365 days of gratitude

January 4, 2018

Social media has both advantages and disadvantages, good points and bad, pluses and minuses.

Among the positives are the gems that come among the dross, the post that makes the reader/viewer laugh or think or just see life from a new perspective.

In the last few days Facebook has introduced me to Brain Pickings where today I found this from Albert Camus:

We have not overcome our condition, and yet we know it better. We know that we live in contradiction, but we also know that we must refuse this contradiction and do what is needed to reduce it. Our task as [humans] is to find the few principles that will calm the infinite anguish of free souls. We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more to peoples poisoned by the misery of the century. Naturally, it is a superhuman task. But superhuman is the term for tasks [we] take a long time to accomplish, that’s all.

Let us know our aims then, holding fast to the mind, even if force puts on a thoughtful or a comfortable face in order to seduce us. The first thing is not to despair. Let us not listen too much to those who proclaim that the world is at an end. Civilizations do not die so easily, and even if our world were to collapse, it would not have been the first. It is indeed true that we live in tragic times. But too many people confuse tragedy with despair. “Tragedy,” [D.H.] Lawrence said, “ought to be a great kick at misery.” This is a healthy and immediately applicable thought. There are many things today deserving such a kick.

Today I’m grateful for the good that social media brings and the inspiration to kick at misery.


Word of the day

January 4, 2018

Yampy – mad, daft, barmy; someone who is losing the plot.


Rural round-up

January 4, 2018

Wanaka fire will take days to put out – Sam Nugent:

Wanaka residents woke to see the fire on Roys Peak had reignited on two separate fronts overnight.

Since first light eight helicopters with monsoon buckets have been attacking the fire.

Fire crews from Wanaka, Hawea, Luggate, Dunstan and Arrowtown have been working overnight to protect homes on the outskirts of Wanaka from a blaze which authorities say could take at least two days to put out.

Around 3am, after the fire flared up again late yesterday evening, crews and police were preparing to evacuate about 30 homes as well as the occupants of the Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park as a precaution due to a wind shift.

However, conditions had changed again and as at 4.30am the fire was not currently burning towards houses. . . 

Fed Farmers urge govt to reconsider irrigation loans – Conan Young:

The new government is being urged not to follow through on its promise to cancel any new loans to irrigation schemes.

Its predecessor pledged $400 million from the sale of state assets towards helping schemes get off the ground as a way to boost economic growth, but all of that was about to end.

Picking up on discontent among voters over declining water quality, Labour campaigned on a water levy on farmers using irrigation and promised to wind up Crown Irrigation Investments, the company that was formed to provide bridging finance to irrigation schemes. . .

Fonterra lowers NZ milk collection forecast for this season on dry weather – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group expects to collect 3 percent less milk from its New Zealand suppliers this season than it did in the prior season as dry weather stunts grass growth and lowers milk production.

Auckland-based Fonterra revised its forecast for its New Zealand milk collection for the current 2017/18 season to 1,480 million kilograms of milk solids, down 3 percent from the 1,525 million kgMS it collected in the 2016/17 season, it said. In December it had forecast milk collection would be in line with the previous season. . . 

Rabobank Analysis – GDT Event 203:

Commentary
A mixed result in the commodity bag overnight; but generally a positive auction for New Zealand farmers with the average price index at the GDT auction for up 2.2%. Importantly, the WMP index was up 4.2% taking it to its highest level since October 2017. A total 25,400t of product was sold.

As many of you would be aware, Fonterra has revised its milk intake for the 2017/18 season twice in the past few weeks. Right now Fonterra are predicting milk intake of 1,480 million kgMS – which is down 4% on the 2016/2017 season. The risk of drought flagged in the latest GDQ has clearly come into play. . . 

The hidden powers of a sheep – Judith D. Schwartz:

While the fashion industry continues to produce more and more clothes made from synthetics, we’ve ignored the wonders of wool. Not only is wool unusually cozy and durable, but its creators (the sheep) can also help regenerate the world’s drying, fire-prone landscapes. The good news: a wool revival seems to be underway.

In the early nineteenth century, 70 percent of the forests in my home state of Vermont were cleared, primarily for sheep farming. Vermont’s “merino mania” had begun just a few years earlier, in 1809, when William Jarvis, U.S. Consul to Portugal under Thomas Jefferson, took advantage of Spain’s turmoil under Napoleon’s invasion to import 200 of Spain’s prized Royal Escorial flock. It turned out that our rocky soil and hilly terrain suited sheep farming just fine; Jarvis soon smuggled in more and more Spanish sheep, and, for a time, Vermont became the center of the American wool trade.

At its peak, in 1840, the industry supported more than 100,000 sheep in the town of Bennington, where I live. Our own property was reportedly once a sheep farm. We still have sections of stone wall that marked the pasture boundary. Today there’s barely a handful of small sheep farms left in the county. So, too, with the wool industry at large. Across the country, wool mills—once an American mainstay—have all but disappeared. . . 

Dairies are awash in organic milk as consumers flock to alternatives – Heather Haddon & Benjamin Parkin:

Organic milk sales have cooled as the very shoppers who drove demand for the specialty product not long ago move on to newer alternatives, leaving dairy sellers and producers grappling with oversupply.

