365 days of gratitude

July 19, 2018

After I got over the shock of the diagnosis that my baby had a degenerative brain disorder that would mean he’d have multiple disabilities and probably die soon I started to think about what I could control.

One thing that came to mind was my fitness.

With a baby and a two year-old to care for I had to find something I could do at home, settled on stationary biking and hired an exercycle.

The baby died the day after I hired it but I figured fitness would help with grief and began pedaling the stationary equivalent of 20 kilometres most days.

A year later I returned the hired bike, bought one myself and kept up the cycling through another pregnancy, a second diagnosis of a degenerative brain disorder and life with a profoundly disabled child.

About seven years after I started, around the time our second son died, the routine of biking nowhere was beginning to pall. By then the older child was at school which left me free to exercise away from home and I began jogging instead.

Going somewhere was better than staying still but after a few months recurring joint pain was taking the edge off the enjoyment. As the pleasure of increasing fitness gave way to niggling injuries, I had to find an alternative exercise I didn’t dread doing and began walking instead.

There’s a reasonable hill not far from home. I began walking up it and kept that up most days for several years. Every now and then I’d get a bit slack about it but the purchase of a Fitbit about three and a half years ago keeps me motivated to exercise most days.

I’m built for distance rather than speed and have no aspirations to race.

But the knowledge that regular exercise is better for both physical and mental health and the determination not to be the one who says “you go, I’ll wait here” when an expedition is proposed keeps me walking.

I sleep better and feel better when I’m fitter and I’m grateful I have both the time and ability to exercise.


Word of the day

July 19, 2018

Gillygaupus – a foolish or stupid person; a tall, awkward fellow.


Rural round-up

July 19, 2018

US trials bring GM ryegrass a step closer – Esther Taunton:

Kiwi researchers running overseas trials of genetically modified ryegrass say their field work has taken an important step forward.

In initial trials in New Zealand, the GM grass grew up to 50 per cent faster than conventional ryegrass, stored more energy for better animal growth, was more resistant to drought, and produced up to 23 per cent less methane from livestock.

Modelling also predicted lower urinary nitrate leaching and lower emissions of another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide. . .

Tararua exotic sheep flock at Wimbledon grows to 300 – Christine Mckay:

It’s a secret farmer Brian Hales doesn’t hide. He loves a taste of the exotic.

Now his Wimbledon flock of exotic, rare and historic sheep has grown to 300, with 18 breeds represented.

“Wherever possible, I try to replicate their natural environment,” he said.

The latest addition to the Hales flock are Stewart Island sheep. . .

Dairy’s plan to succeed :

 Choosing 15 dairy farmers as NZ’s climate change ambassadors is the next step in the dairy sector’s plan for a culture of climate-conscious agribusiness, says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.

Waikato Federated Farmers Vice President Jacqui Hahn is one of 15 dairy farmers chosen as New Zealand’s climate change ambassadors.

“These 15 men and women represent best environmental farming practice for their farm system,” says Mackle.  . .

Finding right formula for farm fertiliser – Joyce Wyllie:

An early morning phone call. Jock answers wandering out into pre-dawn darkness to give a report on weather conditions. Looking for shifting leaves, sensing air movement and  trusting gut feeling he gives his opinion to the caller.

Weather in Nelson is quite different from West Coast Golden Bay so Richard, the topdressing pilot , rings for an on-the-spot update. No amount of cyber forecasts and analysing isobar lines on maps compare with advice from an experienced observer standing out on the dewy lawn.  

If the decision is that it will be a fine calm day the plane buzzes in about 40 minutes later and lands on the all weather runway in our aptly named Airstrip Paddock. . . 

Science says yes to eating fruit and vegetables – Amber Pankonin:

As a registered dietitian and nutrition educator, I spend a lot of time addressing myths about food and nutrition. Today we have more consumers asking specific questions about where food comes from and how it is produced. Even though I often encourage these types of questions, activist organizations and documentaries that spread false messages about agricultural practices make my job much more complicated when I talk with consumers about getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diet.

Since the mid-90s, the U.S.-based Environmental Working Group has published a list known as the “Dirty Dozen.” This list contains 12 fruits and vegetables believed to contain the highest amount of pesticide residues (trace amounts). Strawberries, spinach and nectarines top the list followed by other popular favorites such as apples, tomatoes and potatoes. The “Dirty Dozen” encourages consumers to purchase organic varieties of these particular fruits and vegetables instead of those grown conventionally. Every year this list receives attention from the media and every year I find myself addressing consumer concerns because of it. The headlines about the “Dirty Dozen” and pesticide risk are often misleading and can easily plant seeds of doubt when it comes to consuming healthy fruits and vegetables . .

