365 days of gratitude

21/02/2018

The heating had turned itself off some time before we got home last night.

It takes a while to cool down so the house was still reasonably warm in spite of two days with no sun.

However, by this morning the temperature had dropped again and it was still raining.

My farmer went to investigate with more hope than certainty and came back in with a grin to say the heating was working again.

Just as it cools slowly it also reheats slowly but by mid morning I could feel the difference and this evening we’re back to a comfortable temperature.

After another day of rain I’m very grateful for that.


Word of the day

21/02/2018

Finnimbrun – a knick-knack, trifle or trinket.


28 papers stuffed

21/02/2018

Stuff has announced it’s ditching 28 of its papers:

The full list of titles being closed is:

AvenuesWaikato FarmerAdmire MarlboroughNZ Dairy FarmerDiscover MagazineSelwyn and Ashburton OutlookAdmire NelsonHastings MailChristchurch MailNapier MailThe TribuneKaikoura StarInvercargill EyeAuto XtraSouth Canterbury HeraldClutha LeaderWaiheke MarketplaceNewsLinkWairarapa NewsQueenstown MirrorNZ FarmerWaitaki HeraldCanterbury FarmerNorth Waikato NewsCentral District FarmerRotorua ReviewOtago Southland FarmerRuapehu Press.

This is very tough for the people whose jobs are at risk.

There might be opportunities for someone to take over some of the titles but print media is not a growing business and rural media is a very crowded space.

We knew farming was in resurgence when the letterbox started filling up with give-aways.

We now get several free rural papers a week, sometimes three or more in a day.

If we don’t have time to read them when they come they often go out barely read or unread because at least another has come before we get back to them.


Rural round-up

21/02/2018

Farmers face hefty riparian planting bills – Robin Martin:

Taranaki farmers could face hefty bills as the regional council toughens enforcement of its riparian planting programme to clean up waterways.

The council has begun auditing more than 1700 dairy farms and now says their plans for planting along riverbanks and streams must be completed by 2020.

Taranaki’s riparian planting programme – the largest in the country – has received international recognition and is has been credited with improving water quality. . . 

NAIT problems stymie M. bovis response – Nigel Malthus:

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says farmers’ problems in complying with NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) have slowed the response to Mycoplasma bovis.

NAIT could be a lot easier to use, she says.

While it works well for recording animals arriving at a processing works, there are apparent breakdowns in compliance when farmers are transferring stock among themselves. . .

Robotics opportunities in forestry being explored

Forest safety, improving productivity and getting workers off the felling site has been a major push for forestry managers, forest owners, logging contractors and equipment suppliers to modify their wood harvesting operations over the last few years. Another major driver to increased mechanisation has been the skilled machine operator shortages that many forestry companies are now currently facing. The ultimate goal of the industry is to have “no worker on the slope, or no hand on the chainsaw”.

Technology development and the pace of change over the last couple of years, in keeping with other industries, has been rapid and exciting for the forestry industry. Recent research is suggesting that by 2019, 35% of leading organizations will be exploring the use of robots to automate operations. Forestry isn’t any different. In fact, the switch is already underway. . .

Fonterra And the A2 Milk Company Form Comprehensive Strategic Relationship:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (Fonterra) and The a2 Milk Company (a2MC) have today entered into a comprehensive strategic relationship that links Fonterra’s global milk pool and supply chain, manufacturing capability and in-market sales and distribution capacity with a2MC’s brand strength and capabilities.

As part of the partnership, Fonterra will now begin conversations with its farmers to source an A2 milk pool for a2MC products in New Zealand, which is intended to significantly expand over time to help meet the growing demand for a2MC products. A similar milk pool in Australia will also be developed. . . 

MPI targets vehicles and machinery from Japan:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has introduced new measures to reduce the risk of brown marmorated stink bugs arriving in vehicles and machinery from Japan.

The changes will require all used vehicles (cars and trucks) to undergo inspection and cleaning at an MPI-approved facility in Japan prior to export.

In addition, any used machinery or other types of used vehicles from Japan will require certification proving it has undergone cleaning by an appropriate provider, says Paul Hallett, MPI Biosecurity and Environment Manager.  . .

Feedback sought for upgrade of fertiliser-spreader standard:

The (NZGFA) is calling on fertiliser spreaders up and down the country to have their say ahead of a review of the industry’s Spreadmark programme.

Dean Brooks, the NZGFA’s president, says the programme – which was first developed in 1994 to raise the standard of fertiliser spreading performance and to provide a benchmark for best practice – will soon be reviewed by the Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC). . .

Funding request to federal Health Minister met with ‘positive response‘ – Sally Cripps:

We were swamped.” That was how psychologist, Dervla Loughnane, described the overwhelming response to the news that a texting counselling service had been launched for rural people in need.

Announced by the Queensland Country Life at the start of February, it was hoped the Virtual Psychologist service, supported by Aussie Helpers, would save lives and that’s what has happened, according to Dervla.

“It was so overwhelming that in the first 24 hours we had to double our staff on the lines,” she said. . .

 


Who do members want

21/02/2018

It amuses me to read  commentators stating that National Party members favour this candidate or that one for the leadership.

They write as if the membership is a single being with a single view.

I doubt that is true for any party and it certainly isn’t for National.