A yearslong surge in demand prompted food companies and dairy farmers to invest in organic production, which requires eschewing pesticides and antibiotics and allowing cows to graze freely. Now organic milk supplies have ballooned just as demand has stalled. Many shoppers have moved on to substitutes such as almond “milk” . . .


Reckless

January 4, 2018

A man has been charged after a drone grounded eight helicopters involved in fighting an out-of-control blaze in Wanaka yesterday:

The large fire broke out on Mt Roy just before 3pm and spread rapidly on the parched hillside overlooking Wanaka. Helicopters carried monsoon buckets between Lake Wanaka and Mt Roy to douse the flames.

But  police said the eight choppers battling the blaze had to be grounded for 15 minutes when the drone was spotted. . .

Wanaka Area Response Manager Senior Sergeant Allan Grindell said flying a drone where helicopters were working was reckless and it was a timely reminder for drone operators to think before they flew.

“Not only did the grounding of the helicopters cost money and valuable time in the efforts to extinguish the blaze, it put the safety and lives of the helicopter pilots at risk,”  Sgt Grindell said.

Stronger words than reckless could be applied to this.


In praise of police response

January 4, 2018

The radio warned us State Highway 1 would be busy yesterday and as we headed home from Christchurch it was.

However, drivers going in both directions were being careful and considerate.

Then a car came up behind us.

We were at the back of a line of traffic, all travelling at the speed limit. Passing would require a car to go considerably faster and with 10 more cars in front of us little would be achieved.

That didn’t stop the driver behind us who pulled out, overtook and got very close to the next vehicle in front.

The car kept swerving to the right and the left,. We presumed the driver was trying to see if the road ahead was clear.

Eventually it was, as far as we could see but that wasn’t very far which was why there was a long yellow no-passing line.

The yellow line meant nothing to the driver in front who pulled out and passed the next vehicle, pulling back to his side of the road just before the brow of a hill.

Had anyone been coming the other way there would have been a very big mess.

Fortunately there wasn’t but what if there was a next time?

I wasn’t prepared to risk it and rang *555.

My call was answered immediately and dealt with efficiently.

A few kilometres on we saw a police car indicating to pull out. My farmer slowed to allow it to go ahead of us and shortly afterwards we saw its lights flashing in the distance.

When we got closer we saw the vehicle it had stopped wasn’t the one we’d called about.

We stopped, I got out and told the officer we’d called *555 but not about this vehicle.

He rolled off the registration number of the car we’d reported and said they’d had calls about the one he’d stopped too and someone else would be on the look out for the other one.

Traffic police are often criticised as revenue gatherers.

We rarely praise them for keeping roads safer as the officer we saw yesterday was doing but people the length and breadth of the country get home safely because of the work he and his colleagues do and they deserve our thanks.

 


Quote of the day

January 4, 2018

A good friend doesn’t let you do stupid things …. alone. – Jacob Grimm who was born on this day in 1785.


January 4 in history

January 4, 2018

1490  Anna of Brittany announced that all those who allied with the king of France would be considered guilty of the crime of lese-majesty.

1493 Christopher Columbus left the New World, ending his first journey.

1642 King Charles I of England sent soldiers to arrest members of Parliament, commencing England’s slide into civil war.

1698  Most of the Palace of Whitehall, the main residence of the English monarchs, was destroyed by fire.

1785 Jacob Grimm, German philologist and folklorist (one of the Brothers Grim), was born (d. 1863).

1809 – Louis Braille, French teacher of the blind and inventor of braille, was born (d. 1852)

1813 Isaac Pitman, English inventor, was born (d. 1897).

1847 Samuel Colt sold his first revolver pistol to the United States government.

1854 The McDonald Islands were discovered by Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang.

1865 The New York Stock Exchange opened its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York City.

1869 Te Kooti was defeated at Nga Tapa.

Te Kooti defeated at Nga Tapa

1878 Sofia was emancipated from Ottoman rule.

1878 Augustus John, Welsh painter, was born (d. 1961).

1884 The Fabian Society was founded in London.

1885  The first successful appendectomy was performed by William W. Grant on Mary Gartside.

1903 – Topsy, an elephant, was electrocuted by Thomas Edison during theWar of Currents campaign.

1912 – The Scout Association was incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal Charter.

1931 – William Deane, Australian judge and politician, 22nd Governor-General of Australia, was born.

1947 – Rick Stein, English chef and television presenter, was born.

1948 – Burma regained its independence from the United Kingdom.

1958 Sir Edmund Hillary led a New Zealand party to the South Pole.

Hillary leads NZ party to Pole

1958  Sputnik 1 fell to Earth from its orbit.

1959  Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.

1965 Cait O’Riordan, British musician (The Pogues), was born.

1972  Rose Heilbron became the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London.

1975  Elizabeth Ann Seton became the first American-born saint.

1991 – Olivia Tennet, New Zealand actress, was born.

2004  Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, landed successfully on Mars.

2007 The 110th United States Congress elected Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history.

2010 – The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building was officially opened.

2013 – A gunman killed eight people in a house-to-house rampage in Kawit, the Philippines.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.


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