366 days of gratitude

December 6, 2016

The piano came with the house which came with the farm which came with my farmer when we married.

It was tuned regularly when played regularly but for the last few years it has been neither played regularly nor tuned.

As pianos that aren’t tuned are wont to do, it didn’t sound as good as it should and it was only when a visitor tried playing it a couple of weeks ago that I realised how bad it was.

I called a tuner and who came out from town today.

Three hours later the piano was back to concert pitch.

My mother told me I’d regret not continuing with musical lessons when I was a child and she’s right. But I learned, and have remembered, enough to play simple tunes when no-one else is close enough to be annoyed by it and I’ve been playing Christmas carols to myself this evening.

The pianist has more enthusiasm than talent but the piano can’t be faulted and I’m very grateful to the tuner for that.

P.S.

My playing reminds me of the story of the child who came home from school and reported that the new teacher was a better pianist than her mother because the teacher could perform with only one hand.

 

 


Word of the day

December 6, 2016

Athwart – from side to side of; across, especially in an oblique direction, crosswise; transversely.; : in opposition to the right or expected course; counter to; so as to be perverse or contradictory.


Rural round-up

December 6, 2016

Farm and research hub all go – Sally Rae:

Work is under way to convert the site of the new Southern Dairy Hub at Makarewa, near Invercargill, into a working dairy farm and centre for science and research.

Last week, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce climbed aboard an excavator to shift  earth at the site of the new dairy shed.

DairyNZ and AgResearch  are the principal shareholders in the hub,  investing $5million each, while local farmers and businesses  have contributed a further $1.25million through the Southern Dairy Development Trust. . . 

McKay still entranced by cavalcade – Sally Rae:

When Jeanette McKay saddled up for the first Otago Goldfields Cavalcade in 1991, it was to prove to be an “epic journey”.

A blizzard hit the trail, resulting in nine people being treated for hypothermia, but it failed to dampen her enthusiasm for the event.

Mrs McKay (71), from Springvale, near Alexandra, is among a handful of equine enthusiasts who have taken part in every cavalcade. And she will be hitting the trail again for next year’s 25th anniversary event which finishes in Omakau on March 4. The event still maintained its “magic” for the cavalcade veteran who always hoped it would “enthuse people to do more trekking, to see more of the country”. . . .

Healthy Rivers Plan Needs a Rethink:

Federated Farmers is calling for the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora project in the Waikato to be put on hold.

This follows the Waikato Regional Council’s intention to withdraw 120,000 hectares from the original proposed Plan Change 1.

The decision was made after Hauraki iwi raised concerns around the consultation process.

As a result, an area of land of interest to iwi will be ‘partially withdrawn’ as a step towards future consultation with Hauraki iwi. . . 

Concrete for 50 years peace of mind – Mark Daniel:

As the milk price nuzzles $6/kgMS, dairy farmers with financial clout can again turn to dealing with effluent and some equipment makers can cease holding their breath.

One dairy farmer who has the effluent problem under control is John van Heuven, who with his wife Maria milks 500 cows on 165ha at Johmar Farms on the outskirts of Matamata.

Having decided to increase cow numbers and install a 54-bail rotary for 2015, van Heuven decided to upgrade effluent storage, which had capacity for 1.5 milkings and needed closer attention. . . 

NZ milk processors including Miraka lift forecast payouts, boosting economic outlook – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Advances in whole milk powder prices at recent GlobalDairyTrade auctions is bolstering the outlook for New Zealand’s largest export commodity and prompting milk processors to hike their forecast payout levels to farmers this season, signalling a boost ahead for the local economy.

Taupo-based milk processor Miraka hiked its base forecast late last week to a range of $5.80-to-$6 per kilogram of milk solids, joining Open Country Dairy which raised its forecast to $5.60-to-$5.90/kgMS, Westland Milk Products with a range of $5.50-to-$5.90/kgMS, and both Synlait Milk and Fonterra Cooperative Group at $6/kgMS. Dairy NZ currently estimates the average farmer will break even at a milk price of $5.05/kgMS. . . 

Lamb flap prices rise to 20-month high as higher Chinese demand meets lower NZ supply – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Prices for the humble lamb flap are on a tear, hitting their highest level in 20 months, driven by increased demand from China and lower supply from New Zealand.

While prices for a leg of lamb in the UK and beef for meat patties in the US are being impacted by weak demand, the price for lamb flaps rose to US$5.10 per kilogram in November, from US$4.70/kg in October and US$3.80/kg for the same period a year earlier, according to AgriHQ’s latest monthly sheep & beef report. That’s the highest level recorded by AgriHQ’s since March 2015. . . 

Major dairy farming portfolio placed on the market for sale:

One of New Zealand’s larger private-structured dairy farming operations – producing some $8.5 million worth of milk a year – has been placed on the market for sale.

The portfolio of Otago farms encompasses four stand-alone dairying operations located some 15 kilometres south-west of Oamaru. They are owned by Oamaru-based company Borst Holdings Ltd.

Combined, the 992 hectares of land produce a whopping 1,418,000 kilograms of milk solids annually from a herd of 3380 animals. The four operations within the portfolio are:
• Pleasant Creek Farm – a 321 hectare property split into 42 paddocks, milking 980 cows. The farm has five dwellings – including a five-bedroom executive style homestead, a four-bedroom manager’s residence, a second four- bedroom dwelling, and a trio of two-bedroom staff quarters in various configurations. . . 

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Opposition hasn’t changed

December 6, 2016

The left is excited over Prime Minister John Key’s decision to step-down.

