366 days of gratitude

December 19, 2016

In Auckland last week I was surprised at how dark it got so quickly and so much earlier than at that time at home.

I’m typing this at 9:34.  The sun’s gone down but outside it’s still light enough to see clearly and I haven’t put the light on in my office yet.

Tonight I’m grateful for the southern twilight.

 


Word of the day

December 19, 2016

Fractal – a curve or geometrical figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole; a never-ending pattern; an object whose parts, at infinitely many levels of magnification, appear geometrically similar to the whole.


Rural round-up

December 19, 2016

Alliance develops super lamb – Jamie Gray:

Invercargill-based meat company Alliance Group has developed what it says is a new, tastier, class of lamb.

Alliance is part of the Omega Lamb Primary Growth Partnership – a group of 50 high country farmers and the Ministry for Primary industries – which was formed to come up with an improved product aimed at the premium end of the market.

The partnership aims to increase the total value of lamb and the share of value captured in New Zealand by building high quality, branded products.

Initial feedback from chefs and high end restaurants for the new class has so far been favourable, Mike Tate, general manager of the project, said. . . .

Tinwald bows out – Annette Scott:

The hub of Mid Canterbury’s livestock trading sold stock for the final time last Tuesday marking the end of a once-thriving sheep industry in the district.

As he opened the last-ever weekly sale PGG Wrighston Mid Canterbury livestock manager Greg Cook welcomed a large gathering of farmers, transport operators and drivers, former yardmen and past and present livestock agents.

“This a big turnout to acknowledge the history that goes with the end of an era for Tinwald,” Cook said.

The big yarding of more than 1500 prime sheep was a fitting farewell for 138 years of memories for the local farming community, he said. . .

Greaney at home as Tatum leader – Hugh Strigleman:

Brendhan Greaney feels right at home as the new chief executive of Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company and not just because he has served six years as operations general manager before his promotion.

He was born and raised three kilometres down State Highway 26 from Tatuanui, at Waitoa, where his father Claude was a site manager for New Zealand Dairy Group. . . 

Grass proves most profitable at research farm :

A grass-system dairy farm returned the best profit in the 2015-16 season compared to a cropping farm and a PKE supplement system in an ongoing trial in Northland.

The trial, on the Northland Agricultural Research Farm (NARF) is run by the Northland Dairy Development Trust (with NARF) and is funded by DairyNZ, MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund and Hine Rangi Trust.

Farm working expenses per kg of milk solids were $3.59, $4.20 and $4.01, respectively, for the grass-only, cropping and PKE farms, says Chris Boom, AgFirst Northland, and Kate Reed, NARF farm manager, speaking at a field day this month. . . 

Last bid at world shearing record – Yvonne O’Hara:

Attempting a world shearing record over eight hours is similar to running two marathons, Roxburgh shearer Eru Weeds says.
However, regardless of whether he and his team-mates succeed or fail in the attempt, it will be the last time he attempts such a challenge.

Along with fellow shearers James Mack, of Dannevirke, and Luke Mullins, of Taihape, Mr Weeds, who is in Hawke’s Bay working, will attempt to set a world record for shearing ewes over eight hours on January 17 at Waitara Station near Napier.

He said the record was 1349. . . 

Theft of stock alleged  – Simon Hartley:

Allegations of widespread stock theft across the lower South Island have rocked Otago’s farming community, which collectively could be hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Whether the allegations could be defined as poaching, theft or fraud is as yet unclear.

While the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is potentially looking at a wider alleged-fraud operation, police are only dealing with reports of individual cases of theft.

However, shell companies may have been used and there are claims farmers across Otago, and further afield, could collectively be hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket, with hundreds of cattle stolen. . . 

 


Regions need immigrants

December 19, 2016

The hospitality industry outside main centers is in desperate need of staff:

A serious shortage of kitchen staff has seen renowned Moeraki restaurateur Fleur Sullivan resort to washing the dishes herself.

“We’re going into summer with a skeleton staff. It’s terrifying at the moment.

“I’ve been doing the dishes flat out.” 

Sullivan, who is advertising for three chefs and also needs a dish washer and a kitchen hand, is desperate to bolster her team before the visitor peak hits bringing more than 200 diners a day. 

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said staff shortages were an issue throughout the country, but small towns and isolated areas were really struggling to recruit cafe, bar and restaurant workers.

In a recent survey 65 per cent of hospitality businesses reported extreme difficulty hiring chefs with positions advertised repeatedly to find suitable candidates. . . .

When employers have a vacancy they have to establish there are no local people who can do the work before they’re able to take on a worker from overseas.

The position has to be advertised and employers have to liaise with WINZ to ensure no-one who is registered as unemployed would be suitable.

The pool of local labour in a small place like Moeraki is very, very small.

Any locals who can and want to work will be working.

Yet employers like Fleur have to go through the process every time they need more staff. That can be within days or even hours of having completed the process if another staff member leaves.

The system needs to have a bit of flexibility to recognise  the difficulties employers in remote wares face and allow them to employ staff without going through the time consuming and expensive rigmarole every time they have a vacancy.

The Opposition keep saying there are too many immigrants. That’s certainly not the case in Moeraki and places like it where there are not nearly enough locals for the available work.

 


Quote of the day

December 19, 2016

To sing is to bring to life; impossible if the words are mediocre, however good the music.  – Édith Piaf who was born on this day in 1915.

She also said:

I’d like to see one person – just one – who would own up to having been a coward.


December 19 in history

December 19, 2016

211 – Publius Septimius Geta, co-emperor of Rome, was lured to go without his bodyguards to meet his brother Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla), to discuss a possible reconciliation. When he arrived thePraetorian Guard murdered him and he died in the arms of his mother Julia Domna.

324 – Licinius abdicated his position as Roman Emperor.

1154  Henry II was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

1606  The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery left England carrying settlers who found, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.

1683  Philip V of Spain, was born (d. 1746).

1820 Mary Livermore, American journalist and women’s rights advocate, was born (d. 1905).

1879 – Universal male suffrage was introduced in New Zealand when the Qualification of Electors Act extended the right to vote (or electoral franchise) to all European men aged over 21, regardless of whether they owned or rented property.

1906 Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, was born (d. 1982).

1915 The evacuation of troops from Sulva Bay .

1915 Édith Piaf, French singer and actress, was born  (d. 1963).

1920  King Constantine I was restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander I of Greece and a plebiscite.

1923  Gordon Jackson, Scottish actor, was born  (d. 1990).

1924  The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was sold in London.

1925 Robert B. Sherman, American songwriter, was born.

1932  BBC World Service began broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service.

1934  Pratibha Patil, President of India, was born.

1941 The Royal Navy cruiser HMS Neptune struck enemy mines and sank off Libya – more than 750 men lost their lives including 150 New Zealanders.

HMS <em>Neptune</em> lost in Mediterranean minefield

1941 Adolf Hitler became Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.

1941 – Lee Myung-bak, South Korean businessman and politician, 10th President of South Korea, was born.

1941 – Maurice White, American singer and songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1944 Zal Yanovsky, Canadian guitarist (The Lovin’ Spoonful), was born.

1946  Start of the First Indochina War.

1972  The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan,Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returned to Earth.

1983  The original FIFA World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation.

1984 The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that the People’s Republic of China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 was signed in Beijing by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.

2001  A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg )was recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl Province, Mongolia.

2001 – Argentine economic crisis: December 2001 riots – Riots erupted in Buenos Aires.

2009 – A 6.4 magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of Hualian, Taiwan.

2012 – Park Geun-hye became the first female elected President of South Korea

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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