365 days of gratitude

August 1, 2018

Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavour. Marge Kennedy

Today I’m grateful for family and soup.


Word of the day

August 1, 2018

 Encomium – a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly; glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise;  a formal expression of high praise; eulogy.


Rural round-up

August 1, 2018

Keeping Industry quality on course – Sally Rae:

Fleeces were flying at Elite Shearer Training’s recent fine wool shearing and woolhandling course in East Otago.

Industry veteran Tom Wilson had become frustrated in recent years by the lack of training, which was starting to affect the wool harvesting industry.

As he went around shearing sheds, he could see the problems young shearers were having and how quality had dropped. So he decided to do something about it.Fellow industry identities Dion Morrell and Gavin Rowland jumped on board and Elite Shearer Training was established. . .

Good idea’ over a beer proves worth – Sally Rae:

Like many great ideas, Zero Harm Farm started over a beer.

The Queenstown-based start-up had its origins in November 2015, when co-founders Mark Orr and Ross Copland were discussing the then forthcoming new health and safety legislation.

Both were from farming backgrounds and knew “paper and farming don’t mix”.

“Farmers hate paper,” Mr Orr said.

They were concerned about how farmers would comply with the legislation, which came into effect in April 2016. . .

Wool renaissance prompts ‘101 Ways with Wool’ festival – Alice Angeloni:

The global backlash against synthetic products has seen New Zealand’s favourite fibre make a natural comebaaa…ck.

And what better way to celebrate wool’s renaissance than a ‘101 Ways With Wool’ festival, set down for Blenheim next year.

The Marlborough branch of Rural Women hope the “everything to do with wool” expo won’t be a run-of-the-mill event, with plans to get the fire brigade on board to burn a synthetic couch and a wool couch. . .

Europe’s plant breeding exit: regulatory failure:

On 25 July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that plants bred via recent mutagenesis techniques would fall under the suffocating 2001 GMO regulatory regime. The pre-designed hurdles this legislation intentionally imposes on researchers (data, time, money) will lower the likelihood of approving any seed breeding innovation in the EU to, well, zero.

This is a confused, scientifically illiterate decision in a European court that highlights failure on many levels:

  • A failure for science and science-based decision-making;
  • a failure of the European legal system to recognise how this case is part of a larger activist issue exploited by opportunistic zealots; . .

338 Wisconsin dairy farms have closed down this year amid rise of vegan options –  Jemima Webber:

Wisconsin, which produces more dairy than any other state in America, is experiencing a steep decline in dairy farms. In June, 54 Wisconsin dairy farms left the industry, and in May, 78 facilities also closed up shop.

This information was confirmed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), a state government agency.

So far in 2018, 338 dairy farms have “stopped milking cows,” magazine Dairy Herd admits. According to DATCP data, the number of dairy farms in the state has declined every year for more than a decade. Dating back to August 2003, Wisconsin was home to 16,264 dairy farms. Now, the total number sits at just 8,463. . .


Can you identify these flowers?

August 1, 2018

41/50 in this flower quiz.


Property rights and owner responsibility

August 1, 2018

Initial reports about the access disputes through Lake Hawea Station  suggested that the owners and managers were being unreasonable.

Andrea Vance provides another perspective:

. . .In the distance, a figure emerges from the barn. It’s Taff Cochrane: he and his wife Pene worked the station for more than 40 years, before selling the pastoral lease to Lauer for a reported $13m in 2017. Their son Digby, and his wife Hannah, now run the farm.

“We were wondering if we were allowed to go along the track?”

“You can, you just have to be awfully careful,” Cochrane says. He returns immediately with a key to the gate.

The Cochranes run a log book. We fill in a form requesting our names, addresses, phone numbers – and the same details for a point of contact. 

Trampers and the family have been at odds over public access to the private road for years. Cochrane is weary of “the romantic argument out there.”

“We have only had one life lost in this valley in 45 years – that was a river crossing, a vehicle rolled while in the water and after that we started putting a lot of control on the road,” he explains.

He’s talking about Charlie Hunt, who drowned in 1997. He’d worked in the valley for 35 years and was trying to get to an autumn muster, when his truck was swept down a creek in full flood.

“Take a wee bit of understanding of why we have done what we have done over many years,” Cochrane says.

Legally, the safety of tourists and visitors is not his problem, but coming to the aid of stricken trampers and jet boaters is just human decency. However, rescue here is not easy: to get into the valley is a good five to six hour drive, and the family often do it alone, by truck, tractor or sometimes boat.

“We drag them out, that’s the problem. When something goes wrong, we have to go and get them. Rescue is not easy here, there is no cellphone coverage, no communications.

“It’s a responsibility. [The hiking groups say] we don’t have to – that’s what they are trying to argue. But it is a moral responsibility.”

Whn life is at risk and outside help could be hours away, how could a property owner say no?

They could be risking their own safety to do so and even if they aren’t, it would be costing them in time and money, but they still wouldn’t refuse to help.

Before we set off, Cochrane points out our road tyres aren’t suitable for the rough terrain. The road is set on the glacier valley floor. The lake often brims over – and the water left behind blisters frozen overnight.

