365 days of gratitude

March 31, 2018

When I first saw hot cross buns in shops in January a few years ago I vowed I wouldn’t buy any until Easter.

Food for special occasions is special because it’s kept for special occasions.

This year I didn’t buy any hot cross buns, I decided to make them instead.

However, by the time the dough had risen yesterday it was too near dinner to eat them so I punched the dough down and left it over night.

It had risen again this morning, I shaped it into buns, left it to rise and cooked them this afternoon.

They were all the more delicious for the knowledge there wouldn’t be any more until next Easter and I’m grateful for that.

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Word of the day

March 31, 2018

Foliation – the process of splitting into thin sheets or laminae;  repetitive layering in metamorphic rocks; set of layers visible in many metamorphic rocks as a result of the flattening and stretching of mineral grains during metamorphism; the process of forming into a leaf; the state of being in leaf; vernation.


Saturday’s smiles

March 31, 2018

God and St Francis were discussing life on earth:

GOD: Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and stuff I started aeons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it’s so boring. It’s just one colour. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilising grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilise grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn the leaves fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough. I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?”

ST. CATHERINE: “Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a really stupid movie about…..

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.


Rural round-up

March 31, 2018

Synthetic clothing damaging to ocean says NZ Merino chief – Gerard Hutching:

Wool could be part of the answer to the scourge of microplastics, the New Zealand Merino Company says.

A grouping of manufacturers spearheaded by the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) will soon launch an international campaign highlighting the virtues of natural fibres.

new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) shows 35 per cent of minute plastic particles in the ocean are caused by washing synthetic clothing such as polar fleeces.

The Government has moved to ban microbeads, which make up just 2 per cent of the oceans’  plastic particles. . . 

Shearathon raises money for suicide help groups – Annette Scott:

The success of a 24-hour shearathon raising awareness of suicide prevention has virtually blown its organisers off the board.

Hosted at White Rock in North Canterbury, the shearathon pulled in more than $45,000 including close to $18,000 raised in a charity auction after the shearing.

Spokesman Mark Herlihy said the event exceeded any expectation.

Herlihy lost his young brother to suicide in 2016.

The tragedy left the family questioning why he hadn’t asked for help, prompting the drive for greater awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.  . . 

Meat processors gearing up for extra cattle from Mp. bovis outbreak:

New Zealand’s meat processors are gearing up for the extra cattle expected to go through the plants as a result of the Mycoplasma Bovis (Mp. bovis) cull.

“Over the past five years, the average number of adult cattle processed in April has been 278,000, but this has ranged between 254,000 and 318,000 head for the month over this period. The average number of adult cattle processed in May over the last five years has been just under 349,000 thousand, ranging from 310,00 to 392,000 during the month over the period,” says Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Tim Ritchie, adding the numbers fluctuate from year to year dependent on climate and other factors. . . 

Anchor cheese is back with a difference:

Anchor cheese is back and this time there’s a guaranteed lactose free option. For years milk, butter and yoghurt have all been part of Fonterra’s Anchor range and now cheese is coming into the fold. 

Fonterra Brands New Zealand Director of Marketing, Clare Morgan, says the addition of cheese to Fonterra’s Anchor family continues Anchor’s tradition of a love of dairy and innovation.  

“When pioneer Henry Reynolds launched Anchor in 1886 he would have never imagined that over a century later more than 150 Anchor products would be sold every minute. This week it’s set to grow even more.”

As well as the traditional Tasty, Colby and Edam, there are two new additions – Protein+ and Zero Lacto. . . 

Sheep farmers in row with WWF after wildlife foundation claimed lamb stew environmentally unfriendly – Francesca Marshall:

Sheep farmers have butted heads with a national wildlife foundation after it published a report labelling lamb stew as one of the most environmentally unfriendly meals in the UK.

Farmers’ Unions have been left “astonished” and “disappointed” by a report published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which labelled Welsh lamb cawl as the most polluting classic British meal.

The report, published to highlight how some of Britain’s favourite dishes could change as a result of climate change, said a bowl of lamb cawl produced as much pollution as boiling a kettle 258 times because of methane from sheep. . . 

Don’t blame growers and bakers for the $10 heirloom loaf. Blame American farm policy – Stephen S. Wade:

The day is cold and windy, a sunny but bracing 32 degrees in New York City. But at the Union Square Greenmarket, one of more than 50 farmers’ markets in the city, and a stalwart in operation since 1976, a brisk business is afoot at the Regional Grains Project stand. While the winter tends to be quiet for many regional farmers who sell their products at the market, it’s high season for the stand, a collaborative effort between the Greenmarket and a number of farmers, millers, and distributors in the Northeast.

Piled high with freshly milled flours, whole grains, beans, and cooking oils, all sourced from the northeastern United States, the stand sees a steady early morning stream of visitors. Home bakers, interested eaters, and regulars all pop by to pick up bulk bags of rolled oats for the hot breakfasts that sustain them through winter’s last gasp. A baker connected to Greenmarket favorite She Wolf Bakery, stops by to pick up several bulk bags of rye flour—a stopgap measure meant to last until the company can get a full pallet of flour from the same mill. . . 

