365 days of gratitude

April 30, 2018

Even before I met my farmer I tended to walk with a 1000 acre stride that meant I was never tempted to learn the art of walking, or even standing, in shoes with even moderately high heels.

The shoe industry doesn’t seem interested in shoes which combine elegance and comfort.

If I can’t get both I opt for comfort over style and when I get towards the end of a day with a lot of walking and standing, I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

April 30, 2018

Pellucid – transparently clear; easily understandable; lucid; admitting maximum passage of light without diffusion or distortion; reflecting light evenly from all surfaces.


Rural round-up

April 30, 2018

NZ scientists’ anti-cow burp vaccine – Eloise Gibson:

Livestock has directly caused about a quarter of industrial-age warming. Scientists in New Zealand are working on an anti-burp vaccine for those methane-emitting cows. Eloise Gibson reports. 

In a cream-colored metal barn a few minutes’ drive from Palmerston North a black-and-white dairy cow stands in what looks like an oversize fish tank. Through the transparent Plexiglas walls, she can see three other cows in adjacent identical cubicles munching their food in companionable silence. Tubes sprout from the tops of the boxes, exchanging fresh air for the stale stuff inside. The cows, their owners say, could help slow climate change.

Livestock has directly caused about one-quarter of Earth’s warming in the industrial age, and scientists from the US departments of agriculture and energy say bigger, more resource-heavy cattle are accelerating the problem. Contrary to popular belief, cows contribute to global warming mostly through their burps, not their flatulence. So about a dozen scientists here at AgResearch Grasslands, a government-owned facility, are trying to develop a vaccine to stop those burps. “This is not a standard vaccine,” says Peter Janssen, the anti-burp program’s principal research scientist. “It’s proving to be an elusive little genie to get out of the bottle.” . . 

Local choppers can be the difference between life and death:

Saving lives is more important than saving dollars, and that should be reflected in decisions about the nation’s rescue helicopter services, Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says.

6Existing Te Anau, Taupo/Rotorua and Coromandel rescue chopper services were missing from a list of bases proposed under new, larger area contracts put out by the National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO).  Late on Tuesday came news that the Central Plateau could put in their own tender, but it would have to meet the new specifications to be successful.

Rescue helicopters are generally funded 50 per cent by government and 50 per cent by the community through sponsorship and donations.  NASO says the current model is financially unsustainable long-term, and wants all rescue choppers to be twin-engined. . . 

Chilled meat trial proves successful – Neal Wallace:

The meat industry is optimistic the success of trial shipments of chilled beef and sheep meat to China will be extended to other plants.

About 800 tonnes of beef and 400 tonnes of sheep meat were shipped to China from 10 approved plants from June to December, which Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie said went well.

“I am not aware of any impediment to suggest it shouldn’t be broadened.” . . 

Dairy farmers key to new food revolution – Gerald Piddock:

City-based future food systems such as cultured meat and vertical farming will rely heavily on the nutrient and water management expertise of dairy farmers, Australian science writer Julian Cribb says.

Food production that took in the emerging innovations would shift to the cities, Cribb said.

For the new systems to succeed, all of the freshwater and wasted nutrients dumped into the ocean via urban sewage and wastewater would have be captured and used in the new food production.

This was where dairy industry expertise would be critical, he said. . .

Christchurch city schoolboy already farming own flock of sheep – Heather Chalmers:

Growing up in a city all his life hasn’t stopped Angus Grant from becoming a farmer, even before he has left high school.

Grant, 15, already has a flock of 50 ewes that he will lamb this spring.

From the Christchurch suburb of Papanui and despite having no family farming background, Grant has always known he wanted to be a farmer. “My mother had been reading me a book about cows and my first word was cow.

“I watched Country Calendar when I was three and that was it.” . .

Farm Babe: no livestock aren’t destroying the planet – Michelle Miller:

The rumours are swirling, but how truthful are they? We’ve heard time and time again from people who say, “Go vegan, save the planet!” But let’s investigate those claims, shall we? First off, livestock don’t only give us meat. What many people may not be aware of is there are actually 185 uses for a pig, from cement to renewable energy, paint to brushes, and life-saving pharmaceuticals. If you haven’t yet seen this TED talk from Christien Meindertsma, check it out! There is lots of fascinating info there. There are also these byproducts that come from cattle. . 


