366 days of gratitude

November 30, 2016

If there’s such a thing as genetic memory, it kicked in when I visited Scotland.

I felt, if not at home, at least as if I was somewhere familiar.

I enjoyed seeing places I’d heard of and read about and while my farmer sometimes struggled to understand what the locals were saying, I had no trouble at all with the accent.

Today, on St Andrew’s Day, I’ve been listening to Scottish music, recalling happy times in the land of my ancestors and been reminded of my tartan genes for which I’m grateful.

 


Visualising earthquakes

November 30, 2016

AUT and Colab lecturer Dr Stefan Marks used a virtual reality simulation to visualise the 14 November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake and every earthquake in New Zealand since 1900:


Scotland the Brave

November 30, 2016

Another tribute to St Andrew’s Day:


Word of the day

November 30, 2016

Fash – feel upset or worried; bother, trouble, worry.


Rural round-up

November 30, 2016

Training isn’t meeting needs – Neal Wallace:

It requires a liberal dose of lateral thinking to grasp the paradox that is primary sector training.

Recently the Tertiary Education Commission said it wanted to invest more money into primary sector training because there were plenty of jobs.

The primary sector continues to struggle to find staff and this week the Government announced an extension to the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme allowing another 1000 foreigners to work on the coming harvest.

But, incongruously, primary sector training is in upheaval with several high-profile providers responsible for training about 1000 young people, exiting the industry, others looking for a new provider and, in the case of Lincoln University, making 51 staff redundant to balance its books. . . 

Show deal boosts export potential – Colin Ley:

The southern hemisphere’s biggest agribusiness exhibition, the National Fieldays, and Europe’s largest agricultural show, have signed a collaboration deal.

They have signed memorandum of understanding as part of an initiative to boost farm business and trading links between New Zealand and the European Union.

The move would deliver major benefits to NZ’s 130,000-visitor event, held near Hamilton each June, and Eurotier’s 160,000-visitor show held in Hannover, Germany, every second year, Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation said. . .

Govt working with wine industry to secure 2017 Marlborough vintage:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy are working with the Marlborough wine industry to respond to the challenges of the November 14 earthquake and assist with the 2017 vintage.

“The Marlborough wine industry faces some challenges,” Mr Joyce says. “The key impact has been damage to around 20 per cent of the wine storage tanks in the region, and the potential that a lack of storage will affect the ability of the industry to process the full 2017 harvest, which commences in around 15 weeks.” . . 

Animal blamers got it all wrong – Alan Emmerson:

I wrote back in September that we needed to stop playing the blame game over the Havelock North water crisis. We needed to find out and quickly how to fix the problem.

Last week that game reached new heights of absurdity with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council issuing proceedings against the Hastings District Council.

What they’re actually doing is suing their own ratepayers, which won’t achieve anything except lining the pockets of lawyers.

The interesting point is that it’s not farmers who are now in the gun but the Hastings council over bore maintenance and siting. . . 

Westland lifts its payout prediction:

Hokitika-based Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second largest dairy co-operative, has lifted its total operating surplus ( payout) predictionfor the 2016-17 season to range of $5.50 to $5.90 per kilo of milk solids (kgMS).

This is estimated to produce a net return to shareholders (after retained earnings) of $5.30 to $5.70 per kgMS. The co-operative’s previous estimate for the season was a net range (after retained earnings) of $4.55 to $4.95 per kgMS.

Chief Executive Toni Brendish said the lift in payout prediction has been made possible by two factors. . . 

Synlait Increases Forecast Milk Price to $6.00kgMS:

Synlait Milk (NZX: SML; ASX: SM1) has increased their forecast milk price from $5.00 kgMS to $6.00 kgMS for the 2016 / 2017 season.

Synlait planned to provide an updated forecast at the start of February 2017, however Mr Milne said an update now is more appropriate and beneficial for Synlait’s 200 Canterbury milk suppliers.

“We’ve kept a close eye on the global dairy market and the trending increase in dairy prices can’t be ignored. As a result, we’ve increased our forecast milk price to $6.00 kgMS,” said Graeme Milne, Chairman.

Mr Milne said reduced European production over the past three months shows European dairy farmers are responding to lower milk prices. . . 

Dairy volatility has not gone away – Keith Woodford:

Fonterra’s recent upgraded estimate of $6 per kg milksolids (fat plus protein) for the 2016/7 milk price has been welcomed by everyone in the industry. Given that it is only six months since Fonterra’s initial for this season of $4.25, the current estimate should also remind us of the impossibility of predicting milk prices with any accuracy.

