366 days of gratitude

September 1, 2016

The recipe for Riverstone Kitchen’s chocolate cake I was making said put all ingredients into a bowl, mix on low speed for three minutes and then high speed for 30 seconds.

I did that, peered in the bowl and saw little blobs of something that hadn’t mixed properly.

Uh oh. It was butter which the recipe said must be warmed and which obviously wasn’t warm enough when I’d added it to the rest of the ingredients.

I was reluctant to waste all the other ingredients so I got a sieve and forced the mixture through it.

I was left with little bits of butter in the sieve but the cake batter looked okay so I put it in the oven.

An hour later it had risen as it was supposed to and smelled delicious.

It’s now sitting on the bench waiting to cool enough to ice.

I wouldn’t recommend my method for the recipe but it worked this time and for that I’m grateful.


Word of the day

September 1, 2016

Grandiloquent –pompous or extravagant in language, style, or manner, especially in a way that is intended to impress;  speaking or expressed in a lofty style, often to the point of being pompous or bombastic; a lofty, extravagantly colourful, pompous, or bombastic style, manner, or quality especially in language.


Rural round-up

September 1, 2016

How NZ dairy is trying to rule the world – a Bloomberg view – Emma O’Brien:

International news agency Bloomberg has taken a close look at Fonterra – see what it’s telling the world about our dairy giant and its plans to pay out more to its farmers.

In the shadow of a snow-dusted volcano on New Zealand’s North Island, a sprawling expanse of stainless steel vats, chimneys and giant warehouses stands as a totem of the tiny nation’s dominance in the global dairy trade.

The Whareroa factory was until recently the largest of its kind, churning out enough milk powder, cheese and cream to fill more than three Olympic-sized swimming pools a week.

The plant has helped make owner Fonterra Cooperative Group the world’s top dairy exporter and its farmer-suppliers among the greatest beneficiaries of China’s emerging thirst for milk. . . 

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It will not be enough for New Zealand to produce the best products in the world. Our produce will also have to reamin among the most sustainable. – John Key.

Seafood industry recognises its “stars”:

New Zealand seafood industry members who have made a significant contribution to the industry have been recognised in Wellington tonight in the inaugural Seafood Stars Awards.

The awards are part of the industry’s celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the fisheries Quota Management System with awards for excellence and innovation within the industry.

“Every day in fishing communities around the country thousands of people go to work to contribute to our $1.8 billion export industry whether it’s putting to sea in our inshore fisheries, working away from home in our deepwater fisheries, working on salmon and mussel farms, or onshore processing and marketing our products,” says Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst. . . 

Sealord to make significant investment in fishing fleet – Shareholders back $70m new vessel purchase:

The country’s first new deepwater fishery vessel in 20 years
Will bring operational efficiency, sustainability and 80 new local jobs
New Zealand deep sea fishing company Sealord is to make a $70 million investment in its fishing fleet with the purchase of a new state-of-the-art vessel.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Yung says Sealord’s shareholders, Maori-owned Moana New Zealand (Aotearoa Fisheries Limited) and Japanese company Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd (Nissui), have committed to the vessel purchase, which they will part-fund.

“This will be the first new vessel for the country’s deepwater fishery in 20 years, since the introduction of Sealord’s FV Rehua, and the backing of our shareholders is clear demonstration of their long-term commitment to the business and support of our commercial and operational strategies. . . 

Zespri volumes, returns grow:

Zespri’s Annual Meeting today recapped the strong 2015/16 season for the kiwifruit industry – record sales and highest-ever total grower returns – as well as charting the industry’s future as the government approves amendments to the Kiwifruit Regulations.

2015/16 season recap

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride explains total sales revenue for the season grew to hit a record high of $1.9 billion, up 22 percent from the previous season. The total fruit and service payment to growers for New Zealand-grown fruit also grew 22 percent on the previous year to $1.143 billion, with average return per hectare reaching a record $60,758. . . 

Cracker potential for NZ cheese exports – Alexa Cook:

New Zealand needs to realise the export potential of its cheese market, UK industry veteran Juliet Harbutt says.

Mrs Harbutt, who established the British Cheese Awards, said New Zealand should pay as much attention to the value and money that could be made with cheese as it did with its wine industry.