PSA on road code

April 30, 2018

A public service advisory on the road code:

Is it that people don’t know, or do know and don’t observe the rule to turn into the lane closest to them?

It would help to encourage those turning left to turn into the left lane if there weren’t bulbous curbs which require cars to swing wide to get round them.


Doing something not doing good

April 30, 2018

The government isn’t alone in thinking it must do something, and it’s also not alone in thinking that something is  better than nothing.

But something isn’t better if it’s not doing good.

Take the government’s ban on oil and gas exploration that was done without a cost-benefit analysis, consultation and environmental assessment for example:

. . . “I am not aware of a cost-benefit analysis using the Treasury’s CBAx tool being undertaken in relation to the decision to grant no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits,” Megan Woods said. . . 

No formal consultation was undertaken with PEPANZ in relation to the decision to grant no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits. However, I have spoken publicly about the Government’s direction to transition away from fossil fuels and my office has had open dialogue with PEPANZ before this announcement.”

There’s also been no estimates on whether global greenhouse gas emissions will fall as a result of the decision.

“No specific estimate has been provided to me. I have been advised by officials that the effect on global emissions depends on the response of New Zealand’s large gas users.” . . 

The goal is to reduce carbon emissions but there is no plan for how that will be done.

Ending oil and gas exploration here will merely mean we are more reliant on imports and lose export income.

It’s putting the cart before the horse at Greg economic, environmental and social cost.

This is doing something  but it’s not doing good and not better than doing nothing.

This government has initiated more than 70 groups and committees to look at policy in its first six months. But as Rodney Hide points out that’s not all bad. At least while they are deliberating, the government isn’t doing something that will do no good or worse do bad.


Quote of the day

April 30, 2018

 There are some things that are real, that you can see, that you can observe, like the moon, and grass and things. But for ideas to become real, they have to be played on your senses. – Jane Campion who celebrates her 64th birthday today.


April 30 in history

April 30, 2018

313  Roman emperor Licinius unified the entire Eastern Roman Empire under his rule.

1006  Supernova SN 1006, the brightest supernova in recorded history, appeared in the constellation Lupus.

1315 Enguerrand de Marigny was hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon.

1492 Spain gave Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.

1513 Edmund de la Pole, Yorkist pretender to the English throne, was executed on the orders of Henry VIII.

1651 Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, French educational reformer, Catholic saint, was born (d. 1719).

1662 Queen Mary II of England was born (d. 1694).

1671  Petar Zrinski, the Croatian Ban from the Zrinski family, was executed.

1789  George Washington took the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.

1794  The Battle of Boulou was fought, in which French forces defeated the Spanish under General Union.

1803  Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.

1838  Nicaragua declared independence from the Central American Federation.

1864  Pai Marire warriors were defeated at Sentry Hill.

Pai Marire defeated at Sentry Hill Taranaki

1865 ex-Governor Robert Fitzroy committed suicide.

Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

1871 The Camp Grant Massacre took place in Arizona Territory.

1894 Coxey’s Army reached Washington, D.C. to protest the unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893.

1900 Hawaii became a territory of the United States, with Sanford B. Doleas governor.

1900  Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

1904 The Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair opened in St. Louis, Missouri.

1907  Honolulu, Hawaii became an independent city.

1909  Queen Juliana of the Netherlands,  was born (d. 2004).

1917 – Lieutenant-Commander William Sanders was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery when the Q-ship he commanded was attacked by a German U-boat.

William Sanders wins New Zealand's only naval VC

1925 Dodge Brothers, Inc was sold to Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million plus $50 million for charity.

1927  The Federal Industrial Institute for Women, opened in Alderson, West Virginia, as the first women’s federal prison in the United States.

1927 – Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford became the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

1933 Willie Nelson, American musician, was born.

1937  The Philippines held a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage; more than 90% voted in the affirmative.

1938  The animated cartoon short Porky’s Hare Hunt debuted in movie theatres, introducing Happy Rabbit.

1938 The first televised FA Cup Final took place between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End.

1939  The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair opened

1939  NBC inaugurated its regularly scheduled television service in New York City, broadcasting President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s World’s Fair opening day ceremonial address.

1943  World War II: Operation Mincemeat: The submarine HMS Seraphsurfaced in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain to deposit a dead man planted with false invasion plans and dressed as a British military intelligence officer.

1945 World War II: Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide after being married for one day. Soviet soldiers raised the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.