This level of inaccuracy is typical of the last three years, where Fonterra’s initial estimates compared to the final price were out by $1.40 in 2014, $2.60 in 2015 and $1.35 in 2016.

Currently, we are about half way through the milk season in terms of production, and most companies will have sold about half of their total seasonal production. With some forward selling, they may even be ahead of this.  It is about this stage of the season that I bring in my price-range estimate to about $1.80 (i.e. plus or minus 90c around a mid-point).   . . 

Plan to diversify Southland economy:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced government support for a new regional growth plan to bolster the Southland economy.

The Southland Regional Development Strategy Action Plan was developed by the Southland Regional Development Strategy Governance Group and is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Programme, which aims to increase jobs, incomes and investment in regional New Zealand.

“Southland has a relatively small economy which relies on a limited number of industries. While the regional population is growing, for the past ten years population growth has been significantly slower than in the rest of the country,” Mr Joyce says. . .

Predator Free 2050 Ltd board appointed:

The company which will be a key player in achieving New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 ambition is now up and running, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

“Today marks the official establishment of Predator Free 2050 Ltd and the appointment of a skilled board of nine directors,” Ms Barry says.

“This company, and its leadership, will be absolutely integral to the success of the Predator Free 2050 programme. Their role will be to direct investment into regionally significant predator eradication projects and the breakthrough science solutions we need to achieve predator free status.”

Formation of the company was signalled in July, when the Government committed to the ambitious goal of eradicating rats, stoats and possums from New Zealand by 2050. . . 

HortNZ celebrates 100 years of representing growers:

 

Today, Horticulture New Zealand celebrates 100 years of representing growers, with its foundations in the New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation formed in 1916.

“Our focus is on uniting fruit and vegetable growers to give a strong and unified voice on matters related to our part of food supply in New Zealand and our export markets,” Horticulture New Zealand President Julian Raine says.

“Looking back at the history of the organisation, there is very much a recurring theme of creating an environment where growers can innovate and grow and in doing so, contribute to the economy with jobs and exports.” . . .

Image may contain: text and one or more people


For St Andrew’s Day

November 30, 2016

Porridge every week-day morning of my childhood was more than enough and I’ve not developed a taste for haggis or whiskey.

But my tartan genes assert themselves when I hear the pipes.

So in honour of St Andrew’s Day:

P.S. Andrew is not just the patron saint of Scotland,  Cyprus, Scotland, Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople,San Andres Island, Colombia and Saint Andrew, Barbados also honour him as their saint.

P.P.S.

Happy name day, Andrei.


Quote of the day

November 30, 2016

I am simply a ‘book drunkard.’ Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.Lucy Maud Montgomery who was born on this day in 1874.

She also said:

Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.

And:

I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.

And:

Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them.

And:

We pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self denial, anxiety and discouragement.

And:

When you’ve learned to laugh at the things that should be laughed at, and not to laugh at those that shouldn’t, you’ve got wisdom and understanding.

And:

Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it’s what they bring to the world that really counts.


November 30 in history

November 30, 2016

1554 Philip Sidney, English courtier, soldier, and writer, was born (d. 1586).

1667 Jonathan Swift, Irish writer and satirist, was born (d. 1745).

1700 – Battle of Narva — A Swedish army of 8,500 men under Charles XII defeated a much larger Russian army at Narva.

1718 – Swedish king Charles XII died during a siege of the fortress Fredriksten in Norway.

1781 – Alexander Berry, Scottish surgeon, merchant, and explorer, was born (d. 1873).

1782 – American Revolutionary War: Treaty of Paris — Representatives from the United States and Great Britain signed preliminary peace articles (later formalised as the 1783 Treaty of Paris).

1786 – Peter Leopold Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, promulgated a penal reform making his country the first state to abolish the death penalty. Consequently, November 30 is commemorated by 300 cities around the world as Cities for Life Day.

1803 – In New Orleans, Louisiana, Spanish representatives officially transferred the Louisiana Territory to a French representative.

1804 – The Democratic-Republican-controlled United States Senate began an impeachment trial against Federalist-partisan Supreme Court JusticeSamuel Chase.

1810  Oliver Winchester, American gunsmith, was born (d. 1880).

1813 – Louise-Victorine Ackermann, French poet and author was born (d. 1890).

1824 – First ground was broken at Allenburg for the building of the originalWelland Canal.

1829 – First Welland Canal opened for a trial run.

