Word of the day


Nostrum – a medicine prepared by an unqualified person, especially one that is not considered effective;  a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value; quack medicine; a scheme or remedy for bringing about some social or political reform or improvement; a suggested solution for a problem that will probably not succeed.

Hat Tip: Inquiring Mind



I didn’t listen to him because he was my father & wouldn’t know anything until I was much older….  © 2014 Brian Andreas – posted with permission.

You can buy books, posters, cards, ornaments and more and sign up for a daily dose of whimsy like this by email at Story People.

Chosen for Fathers Day and dedicated to all the good fathers who are patient enough to wait until their children are old enough to know enough to listen.

Rural round-up


Irrigation brings environmental improvements Greenpeace wants – Andrew Curtis:

I am sure Greenpeace felt very proud of themselves when they locked themselves inside a Central Plains Water irrigation pipe to “protest dairy intensification”.

They shouldn’t be. Quite apart from putting themselves at risk on a dangerous construction site, breaking the law and tying up police time, they were wrong on a number of counts.

The first problem with the Greenpeace protest was the idea that irrigation schemes like Central Plains Water automatically lead to more dairy intensification. This is not true. The new farms connecting to Central Plains Water are traditional mixed cropping farms. The same holds true for other new irrigation developments like the Hurunui Water Project in North Canterbury, the North Otago Irrigation Company and Hunter Downs in South Canterbury. Across the country, around 50 percent of irrigated land has other uses – growing food, raising sheep and beef cattle, and for wineries. . .

Hawke’s Bay honey company stung by theft:

A Hawke’s Bay honey company has been stung by the theft of almost 500,000 bees.

Nineteen hives of Arataki Honey were stolen from a remote forestry block in Putere, an hour and a half north of Napier, this week.

The site was hidden from the road and Arataki Honey’s field manager Duncan Johnstone said the thieves must have known where to find the bees.

It was an expensive loss for the company – each hive is valued at $700 and all up it was a $20,000 loss. . .

QE II Trust Members reappointed:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced the re-appointment of two members of the Queen Elizabeth ll National Trust.

“I’m delighted Chairperson James Guild (MNZA) and Director Bruce Wills have agreed to stay on the board and continue the excellent work underway as the Trust celebrates its 40th anniversary,” Ms Barry says.

“Both men will serve another 3-year term and use their considerable skills and experience to ensure the Trust continues to win support from landowners willing to covenant their land for future generations. . .

Dairy industry set for big crash – Susan Murray:

The dairy sector faces another big price drop if the industry doesn’t continue to push for innovative ways to use dairy protein, warns KPMG.

Dairy companies need to think of themselves as protein or nutrition companies, said KPMG global head of agribusiness Ian Proudfoot.

He said there will be 10 or more items able to compete with traditional natural cow’s milk in a supermarket chiller.

“It’s interesting to me when I look at what’s happened in the last sort of six months – as the dairy price has gone up, the desire for change has gone down. . . 

Powering up Predator Free 2050:

National will boost Predator Free 2050 with $69.2 million of new funding over the next four years to ramp up the ambitious, world-leading pest eradication programme, Conservation Spokeswoman Maggie Barry says.

“We have been absolutely thrilled with the enthusiasm of communities up and down the country about Predator Free since it was launched one year ago,” Ms Barry says.

“National in Government will match the commitment of our volunteers, councils and philanthropists and turn this project into something that will achieve what Sir Paul Callaghan called “New Zealand’s moonshot”.” . . 

Smith welcomes sanctuary pest control work:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith is hailing today’s pest control operation in the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary as a win for the survival of New Zealand’s native birds.

“The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust has fought long and hard for today’s pest control operation. It has had to go to court three times as a result of action by the Brook Valley Community Trust to try to stop it, and three times the court has backed the Sanctuary Trust,” Dr Smith says.

“The science is clear that the only way birds like kiwi, kokako, kea and kaka will survive is to effectively control the pests that have decimated their populations. I can appreciate people’s angst at killing rats, stoats and possums but every year these pests brutally kill 25 million native birds. . . 

This tiny country feeds the world – Frank Viviano:

In a potato field near the Netherlands’ border with Belgium, Dutch farmer Jacob van den Borne is seated in the cabin of an immense harvester before an instrument panel worthy of the starship Enterprise.

From his perch 10 feet above the ground, he’s monitoring two drones—a driverless tractor roaming the fields and a quadcopter in the air—that provide detailed readings on soil chemistry, water content, nutrients, and growth, measuring the progress of every plant down to the individual potato. Van den Borne’s production numbers testify to the power of this “precision farming,” as it’s known. The global average yield of potatoes per acre is about nine tons. Van den Borne’s fields reliably produce more than 20.

