365 days of gratitude

April 23, 2018

Barbecues have lots of good points, one of which is the mess stays outside.

This evening my farmer cooked a butterfly leg of lamb on the barbecue while I did the vegetables inside.

Tonight I’m grateful for a team effort for dinner.

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Word of the day

April 23, 2018

Trig  – neat and smart; in good condition; precise; firm; vigorous; stylishly or jauntily trim;  to make or become neat, trim or spruce.


Land of Hope and Glory

April 23, 2018

Adam at Inquiring Mind reminded me today is St George’s Day which prompted me to find this:


Rural round-up

April 23, 2018

I founded Happy Cow Milk to make a difference in dairying. I failed – Glen Herud:

He founded an ethical dairying company that would allow calves to stay with their mothers. Last week, Glenn Herud had to admit that his enterprise had failed.

I’m a third generation dairy farmer. The milk business is the only business I know. Four years ago I decided to find a way to do dairy in a more sustainable way.

I know New Zealanders want this. They want the land treated better, they want rivers treated better, and they want animals treated better. And they would like the option to buy their milk in something other than plastic bottles.

I founded Happy Cow Milk to make a difference. But last week I had to admit to myself that I failed. . . 

Record butter prices expected: economist – Simon Hartley:

Households, restaurants and bakeries be warned, butter prices are expected to rise well above last year’s records, already sitting just 5% below the highs set last September.

ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny said butter prices were already well up on the same period a year ago, and the seasonal lull in New Zealand milk production was still to come.

“We anticipate butter prices will shatter last year’s records over coming months,” Mr Penny said.

In October last year, butter prices were up more than 60% against a year earlier. By November, one Dunedin supermarket’s cheapest 500g block cost $5.90 and there were reports of $8 blocks in other Otago towns. . . 

Commercial Mycoplasma bovis test being developed:

A commercial diagnostic tool which will allow farmers to test for cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis themselves is being developed by a partnership comprising commercial laboratories, industry representatives and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The tool will be released once sampling guidelines, a testing strategy and possibly an accreditation programme have been developed – to ensure the test can be accurately applied and interpreted. . . 

There’s more M bovis to come yet – Glenys Christian:

Up to three to four years of Mycoplasma bovis monitoring will be needed and more infected animals will probably be found next year, Primary Industries Ministry senior policy analyst Emil Murphy says.

“It doesn’t make animals sick directly,” he told Auckland Federated Farmers executive.

“It’s more like a cold sore where something happens to an animal which is weak already and M bovis  jumps in and makes it worse.”

Genetic analysis showed the local strain of M bovis is quite different to that seen in Australia for the last 10 years. . . 

Iwi in peat-mining venture say wetland is a wasteland:

The iwi involved in a peat mining venture in the Far North says it’s disappointed the Conservation Minister wants to derail it.

The Auckland company Resin and Wax Holdings has been granted resource consents to dig over land owned by the iwi Ngāi Takoto, in the Kaimaumau wetland.

The company plans to extract valuable industrial compounds from the peat, using a chemical process perfected in the United States.

The project has had several government grants from the Callaghan Innovation fund. . . 

Co-ops also present in German ag – Sudesh Kissun:

The power of cooperative agriculture is proudly on display at a dairy farm near the German city of Dresden.

The Agrargenossenschaft Gnaschwitz (Agri Co-op), in the town of Gnaschwitz, milks 460 cows year round with eight Lely robotic machines. Lely recently unveiled its new Astronaut A5 machine.

The co-op is owned by about 100 shareholders, each owning a small parcel of the farm. Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, land seized by the former communist regime in East Germany was returned to people if they could show evidence of their family’s ownership. .  .

Human ingenuity and the future of food – Chelsea Follett:

A recent article in Business Insider showing what the ancestors of modern fruits and vegetables looked like painted a bleak picture. A carrot was indistinguishable from any skinny brown root yanked up from the earth at random. Corn looked nearly as thin and insubstantial as a blade of grass. Peaches were once tiny berries with more pit than flesh. Bananas were the least recognizable of all, lacking the best features associated with their modern counterparts: the convenient peel and the seedless interior. How did these barely edible plants transform into the appetizing fruits and vegetables we know today? The answer is human ingenuity and millennia of genetic modification.

Humanity is continuously innovating to produce more food with less landless water, and fewer emissionsAs a result, food is not only more plentiful, but it is also coming down in price.

The pace of technological advancement can be, if you will pardon the pun, difficult to digest. Lab-grown meat created without the need to kill an animal is already a reality. The first lab-grown burger debuted in 2013, costing over $300,000, but the price of a lab-grown burger patty has since plummeted, and the innovation’s creator “expects to be able to produce the patties on a large enough scale to sell them for under $10 a piece in a matter of five years.” 

People who eschew meat are a growing demographic, and lab-grown meat is great news for those who avoid meat solely for ethical reasons. It currently takes more land, energy, and water to produce a pound of beef than it does to produce equivalent calories in the form of chickens, but also grains. So, cultured meat could also lead to huge gains in food production efficiency.  . . 