“The extraordinary thing in New Zealand is that we’ve got all this wonderful land and fantastic grazing and all these cows, yet we still seem to be producing the vast majority of it into milk powder and cheddar,” said Mrs Harbutt, who has worked in the UK cheese industry for 30 years. . .

Exports could be affected by horticulture worker shortage – Alexa Cook:

New Zealand’s exports could suffer if demand for horticulture workers isn’t met, a primary industries training organisation says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is aiming for the horticulture sector to reach $5.7 billion in exports by 2020, up $1.6 billion from the end of last year.

An MPI report shows that the horticulture industry needs nearly 8000 skilled workers by 2025 to cope with the predicted rise in production and export earning.  . . 

Farmers should get ready to cast their votes – Chris Lewis:

When you exercise your vote in October, make it count towards candidates who understand the rural community.

Last week I spoke about uncontested local election candidates who get a free pass on any accountability for their part in current issues.

It is so important that farmers get out and vote for candidates who can better represent them. If we don’t it makes the job of Federated Farmers so much harder.

The sad truth is the farming community is stuck with an old system of capital-based rates versus the central government’s existing tax on earnings.

Comparable to other residents, farmers pay significant sums of money to fund community services. It feels like we’re the ATM machines that keep councils’ lights on. . . 

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Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy cows.


Thursday’s quiz

September 1, 2016

You’re welcome to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual bouquet of spring flowers.


Small failures

September 1, 2016

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board expects investigations will show a combination of small failures led to the gastroenteritis outbreak in Havelock North.

. . . The DHB’s chief executive, Kevin Snee, said he expected the government’s inquiry would show that there were small problems in the systems and processes used by the DHB, and by the district and regional councils.

He expected this to show that, when aligned, the problems allowed the water supply to become contaminated and people to get sick. . . 

This is so often the case, lots of small things add up to cause a big problem.

Earlier tests pointed to a ruminant animal as the cause of the outbreak.

Even before that was announced the usual suspects were blaming intensive dairy farming, in spite of there being none near the bore supplying the town.

. . . Federated Farmers president William Rolleston said the area near the aquifer was mostly lifestyle blocks and orchards.

He said people needed to take a step back from the speculation.

“We all contribute to bacteria in the environment, birds do, humans do and so do farm animals.

“Last week we saw a crescendo of finger pointing at agriculture, we heard that this was because of intensive dairy farms and the closest dairy farm we can find is 40 kilometres away.”

Mr Rolleston said while the indications did point to a four-legged animal as the source of contamination, that didn’t mean intensive agriculture was to blame.

He said the aquifer in question was a shallow aquifer, which had a greater risk of having its seals breached.

“We’re not saying that agriculture doesn’t create a risk, but those are the risks that the council needs to actually take cognisance of and mitigate.”

Last week the Green Party said any inquiry into the Havelock North water contamination should look at the role of intensive agriculture.

Mr Rolleston admitted agriculture was a risk for water.

“We’re not denying that and farmers have been up to the task. We’ve spent a billion dollars in the last decade fencing rivers and we’re playing our part.” . . 

Environment Minister Nick Smith also says speculation is unhelpful:

Questions have been asked about the culpability of cattle and chicken farmers, as well as a nearby mushroom farm, but Dr Smith says sometimes even the most basic failures could be to blame.

The campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North struck down 5100 people with gastro, closed schools and businesses and has left residents still boiling their drinking water weeks later.

It is a reminder of the E. coli contamination in Nelson where upstream farmers, birds and waterfowl were blamed before testing confirmed the true cause, Dr Smith says.

“It was embarrassingly found that most of the problem was toilets from the council’s library having been wrongly plumbed into the stormwater rather than the sewerage system,” he told crowds at a Lincoln University environment lecture in Christchurch on Tuesday night.

He said the lesson was to be cautious of jumping to conclusions too soon. . . 

He also addressed concerns about measuring water quality, limits on water takes and proposed strengthening of swimming requirements.

Dr Smith warned a goal of making all waterways swimmable, rather than wadeable, were “unworkable” and “impossible” without a massive bird cull.

But the Green Party has criticised that view as baseless.

“He knows, as we all do, that the real and lasting damage to our rivers is from stock in waterways, farm run-off, sewage and intensified dairy farms among others – he just won’t admit it,” Green Party water spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said. . . 