1946 King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, was born.

1947 The Boulder Dam was renamed Hoover Dam a second time.

1948 The Organization of American States was established.

1949 António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.

1953  In Warner Robins, Georgia, an F4 tornado killed 18 people.

1953 Merrill Osmond, American musician (The Osmonds), was born.

1954 Jane Campion, New Zealand film director, was born.

1956 Former Vice President and Senator Alben Barkley died during a speech in Virginia. He collapsed after proclaiming “I would rather be a servant in the house of the lord than sit in the seats of the mighty.”

1959 Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, was born.

1973  Watergate Scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that top White House aids H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and others had resigned.

1975 Fall of Saigon: Communist forces gained control of Saigon. The Vietnam War formally ended with the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Duong Van Minh.

1980 Accession of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

1988 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened World Expo ’88 in Brisbane, Australia.

1993  CERN announced World Wide Web protocols would be free.

1993 Virgin Radio broadcast for the first time in the United Kingdom.

1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton became the first President to visit Northern Ireland.

1999 Cambodia joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)bringing the number of members to 10.

2004 U.S. media release graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

2008  Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.

2009 Chrysler  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2009 – Seven people were killed and 17 injured at a Queen’s Day parade in Apeldoorn, Netherlands in an attempted assassination on Queen Beatrix.

2010 – Hailed as the largest World’s Fair in history, Expo 2010 opened in Shangai.

2013 – A powerful explosion occurred in an office building in Prague, Czech Republic, believed to have been caused by natural gas, injures 43 people.

2014  – A bomb blast in Ürümqi kiled three people and injured 79 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


365 days of gratitude

April 29, 2018

My mother once told me that if she ever got too feathery to explain what she’d want, she would just like to sit with her back to the sun.

I’ve inherited her sun-seeking tendencies, though wisdom born of experience and some minor skin cancers have persuaded me to slip, slop slap and seek shade during the burniest time of day if I’m outside.

The sun-seeker in me also guided the plans when we did house alterations.

Like with many of  our home’s vintage, bedrooms got sun all day and the living area didn’t. Now, thanks to a redesign, if there’s sun, we’ll get it somewhere in the living room.

Even if there’s no sun, thanks to good insulation, double glazing and heating we’re still warm and I”m very grateful for that.


Word of the day

April 29, 2018

Haar – a cold, wet sea fog or mist; a thick, wet fog along the sea coast.


Refuse to Pretend

April 29, 2018

All I can tell you is there is a moment where you finally stop & refuse to pretend this life is not yours & suddenly being strong looks a lot like laughing & crying & dancing & listening deeply to the people you love & now & then, you’ll look back at that old way & wonder how you ever believed that Life was something to endure. Refuse to Pretend © 2018 Brian Andreas – posted with permission.

You can buy books, posters, cards, ornaments and more and sign up for a daily dose of whimsy like this by email at Story People.


Rural round-up

April 29, 2018

Dairy role model gets reward – Annette Scott:

Taupo dairy farmer Kylie Leonard believes she has a responsibility to be involved in her community but she never “in her wildest dreams” expected any special accolades for doing what she loves doing. She talked to Annette Scott.   

Kylie Leonard is passionate about her community roots that go back more than 60 years on the Central Plateau.

Her family has a long history of farming in the region where her grandparents walked from Te Aroha, in Waikato, to Reporoa to establish their dairy farm in the 1950s.

Initially pursuing a teaching career Leonard never gave up on her long-time dream to one day own a piece of land and be a dairy farmer herself. . . 

Legendary herb offers forest options – Richard Rennie:

With more than 2000 years of Chinese use as a tonic and medicine ginseng is a herb familiar to the world’s fastest-growing consumer market, one increasingly seeking traditional therapies and tonics for a growing list of modern ailments.

The fact it appears to grow exceptionally well in New Zealand under the canopy of pine tree forests only adds to the appeal this ancient herb offers as a marketer’s dream and a forester’s cashflow booster. Richard Rennie gained an insight to the herb’s potential at the country’s inaugural Ginseng Symposium.

The harvested root of ginseng has long held medicinal and healing properties valued by the Chinese and Koreans who see it as a cure for ailments including memory, fatigue, menopause symptoms and diabetes to name a few. Globally, the ginseng market for both the raw root and processed product is valued at more than US$2 billion. . .