It’s a broad church party, the only one in New Zealand still able to measure its membership in 10s of thousands, and one which values individual rights, including the right to different points of view.

The members of that broad church have a range of views on just about everything, most don’t go to regular meetings nor do most press their views on MPs, even on such an important internal matter as the leadership.

They might agree with David Farrar on the factors which are important in the party’s leader.

But if there is any consensus on the issue it will not be on which candidate is best.

It might be gratitude that caucus is sufficiently gifted to have five strong contenders.

Members might also agree that whoever the next leader is s/he must have what it takes, including a wise head and warm heart, to lead the party back into government sooner rather than later.

And I think all will agree that once the leader is decided, caucus must unite behind her/him and address itself to both holding the government to account and ensuring it is much better prepared for government than the current one was.


And still it rains

21/02/2018

Our rain gauge holds only 25mms.

My farmer had emptied it before we left home on Monday and it was overflowing when he checked it this morning.

One of our staff has recorded nearly 100mms since it started raining on Monday.

It’s still raining steadily but, thankfully, we have escaped the serious damage that Cyclone Gita brought to other areas.

Christchurch, Buller, Grey District, Selwyn, Westland, Tasman and Taranaki have each declared a state of emergency as ex-tropical Cyclone Gita shows her heavy hand.

Authorities and people in the affected districts are all on high alert as a state of emergency has been declared in those provinces.

The downpour has also led to record rainfalls particularly in Kaikoura, where 194.4mm had fallen by about 7.40pm – four times more than the monthly normal, according to Niwa.

A total of 53.6mm of rain fell in the area between 4 and 5pm – the wettest hour on record and over a month’s worth of rain in only an hour. . . 

 


Quote of the day

21/02/2018

Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh. –  W.H. Auden who was born on this day in 1907.


February 21 in history

21/02/2018

362 – Athanasius returned to Alexandria.

1245 Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, resigned after confessing to torture and forgery.

1440 The Prussian Confederation was formed.

1543 Battle of Wayna Daga – A combined army of Ethiopian and Portuguese troops defeats a Muslim army led by Ahmed Gragn.

1613 Mikhail I was elected unanimously as Tsar, beginning the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia.

1743 The premiere of George Frideric Handel‘s oratorio “Samson” took place in London.

1804  The first self-propelling steam locomotive made its outing at thePen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.

1842 John Greenough was granted the first U.S.A. patent for the sewing machine.

1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto.

1875 Jeanne Calment, French supercentenarian and longest-lived human on record, was born (d. 1997).

1879 An explosion in a Kaitangata coal mine killed 34 men.

Kaitangata mining disaster Kaitangata mining disaster

1885 The newly completed Washington Monument was dedicated.

1903 Anaïs Nin, French writer, was born (d. 1977).

1907  W. H. Auden, English poet, was born  (d. 1973).

1910 Douglas Bader, British pilot, was born (d. 1982).

1913  Ioannina was incorporated into the Greek state after the Balkan Wars.

1916 Battle of Verdun started.

1918 The last Carolina parakeet died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.

1919 Kurt Eisner, German socialist, was assassinated.

1921 Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Georgia adopts the country’s first constitution.

1924 Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbambwe, was born.

1925 The New Yorker published its first issue.

1927 Erma Bombeck, American humourist, was born  (d. 1996).

1927 Hubert de Givenchy, French fashion designer, was born.

1933  – Nina Simone, American singer, was born (d. 2003).

1935  Mark McManus, Scottish actor, was born  (d. 1994).

1937  Initial flight of the first successful flying carWaldo Waterman’sArrowbile.

1937 – The League of Nations banned foreign national “volunteers” in theSpanish Civil War.

1945 Kamikaze planes sank the escort carrier Bismarck Sea and damaged the Saratoga.

1947 Edwin Land demonstrated the first “instant camera,” the Polaroid Land Camera, to a meeting of the Optical Society of America.

1952 The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolished identity cards in the UK to “set the people free”.

1952 In Dhaka, East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) police opened fire on a procession of students that was demanding the establishment of Bengali as the official language, killing four people and starting a country-wide protestwhich led to the recognition of Bengali as one of the national languages of Pakistan. The day was later declared as “International Mother Language Day” by UNESCO.

1953  Francis Crick and James D. Watson discover the structure of theDNA molecule.

1958 The Peace symbol was designed and completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.

1960 Cuban leader Fidel Castro nationalised all businesses in Cuba.

1965 Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam.

1970 A mid-air bomb explosion in  Swissair Flight 330 and subsequent crash killed 38 passengers and nine crew members near Zürich.

1971 The Convention on Psychotropic Substances was signed at Vienna.

1972 President Richard Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China to normalise Sino-American relations.

1972 The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 landed on the Moon.

1973  Israeli fighter aircraft shot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 jet killing 108.

1974 The last Israeli soldiers left the west bank of the Suez Canalpursuant to a truce with Egypt.

1975 Watergate scandal: Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman were sentenced to prison.

1986 Charlotte Church, Welsh singer, was born.

1995 Steve Fossett landed in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada becoming the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon.

2007 Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi resigned from office. His resignation was rejected by the President Giorgio Napolitano.

2013 – Two bomb blasts in Hyderabad, India, killed at least 17 people and injured more than 100 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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