Tests above and below a dam on our farm confirmed birds were at the bottom of poor water quality.

The Otago Regional Council also proved seagulls were to blame for high levels of E.coli in the Kakanui River.

Up until recently, ORC staff and local farmers alike had been baffled about the cause of such high concentrations in the upper Kakanui, particularly during summer.

ORC staff have been concerned about the concentration of the bacteria, as high levels indicate a risk of people swimming becoming ill. The council enlisted the help of local farmers, who provided access to their properties and the nearby river for inspection.

ORC scientists went into the gorge to investigate by helicopter when this inspection failed to identify the source of the bacteria. The culprits − a large colony of nesting gulls − were found in rugged terrain, about 5km above the Clifton Falls bridge. Water quality samples were taken immediately above and below the colony, with divergent results.

Upstream of the colony, the bacteria concentrations were 214 E.coli/100ml, whereas immediately downstream, the concentration was far greater at 1300 E.coli/100ml.

The levels peaked on January 3, at 2400 parts per 100ml of water. ORC manager of resource science Matt Hickey said that according to Government water quality guidelines for recreational swimming areas, those with less than 260 E.coli/100ml should be safe, whereas water with more than 550 E.coli/100ml could pose a health-risk.

Mr Hickey said six colonies of gulls were found in total, on steep rocky faces, where they clearly favoured the habitat for nesting. While they had gone undetected up until now due to their inaccessibility, it was likely the gulls returned each year to breed.

“Unfortunately, these nesting gull colonies are likely to continue to cause high E.coli concentrations in the upper Kakanui River, particularly during the breeding season,” Mr Hickey said.

These are only two examples which show Delahunty is wrong to say birds aren’t a problem.

That doesn’t mean farming, especially when it’s intensive, is blameless.

There are many causes for poor water quality but many have happened over time and it will take time to get the improvements we all seek.

That is much more likely with the collaborative approach the Minister seeks:

New Zealand had a habit of turning environmental issues into a battle ground with winners and losers where farmers are seen as environmental vandals and environmentalists as economic imbeciles, Dr Smith said.

“I have been trying to lead a culture change at both a national and local level where different water users and interest groups work together on finding solutions that will work for the environment and the economy,” he said.

It doesn’t have to be either a healthy environment or a growing economy.

A collaborative approach, based on science, can achieve both.

Science must also be applied to the cause, and response to, Havelock North’s problems to ensure that a series of small failures doesn’t lead to large-scale gastroenteritis again.


Quote of the day

September 1, 2016

Our passing interrupted the road crossing, and the crowd bunched on both sides waited for us to go by as we all waited for the war to go by, thinking we can suspend or postpone living and not knowing that in war the heart grows older than it does in dreamsDan Davin who was born on this day in 1913.


September 1 in history

September 1, 2016

717 – Siege of Constantinople: The Muslim armada with 1,800 ships, was defeated by the Byzantine navy through the use of Greek fire.

1270 – King Stephen V of Hungary wrote of his walk to the antiquum castellum near Miholjanec, where the Sword of Attila was recently discovered.

1355 Tvrtko I wrote in castro nostro Vizoka vocatum from old town Visoki.

1644  Battle of Tippermuir: Montrose defeated Elcho’s Covenanters, reviving the Royalist cause.

1653 Johann Pachelbel, German composer, was born (d. 1706).

1715 King Louis XIV of France died after a reign of 72 years—the longest of any major European monarch.

1772 Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa founded in San Luis Obispo, California.

1804 Juno, one of the largest main belt asteroids, was discovered by German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding.

1818 José María Castro Madriz, first President of Costa Rica and founder of the republic, was born (d. 1892).

1836  Narcissa Whitman, one of the first English-speaking white women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains, arrived at Walla Walla, Washington.

1854 Engelbert Humperdinck, German composer, was born (d. 1921).

1862  American Civil War: Battle of Chantilly – Confederate forces attacked retreating Union troops.

1870  Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan resulted in a decisive Prussian victory.

1873  Cetshwayo ascended to the throne as king of the Zulu nation following the death of his father Mpande.

1875 A murder conviction effectively forced the violent Irish anti-owner coal miners, the “Molly Maguires“, to disband.

1876 Taranaki farmer Harry Atkinson became New Zealand’s Premier, succeeding Sir Julius Vogel.

1876  – Harriet Shaw Weaver, English journalist and activist, was born (d. 1961).