1835 Mark Twain, American writer, was born  (d. 1910).

1853 – Crimean War: Battle of Sinop — The Imperial Russian Navy under Pavel Nakhimov destroyed the Ottoman fleet under Osman Pasha at Sinop, a sea port in northern Turkey.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Franklin — The Army of Tennessee led by General John Bell Hood mounted a dramatically unsuccessful frontal assault on Union positions commanded by John McAllister Schofield around Franklin, Tennessee, Hood lost six generals and almost a third of  his troops.

1868 – The inauguration of a statue of King Charles XII of Sweden.

1872 – The first-ever international football match took place at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, between Scotland and England.

1874 –  Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel laureate,was born (d. 1965).

1874  – Lucy Maud Montgomery, English-Canadian author and poet, was born (d. 1942).

1886 – The Folies Bergère staged its first revue.

1902 – American Old West: Second-in-command of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch gang, Kid Curry Logan, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour.

1908 – A mine explosion in the mining town of Marianna, Pennsylvania killed 154.

1934 – The steam locomotive Flying Scotsman became the first to officially exceed 100mph.

1936 – The Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire.

1939 – Winter War: Soviet forces crossed the Finnish border in several places and bombed Helsinki and several other Finnish cities, starting the war.

1940 – Lucille Ball married Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Connecticut.

1942 – Guadalcanal Campaign: Battle of Tassafaronga — A smaller squadron of Japanese destroyers led by Raizō Tanaka defeated a US cruiser force under Carleton H. Wright.

1949 the first National government was elected in New Zealand, led by Sidney Holland.

Election of first National government

1949 – Matthew Festing, 79th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, was born.

1953 – Edward Mutesa II, the kabaka (king) of Buganda was deposed and exiled to London by Sir Andrew Cohen, Governor of Uganda.

1953 June Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born (d. 2006).

1954 – In Sylacauga, the Hodges Meteorite crashed through a roof and hit a woman taking an afternoon nap in the only documented case of a human being hit by a rock from space.

1955  Billy Idol (born William Michael Albert Broad), British musician, was born.

1965 – Prince Akishino, Japanese royal, was born.

1965 Ben Stiller, American actor, was born.

1966 – Barbados gained independence.

1967 – The People’s Republic of South Yemen gained independence.

1967 – The Pakistan Peoples Party was founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

1971 – Iran seized the Greater and Lesser Tunbs from the United Arab Emirates.

1981 – Cold War: Representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union began to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe.

1989 – Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen was killed by a Red Army Faction terrorist bomb.

1993 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Brady Bill) into law.

1994 – MS Achille Lauro fire off Somalia coast.

1995 – Official end of Operation Desert Storm.

1998 – Exxon and Mobil signed a $73.7 billion agreement to merge, creating Exxon-Mobil, the world’s largest company.

1999 – In Seattle, protestests against the WTO meeting by anti-globalization protesters caught police unprepared and forced the cancellation of opening ceremonies.

1999 – British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems merged to formBAE Systems, Europe’s largest defense contractor and the fourth largest aerospace firm in the world.

2004 – Longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah finally lost, leaving him with US$2,520,700, television’s biggest game show winnings.

2004 – Lion Air Flight 538 crash landed in Surakarta, Central Java, killing 26.

2005 – John Sentamu became the first black archbishop in the Church of England with his enthronement as the 97th Archbishop of York.

2012  – An Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane belonging to Aéro-Service, crashed into houses near Maya-Maya Airport during a thunderstorm, killing at least 32 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

November 29, 2016

A busload of Spanish farmers visited our farm today.

They were on a tight schedule and a brief visit complicated by most not speaking much English and my Spanish being rusty.

But, with the help of an interpreter, my farmer and I were able to tell some of our story and learn a little of theirs.

While we didn’t understand every word of what was said, it didn’t matter because in our hearts we were speaking the language of farming and our shared passion didn’t need to be translated.

Today I’m grateful for the passion for the land and farming which transcend national boundaries and language differences.

 


Ray Columbus 1942 – 2016

November 29, 2016

New Zealand pop legend Ray Columbus has died.

The Christchurch-born and raised entertainer will be remembered for his stylish dress, his unique dancing style and a string of hit records.

The single ‘She’s a Mod’ in 1964 cemented Ray Columbus and the Invaders a place in New Zealand music history, when it reached the top of the charts in Australia. . . .

I remember him on the TV programme C’Mon and going dewey-eyed over this song:


Word of the day

November 29, 2016

Flustrated – frustrated to the point of being flustered, flustered to the point of being frustrated.