 


Saturday soapbox

March 31, 2018

Saturday’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.

Hierarchy of disagreement:

Refuting the central point: explicitly refutes the central point.

Refutation: finds the mistake and explain why it’s mistaken using quotes.

Counterargument: contradicts and then backs it up with reasoning and/or supporting evidence.

Contradiction: states the opposing case with little or no supporting evidence.

Responding to tone: criticises the tone of the writing without addressing the substance of the argument.

Ad hominem: attacks the characteristics or authority of the writer without addressing the substance of the argument.

Name calling: sounds something like, “Your are an ass hat”.


March 31 in history

March 31, 2018

1146 Bernard of Clairvaux preached his sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade.

1492 Queen Isabella of Castille issued the Alhambra decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.

1596 René Descartes, French mathematician, was born (d. 1650).

1621 Andrew Marvell, English poet, was born  (d. 1678).

1717 A sermon on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ” by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provokes the Bangorian Controversy.

1732 Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer, was born (d. 1809).

1774 American Revolutionary War: The Great Britain ordered the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.

1822  The massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt, depicted by the French artist Eugène Delacroix.

1851 – Francis Bell, New Zealand lawyer and politician, 20th Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born (d. 1936).

1854 Commodore Matthew Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.

1864 – Rewi’s last stand. The last battle of the Waikato War began when the spearhead of a 1200-strong British force charged an apparently weak Māori position at Ōrākau, south-east of Te Awamutu.

1866 The Spanish Navy bombed the harbour of Valparaíso, Chile.1885  The United Kingdom established a protectorate over Bechuanaland.

1889 The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated.

1903 Richard Pearse made a powered flight in an early aircraft.

1906 The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (laterNational Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for amateur sports in the United States.

1909 Serbia accepted Austrian control over Bosnia and Herzegovina..

1909 Construction began on the RMS Titanic.

1910 – the Hocken library opened at the Otago Museum.

Hocken Library opened at Otago Museum

1912 Construction was completed on the RMS Titanic.

1917 The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands.

1920 – Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, British aristocrat, socialite and author, was born (d. 2014).

1921 The Royal Australian Air Force was formed.

1926 John Fowles, English author, was born (d. 2005).

1930 The Motion Pictures Production Code was instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film for the next thirty eight years.

1931  An earthquake destroyed Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000.

1933 The Civilian Conservation Corps was established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment.

1934  – Richard Chamberlain, American actor, was born.

1935 Herb Alpert, American trumpeter and band leader, was born.

1936 Marge Piercy, American writer, was born.

1940 The funeral of Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage took place.

Funeral of Labour PM Savage

1942  World War II: Japanese forces invaded Christmas Island, then a British possession.

1942 Holocaust in Ivano-Frankivsk (then called Stanislawow), western Ukraine. German Gestapo organised the first deportation of 5,000 Jews from Stanislawow ghetto to Belzec death camp.

1946 – The first election was held in Greece after World War II.

1947  César Gaviria Trujillo, former President of Colombia, was born.

1948 Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1951 Remington Rand delivered the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau.

1955 Angus Young, Scottish-born Australian guitarist (AC/DC), was born.

1955  Robert Vance, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1959 The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crossed the border into India and was granted political asylum.

1964 The Dictatorship in Brazil, under the aegis of general Castello Branco, began.

1965 Iberia Airlines Convair 440 crashed into the sea on approach to Tangier, killing 47 of 51 occupants.

1966 The Soviet Union launched Luna 10 which became the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.

1967 – Fred Ladd flew under the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

1970 Explorer 1 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere (after 12 years in orbit).

1970 Nine terrorists from the Japanese Red Army hijack Japan Airlines Flight 351 at Tokyo International Airport, wielding samurai swords and carrying a bomb.

1972 Alejandro Amenábar, Spanish film director, was born.

1979 The last British soldier left Malta which declared its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien).

1986 – Six metropolitan county councils were abolished in England.

1990 200,000 protestors took to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.

1991 The Islamic Constitutional Movement, or Hadas, was established in Kuwait.

1991 Georgian independence referendum, 1991: nearly 99 percent of the voters supported the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

1992 The USS Missouri (BB-63), the last active United States NavyBattleship, was decommissioned.

199 The journal Nature reported the finding in Ethiopia of the first completeAustralopithecus afarensis skull.

1995 In Corpus Christi, Texas, Latin superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her own fan club.

1998 Netscape released the code base of its browser under an open-source license agreement; with code name Mozilla and which was spun off into the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.

2004 In Fallujah, Iraq, 4 American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, were killed and their bodies mutilated after being ambushed.

2016  – Occupy movement known as Nuit debout began in France, spreading within days to Belgium, Germany, and Spain.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


365 days of gratitude

March 30, 2018

Isn’t it frustrating when the perfect answer only comes to you hours after you needed it?

Isn’t it satisfying when the right words come just when you need them?

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I”m grateful for it.


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