Wairarapa pea growing ban extended:

Extending the ban on growing peas in the Wairarapa for at least a further 12 months offers the best chance of ensuring pea weevil has been eradicated in the district, Wairarapa Federated Farmers Arable Chairperson Karen Williams says.

“After the 12 months we can then review whether a continued total ban, partial restrictions or other measures will be the best option going forward, based on what the trap crops show us.”. . .

Philippines-based Bounty Fresh mounts $437.8M takeover bid for Tegel –  Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Philippines-based poultry group Bounty Fresh Foods will mount a $437.8 million takeover bid for NZX-listed Tegel Group at a 50 percent premium to the share price, which has been beaten up after multiple earnings downgrades.

The Filippino company already has Tegel’s cornerstone shareholder Affinity Equity Partners on board, signing a lock-up agreement with the holding company Claris Investments for a 45 percent stake. The offer of $1.23 per share is a premium to the 82 cents the stock closed at on Tuesday, although it’s still a discount to the $1.55 price the shares sold at in the 2016 initial public offering. . . 

Council aims to sell dam research to recoup losses

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has lost most of the money it invested in the now defunct controversial Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme, it says.

After spending $20 million on planning and resource consents, the council last year pulled its financial backing for the project after the Supreme Court ruled the council could not flood a large parcel of conservation land.

The council now wants to sell the intellectual property and research prepared for the dam.

Council chair Rex Graham believed they would be able to recover some of their investment. . . 

CropLogic’s managing director Jamie Cairns resigns, replaced by CFO James Cooper-Jones – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – CropLogic’s managing director has resigned with immediate effect, with the company’s chief financial officer appointed as acting chief executive.

The Christchurch-based agritech firm, which listed on the ASX last year, said today that Jamie Cairns had tendered his resignation and the board had accepted. James Cooper-Jones, CropLogic’s CFO and company secretary, has been appointed acting CEO. . . 

Clevedon Buffalo Co. named Supreme Champion Of Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards 2018:

Clevedon Buffalo Co has been named Supreme Championof the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards 2018, with a further eight food businesses receiving awards recognising the outstanding quality of their produce.

The food producers were assessed as the country’s finest after 186 food products from 100 producers were assessed by a panel of judges in March. The majority of judging marks were for aroma, taste, quality, with a further 20% for brand story, product and pack design and sustainability. Shortly after judging, 25 New Zealand food producers received Gold Medals and a further 57 received Silver. Champions were chosen from the highest scoring Gold Medal winners. . . 

The 25 Most Important Cheeses in America, According to Cheese Experts – Carey Polis:

The phrase American cheese used to mean only one thing: that floppy, pale orange plastic-wrapped slice of processed perfection. But when I use the phrase American cheese now, that’s not what I’m talking about (save for this great grilled cheese recipe and the occasional hamburger). Instead, I’m referring to the incredible range of cheeses handcrafted in America—from young, tangy goat cheeses in Indiana to aged, nutty cow’s-milk cheese in Wisconsin; dessert-like blue cheeses from Oregon and complex, caramel-y clothbound cheddars from Vermont.

We’re living in a dairy renaissance, people! The golden age of American cheese! What a time to be alive!

But the cheese counter can be an intimidating place; good cheese does not come cheap. So I asked seven of the country’s leading cheese experts (see their bios at the end) to share what they think are the most important (and most delicious) cheeses that define American dairy today. Beyond just how good these cheeses taste, many of them also serve as models for responsible dairy farming and helping local communities. . .


Sunday soapbox

April 29, 2018

 Sunday’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.

Image result for Rod McKuen quotes

Everybody has the answers or they’ll make them up for you. Just once I’d like to hear a brand new question. – Rod McKuen


April 29 in history

April 29, 2018

711  Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn-Ziyadlanded at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).

1429 Joan of Arc arrived to relieve the Siege of Orleans.

1483 Gran Canaria, the main of the Canary Islands was conquered by theKingdom of Castile, an important step in the expansion of Spain.

1624 Cardinal Richelieu became Prime Minister of Louis XIII.

1672 Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invaded the Netherlands.

1707  Scotland and England unified in United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1770 James Cook arrived at and named Botany Bay, Australia.

1832 Évariste Galois released from prison.