Rural round-up

November 29, 2016

Quake cuts off milk for months – Alan Williams:

Don Galletly has been working on developing his Canterbury dairy farm but the earthquake has put a stop to that while he repairs the work already done. But with his cows dispersed to 13 other farms he won’t be producing any more milk this season.

Waiau dairy farmer Don Galletly was all over the television news but didn’t have time to watch it – he was too busy sorting out his wrecked milking shed and what to do with his cows.

The cows were dispersed across other farms in the wider district over the next two days and  the other work  then took up all his time. . . 

Govt bill gives farmers breathing room on quake repairs:

The government has unveiled three urgent bills to speed up the recovery effort following the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake.

Acting Minister of Civil Defence Gerry Brownlee says the government will today introduce a bill amending the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act and a separate Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery Bill.

The latter bill – aimed specifically speeding up the quake recovery – will temporarily increase the timeframes for applying for retrospective consent for emergency post-earthquake work.

It will also give farmers the ability to ask for permission for emergency work until March next year. . . 

Meat exporters and farmers must get used to change– Allan Barber:

As if Brexit wasn’t a big enough shock, the US presidential election has really set the cat amongst the pigeons. Commentators of all nationalities and political inclinations have literally no idea how a Trump presidency will affect the world order, from trade agreements and global interest rates to immigration or deportation, let alone internal security issues and relationships with other nations.

After predictions of imminent disaster, share markets have been cautiously positive and interest rates have started to rise, while there has been an initial fall in the New Zealand dollar. This has nothing to do with our dollar, but merely reflects its relative global importance; however, it provides a small but welcome relief. . . .

Big names in farming get behind plan to reduce death and injury rate – Gerard Hutching:

Farmers need to move on from the risky culture that previous generations operated under if farming is to become a safer job, says Rangitikei dairy farmer Stuart Taylor.

Speaking at the launch of the Agricultural Leaders’ Health and Safety Action Group, Taylor said farming was no longer in its pioneering phase when people took risks and endured pain.

“My grandfather and father used to like talking about their physical toughness, and how they used to break in the land. They had that culture of endurance and overcoming pain.

Innovator wins top prize with a hay bin – Jill Galloway:

Chelsea Hirst’s design for a hay bin that cuts wastage for horses has won the Innovate competition.

Run by Manawatu based-Building Clever Companies (BCC), the contest finds the top new business ideas which could be marketed.

Five of the six best people presented their ideas to three judges, to decide the winner.

They included 11 year-old Riley Kinloch with his Kozy Kennel, a solar heated kennel for dogs, Doug Tietjens with his exercise pack, Chelsea Hirst with her hay feeder, and a quiet door closer, as well as high school student Maqueen-Davies with her SWAG kids healthy dairy food for time poor parents to put in kid’s lunch boxes.

How to spend 10 years married to a farmer – Wag’n Tales:

1) Be patient – When he tells you to pick him up at the Lone Tree Quarter and you go to the quarter of land that has the only tree on it and he tells you that he meant the quarter of land that had one tree on it when his grandfather was farming…well, that’s just how farmers think.

2) Be flexible – When he says that he’ll be in the house in 20 minutes for supper and you get everything ready and then two hours later he walks in the door saying that some salesman had stopped and that he didn’t buy anything, but time just got away from him…well, maybe he should be the flexible one. That way he can duck when you throw the plate at him. . . 

 


Quote of the day

November 29, 2016

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.  – C.S. Lewis who was born on this day in 1898.

He also said:

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.

And:

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.

And:

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

And:

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

And:

Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.

And:

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

And:

We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

And:

This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.


November 29 in history

November 29, 2016

800 – Charlemagne arrived at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III.

939 – Edmund was crowned King of England as his half-brother Aethelstan died.

1394 – The Korean king Yi Song-gye, founder of the Joseon-Dynasty, moved the capital from Kaesŏng to Hanyang, today known as Seoul.

1777 – San Jose, California, was founded as el Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe.

1781 – The crew of the British slave ship Zong murdered 133 Africans by dumping them into the sea in order to claim insurance.

1807 – The Portuguese Royal Family left Lisbon to escape from Napoleonic troops.

1830 – November Uprising: An armed rebellion against Russia’s rule in Poland began.

1832  Louisa May Alcott, American novelist, was born (d. 1888).

1845 – The Sonderbund was defeated by the joint forces of other Swiss cantons under General Guillaume-Henri Dufour.