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Cost effectivness out warm, fuzzy in

April 23, 2018

A Bill amending the Local government Act will takes out the requirement for cost effectiveness and replaces it with warm fuzzines:

new bill to amend the Local Government Act should alarm all New Zealand ratepayers as it would remove the last remaining fiscal restraint on Council spending, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

The relevant proposed law change is as follows:

10 Purpose of local government
(1) The purpose of local government is—
(a) to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
(b) to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.
(b) to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities in the present and for the future.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “The proposed changes replace a clear requirement for councils to be ‘cost effective’ with a vague suggestion that councils promote ‘well-being of communities’.”

“In effect, this change lets councils off the leash. It’s financially terrifying.”

“Local Government New Zealand – the ratepayer-funded lobby for councils – is excited about this change because it gives councils free reign to act without regard for fiscal responsibility. For example, councils could hike salaries without increasing output, or they could spend ratepayer money on ‘cultural’ investment without budget constraints, and no need for any consideration of costs versus benefits.”

“Councils already waste our money as it is. The last thing councils need is more license to pursue wishy-washy whims on the ratepayer’s dollar.”

The current Act requires: Meeting the current and future needs of communities for good local quality infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost effective for households and businesses.

That’s clear, and concrete and cost-conscious.

Replacing it with  to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities in the present and for the future is wishy washy, warm fuzziness with no regard to cost or cost effectiveness.


Quote of the day

April 23, 2018

Above all things — read. Read the great stylists who cannot be copied rather than the successful writers who must not be copiedDame Ngaio Marsh who was born on this day in 1895.


April 23 in history

April 23, 2018

215 BC A temple was built on the Capitoline Hill dedicated to Venus Erycinato commemorate the Roman defeat at Lake Trasimene.

1014 Battle of Clontarf: Brian Boru defeated Viking invaders, but was killed in battle.

1229 Ferdinand III of Castile conquered Cáceres.

1343 St. George’s Night Uprising.

1348 Edward III announced the founding of the Order of the Garter.

1521 Battle of Villalar: King Charles I of Spain defeated the Comuneros.

1564 – William Shakespeare, English writer and actor was born. (Traditional approximate birth date (in the Julian calendar) based on April 25th baptism) (d. 1616) .

1597  William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor was first performed, with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance.

1621 William Penn, English admiral was born (d. 1670).

1635 The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, was founded.

1660 Treaty of Oliwa was established between Sweden and Poland.

1661King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

1815 The Second Serbian Uprising – a second phase of the national revolution of the Serbs against the Ottoman Empire, erupted shortly after the annexation of the country to the Ottoman Empire.

1867 William Lincoln patented the zoetrope, a machine that showed animated pictures by mounting a strip of drawings in a wheel.

1895 Ngaio Marsh, New Zealand writer, was born  (d. 1982) .
Ngaio Marsh circa 1935

1899  – Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-American author (d. 1977).

1910 Theodore Roosevelt made his The Man in the Arena speech.

1920 The national council in Turkey denounced the government of SultanMehmed VI and announced a temporary constitution.

1920 The Grand National Assembly of Turkey was founded in Ankara.

1923 – 1st official celebration of Children’s day, world’s only Children’s day that is offically being celebrated since 1923 and with international participation since 1979.

1928 – Shirley Temple, American actress and politician, was born.

1932  The 153-year old De Adriaan Windmill in Haarlem burned down.

1935  The Polish Constitution of 1935 was adopted.

1935 The first official Children’s day was celebrated in Turkey.

1940  The Rhythm Night Club fire at a dance hall in Natchez, Mississippi, killed 198 people.

1941 World War II: The Greek government and King George II evacuated Athens before the invading Wehrmacht.

1942  World War II: Baedeker Blitz – German bombers hit Exeter, Bath and York in retaliation for the British raid on Lübeck.

1948 1948 Arab-Israeli War: Haifa was captured from Arab forces.

1949 Chinese Civil War: Establishment of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

1955 The Canadian Labour Congress was formed by the merger of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada and the Canadian Congress of Labour.

1961  Algiers putsch by French generals.

1967 Soviet space programme: Soyuz 1 (Russian: Союз 1, Union 1) was a manned spaceflight, Launched into orbit carrying cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov.

1967 A group of young radicals was expelled from the Nicaraguan Socialist Party. This group went on to found the Socialist Workers Party.

1968  Vietnam War: Student protesters at Columbia University took over administration buildings and shut down the university.

1979 – New Zealander Blair Peach was killed during a clash between police and protesters at an anti-fascism rally in Southall, London.

1982  The Conch Republic was established.

1983 Prince William met Buzzy Bee.

Prince William meets 'buzzy bee'

1985 Coca-Cola changed its formula and released New Coke. The response was overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula was back on the market in less than 3 months.

1987 28 construction workers died when the L’Ambiance Plaza apartment building collapsed while under construction.

1988 Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon left the charts for the first time after spending a record of 741 consecutive weeks (over 14 years) on the Billboard 200.

1990  Namibia became the 160th member of the United Nations and the 50th member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

1993 Eritreans vote overwhelmingly for independence from Ethiopia in a United Nations-monitored referendum.

1997  Omaria massacre in Algeria: 42 villagers were killed.

2003 Beijing closed all schools for two weeks because of the SARS virus.

2005  – First YouTube video uploaded, titled “Me at the zoo”

2009 The gamma ray burst GRB 090423 was observed for 10 seconds as the most distant object of any kind and also the oldest known object in the universe.

2013 – At least 28 were killed and more than 70 are injured as violence broke out in Hawija, Iraq.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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