They see an opportunity because the popular man leading the popular government won’t be in the limelight anymore.

But nothing has changed in the Opposition.

MMP drags governments to the centre and Labour has been dragged left by the Green Party, leaving those disaffected by that but not keen on National to go to New Zealand First.

Opposition parties might get a bit of a lift in polls while people wait to see what the new leader does but they haven’t given any but polls consistently show support changing within the left not growing by taking votes from the centre.

The opposition hasn’t been giving swinging voters anything to vote for and a change in National leadership won’t change that.

National has been cohesive and united under its current leader and the caucus knows that if it wants to win the next election it must maintain the same cohesion and loyalty under the new one.

A change in leadership will provide an opportunity for further refreshment in cabinet but it won’t bring a radical change in direction or change the focus on strong economic management which is needed to fund much-needed infrastructure and social policy that works.

 

 


Quote of the day

December 6, 2016

 A song without music is a lot like H2 without the O. Ira Gershwin who was born on this day in 1896.

He also said:

One can be very happy without demanding that others agree with them.

And:

The future of this nation, with the present generation, You must admit is nothing but a joke.


December 6 in history

December 6, 2016

1060 – Béla I of Hungary was crowned king of Hungary.

1240 – Mongol invasion of Rus: Kiev under Danylo of Halych and Voivode Dmytro fell to the Mongols under Batu Khan.

1534 The city of Quito in Ecuador was founded by Spanish settlers led bySebastián de Belalcázar.

1642 – Johann Christoph Bach, German organist and composer, was born (d. 1703).

1648 Colonel Pride of the New Model Army purged the Long Parliament of MPs sympathetic to King Charles I  in order for the King’s trial to go ahead; –  “Pride’s Purge“.

1704 – Battle of Chamkaur.

1721 – James Elphinston, Scottish philologist and educator, was born (d. 1809).

1745 – Charles Edward Stewart’s  army began retreat during the second Jacobite Rising.

1768 The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was published.

1792 – William II of the Netherlands was born (d. 1849).

1849 American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery.

1865 – The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, banning slavery.

1872 – Arthur Henry Adams, Australian journalist and author, was born (d. 1936).

1877  The first edition of the Washington Post was published.

1877 – Thomas Edison created the first recording of a human voice, reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

1884 The Washington Monument in Washington D.C. was completed.

1887 – Lynn Fontanne, British actress, was born (d. 1983).

1896 – Ira Gershwin, American songwriter, was born (d. 1983).

1897  London became the world’s first city to host licensed taxicabs.

1900  Agnes Moorehead, American actress, was born (d. 1974).

1905 – For the first time in New Zealand’s electoral history, registered voters who were away from their electorate on polling day were able to cast a ‘special’ absentee vote at any polling booth in the country.

Special votes cast in general election

1905 – Elizabeth Yates, American journalist and author, was born (d. 2001).

1907 –  A coal mine explosion at Monongah, West Virginia killed 362 workers.

1908 – Pierre Graber, Swiss lawyer and politician, 69th President of the Swiss Confederation, was born (d. 2003).

1916 – Kristján Eldjárn, Icelandic educator and politician, 3rd President of Iceland, was born (d. 1982).

1917 Finland declared independence from Russia.

1917  Halifax Explosion: A munitions explosion killed more than 1900 people and destroyed part of the City of Halifax.

1917 – Irv Robbins, Canadian-American businessman, co-founded Baskin-Robbins, was born (d. 2008).

1921 The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in London by British and Irish representatives.

1922 The Irish Free State came into existence

1933 U.S. federal judge John M. Woolsey ruled that the James Joyce‘s novel Ulysses was not obscene.

1935 New Zealand’s first Labour government took office with Michael Joseph Savage as Prime Minister.

First Labour government takes office

1947 The Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated.

1952  – Charles Bronson, English criminal, was born.

1956 – Aged 14, swimmer Sandra Morgan became the youngest Australian to win an Olympic gold medal.

1957 –  A launchpad explosion of Vanguard TV3 thwarted the first United States’ attempt to launch a satellite into Earth orbit.

1965 – Pakistan’s Islamic Ideology Advisory Committee recommended that Islamic Studies be made a compulsory subject for Muslim students from primary to graduate level.

1967 – Adrian Kantrowitz performed the first human heart transplant in the United States.

1975 – Balcombe Street Siege: An IRA Active Service Unit took a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London.

1977 – South Africa granted independence to Bophuthatswana, although it was not recognized by any other country.

1978 – Spain approved its latest constitution in a referendum.

1982 – Droppin Well bombing: The Irish National Liberation Army detonated a bomb in Ballykelly, killing eleven British soldiers and six civilians.

1988 – The Australian Capital Territory was granted self-government.

1989 The École Polytechnique Massacre (or Montreal Massacre): an anti-feminist gunman murdered 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

1992 – Extremist Hindu activists demolished Babri Masjid – a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya, India which had been used as a temple since 1949.

1997 – A Russian Antonov An-124 cargo plane crashed into an apartment complex near Irkutsk, Siberia, killing 67.

1998 – Hugo Chávez Frías, Venezuelan military officer and politician, was elected President of Venezuela.

2005 – Several villagers were shot dead during protests in Dongzhou,China.

2006 – NASA revealed photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyorsuggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.

2008 – The 2008 Greek riots broke out upon the murder of a 15-year-old boy, Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

2015 – Venezuelan elections were held and for the first time in 17 years the United Socialist Party of Venezuela lost its majority in parliament.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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