1847 – Whitman Massacre: Missionaries Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa, and 15 others were killed by Cayuse and Umatilla Indians, causing the Cayuse War.

1849  Sir John Ambrose Fleming, British physicist, was born (d. 1945).

1850 – The treaty, Punctation of Olmütz, signed in Olomouc meant diplomatic capitulation of Prussia to Austrian Empire, which took over the leadership of German Confederation.

1864 – Indian Wars: Sand Creek Massacre – Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington massacred at least 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Spring Hill – Confederate advance into Tennessee missed the opportunity to crush the Union army.

1872 – Indian Wars: The Modoc War began with the Battle of Lost River.

1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrated his phonograph for the first time.

1890 – The Meiji Constitution went into effect in Japan and the first Diet convened.

1893 Elizabeth Yates became the first woman in the British Empire to win a mayoral election when she became Mayor of Onehunga.
First woman mayor in British Empire elected   First woman mayor in British Empire elected

1893 – Ziqiang Institute, today known as Wuhan University, was founded by Zhang Zhidong.

1898  C. S. Lewis, Irish writer, was born(d. 1963).

1899 – Spanish football club FC Barcelona was founded by Joan Gamper.

19920  – Elizabeth Choy, Malaysian-Singaporean educator and politician was born (d. 2006).

1910 – The first US  patent for inventing the traffic lights system was issued to Ernest E. Sirrine.

1913 – Fédération Internationale d’Escrime, the international organizing body of competitive fencing was founded in Paris.

1917  Merle Travis, American singer/guitarist, was born (d. 1983).

1922 – Howard Carter opened the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun to the public.

1929 – U.S. Admiral Richard Byrd became the first person to fly over the South Pole.

1932 Jacques Chirac, French President, was born.

1933 John Mayall, British blues musician, was born.

1943 – Janet Holmes à Court, Australian businesswoman and philanthropist, was born.

1943 – The second session of AVNOJ, the Anti-fascist council of national liberation of Yugoslavia, was held determining the post-war ordering of the country.

1944 – The first surgery (on a human) to correct blue baby syndrome was performed by Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.

1944 – Albania was liberated by the Albanian partisans.

1945 – The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was declared.

1947 – Malcolm Grant, New Zealand-English lawyer and academic was born.

Malcolm Grant 2007.jpg

1947 – The United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine (The Partition Plan).

1950 – Korean War: North Korean and Chinese troops force United Nations forces to retreat from North Korea.

1952 – Korean War: U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled a campaign promise by traveling to Korea to find out what can be done to end the conflict.

1953 – Jackie French, Australian author, was born.

1958 – John Dramani Mahama, Ghanaian historian and politician, 4th President of Ghana, was born.

1961 –  Mercury-Atlas 5 Mission – Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched into space.

1963 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

1963 – Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 831: A Douglas DC-8 carrying 118, crashed after taking-off.

1965 – Canadian Space Agency launched the satellite Alouette 2.

1972 – Nolan Bushnell (co-founder of Atari) released Pong (the first commercially successful video game) in Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California.

1987 – Korean Air Flight 858 exploded over the Thai-Burmese border, killing 155.

1990 – The United Nations Security Council passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 678, authorizing “use all necessary means to uphold and implement” United Nations Security Council Resolution 660″ to restore international peace and security” if Iraq did not withdraw its forces from Kuwait and free all foreign hostages by January 15, 1991.

2007 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines laid siege to The Peninsula Manila after soldiers led by Senator Antonio Trillanes staged a mutiny.

2007 – A 7.4 magnitude earthquake off the northern coast of Martinique.

2009  – Maurice Clemmons shot and killed four police officers inside a coffee shop in Lakewood, Washington.

2013 – LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 crashed in Namibia, killing 33 people.

2014  – Taiwan local elections, the Democratic Progressive Party won a landslide victory.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

November 28, 2016

One of the Domestic Goddess’s rules of relativity states that the length of the vacuum cleaner cord will always, but always, be fractionally shorter than the length required to clean a given space.

Enter the extension cord which allows me to clean the whole living room and part of the hall without the need to unplug, find another socket and re-plug the cleaner.

For this simple solution to a domestic irritant, I’m grateful.


Word of the day

November 28, 2016

Despot – a ruler or other person who holds absolute power, typically one who exercises it in a cruel or oppressive way; a cruel, all-controlling ruler; autocrat, tyrant.


Rural round-up

November 28, 2016

Aiming for better public science understanding – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Interactions between agriculture and the environment have rarely been so much in the face of the public, and finding a path for the future is proving challenging.

