366 days of gratitude

October 17, 2016

My farmer came in with the mail among which were two magazines and three parcels.

Two of the parcels contained books I’d ordered.

The third held a beautifully worded card and three gorgeous candles, sent by friends as an unexpected but greatly appreciated thank-you.

Today I’m grateful for happy surprises in the mail.


Word of the day

October 17, 2016

Lucida – the brightest star in a constellation; the brightest component of a double or multiple star; a star easily seen by the naked eye, as opposed to a telescopic star;


Rural round-up

October 17, 2016

Much done, much to do for Alliance Group – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group’s balance sheet is in “much better shape” and it will report an increased profit later this year.

Addressing the co-operative’s annual roadshow meetings, chief executive David Surveyor said the business was “much healthier” than it was a year ago.

While the financial results were yet to be confirmed, figures were “roughly” expected to show debt reduction of about $84 million, operating cash flow of $120 million, interest savings of $5 million and equity percentage of 70%.

The company also expected to make a profit distribution payment to shareholders, Mr Surveyor said.  . . 

Major a faithful friend – Sally Rae:

The bones might be a bit stiffer and the face a little whiter but there is  one constant in Major’s life — riding in the back of his master’s ute.

The 13-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever has clocked up a whopping 700,000km over the years, accompanying Power Farming Otago sales manager Russell Burgess on his road trips.

“That’s his job. He knows every morning he’s on the back of the ute and away. He loves it. When someone comes up, he’ll lift a lip …  because it’s his ute,” Mr Burgess said, while attending the East Otago Field Days in Palmerston.

In his younger years Major enjoyed a run or a swim in a lake or river during their excursions, but old age was now catching up. . . 

World First for Atkins Ranch and Waipari Station:

A Hawke’s Bay sheep farm is the first in the world to be certified for the GAP step 4 sheep programme.

GAP is the Global Animal Partnership – a non-profit, charitable organisation committed to improving the welfare of animals in agriculture. Through the GAP programme, Atkins Ranch, formerly known as Lean Meats in New Zealand, sells lamb and lamb products through Whole Foods Markets in the US and Canada. The GAP rating gives consumers confidence animals have been raised in accordance with strict animal welfare standards, says New Zealand supply chain manager Pat Maher.

“Atkins Ranch has adopted the GAP step 4 standard, which is pasture centred. This will be rolled out to our North Island producers over the next few months and will form a critical part of our procurement offering,” Maher says. . . 

Seaweed could hold the key to cutting methane emissions from cow burps –  Michael Battaglia:

When Canadian farmer Joe Dorgan noticed about 11 years ago that cattle in a paddock by the sea were more productive than his other cows, he didn’t just rediscover an Ancient Greek and Icelandic practice.

While the Ancient Greeks didn’t have to contend with global warming, it turns out that this practice could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 21st-century livestock farming.

Cows and sheep produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Despite misconceptions, most cow methane comes from burps (90%) rather than farts (10%). Livestock produce the equivalent of 5% of human-generated greenhouse gases each year, or five times Australia’s total emissions. . .

Fast track fertiliser from new Ballance Huntly store:

Safety, efficiency and sustainability are the key features of Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ new Huntly service centre, which promises to deliver faster service, better access and close-to-home convenience for local customers.

Ballance has invested over three million dollars in the new purpose built 2500 m² store, which opened last week, including new equipment and machinery that will increase fertiliser load-out efficiency and provide significantly faster delivery times to carriers and customers.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients CEO, Mark Wynne, says that the new site reaffirms Ballance’s commitment to Huntly and the Waikato – a region where the co-operative already has strong ties with the community. . . 

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The hardest part about being vegan is having to wake up at 5am to milk all the almonds.

Pioneer’s homestead and farm sale ends six generations of family ownership:

A pioneer’s homestead residence and farm which has been continually occupied by members of the same family for six generations has been placed on the market for sale – ending some 145 years of ownership.

Hilton Station Homestead on the outskirts of Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay was built by colonial settler Robert Henry Mackenzie in 1871 and has been passed down throughout the generations from father to son ever since. Robert Mackenzie arrived in New Zealand with his family from England in 1854, aged eight.

