365 days of gratitude


We got home yesterday after a few days away to find the tomato plants had survived our absence and one had ripe tomatoes on it.

I sliced it on my toast this morning and it tasted as delicious as sun-ripened food does.

Today I’m grateful for home garden goodness.

Word of the day


Tessellation – the process or art of tessellating a surface, or the state of being tessellated; mosaic; an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together, especially of polygons in a repeated pattern without gaps or overlapping; a covering of an infinite geometric plane without gaps or overlaps by congruent plane figures of one type or a few types.

Rural round-up


Ethical sustainable agriculture: Who sets the parameters? – Bob Freebairn:

Farmers increasingly are subjected to various heads of companies, pressure groups, media and others demanding we must produce our food and fibre “ethically”, “sustainably” and various other buzz word that have connotations of grandeur and purity. Commonly these people/groups, including city based multi-national company heads, have no idea of what they are talking about but they may aim to direct our way of farming via their authority.

The challenge I believe is who sets these standards. Are they to be based on science, or someone’s misguided perception on what is pure, natural and ethical. Like most farmers we aim to run a profitable and better than sustainable (sustainable definition is “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level”) business. We aim to improve aspects such as soil quality, soil health, good biodiversity (including adding strategic clumps of trees), clean water runoff into dams and creeks, control weeds and invasive pasts and prevent soil erosion.  . . 

Capital gains tax proposal sends nervous tension through farming – Gerard Hutching:

A capital gains tax (CGT) will not go down well with farmers, but it might also not earn a lot of revenue, a tax specialist says.

Tax advisory partner for Crowe Horwath, Tony Marshall, said most farmers made more out of their farms when they sold them than they earned from operating them

In Australia where there has been a capital gains tax for the last 30 years, it accounts for about 2 per cent of tax revenue. . .

NAIT responsibility – the buck stops with farmers – Chris Irons:

 Let’s be frank – the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme is not working as well as it should, and the blame lies with farmers.

Yes, NAIT could be easier to use but that’s not an excuse for not keeping animal tracking data up to date.

There are a lot of farmers who say NAIT is waste of time and money. If you have that view then I’m sorry, but I don’t think you care about the farming industry and are probably guilty of not being compliant. . . 

Why we should celebrate farmers

Year in Review: “Every one of us that’s not a farmer, is not a farmer because we have farmers.”

Fomer Secretary of Agriculture for the US, Tom Vilsack’s impassioned speech about farming went viral on The Country’s Facebook page this year, reaching more than 2 million people.

You can watch former United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s speech in the video below: Tom Vilsack served as United States Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 until 2017. . . 

Mucking around with perfect maure fork – Rachel Wise:

Well it’s happened again.

Barely months after my search for – and discovery of – the perfect manure fork for mucking out my horse paddocks, tragedy has struck.

It had been coming for a while, I must admit. My initially perfect manure fork had, in the past few weeks, lost one of its tines and it was dropping the odd wee clod as we travelled. I could see the end of our happy partnership looming and I had started thinking, in a casual sort of way, about starting to search for a replacement. . . 

Water here and there


It’s difficult to take seriously the cries ‘our rivers are dying, it’s all the fault of farmers’, when the river which boundaries our farm, and from which we source the water we drink, runs so clear you can see the bottom.

You can also see fish swimming in it.

Of course you can’t see everything which pollutes water and the problem in our river is E. coli caused by a colony of seagulls.

That still isn’t bad by international standards as this story of from fear to freedom in Cambondia illustrates:

Mong and her husband, Rim, live in a rural Cambodian village in the Kampot Province. As it were for so many Cambodians in the region, their families were forced to the area during the Cambodian genocide of the 1970’s. Not long after becoming teens, the couple met and started a family. Eventually Rim was able to build their home. It sits high up on stilts to avoid flood waters. What he was unable to provide for his family was protection from unsafe water and open defecation. That was until the couple was empowered with something we call WaterCredit.

With a small loan they were able to purchase the necessary materials to build a bathroom and rain catchment system at home.