Should New Zealand remain GE-free, ban glyphosate and embrace organics, or should it lead in adopting new technologies to increase efficiencies whilst minimising impact on the environment?

The general problem is that decisions have to be made on issues which arouse high public interest, and where knowledge is incomplete and complexity great. These issues are almost always linked to values, emotions and personal experience — what the Prime Minister’s chief science advisor, professor Sir Peter Gluckman, describes as “the political power of the anecdote”. . .

Improved environmental performance to provide long-term strategic value for New Zealand’s agri sector– industry report:

Improved environmental sustainability should provide long-term strategic value to New Zealand’s food and agri sector, according to a recently-released report by agricultural banking specialist Rabobank.

In the report, Sustainable Returns: Finding the value in Environmental Sustainability, Rabobank says two major types of value have been identified for farmers and food & agribusiness (F&A) companies from improved environmental practices – the immediate monetary benefit of these practices (from a price premium) and the long-term strategic advantages that provide growth and prosperity into the future.

Report author, Rabobank rural manager Sustainable Farm Systems, Blake Holgate says the type of value farmers and F&A companies can derive will vary depending on the product they are producing, how they are producing it, where they sit on the supply chain, and who the end consumer is. . . 

Stronger farm partnerships beneficial:

A national programme to increase profitability and productivity of sheep and beef farmers by strengthening farming partnerships is being scaled up to reach 2800 farms.

Since 2014, almost 500 women involved in sheep and beef farming businesses have completed the Understanding Your Farming Business (UYFB) programme, designed and delivered by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT).  That included 50 women who last month graduated from the similar AWDT programme for Maori women, Wahine Maia Wahine Whenua.

The four-month programme, funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership , builds business and communication skills, and confidence of farming women, empowering them to view themselves and their farming roles differently and help lift farm performance. . . 

South Island leaders in for Australasian agri-business award

2017 Zanda McDonald Award shortlist announced

Three young agriculturalists from the South Island have made it through to the next stage of the 2017 Zanda McDonald Award. The three – Morgan Easton, a 33 year old farm owner and sharemilker from Oamaru, Jolene Germann, a 32 year old dairy consultant from Invercargill and Henry Pinckney, a 34 year old farm owner from Waiau were selected for their impressive leadership skills, passion for their work and determination to make improvements to the agricultural industry.

The three will head to Brisbane next month for the interview round for a place in the finals. They will be up against Australia’s Anna Speer, CEO of AuctionsPlus, Will Creek, a Stud Manager at Stanbroke and Airlie Trescowthick, a business analyst and managing director of The Farm Table. . . .

In the running for agribusiness award – Sally Rae:

Papakaio dairy farmer Morgan Easton has been shortlisted for the 2017 Zanda McDonald Award.

The Australasian agribusiness award was launched by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group in 2014.

It was in memory of Australian beef industry leader and PPP foundation member Zanda McDonald, who died in 2013 after an accident at his Queensland property.

Mr Easton (33), along with Invercargill-based dairy consultant Jolene Germann (32) and Waiau farmer Henry Pinckney (34), have made it through to the next stage of the award.

The trio were selected for their “impressive leadership skills, passion for their work and determination to make improvements to the agricultural industry”. . . 

New plan to target Mackenzie wilding conifers:

A new strategy for tackling wilding conifers in the Mackenzie Basin has been announced today by Conservation Ministers Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner.

“Currently, wilding conifers impact on almost a quarter of land in the Mackenzie Basin, and without further control they will spread and take over large areas of farm and conservation land,” Ms Barry says.

“Wilding conifers are a major threat to our ecosystems, land and farms. These invasive self-sown trees spread fast and are very hard to eliminate once established.

“Prevention is the best form of management. Removing young seedlings now, before they start producing seeds, costs less than $10 per hectare, but removing mature trees can cost $10,000 per hectare.” . . .

National milk production down 1.5%:

Despite New Zealand dairy farmers receiving the lowest milk prices in 20 seasons, milk production dropped just 1.5%.

That was one of the New Zealand Dairy Statistics 2015-16 released on November 14 by DairyNZ and LIC. They revealed there were 52 fewer herds and 20,522 fewer cows than in 2014-15.

Dairy companies processed 20.9 billion litres of milk containing 1.86 billion kilograms of milk solids in 2015-16. The previous season, they handled 21.2 billion litres of milk, with 1.89 billion kilograms of milk solids. . . 

