norway was signed and the Danish Crown PrinceChristian Frederik was elected King of Norway by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly.

1833 – James Busby was inaugurated as a British resident of New Zealand.

1849 A fire threatened to burn St. Louis, Missouri to the ground.

1860 German football club TSV 1860 München was founded.

1863 Rosalía de Castro published Cantares Gallegos, her first book in the Galician language.

1865 – The International Telegraph Union (later International Telecommunication Union) was established.

1868 Horace Elgin Dodge, American car manufacturer, was born (d. 1920).

1873 El Paso, Texas was established by charter from the Texas Legislature.

1875  Aristides won the first Kentucky Derby.

1877 The Victorian Football League was founded.

189– The first Omonoia station of the Athens metro was inaugurated in Greece.

1900  Second Boer War: British troops relieved Mafeking.

1902 Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovered the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer.

1911 Maureen O’Sullivan, Irish actress, was born (d. 1998).

1914  The Protocol of Corfu was signed recognising full autonomy toNorthern Epirus under nominal Albanian sovereignty.

1915 The last British Liberal Party government (Herbert Henry Asquith) fell.

1919 War Department (UK) ordered the use of National Star Insignia on all airplanes.

1922 – James Liston, the assistant Catholic bishop of Auckland, was found not guilty of sedition.

1927 U.S. Army aviation pioneer, Major Harold Geiger, died in the crash of his Airco DH.4 de Havilland plane.

1933  Vidkun Quisling and Johan Bernhard Hjort formed Nasjonal Samling— the national-socialist party of Norway.

1935  Dennis Potter, English writer, was born (d. 1994).

1936 Dennis Hopper, American actor and director, was born  (d. 2010).

1939 The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers played in the first-ever televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game.

1939 Gary Paulsen, American author, was born.

1940 World War II: Germany occupied Brussels.

1940 World War II: the old city centre of the Dutch town of Middelburg was bombed by the German Luftwaffe, to force the surrender of the Dutch armies in Zeeland.

1943 The United States Army contracted with the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School to develop the ENIAC.

1943 – World War II: the Dambuster Raids by No. 617 Squadron RAF on German dams.

1949  Bill Bruford, English musician (Yes), was born.

1954 The United States Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education which declared that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students and denying black children equal educational opportunities unconstitutional.

1956 Sugar Ray Leonard, American boxer, was born.

1961 Enya, Irish singer and songwriter, was born.

1962 George Wilder escaped from New Plymouth prison.

George Wilder escapes from prison

1963  Bruno Sammartino defeated Nature Boy Buddy Rogers in 48 seconds in Madison Square Garden for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship. It begins the longest heavyweight championship reign in professional wrestling history.

1967 Six-Day War: President Abdul Nasser of Egypt demanded dismantling of the peace-keeping UN Emergency Force in Egypt.

1969 Venera program: Soviet Venera 6 began its descent into the atmosphere of Venus, sending back atmospheric data before being crushed by pressure.

1970 – Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Morocco on the papyrus boat Ra II to sail the Atlantic Ocean.

1971 Princess Máxima of the Netherlands was born.

1973 – Watergate scandal: Hearings begin in the United States Senate and are televised.

1974 Andrea Corr, Irish singer (The Corrs), was born.

1974 Police in Los Angeles raided the Symbionese Liberation Army‘s headquarters, killing six members, including Camilla Hall.

1974  Thirty-three people were killed by terrorist bombings in Dublin and Monaghan.

1980 General Chun Doo-hwan of South Korea declared martial law in order to suppress student demonstrations.

1980 – On the eve of presidential elections, Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path attacked a polling location in the town of Chuschi, Ayacucho, starting the Internal conflict in Peru.

1983 U.S. Department of Energy declassified documents showing world’s largest mercury pollution event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (ultimately found to be 4.2 million pounds), in response to Appalachian Observer’s Freedom of Information Act request.

1983 Lebanon, Israel, and the United States signed an agreement on Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

1984 Prince Charles called a proposed addition to the National Gallery, London, a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend,” sparking controversies on the proper role of the Royal Family and the course of modern architecture.

1987  An Iraqi fighter jet fired two missiles into the U.S. warship USS Stark (FFG-31), killing 37 and injuring 21 of her crew.

1992 Three days of popular protests against the government of Prime Minister of Thailand Suchinda Kraprayoon began in Bangkok, leading to a military crackdown that resulted in 52 officially confirmed deaths, many disappearances, hundreds of injuries, and more than 3,500 arrests.

1994  Malawi held its first multiparty elections.

1995  After 18 years as the mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac took office as President of France.

1997 – Troops of Laurent Kabila march into Kinshasa. Zaire is officially renamed Democratic Republic Of Congo.

2004 Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

2006 The aircraft carrier USS Oriskany was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico to be an artificial reef.

2007 Trains from North and South Korea crossed the 38th Parallel in a test-run agreed by both governments. This was the first time that trains crossed the Demilitarized Zone since 1953.

2009 Dalia Grybauskaitė was elected the first female President of Lithuania.

2013 – Two Metro-North commuter trains collided near Bridgeport, Connecticut injuring at least 72 people.

2014 – A plane crash in northern Laos killed 17 people.

2015 – At least 9 people were killed and 18 injured, some by law enforcement and others in gunfire exchanges, in a shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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