1861 American Civil War: Maryland’s House of Delegates voted not to secede from the Union.

1863 William Randolph Hearst, American publisher, was born (d. 1951).

1864 – The British attacked the Ngāi Te Rangi stronghold of Pukehinahina (Gate Pā) with the heaviest artillery bombardment and one of the largest forces used in the New Zealand Wars.

1864 The Theta Xi fraternity was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

1869 – The assault on Gate Pa started.

Assault on Gate Pā

1881 – The steamer Tararua, en route from Port Chalmers to Melbourne, struck a reef at Waipapa Point, Southland. Of the 151 passengers and crew on board, 131 were lost including 12 women and 14 children.

131 perish in worst civilian shipwreck in New Zealand waters

1882  The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – was tested byErnst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.

1899 Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist and bandleader, was born (d. 1974).

1901 Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, was born (d. 1989).

1903 A 30 million cubic-metre landslide killed 70 in Frank, Alberta.

1915 Donald Mills, American singer (Mills Brothers), was born (d. 1999).

1916 World War I: The British 6th Indian Division surrendered to Ottoman Forces at Siege of Kut in one of the largest surrenders of British forces up to that point.

1916 Easter Rebellion: Martial law in Ireland was lifted and the rebellion was officially over with the surrender of Irish nationalists to British authorities in Dublin.

1933 Rod McKuen, American poet and composer, was born.

1934 Otis Rush, American musician, was born.

1938 Bernard Madoff, American convict, who was a financier and Chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange, was born.

1945 World War II: The German Army in Italy unconditionally surrendered to the Allies.

1945 World War II: Start of Operation Manna.

1945 World War II – Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler married his long-time partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designated Admiral Karl Dönitzas his successor.

1945 – The Dachau concentration camp was liberated by United States troops.

1945 – The Italian commune of Fornovo di Taro was liberated from German forces by Brazilian forces.

1946  Former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo and 28 former Japanese leaders were indicted for war crimes.

1952 Anzus came into force.

ANZUS comes into force

1953 The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode ofSpace Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

1954 Jerry Seinfeld, American comedian, was born.

1957 – Daniel Day-Lewis, British-Irish actor, was born.

1958 Michelle Pfeiffer, American actress, was born.

1958 Eve Plumb, American actress, was born.

1965 Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission(SUPARCO) successfully launched its seventh rocket in its Rehber series.

1967 After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before (citing religious reasons), Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title.

1968  The controversial musical Hair opened on Broadway.

1970 Andre Agassi, American tennis player, was born.

1970 Vietnam War: United States and South Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.

1974 President Richard Nixon announced the release of edited transcripts of White House tape recordings related to the Watergate  scandal.

1975 Vietnam War: Operation Frequent Wind: The U.S. began to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war ended.

1979  Jo O’Meara, British singer (S Club), was born.

1980 Corazones Unidos Siempre Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. was founded.

1980 Kian Egan, Irish singer (Westlife), was born.

1986 Roger Clemens then of the Boston Red Sox set a major league baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.

1986 A fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Librarydamaged or destroyed 400,000 books and other items.

1991 A cyclone struck the Chittagong district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless.

1992  Riots in Los Angeles  following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over the next three days 53 people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

1997 The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 enters into force, outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by its signatories.

1999 The Avala TV Tower near Belgrade was destroyed in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

2002 The United States was re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, one year after losing the seat that it had held for 50 years.

2004 Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testified before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.

2004  Oldsmobile built its final car ending 107 years of production.

2005 Syria completed withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation.

2005 – New Zealand’s first civil union took place.

2011 – Wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Kate Middleton.

2013 – A powerful explosion occurred in an office building in PragueCzech Republic, believed to have been caused by natural gas, injures 43 people.

2015 – A baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox set the all-time low attendance mark for Major League Baseball. Zero fans were in attendance for the game, as the stadium was officially closed to the public due to the 2015 Baltimore protests.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.


365 days of gratitude

April 28, 2018

If I had to describe my childhood in a single word, I’d say secure.

That security came from the blessing of parents who loved each other and their children. They set us boundaries and made us face consequences when we crossed them. They didn’t preach but instilled in us their Christian values by practising them. They taught by example the importance of honesty, the necessity for, and rewards from,  hard work, and to treat others as we wished to be treated.

Ours was a single-income household and we weren’t rich in material terms but the lack of things was more than compensated for by the gifts of time and experiences our parents shared with us.