1878 Emma Nutt became the world’s first female telephone operator when she was recruited by Alexander Graham Bell to the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company.

1894 More than 400 people died in the Great Hinckley Fire, a forest fire in Hinckley, Minnesota.

1896 A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, the Hare Krishna Movement, was born (d. 1977).

1897  The Boston subway opened, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.

1902  A Trip to the Moon, considered one of the first science fiction films, was released in France.

1906 Eleanor Burford Hibertt (Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr…), English writer, was born (d. 1993).

1906 The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys was established.

1911 The armored cruiser Georgios Averof was commissioned into the Greek Navy.

1913 – Dan Davin, New Zealand author, was born (d. 1990).
Daniel Marcus Davin photographed during the Second World War

1914 St. Petersburg, Russia, changed its name to Petrograd.

1914  The last passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo.

1920  The Fountain of Time opened as a tribute to the 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain following the Treaty of Ghent.

1923  The Great Kantō earthquake devastated Tokyo and Yokohama, killing about 105,000 people.

1928 Ahmet Zogu declared Albania to be a monarchy and proclaimed himself king.

1933 Conway Twitty, American singer, was born (d. 1993).

1934  SMJK Sam Tet was founded by Father Fourgs from the St. Michael Church, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

1939 World War II: Nazi Germany invaded Poland, beginning the war in Europe.

1939 Lily Tomlin, American actress and comedian, was born.

1939 The Wound Badge for Wehrmacht, SS, Kriegsmarine, and Luftwaffe soldiers; and the final version of the Iron Cross were instituted.

1939 Switzerland mobilised its forces and the Swiss Parliament electedHenri Guisan to head the Swiss Army (an event that can happen only during war or mobilisation).

1946 Barry Gibb, English singer (Bee Gees), was born.

1951 The United States, Australia and New Zealand signed a mutual defense pact –  the ANZUS Treaty.

1957 – Gloria Estefan, Cuban-American singer-songwriter and actress, was born.

1961 The Eritrean War of Independence officially began with the shooting of the Ethiopian police by Hamid Idris Awate.

1962  Channel Television reached 54,000 households in the Channel Islands.

1964  The Indian Oil Corporation formed after the merger of the Indian Oil Refineries and the Indian Oil Company.

1964 – Holly Golightly, American author and illustrator, was born.

1969  A revolution in Libya brought Muammar al-Gaddafi to power.

1969 – Tran Thien Khiem became Prime Minister of South Vietnam under President Nguyen Van Thieu.

1970  Attempted assassination of King Hussein of Jordan by Palestinian guerrillas, who attacked his motorcade.

1972  American Bobby Fischer beat Russian Boris Spassky and became the world chess champion.

1973 J. D. Fortune, Canadian singer (INXS), was born.

1974 The SR-71 Blackbird set (and holds) the record for flying from New York to London in the time of 1 hour, 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds.

1979  The American space probe Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn when it passed the planet at a distance of 21,000 km.

1980  Terry Fox‘s Marathon of Hope ended in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

1980  Major General Chun Doo-hwan became president of South Korea, following the resignation of Choi Kyu-hah.

1981  A coup d’état in the Central African Republic overthrewPresidentDavid Dacko.

1982  Canada adopted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as part of its Constitution.

1982  The United States Air Force Space Command was founded.

1987 Dann Hume, New Zealand musician (Evermore), was born.

1983 Cold War: Korean Air Flight 007 was shot down by a Soviet Union jet fighter when the commercial aircraft enters Soviet airspace. All 269 on board died, including Congressman Lawrence McDonald.

1985  A joint American–French expedition located the wreckage of theRMSTitanic.

1987 Lorraine Cohen was sentenced to death by a Malaysian judge for heroin trafficking.

New Zealander sentenced to death in Malaysia

1991  Uzbekistan declared its  independence from the Soviet Union.

2004  Beslan school hostage crisis started when armed terrorists took children and adults hostage.

2014 – Leigh Cleveland and Peggy Noble, were shot and killed and another staff member was wounded at the Ashburton WINZ office where they worked.

Sourced from NZ History Online, NZ Herald, Te Ara, Encyclopaedia of NZ,  Wikipedia


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