Increase in seasonal workers for RSE:

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced an increase in the number of seasonal workers who can come to New Zealand to work in the horticulture and viticulture industry under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

The current cap will be increased by 1,000 from 9,500 to 10,500 RSE workers for the 2016-17 season.

Mr Woodhouse says the horticulture and viticulture industry is New Zealand’s fourth largest export industry, producing almost $5 billion in exports. . . 

Kiwifruit industry welcomes Government decision on seasonal workers:

• 1000 additional seasonal workers for horticulture

• RSE workers support New Zealanders who remain primary workforce

The kiwifruit industry has welcomed the Government’s announcement of an additional 1000 seasonal workers for the coming season.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) Chief Executive Nikki Johnson says the extra workers in the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme are essential to support the kiwifruit industry’s strong growth. . . 

Crown Irrigation Invests up to $3.4m in North Canterbury – some good news for the region:

Crown Irrigation Investments will invest up to $3.4m in the Hurunui Water Project, an irrigation scheme that will be capable of irrigating up to 21,000 hectares on the south side of the Hurunui River in North Canterbury.

The scheme infrastructure includes water intakes from the Hurunui and Waitohi rivers, with both on plain and dam storage, and a pressurised piped distribution system. The current project cost estimate is approximately $200 million. . . 

Hurunui irrigation funding welcomed:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming an investment of $3.4 million into the Hurunui Water Project by Crown Irrigation Investments.

“This is fantastic news for North Canterbury after the recent earthquakes and severe drought they have suffered through,” says Mr Guy.

The Hurunui Water Project is a $200 million irrigation scheme capable of irrigating up to 21,000 hectares within an area of around 60,000ha on the south side of the Hurunui River in North Canterbury. . . 

New Zealand Bloodstock – a victim of its own success:

The record turnout for last week’s New Zealand Bloodstock’s (NZB) Ready to Run Sale at Karaka shows our bloodstock industry is still punching well above its weight says Crowe Horwath’s bloodstock specialist Hayden Dillon. As interest from Australian and Asian buyers continues to grow, the sale saw a record number of entries with 552 horses offered, however, this was tempered by a low clearance rate of 60% compared to the 81% of last year’s record-breaking sale, which left a number of vendors taking their horses back home. Dillon, says “the industry should take comfort that this is not a structural issue for the sale, rather growing pains, and NZB and the vendors will be making adjustments as necessary for the 2017 sale.” . . .

The Cambodian farmers paid to protect birds:

Rice farmers in Cambodia are battling falling regional rice prices and a black market that’s been undercutting them.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, together with a firm called Ibis Rice, is offering to pay above market price for the rice.

In return, the farmers must help protect Cambodia’s national bird – the Giant Ibis. . .


Death of a despot

November 28, 2016

Fidel Castro’s death has been met with a mixed response.

Some praise him for overthrowing the dictator Fulgencio Batista and improvements in health and education in Cuba.

Others, like Carlos Eire (Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University, condemn him:

If this were a just world, 13 facts would be etched on Castro’s tombstone and highlighted in every obituary, as bullet points — a fitting metaphor for someone who used firing squads to murder thousands of his own people.

●He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.

●He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.

●He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.

●He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.

●He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.

●He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.

●He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.

●He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.

●He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.

●He censored all means of expression and communication.

●He established a fraudulent school system that provided indoctrination rather than education, and created a two-tier health-care system, with inferior medical care for the majority of Cubans and superior care for himself and his oligarchy, and then claimed that all his repressive measures were absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of these two ostensibly “free” social welfare projects.

●He turned Cuba into a labyrinth of ruins and established an apartheid society in which millions of foreign visitors enjoyed rights and privileges forbidden to his people.

●He never apologized for any of his crimes and never stood trial for them.

There might be diplomatic reasons for world leaders to couch their words about Castro in a way that keeps the door to Cuba open.

But when a despot dies it is more than acceptable for the rest of us to speak ill of the dead.

Hat tip: AE Ideas.


Quote of the day

November 28, 2016

I think housework is far more tiring and frightening than hunting is, no comparison, and yet after hunting we had eggs for tea and were made to rest for hours, but after housework people expect one to go on just as if nothing special had happened. – Nancy Mitford who was born on this day in 1904.

She also said:

The great advantage of living in a large family is that early lesson of life’s essential unfairness.

And:

The worst of being a Communist is the parties you may go to are – well – awfully funny and touching but not very gay…I don’t see the point of sad parties, do you? And Left-wing people are always sad because they mind dreadfully about their causes, and the causes are always going so badly.

And:

If one can’t be happy, one must be amused….