“Our daughters were always at risk of unwanted attacks at night,” Mong explained as she described life before having a toilet at home, “and, my kids could get bit by snakes when they walked to find water or defecate. It scared them, and me.”

Drawing filtered rainwater from a storage barrel, Mong walked a few feet to fill a kettle on the stove. Smiling as she started cooking, Mong spoke of how proud she is of their daughters. All three went to school and now work in the city. Mong cares for the home while Rim does construction work. Their son is in school. 

Now after a day of work and school, the family comes together to eat and rest. The couple no longer feel bound by their constant concern for their children’s’ safety due to a lack of safe water and a private toilet. Their bathroom and water solutions have given them a freedom to focus not on their fears, but on all that is now possible in their lives.

Give water credit for turning a life of fear into a life of freedom.

That’s water is so much cleaner here than there is no excuse for not doing everything possible to right past wrongs, clean up waterways which need it and protect and enhance all where it’s possible.

But it also brings some perspective to the debate which is too often based on ignorance and emotion rather than facts and science.

And let’s not forget that less than optimal water quality is an urban problem too:

A number of beaches on Auckland’s North Shore are expected to be closed on Tuesday due to pollution.

“Raw sewage flowed directly into the water between the red and yellow flags” at Takapuna Beach on Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for Surf Life Saving Northern Region says. . .

Farmers are prosecuted for ponding of effluent that could reach a waterway.

Will any action be taken against the council for sewage that has flowed straight into the water?


Quote of the day


Don’t let anything stop you. There will be times when you’ll be disappointed, but you can’t stop. Make yourself the best that you can make out of what you are. The very best. – Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander who was born on this day on 1898.

January 2 in history


366 – The Alamanni crossed the frozen Rhine River in large numbers, invading the Roman Empire.

533 – Mercurius became Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy.

1492  Reconquista: the emirate of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, surrendered.

1818 The British Institution of Civil Engineers was founded.

1833  Re-establishment of British rule on the Falklands.

1860  The discovery of the planet Vulcan was announced at a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.

1871 –  Amadeus I became King of Spain.

1873 Thérèse de Lisieux, French Roman-Catholic nun, was born (d. 1897).

1893  – Lillian Leitzel, German acrobat and strongwoman, was born (d. 1931).

1896 – Sir Lawrence Wackett, Australian aircraft engineer, was born (d. 1982).

1898 – Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, American economist and lawyer, was born (d. 1989).

1918  – Willi Graf, German physician and activist, was born (d. 1943).

1938 The first official New Zealand airmail to the United States departed Auckland for San Francisco aboard Pan American Airline’s Samoan Clipper,a Sikorsky S-42B flying boat was piloted by Captain Ed Musick.

First official airmail flight to San Francisco

1947 David Shapiro, American poet, literary critic, and art historian, was born.

1948 – Judith Miller, American journalist and author was born.

1949 Luis Muñoz Marín became the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico.

1955  Panamanian president José Antonio Remón Cantera was assassinated.

1959  Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, was launched by the U.S.S.R.

1967 Francois Pienaar, South African rugby player, Springbok, was born.

1971 – The second Ibrox disaster killed 66 fans at a Rangers-Celtic football match.

1974  President Richard Nixon signed a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve fuel during an OPEC embargo.

1975  Reuben Thorne, New Zealand All Black, was born.

1999  A brutal snowstorm hit the Midwestern United States, causing 14 inches (359 mm) of snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 19 inches (487 mm) in Chicago, where temperatures plunged to -13°F (-25°C); 68 deaths were reported

2001 – Sila Calderón became the first female Governor of Puerto Rico.

2002 – Eduardo Duhalde was appointed interim President of Argentina by the Legislative Assembly.

2004 – Stardust successfully flew past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that are returned to Earth.

2006 – An explosion in a coal mine in Sago, West Virginia trapped and killed 12 miners and left another in a critical condition.

2011 – January 2011 Baghdad shootings took place.

2013 – Barack Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

2016 – Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia, was executed by Saudi government along with 46 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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