 

Threats to supply management concern dairy farmers– Steve Arnold:

To Dave Loewith and his relatives, it’s a threat to the business model that has given them a level of financial security that many farmers can only imagine.

His parents, Joe and Minna, took up dairy farming just outside Hamilton, Ont., in 1938. They escaped Europe just ahead of the Nazi hordes by promising to farm in Canada for five years. They moved to their current location in Lynden – between Hamilton and Brantford – in 1947. Today, Dave Loewith and his brother Carl are partners in the venture. . .


Killing Me Softly

July 19, 2018

Will left a comment on last night’s gratitude post pointing out that Roberta Flack sang strumming my pain with his fingers not strumming my face . . .

Ahhhh!

I first heard the song sung by a friend’s sister in the early 1970s, I went to a Roberta Flack concert in the Christchurch Town Hall a few years later, I own an LP on which it features, I’ve heard it sung on the radio countless times and it’s on my playlist on Spotify.

Every one of those countless times I’ve listened to it I’ve heard face not pain.

But Will’s right it is pain. 

Sigh, I much preferred the interpretation I’d made of the meaning when it was face.


Missed opportunity for fairer outcomes

July 19, 2018

The Ministry for the Environment has missed the opportunity for fairer outcomes in its new guidelines for the Resource Management Act:

Federated Farmers is in favour of ‘best practice’ guidelines on how councils exercise their duties under the Resource Management Act if they bring common sense and consistency to that role.

But there is concern the new guidelines miss opportunities for fairer outcomes.

The guidelines released by the Minister for the Environment this week are intended to assist councils in their compliance, monitoring and enforcement duties in promoting the sustainable management purpose of the RMA.

Richard Gardner, Federated Farmers senior policy advisor, says this is a very admirable purpose “because too often we find that councils are misusing their powers under the legislation, and managing compliance and enforcement matters inappropriately.

“The guidelines will hopefully usher in more practicality and consistency to the exercise of that role.”

That would be a welcome improvement but there is a but:

Federated Farmers finds fault with some of the guidelines and is disappointed that it had not been more involved in putting them together.

There is concern about the lack of differentiation in the guidelines between routine inspections and inspections that arise as the result of a complaint. Feds also sees faults in the way enforcement decisions are handled.

“We have long held the view that there should be a pecuniary penalty regime for ‘misdemeanour’ and accidental offences, with criminal prosecutions reserved for the worst, deliberate offences, and the current strict liability standard regarding those prosecutions removed,” Mr Gardner says. . .

There is a big difference between deliberately flouting the law and accidents which breach it.

Farmers can be charged for accidental effluent ponding that could reach a waterway. That’s a bit like charging someone for drink driving when they are drinking but have no intention of driving.

Contrast that to the soft approach taken to councils which fail to deal with sewerage spills.

The latest example of this was in Northland:

A Kaipara Harbour farmer says raw sewage was left to flow into local waterways for up to two weeks.

Grant McCallum, speaking with Jamie Mackay on Newstalk ZB programme The Country, said the overflowing sewage was discovered by a Wellsford farmer who leases the land.

McCallum said Auckland Council sent up one-tonne diggers to deal with the broken and blocked pipes but the machines were too small.

Five days later the sewage was still flowing, so the farmer contacted Rodney Local Board member Colin Smith to ask him to get involved.

Smith said there had been problems with the sewerage infrastructure in the area before.

“The sewerage line in the area’s been broken for a long time…it’s buggered.”

Farmers wouldn’t be allowed to get away with systems that were buggered, nor should they be and councils should be held to the same standard.

He said it took far too long for the problem to be fixed.

“The thing is it could’ve been done in eight hours and it took weeks.” . .

Too many councils waste their time and ratepayers’ money on fripperies when core responsibilities like sewerage are in urgent need of attention.

The RMA, or the way it’s administered, appears to let them away with it while farmers are prosecuted for accidents which are often beyond their control.


Quote of the day

July 19, 2018

Even if my country remains in war with yours. . .remember. . . I am not your enemy. A.J. Cronin who was born on this day in 1896.


July 19 in history

July 19, 2018

64 – Great Fire of Rome: a fire started in the merchant area of Rome and soon burned completely out of control. According to a popular, but untrue legend, Nero fiddled as the city burned.