I am very aware that not every child had those blessings then and that more lack them now.

Today, and every day, I am grateful to my parents and for a secure and loving upbringing.

 


Word of the day

April 28, 2018

Deso – a person who abstains from alcohol at a social gathering so as to be fit to drive others home; a designated driver.


Smart like . . .

April 28, 2018

. . . Socrates:

You are smart like Socrates, which means you have a definite feeling for truth and what is right and wrong. No matter how complex or threatening the situation, you can see past peer pressure and what other people expect, to see into the heart of the matter. You are also very good at asking questions, not just supplying answers.

Rural round-up

April 28, 2018

Minister refuses to meet MP to discuss future of rescue helicopter base – Guy Williams:

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says Health Minister David Clark has refused to meet him to discuss the fate of Te Anau’s rescue helicopter base.

Te Anau was one of three bases cut from a list of bases in a tender for air rescue services put out by the ACC and Ministry of Health last month.

Taupo and Rotorua’s bases were effectively restored to the list after three North Island mayors met Mr Clark on Monday. . . 

Scientists work on simple way to clean streams – Tony Benny:

Canterbury University scientists have perfected a simple method to reduce sediment load in waterways by up to 70 per cent, part of a project to find solutions to Canterbury’s water woes. Tony Benny reports.

On the Canterbury Plains alone, there are about 17,000km of waterways, many of which carry high levels of nitrogen, phosphate-laden sediment and faecal bacteria and a huge effort is going into ways to reverse this decline in water quality, with local and national government agencies, farm industry bodies, iwi and farmers all joining in.

Adding some science to the mix is the Canterbury Water Rehabilitation Experiment (Carex), a project by the University of Canterbury’s Freshwater Ecology Research Group, funded by the Ashburton-based Mackenzie Charitable Foundation. The Carex team comprises nine scientists including professors, researchers and students. . . .

Gas not grass at farm field day – Richard Rennie:

Ground-breaking research turning a commercial dairy farm into a living lab is starting to reveal some valuable insights for farmers seeking ways to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gases.

Waikato University has, for the first time, thrown back the blanket on its researchers’ cutting-edge equipment and early lessons from that equipment on a Matamata property that has been a core site over the past six years.

In something of a national first, the traditional style Waikato farm discussion day had greenhouse gases rather than growing more grass as the key focus for those attending.

At the heart of the property’s research into better understanding of nitrous oxide release on dairy farms is the university’s $250,000 Quantum Cascade Laser. The high tech kit is helping researchers gain far more accurate analysis what the gas does when released from cow urine patches.  . . 

Hurdles ahead in future irrigation development – Yvonne O’Hara:

Irrigation New Zealand’s (INZ) held its conference in Alexandra earlier this month and the primary focus was on irrigation and its future role.

IrrigationNZ chair Nicky Hyslop said the conference “celebrated the role that irrigation played”.

The future of the Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group’s plan to raise the height of Falls Dam by 6m to irrigate 12,500ha was highlighted following the announcement that the Crown Irrigation Investments (CII) would not be funding any more irrigation projects.

Water strategy group chairman Allan Kane said it had decided, based on pre-feasibility study information, that raising Falls Dam by 6m to irrigate 12,500ha was the best option.

However, the Government’s announcement meant alternative funding options would need to be found to contribute to the group’s final feasibility study. . . 

Bulk milk tests ‘not working’ – Annette Scott:

Frank Peters’ $4 million dairy herd, the result of 55 years of breeding genetics is about to be slaughtered despite being clean in bulk milk testing.

Now he’s worried about 2500 calves he has sold in the four years since Mycoplasma bovis arrived on his 1400-cow farm in stock he bought from Southern Centre Dairies in Southland in autumn 2014.

“That’s four years ago and we have sold 2500 calves in that time that could be anywhere now. . .

Big year for Wallace Family of South Otago – Rob Tipa:

Rob Tipa visits a family that has caught the judges’ eye in a couple of recent competitions.

This year is shaping up as a big one for the Wallace family of Waipahi in South Otago, winning several major southern farming awards in the space of a week.

Logan, Ross and Alexa Wallace won the Beef + Lamb Livestock Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the supreme award for the Otago region at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Wanaka earlier this month.

Last weekend Logan, 28, added a win in the Otago-Southland regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year awards in Winton to his impressive record in the industry. . .

