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


366 days of gratitude

November 27, 2016

The rule of never leaving today’s after-party cleaning for tomorrow is one to which we usually adhere but it was broken last night.

This morning my farmer and I woke up to the task of clearing and cleaning all we hadn’t attended to last night.

There was quite a lot to do and doing it took longer than it ought to have.

First there was the distraction of the All Blacks vs Ireland test match and responding to the request to message updates to a French friend in Spain who was unable to see the match live.

Then a couple of Irish friends arrived and chatting to them was much more fun than domestic duties.

But by the end of the afternoon the house was clean and tidy again.

Now it’s looking so much better for having looked worse earlier and I’m grateful for both the contrast and that I won’t be waking to yesterday’s mess tomorrow.

 


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