484 – Leontius, Roman usurper, was crowned Eastern emperor at Tarsus (modern Turkey). He was recognized in Antioch and made it his capital.

711 Battle of Guadalete: Umayyad forces under Tariq ibn Ziyad defeated the Visigoths led by their king Roderic.

1333  Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Halidon Hill – The English won a decisive victory over the Scots.

1544 Italian War of 1542: The Siege of Boulogne began.

1545 The Tudor warship Mary Rose sank off Portsmouth.

1553 Lady Jane Grey was replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after  just nine days.

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The Spanish Armadasighted in the English Channel.

1692  Salem Witch Trials: Five women were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.

1759 Seraphim of Sarov, Russian Orthodox Saint, was born (d. 1833).

1800 Juan José Flores, first President of Ecuador, was born (d. 1864).

1814 Samuel Colt, American firearms inventor, was born (d. 1862).

1827  Mangal Pandey, Indian freedom fighter, was born (d. 1857).

1832 The British Medical Association was founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary.

1834 Edgar Degas, French painter (d. 1917)

1843  Brunel’s steamship the SS Great Britain was launched, becoming the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and also the largest vessel afloat in the world.

1848 The two day Women’s Rights Convention opened in Seneca Falls, New York and the “Bloomers” were introduced.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid – General John Hunt Morgan’s raid into the north was mostly thwarted when a large group of his men were captured while trying to escape across the Ohio River.

1864 Third Battle of Nanking:the Qing Dynasty  defeated the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

1865 Charles Horace Mayo, American surgeon and founder of the Mayo Clinic, was born (d. 1939).

1868 – Florence Foster Jenkins, American soprano and educator, was born (d. 1945),

1870 Franco-Prussian War: France declared war on Prussia.

1879 Doc Holliday killed for the first time after a man shot up his New Mexico saloon.

1890 – George II of Greece, was born (d. 1947).

1896 A. J. Cronin, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1981).

1912 A meteorite with an estimated mass of 190 kg exploded over the town of Holbrook, Arizona causing approximately 16,000 pieces of debris to rain down on the town.

1916 Battle of Fromelles: British and Australian troops attacked German trenches in a prelude to the Battle of the Somme.

1919  Following Peace Day celebrations marking the end of World War I, ex-servicemen rioted and burnt down Luton Town Hall.

1921  – Elizabeth Spencer, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright, was born.

1937 George Hamilton IV, American country singer, was born.

1940  World War II: Battle of Cape Spada – The Royal Navy and the Regia Marina clashed; the Italian light cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni sank, with 121 casualties.

1940 World War II: Army order 112 formed the Intelligence Corps of the British Army.

1942  World War II: Battle of the Atlantic – German Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz ordered the last U-boats to withdraw from their United States Atlantic coast positions in response to the effective American convoy system.

1946 Alan Gorrie, Scottish musician (Average White Band), was born.

1947 Brian May, English musician (Queen), was born.

1947 Prime minister of shadow Burma government, Bogyoke Aung San, 6 of his cabinet and 2 non-cabinet members were assassinated by Galon U Saw.

1963  – Garth Nix, Australian author, was born.

1963  Joe Walker flew a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 metres (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km, this flight qualifies as a human space flight under international convention.

1964 Vietnam War: At a rally in Saigon, South Vietnamese Prime MinisterNguyen Khanh called for expanding the war into North Vietnam.

1970 – Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish lawyer and politician, First Minister of Scotland, was born.

1971 Urs Bühler, Swiss tenor (Il Divo), was born.

1976  Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal was created.

1979 Sandinista rebels overthrew the government of the Somoza family in Nicaragua.

1982 The Privy Council granted New Zealand citizenship to Western Samoans born after 1924. The government challenged this ruling, leading to accusations of betrayal and racism.

Privy Council rules on Samoan citizenship

1983 The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT was published.

1985  The Val di Stava Dam collapsed killing 268 people in Val di Stava, Italy.

1989  United Airlines flight 232 crashed in Sioux City, Iowa killing 112 of the 296 passengers.

1992  Anti-Mafia Judge Paolo Borsellino  and  five police officers were killed by a Mafia car bomb in Palermo.

1997  – The Troubles: The Provisional Irish Republican Army resumed a ceasefire to end their 25-year campaign to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

2014 – Gunmen in Egypt’s western desert province of New Valley Governorate attacked a military checkpoint, killing at least 21 soldiers. Egypt reportedly declared a state of emergency on its border with Sudan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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