That copious output is made all the more remarkable by the other side of the balance sheet: inputs. Almost two decades ago, the Dutch made a national commitment to sustainable agriculture under the rallying cry “Twice as much food using half as many resources.”  . .

#LoveLambWeek: Sheep farmers call on consumers to put lamb back on plates –

The next generation of sheep farmers has called on the next generation of shoppers to put lamb back on plates across Britain through Love Lamb Week.

Over the past 15 years, fewer people have been regularly eating the very British meat, and with those aged 55 years and over making up the lion’s share of the market, time is ticking for lamb.

This year the annual campaign runs from 1-7 September, and social media users are being urged to tweet the hashtag #LoveLambWeek . . .


Let’s work together


We all want clean water and good quality food.

That won’t be achieved by more and higher taxes and policies based on political point-scoring rather than science.

Two ticks for National is the only way to get a government that will work for all New Zealanders and help to close the rural-urban divide.

Let’s not play the blame game


Wise words from Derek Daniell:

“The Blame Game
The 2017 election campaign is heating up, and the Blame Game is at fever pitch. Farmers are an easy target for those playing the Blame Game. The accusations of poor land and water use are coming thick and fast. It’s time to level the playing field.



You can swim safely in the Waikato river upstream of Hamilton, but not below, according to an ex-mayor of that city.

A recent exposee in the Dominion Post revealed that the streams around Wellington city are largely devoid of life, because of urban pollution.

$7 Billion?

Much of the animal farming around the world is done in a feedlot situation: pigs, chickens, farmed fish, most of the dairy cows, some beef cattle. It’s more efficient for purposes of feeding and effluent disposal.

Cities are people feedlots. Cities have the same advantages as animal feedlots for concentrated supply lines of food and water, and also for effluent disposal. But the concentration of effluent, and other rubbish, requires expensive solutions. When is urban New Zealand going to get serious about tackling the $7 billion makeover of non compliant waste water systems?

Are we at the party or are we on the menu?

• Rather than exclusively blaming farmers, concerned citizens should be asking, “What’s been happening in New Zealand farming over the past forty years?”
• Since 1980 there has been a huge reduction in the number of sheep, down from a peak of 70 million to just 27 million. From 2005 to 2015 total stock units of dairy and beef cattle, sheep and deer dropped 8 percent.
• Each sheep, dairy cow, and beef animal is being farmed more efficiently, on average, with reduced carbon emissions per unit of product. Pastoral exports earn around $20 billion, or more than 40 percent of New Zealand’s traded total. The prosperity of all New Zealanders is derived mainly from the land and sea, which delivers more than 70 percent of exported product revenue. 
• Tourism is touted as an important earner of overseas exchange, but a high percentage of that revenue is needed to offset the money spent by New Zealanders travelling abroad. 
• Dairy farmers have spent on average around $100,000 each on protecting the environment, more than $100m total. 
• Over 3,000 QE2 covenants have been set aside by private landowners, many of them farmers, since 1979. QE2 covenants now total over 180,000 hectares, and there are five hundred more covenants in the pipeline. 
• Fish and Game plays holier than thou, yet is responsible for ruining the ecological balance in our rivers and streams with introduced fish species. The organisation is also responsible for introducing Canadian geese, now declared a noxious pest, and for introducing the Mallard duck, which has made the native Grey Duck almost extinct. Fish and Game is still protected by an Act of Parliament. That protection should be removed immediately. 
• Why don’t environmental lobby groups target Fish and Game or urban people? They get their funding largely from urban dwellers, and Fish and Game adds to the united attack on relatively defenceless targets like farmers. A proportion of any population enjoys a jihad, the opportunity to force their views on others.

Disappearing land

The Beef and Lamb Economic Service estimate that 4.05 million hectares, or 35 percent, of land has been lost to sheep and beef since 1990. Of that total, 950,000 hectares has been converted to dairying or dairy support, 377,000 hectares went to forestry, a big area was retired to DOC estate, 180,000 hectares has been covenanted to QE2 since 1979(with more on the way), some poorer hill country reverted to scrub/bush/ weeds, and smaller areas changed to viticulture/horticulture/ lifestyle blocks/Manuka/urban sprawl. Pastoral farming has been reduced to only 40 percent of the land area in New Zealand.

Disappearing animals

The ruminant animal population of New Zealand has shrunk since the Rio Earth Summit in 1990. An estimate that 48 percent of New Zealand’s Green House Gas emissions come from ruminant animals is out of date. And there is a solution at hand: a recently trialled feed additive has resulted in a reduction of up to 50 percent in methane emissions relative to increased productivity. This additive has the effect of improving the efficiency of the rumen “from 50 to 60 percent”, in the words of the leading scientist, and also significantly increases milk value from the same volume of feed.