Put wellbeing in business plan:

If the wool industry wants to attract the next generation of shearers it needs to prioritise the wellbeing of its workforce, industry veteran Dion Morrell says.

Dion and his partner Gabriela run a busy, Alexandra-based contracting business employing up to 50 shearers at peak time. 

He’s worked in the industry for over 40 years, starting as a shearer straight out of school, working his way up to elite level competition representing New Zealand and setting four world records along the way.  . . 

Viral American farming sensation on tour in New Zealand

From a family farm in Kansas in the United States, four siblings known as The Peterson Farm Bros have risen to social media fame with their funny parody videos.

Songs names like “Takin’ Care of Livestock” (Taking Care of Business Parody) are sure to put you on the map, and these siblings have racked up over 50 million views on their videos.

However, the world’s most popular farming family are using their fame for the greater good to advocate for agriculture and to correct farming misconceptions. . .


Saturday’s smiles

April 28, 2018

A woman was driving in the country when she noticed a sign at a gateway: Talking Dog For Sale.

She rang the bell and the owner told her the dog was in the backyard. The woman walked round the house and saw Labrador sitting there.

“You talk?” she asks. “Yep,” the Lab replies. “So, what’s your story?”

The Lab looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running.

“But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.

“I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had several litters of puppies, and now I’m just retired.”

The woman is amazed. She goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

“Ten dollars,” the guy says.

“Ten dollars? This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?”

“Because he’s a compulsive liar. He never did any of that stuff.”


Peace in our time

April 28, 2018

The Korean War is nearly over.

A vow is not the same as actually signing a peace treaty and keeping to it, but let’s hope this is at the very least the beginning of the end of the war.

 

Our oldest and longest-serving staff member served in the New Zealand Army in Korea.


WWII Land Girls – a tribute

April 28, 2018

They also serve who only stand and wait.

This line from John Milton’s poem On His Blindness is often quoted about the people who  didn’t join serve overseas during World Wars I and II.

While they might have waited, the people left behind didn’t just stand, they too worked for the war effort and kept the home fires burning.

Among those who are often overlooked when tributes to war service are made were World War II’s Land Girls.

A speech commemorating the marvelous – but largely unsung – wartime service of the NZ Women’s Land Service (the Land Girls), was delivered by Federated Farmers President Katie Milne at the Anzac Day Service at Moana, on the West Coast. Katie was wearing her volunteer fire brigade dress uniform. The talk was researched and put together by Sheryl Hynes, borrowing from books such as The Land Girls: In a Man’s World, 1939-1946 by Dianne Bardsley  

Their names were Ruth and Florence, Norma, Betty, Ada, Melba, Heather and Beatrice.  And they worked at trimming gorse hedges, driving bullock teams, castrating horses, trapping and skinning ferrets.

When the Second World War broke out, and a large part of New Zealand’s manpower was enlisted, there was much pressure on the nation to increase food production – meat, dairy, wheat, honey, eggs, seeds, potatoes, vegetables, flax, wool.  Britain needed food support, NZ troops overseas required supplies, and 100,000 Americans were to arrive.

The idea for a Women’s Land Corps was first mooted in 1939 – it didn’t happen until 1942. There was much opposition from the Ministry of Agriculture, newspapers, churches and especially the Farmers’ Union – the forerunner of today’s Federated Farmers. 

The Farmers’ Union was outspoken about not wanting land girls but rather needing “experienced men”.  The experienced men were now away on the battlefields and those who were still on the land were much older men, many of whom had served in World War One.  One phrase that was repeated was, “we don’t want women, Italian prisoners-of-war, and immigrants”.

Farmers’ wives were outspoken about not employing land girls, calling them town hussies, and were disappointed that they were not allowed to do domestic work inside the household.

And their names were Phyllis and Lorna, Pixie, Enid, Made, and Silvia, Lillian and Elsie, and they worked at breaking horses, building a swingbridge, hand scything the hay paddock, wool classing, and snow raking.

When manpower controls began in 1942, young single women had to choose between factory work or land service.  Lots of them realized they didn’t want a boring 9-5 job, with men as bosses, and decided to give rural work a go.

They were given a uniform of sou-wester, overalls, gumboots, leggings, raincoat, woolen socks – but only after they had proved themselves on the job for a month.  The first contact with the new employer might be under the main clock at the Timaru Railway Station, followed by a long ride in a horse and dray.