Over the centuries, the property has hosted three Mackenzie family weddings, as well as multiple home-births during the late 1800s and early 1900s, family wakes when the ever-expanding Mackenzie clan would return from the far-flung corners of New Zealand to commemorate the passing of their own. . . 


Which bird are you?

October 17, 2016

Which New Zealand bird are you?

Little Blue Penguin

You’re a hard worker… Every morning, you march towards the sea – sometimes negotiating traffic and avoiding dogs – but return at dusk after a hard day’s fishing to hide away for a good night’s sleep.

The little penguin is the smallest species of penguin and found around all coasts of New Zealand’s mainland and many of the surrounding islands.

As with many New Zealand birds, they’re susceptible to predation by introduced predators including cats, dogs and ferrets.

Vote for your favourite native bird during Forest & Bird’s #BirdOfTheYear competition, which runs from October 5 – 25! www.forestandbird.org.nz

Not sure why I got this answer,  I like swimming but wouldn’t want to live on seafood. But I guess it’s appropriate when one of Oamaru’s claims to fame is its Little Blue Penguin colony.


1.8b surplus with dairying in doldrums

October 17, 2016

Finance Minister Bill English presented the Crown accounts for the year to June, showing a surplus of $1.8 billion in 2015/16, up from $414 million in 2014/15.

The Crown accounts show core Crown expenses are under 30 per cent of GDP for the first time since 2006, net debt has stabilised to 24.6 per cent of GDP and net worth has grown to $89.4 billion in 2015/16.

Mr English says the $1.8 billion operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) in 2015/16 – which compared to a forecast of $176 million in Budget 2015 – is a significant turnaround on the $18.4 billion deficit in 2011 following the Global Financial Crisis and Canterbury earthquakes.

“Government surpluses are rising and debt is falling as a percentage of GDP which puts us in a position to be able to make some real choices for New Zealanders,” Mr English says.

“The New Zealand economy has made significant progress over the past eight years. This delivers more jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders, and also drives a greater tax take to help the Government’s books.”

Core Crown tax revenue was $1.6 billion higher than forecast in Budget 2015.

“We’ve also been getting on top of our spending, exercising fiscal restraint while still investing responsibly in our growing economy and public services.

Core Crown expenses were $73.9 billion in 2015/16, below the forecast of $74.5 billion at the beginning of the year.

“We’ve focussed on results and are starting to address the drivers of dysfunction by investing in better public services. We remain committed to maintaining rising operating surpluses and reducing net debt to around 20 per cent of GDP in 2020.

“If there is any further fiscal headroom, we may have the opportunity to reduce debt faster and as we’ve always said, if economic and fiscal conditions allow, we will begin to reduce income taxes.

“The outlook for the economy is positive, the Government’s books are in good shape and we are addressing our toughest social problems. However, we also need to bear in mind that there are a lot of risks globally and that is why it is important to get our debt levels down. 

“Budget 2017 will make positive long-term choices to strengthen the economy and our communities.” . . 

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Eight years ago, outgoing Finance Minister Michael Cullen was forecasting a decade of deficits and that was before the GFC and earthquakes.

This turn around is the result of careful spending with the focus on its quality rather than quantity; and policies which promote growth.

That the surplus was achieved in a year when one of the country’s biggest export earners, dairying, was in the doldrums and the sheep industry was only marginally better makes it even more of an achievement.

 

 


Quote of the day

October 17, 2016

The imagination is not an escape, but a return to the richness of our true selves; a return to reality. – George Mackay Brown who was born on this day in 1921.

He also said:

We never find what we set out hearts on. We ought to be glad of that.


October 17 in history

October 17, 2016

539 BC – King Cyrus The Great of Persia marched into  Babylon, releasing the Jews from almost 70 years of exile and making the first Human Rights Declaration.

1091 T8/F4 tornado struck the heart of London.

1346  Battle of Neville’s Cross: King David II of Scotland was captured by Edward III of England near Durham.

1448  Second Battle of Kosovo: the mainly Hungarian army led by John Hunyadi was defeated by an Ottoman army led by Sultan Murad II.