November 28 in history

November 28, 2016

1095 – On the last day of the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II appointed Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy and Count Raymond IV of Toulouse to lead the First Crusade to the Holy Land.

1443 – Skanderbeg and his forces liberated Kruja in Middle Albania.

1520 – After navigating through the South American strait, three ships under the command of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first Europeans to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

1582 – William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway paid a £40 bond for their marriage licence.

1628  John Bunyan, English cleric and author. was born (d. 1688).

1632 Jean-Baptiste Lully, French composer, was born  (d. 1687).

1660 – At Gresham College, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decided to found what became the Royal Society.

1729 – Natchez Indians massacred 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children at Fort Rosalie.

1757 – William Blake, British poet, was born  (d. 1827).

1785 – The Treaty of Hopewell was signed.

1811 – Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, was premiered at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.

1814 – The Times in London was for the first time printed by automatic, steam-powered presses built by German inventors Friedrich KoenigandAndreas Friedrich Bauer, signalling the beginning of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience.

1820  Friedrich Engels, German philosopher, was born (d. 1895).

1821 – Panama Independence Day: Panama separated from Spain and joined Gran Colombia.

1829  Anton Rubinstein, Russian composer, was born (d. 1894).

1843 – Ka Lā Hui: Hawaiian Independence Day – The Kingdom of Hawaiiwas officially recognised by the United Kingdom and France as an independent nation.

1862 – American Civil War: In the Battle of Cane Hill, Union troops under General John Blunt defeated General John Marmaduke’s Confederates.

1893 – Women voted in a national election for the first time in the New Zealand general election.

Women vote in first general election

1895 – The first American automobile race took place over the 54 miles from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea won in approximately 10 hours.

1904  Nancy Mitford, British essayist, was born (d. 1973).

1905 – Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith founded Sinn Féin as a political party with the main aim of establishing a dual monarchy in Ireland.

1907 – In Haverhill, Massachusetts, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayeropened his first movie theatre.

1910 – Eleftherios Venizelos, leader of the Liberal Party, won the Greek election again.

1912 – Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

1914 – World War I: Following a war-induced closure in July, the New York Stock Exchange re-opened for bond trading.

1918 – Bucovina voted for the union with the Kingdom of Romania.

1919 – Lady Astor was elected as a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. (Countess Markiewicz, the first to be elected, refused to sit.)

1920 – Irish War of Independence: Kilmichael Ambush – The Irish Republican Army ambush a convoy of British Auxiliaries and kill seventeen.

1929 – Ernie Nevers of the then Chicago Cardinals scores all of the Cardinals’ points in this game as the Cardinals defeat the Chicago Bears40-6.

1933  Hope Lange, American actress, was born (d. 2003).

1942 Manolo Blahnik, Spanish shoe designer, was born.

1942 – In Boston a fire in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub killed 491 people.

1943 – World War II: Tehran ConferenceU.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met in Tehran, Iran to discuss war strategy.

1948  Beeb Birtles, Dutch-Australian musician/singer-songwriter; co-founding member of Little River Band, was born.

1958 – Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon became autonomous republics within the French Community.

1960 – Mauritania became independent of France.

1961 Martin Clunes, British actor, was born.

1962  Matt Cameron, American drummer (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), was born.

1964 – NASA launched the Mariner 4 probe toward Mars.

1972 – Last executions in Paris, of the Clairvaux Mutineers, Roger Bontems and Claude Buffet, guillotined at La Sante Prison.

1975 – East Timor declared its independence from Portugal.

1975 – As the World Turns and The Edge of Night, the final two American soap operas that had resisted going to pre-taped broadcasts, aired their last live episodes.

1979 – Flight TE901, an Air New Zealand sightseeing flight over Antarctica,crashed into the lower slopes of Mt Erebus, near Scott Base, killing all 257 passengers and crew on board.

257 killed in Mt Erebus disaster

1984 – More than 250 years after their deaths, William Penn and his wifeHannah Callowhill Penn were made Honorary Citizens of the United States.

1987 – South African Airways flight 295 crashed into the Indian Ocean, killing all 159 people on-board.

1989 –  Velvet Revolution – In the face of protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced it would give up its monopoly on political power.

1991 – South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia.

2008 An Air NZ Airbus A320 crashed off the coast of France.

Air NZ A320 crashes in France

2013 – A 5.6 earthquake in Iran killed seven people and injured 45.

2014  – Gunmen set off three bombs at the central mosque in the northern city of Kano killing at least 120 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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