Lots of land girls came from farming families and they chose to stay on the home farm, often because a father had been badly injured in World War One, and brothers had enlisted.  Or they moved to relatives’ farms, and quickly became managers.

The girls from town, who sometimes turned up on their first day in high heels and silk stockings, soon took to the new work, and surprised themselves with what they could tackle.  Often there was no electricity, so that meant coal ranges, blade shearing, petrol-powered milking machines.  So girls who arrived not knowing a chook from a rooster became adept at milking, and shoeing horses, and driving tractors.  They were versatile and conscientious, adventurous and good company – and hard workers.

Some found the isolation too much, and headed back to the factory.  Others didn’t leave the property for a year and worked for months without a day off.

A Sunday off might mean a 15-mile ride on horseback to have a picnic with the girl next door.  A Saturday night dance at a nearby hall needed a long gown tied to the saddle, and getting home in time to milk the cows.  There might be a catch-up at the local tearooms or after the stock sales.

Evenings were spent writing letters – often to soldiers – knitting, reading, listening to the radio, correspondence school courses, Red Cross work.  They were usually absolutely doggo by the end of the day, went to bed early and had no trouble sleeping.

And their names were Ngaio and Pat, Dulcie, Beatrice, Grace and Violet, Gwen and Hazel, and their work was repairing telephone lines, cleaning out the cowshed with buckets of water, pulling ragwort, emptying the septic tank, stumping using gelignite and horses.

Some hospitals, boarding schools and gaols had their own farms – usually a dairy herd and large areas of food crops.  At Hanmer Hospital farm the land girls lived in the hospital cottage with the laundry staff and sewing room girls and there was always company, as well as the thermal pools.  The same girl who had turned up in high heels was determined to do a good job and after a week was headmilking 15 cows, the same as the boss.

The Army provided soldiers at harvesting time and they worked an 8-hour day alongside the girls, who managed a 12-hour day, and for less pay.  One sergeant, who was helping to move sheep, was told there was a big difference between motorcycle pace and pregnant ewe pace.

Most of the girls reared their working dogs.  A favourite story tells of some Rangiora girls who organized a gymkhana, with tractor races, dog trials, biggest pumpkin and a baby show. One of the girls decided that she had to put so much time and effort into her pup that she should enter it in the baby show.  So a three-month-old pup was dressed in baby clothes, put in a pram, its tail yanked to get a good yelp.  The judge, a local Plunket nurse thinking quickly, awarded a certificate “for a very special 3-month old baby with a full set of teeth”.

Land girls were paid a set wage by the farm owner, who was sometimes subsidized by the government. Often the farmer was a widow, or another woman, and the girls were much appreciated, especially after the remaining worker – usually the cowman-gardener – had enlisted.

Later, after the war, the girls were praised by the farmers they had worked for – for their determination and doggedness, their solid work and good cheer.

The Women’s Land Service was the largest of the women’s war services and it disbanded in 1946.  It began without the support and recognition of the men it was formed to assist – and it ended that way.  The girls’ war service was not officially recognised; they were not allowed to join the RSA; they had no official service number; government histories barely make mention of them.

Some 23,000 men left the farming industry to serve overseas; 4,500 women stepped into their shoes.  And production in every area of agriculture increased.  This wasn’t because of better machinery – the government had commandeered all farm trucks, spare horses and weapons.

On V.E. Day in 1945 everybody in uniform paraded but the land girls were not invited.  So they decided to have their own parade.  They took their dogs in the very old trucks and presented themselves at the front of the parade in Christchurch.  Of course they were not welcome there so they went to where the parade was to finish, and did it in reverse – with great fun.

Many of them commented in later years that the Women’s Land Service changed their lives. 

And their names were Portia and Cecilia, Patsy and Beulah, Sadie and Ethel, Winifred and Mollie.  And they worked at splitting battens and posts, building gates and cattle stops, cross-cut sawing, buying and selling stock, repairing windmills.

They were mechanics and shepherds, plumbers and fencers, and we are full of admiration for them.  But they all agreed the worst job was plucking wool from dead sheep, and killing for the dog tucker.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Katie Milne and I’m the President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand, the former Farmers’ Union – the first female president in the organisation’s 118 year history. I appreciate the irony of telling you about the Women’s Land Service and the marvelous work they achieved during the war, despite the mistrust from so many quarters.


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