1456  The University of Greifswald was established, making it the second oldest university in northern Europe.

1604 Kepler’s Star: German astronomer Johannes Kepler observed a supernova in the constellation Ophiuchus.

1610   Louis XIII was crowned in Rheims.

1660 Nine Regicides, the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I, were hung, drawn and quartered.

1662  Charles II of England sold Dunkirk to France for 40,000 pounds.

1771 Premiere in Milan of the opera Ascanio in Alba, composed by Wolfgang Mozart, age 15.

1777 American troops defeated the British in the Battle of Saratoga.

1781 General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the American revolutionists at Yorktown, Virginia.

1797  Treaty of Campo Formio signed between France and Austria.

1800  England took control of the Dutch colony of Curaçao.

1806  Former leader of the Haitian Revolution, Emperr Jacques I was assassinated.

1814  London Beer Flood killed nine.

1860 First The Open Championship for golf.

1877 Chief Justice Sir James Prendergast declared the Treaty of Waitangi“worthless” and a simple “nullity”

Chief Justice declares Treaty 'worthless' and a 'simple nullity'

1887 Waitaki Girls’ High School opened with Mrs M.G. Burn as principal.

1888 Thomas Edison filed a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie).

1907  Guglielmo Marconi‘s company begins the first commercial transatlantic wireless service between Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, and Clifden, Ireland.

1912 – Pope John Paul I, was born (d. 1978).

1912  Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, joining Montenegro in the First Balkan War.

1915 Arthur Miller, American playwright, was born (d. 2005).

1918 Rita Hayworth, American actress, was born (d. 1987).

1921 – George Mackay Brown, Scottish author, poet, and playwright, was born (d. 1996).

1930 Robert Atkins, American nutritionist, was born (d. 2003).

1931  Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion.

1933 – The Singing Nun, (Sœur Sourire, Jeanne Deckers,) Belgian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and nun, was born (d. 1985).

1933 Albert Einstein, fled Nazi Germany and moved to the U.S.A.

1941 Jim Seals, American singer (Seals and Crofts), was born.

1941 – German troops executed the male population of the villages Kerdyllia in Serres, Greece and burned the houses down.

1942 Gary Puckett, American musician, was born.

1943  Burma Railway (Burma-Thailand Railway) was completed.

1945  A  large crowd headed by CGT (trade union) and Evita, gathered in the Plaza de Mayo  to demand Juan Peron’s release. Known to the Peronists as the Día de la lealtad (Loyalty Day), it is considered the founding day of Peronism.

1949 – Owen Arthur, Barbadian economist and politician, 5th Prime Minister of Barbados, was born.

1956 The first commercial nuclear power station was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth in Sellafield, Cumbria.

1961  Scores of Algerian protesters were massacred by the Paris police at the instigation of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Prefecture of Police.

1964  Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies opened the artificialLake Burley Griffin in the middle of  Canberra.

1965 The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair closed after a two year run.

1966 A fire at a building in New York, killed 12 firefighters

1969 Ernie Els, South African golfer, was born.

1970 Quebec Vice-Premier and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte  was murdered by members of the FLQ terrorist group.

1972 – Eminem, American rapper, producer, and actor, was born.

1973  OPEC started an oil embargo against a number of western countries, considered to have helped Israel in its war against Syria.

1977  German Autumn: Four days after it was hijacked, Lufthansa Flight 181 landed in Mogadishu.

1979  Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1987  First commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (7.1 on the Richter scale) hit the San Francisco Bay Area, caused 57 deaths directly and 6 indirectly.

1998 At Jesse, in the Niger Delta,  a petroleum pipeline exploded killing about 1200 villagers, some of whom are scavenging gasoline.

2000 Train crash at Hatfield, north of London, led to collapse of Railtrack.

2003 The pinnacle was fitted on the roof of Taipei 101, a 101-floor skyscraper which became the World’s tallest highrise.

2010 – Mary MacKillop was canonized (in Rome) and became the first saint of Australia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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