Too many people?

Meanwhile the human population has grown from 3.5 to 4.8 million, a 37 PERCENT INCREASE. It is the increase in the human population which is causing New Zealand to miss its targets on saving the Earth. And talking of population, why doesn’t New Zealand have a policy around it? New Zealand is one of the few uncrowded countries in the world. One estimate has New Zealand’s potential human stocking rate at 40 million. Where would you like to see it?

Is five million people a good fit? Our population will be there some time in 2020.

What will we think with 2020 hindsight?”

We all want clean water.

We all want good quality food.

Playing the blame game widens the rural-urban divide. It doesn’t solve any problems.

Sunday soapbox


Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Image result for images quote father

My father always used to say, “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” – .

September 3 in history


36 BC  In the Battle of Naulochus, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, admiral of Octavian, defeated Sextus Pompeius, son of Pompey, thus ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate.

301 San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Saint Marinus.

590  Consecration of Pope Gregory the Great.

863  Major Byzantine victory at the Battle of Lalakaon against an Arab raid.

1189  Richard I of England (Richard “the Lionheart”) was crowned at Westminster.

1260  The Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire.

1650  Third English Civil War: Battle of Dunbar.

1651  Third English Civil War: Battle of Worcester – Charles II of England was defeated in the last main battle of the war.

1666  The Royal Exchange burned down in the Great Fire of London

1777  Cooch’s Bridge – Skirmish of American Revolutionary War in New Castle County, Delaware where the Flag of the United States was flown in battle for the first time.

1783  American Revolutionary War: The war ended with the signing of theTreaty of Paris by the United States and Great Britain.

1798  The week long battle of St. George’s Caye began between Spanish and British off the coast of Belize.

1802 William Wordsworth composed the sonnet Composed upon Westminster Bridge.

1803  English scientist John Dalton began using symbols to represent the atoms of different elements.

1812  24 settlers were killed in the Pigeon Roost Massacre.

1838  Dressed in a sailor’s uniform and carrying identification papers provided by a Free Black seaman, future abolitionist Frederick Douglassboarded a train in Maryland on his way to freedom from slavery.

1870 Franco-Prussian War: the Siege of Metz began.

1875 – Ferdinand Porsche, Austrian-German engineer and businessman, founded Porsche (d. 1951)

1878 More than 640 died when the crowded pleasure boat Princess Alicecollided with the Bywell Castle in the River Thames.

1899 – Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Australian virologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1985)

1905 – John Mills, New Zealand cricketer (d. 1972)

1914  William, Prince of Albania left the country after just six months due to opposition to his rule.

1933 Yevgeniy Abalakov reached the highest point of the Soviet Union – Communism Peak (7495 m).

1935  Sir Malcolm Campbell reached speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive a car over 300 mph.

1939  World War II: France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, forming the Allies. In contrast to its entry into the First World War, New Zealand acted in its own right.

New Zealand declares war on Germany

1940 Pauline Collins, English actress, was born.

1941 Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experimented with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.

1942 Al Jardine, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born.

1942  World War II: In response to news of its coming liquidation, Dov Lopatyn led an uprising in the Lakhva Ghetto.

1944  Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family were placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz.

1945 – Three-day celebration was held in China, following the Victory over Japan Day on September 2.

1947 Eric Bell, Irish guitarist (Thin Lizzy), was born.

1950 “Nino” Farina became the first Formula One Drivers’ champion after winning the 1950 Italian Grand Prix.

1951 The first long-running American television soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, aired its first episode on the CBS network.

1955 Steve Jones, English musician (Sex Pistols), was born.

1958 Pioneering heart surgeon Brian Barratt-Boyes performed New Zealand’s first open heart  surgery using a heart-lung bypass machine.

First open-heart surgery in NZ

1967  Dagen H in Sweden: traffic changed from driving on the left to driving on the right overnight.

1971 Qatar became an independent state.

1976 The Viking 2 spacecraft landed at Utopia Planitia on Mars.

1987  In a coup d’état in Burundi, President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was deposed by Major Pierre Buyoya.

1994 Sino-Soviet Split: Russia and the People’s Republic of China agreed to de-target their nuclear weapons against each other.

1997 A Vietnam Airlines Tupolev TU-134 crashed on approach into Phnom Penh airport, killing 64.

1999  87-automobile pile-up on Highway 401 freeway just east of Windsor, Ontario, after an unusually thick fog from Lake St. Clair.

2004  Beslan school hostage crisis: Day 3: The Beslan hostage crisis ended with the deaths of morethan 300 people, more than half of whom were children.

2014 – Heavy monsoon rains and flash floods leave over 200 people dead across India and Pakistan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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