365 days of gratitude

March 22, 2018

When we say our friendship is older than our memories, that’s not a poor reflection on our memories.

We first met when we were two.

We’ve laughed together, cried together, kept each other’s secrets, spread each other’s news,  comforted each other in sad times and celebrated with each other in the good.

We now live more than two hours drive from each other and see each other only a few times a year.

One of those times was today when we met for lunch and did a lot more talking than eating.

Today I’m grateful for the blessing of an old friend who’s still a truly good friend.


Carpool Karaoke with Down Syndrome children

March 22, 2018

Fifty mothers and their children with Down Syndrome lip-sync in carpool karaoke:

 

You can read about it here.


Word of the day

March 22, 2018

 Smultronstallet (Swedish) – wild berry patch; an underrated gem of a place; a quite, cultivated place to which one goes to retreat or relax.


Thursday’s quiz

March 22, 2018

You’re invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual case of nectarines.


Rural round-up

March 22, 2018

NZ led study reveals DNA of cattle and sheep bacteria – Eric Frykberg:

International scientists led by New Zealanders have identified the genetic makeup of over 500 species of bacteria found in the gut of cattle and sheep.

Previously the genomes of just 15 rumen microbial genomes were available to the scientific community.

The project was led by the former AgResearch scientist Bill Kelly and a current AgResearch scientist Sinead Leahy.

They were joined by nearly 60 scientists from 14 research organisations across nine countries. . . 

Organic dairy dreams backed by science – Fritha Tagg:

Fritha Tagg meets an organic dairy farmer who has the science to make his dreams come true.

Ged Goode is not shy when it comes to improving his herd. “We want to produce the tastiest, healthiest milk in the world,” he says with a big grin.

Dreams don’t get much bigger but this organic dairy farmer who has farmed south of Tokoroa for 26 years has the track record to back it up and the determination to keep forging ahead. His 800ha (500ha effective, the rest is native bush and forestry) farm is home to 680 organic milk-producing cows.

Now he is embracing A2 milk production and establishing a polled herd. . .

Wetlands hold secret ingredient of future water quality – Aslan Wright-Stow, Tom Stephens, David Burger, DairyNZ, Kit Rutherford, Chris Tanner, NIWA:

Wetlands are the kidneys of the land – filtering, absorbing and transforming contaminants before they can affect streams or lakes. DairyNZ’s water science team and NIWA experts share how wetlands benefit water quality.

A NIWA review of research into seepage wetlands in New Zealand over the past two decades showed wetlands are remarkably effective at stripping nitrate, a problematic form of nitrogen, through a process known as denitrification.

The review offers robust evidence into ‘how’ seepage wetlands benefit water quality. DairyNZ commissioned the NIWA work because it firmly believes that seepage wetlands offer a unique opportunity to reduce nitrogen loss and should be prioritised for stock exclusion and protected against further drainage. The independent research commissioned certainly supports those claims. . . 

Federated Farmers pays tribute to John O’ Connor:

Federated Farmers offers its deepest condolences to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and family after the passing of his father, West Coast dairy farmer John O’Connor.

Mr O’ Connor ONZM was a passionate advocate for the dairy industry and was regarded as a pioneer for introducing dairy to the Buller district on the West Coast.

He was a Nuffield Scholar, Federated Farmers National Dairy Chair, West Coast Provincial President and served for 48 years as a director on the Buller Valley, Karamea and Westland Dairy Companies. . .

Rabobank New Zealand announces new board appointment:

Rabobank New Zealand has announced the appointment of Jillian Segal AM to its board of directors.

Ms Segal, a respected Australian company director with extensive regulatory and legal experience, joins the boards of Rabobank New Zealand Limited, as well as Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group’s other major operating entities – Rabobank Australia Limited and Rabo Australia Limited.

Announcing the appointment, Rabobank’s Australia & New Zealand chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said Ms Segal’s extensive board experience across the private and public sectors, including in financial services – coupled with a career-long background in governance and law – made her an “ideal fit” for Rabobank’s New Zealand and Australian boards. . . 

Mammoth kiwifruit property portfolio placed on the market for sale:

One of New Zealand’s biggest privately-owned kiwifruit orchard portfolios has been placed on the market for sale.

The portfolio consists of three separate mid to large-sized productive blocks at Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty – the centre of New Zealand’s highly lucrative kiwifruit-growing industry.

Combined, the three blocks comprise some 98 canopy hectares – on track to produce between 1.2 million – 1.3 million trays once all in mature production, and with the potential to increase production even further. . . 

An easing in the late summer market:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) shows there were 52 fewer farm sales (-11.9%) for the three months ended February 2018 than for the three months ended February 2017.

Overall, there were 384 farm sales in the three months ended February 2018, compared to 396 farm sales for the three months ended January 2018 (-3.0%), and 436 farm sales for the three months ended February 2017.1,524 farms were sold in the year to February 2018, 13.5% fewer than were sold in the year to February 2017, with 20.3% more finishing farms, 19.0% more dairy farms and 32.4% fewer grazing and 36.2% fewer arable farms sold over the same period.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to February 2018 was $27,523 compared to $27,395 recorded for three months ended February 2017 (+0.5%). The median price per hectare fell 2.6% compared to January. . . 


Troubles in threes plus

March 22, 2018

If troubles really did come in threes then the Young Labour camp sex scandal, Foreign Minister Winston Peter’s initial refusal to accept Russia’s involvement in the spy poisoning case and questions over Defence Minister Ron Mark’s use of Air Force helicopters would have been the only problems for the government last week.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had another fire to fight – Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa spending more than $30,000 on travel in three months.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa is “hugely disappointed” her travel expenses are so high and is working to fix it.

People don’t know what they don’t know, but it would be helpful if all Ministers did know what was and wasn’t appropriate spending and that they knew about overspending when it was happening and not so long after the event.

The PM had another problem yesterday and was forced to say Minister Shane Jones calling for heads to roll at Air New Zealand was a step too far.

Mr Jones, the Minister for Regional Economic Development, said earlier this week that Air New Zealand had turned its back on the regions.

When the company’s board and chief executive objected to his comments and told him to back off, he then called for people to resign. . . 

That’s three New Zealand First Ministers causing problems in less than a fortnight.

Politik reports tensions between that party and Labour over water and defence.

It would be risky to bet there won’t be more before too long.


Quote of the day

March 22, 2018

Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words? – Marcel Marceau – who was born on this day in 1923


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