“When it freezes it is bloody dangerous. At this time of year we don’t even go up there ourselves, we ride out July at least. 

“We get frights – we have been known to float down a river a few times. You learn the hard way.”

In the end, we don’t get very far. Once through the padlocked gate, we pass some cattle yards and immediately plunge down a steep bank into a torrent. The engine guns us through the freezing depths, but the track disappears into a rough, rocky creek bed.

The 4WD lurches and bumps along. Minutes later we reach a river – it surges into a fork – and the only obvious route seems to be straight into the lake. We give up and return to the farm-yard. 

Digby Cochrane offers to take us further up the track, the following day, in his own vehicle: a 2002 Landrover Defender. Most importantly, unlike our rental 4WD, it’s fitted with off-road tyres and a snorkel.

The river that stood in our way was actually Terrace Creek – which “blew out” a week or so ago, Cochrane explains. For a short time, the track is fairly smooth travelling: Cochrane explains Lauer recently spent $50,000 upgrading it.

On one side snow-capped Sentinel Peak towers above the station and the lake. Before long, the track climbs 500m with a sheer drop to the lake on the other side. It’s narrow, and as we plunge back down the other side, there’s no room to squeeze past a couple of wandering bulls.

How many vehicles and recreational drivers could safely cope with a road like this?

Over the next few kilometres we cross two or three more creeks, and some huts. Visitors can book them out for around $50 a night. Cochrane says generations of sons have travelled up the valley for fishing trips. One family visits from Australia every year.

“We manage it carefully. If we’ve got two or three of the huts booked out one weekend, we say: ‘the valley is full’,” Cochrane says. A guide also brings in horse-trekkers, and once a year around 700 mountain bikers compete in a round-the-lake race. Lauer no longer charges fees to the organisers. . . 

This doesn’t sound like unreasonable access.

. . . He’s frustrated his home has become a flashpoint. He remembers previous rows over access to the campsite – pointing out that it was his father and uncles who established and built it. “We could have just locked the gates altogether. We don’t want to stop people coming here – we just don’t want them to get hurt.” 

There are less treacherous ways up the valley, he argues. On the eastern lake shores opposite, a track also runs to the head of the lake. Walking access is easier from Landsborough Valley or the Ahuriri conservation park. . .

If a city section could provide a shortcut for visitors to a public reserve, would the homeowner be expected to let people wander through the property at will?

Of course not.

Why then do some people, and groups, expect access through farms?

Property rights and owner responsibilities don’t change with the size or location of the property.


Quote of the day

August 1, 2018

We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry. Maria Mitchell – who was born on this day in 1818.


August 1 in history

August 1, 2018

30 BC Octavian(later known as Augustus) entered Alexandria bringing it under the control of the Roman Republic.

10BC Claudius, Roman Emperor was born (d. 54).

69 Batavian rebellion: The Batavians in Germania Inferior (Netherlands) revolted under the leadership of Gaius Julius Civilis.

527 Justinian I became the sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.

607  Ono no Imoko was dispatched as envoy to the Sui court in China.

902 Taormina, the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily, was captured by the Aghlabid army.

1203  Isaac II Angelus, restored Eastern Roman Emperor, declared his son Alexius IV Angelus co-emperor after pressure from the forces of the Fourth Crusade.

1291  The Swiss Confederation was formed with the signature of theFederal Charter.

1461  Edward IV was crowned king of England.

1498 Christopher Columbus became the first European to visit what is nowVenezuela.

1545 Andrew Melville, Scottish theologian and religious reformer (d. 1622)

1619 First African slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia.

1664  The Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Battle of Saint Gotthardby an Austrian army led by Raimondo Montecuccoli, resulting in the Peace of Vasvár.

1774 The element oxygen was discovered for the third (and last) time.

1779 – Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and poet, was born (d. 1843).

1798 French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of the Nile (Battle of Aboukir Bay)began when a British fleet engaged the French Revolutionary Navy fleet in an unusual night action.

1800  The Act of Union 1800 was passed which merged the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1818  – Maria Mitchell, American astronomer and academic, was born (d. 1889).

1828 Bolton and Leigh Railway opened to freight traffic.

1831  A new London Bridge opened.

1832  The Black Hawk War ended.

1834  Slavery was abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 came into force.

1842 Lombard Street Riot erupted.

1855 First ascent of Dufourspitze (Monte Rosa), the second highest summit in the Swiss Alps.

1893  – Alexander of Greece was born (d. 1920).

1894 The First Sino-Japanese War began between Japan and China over Korea.

1902 The United States bought the rights to the Panama Canal from France.

1905 – Helen Sawyer Hogg, American-Canadian astronomer and academic, was born (d. 1993).

1907  Start of First Scout camp on Brownsea Island.

1914 Germany declared war on Russia at the opening of World War I.

1916 Anne Hébert, French Canadian author and poet, was born (d. 2000).

1927 The Nanchang Uprising – the first significant battle in the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and Communist Party of China. This day is commemorated as the anniversary.

1934 – John Beck, New Zealand cricketer, was born (d. 2000).

1936 Yves Saint Laurent, French fashion designer, was born (d. 2008).

1937  Tito read the resolution “Manifesto of constitutional congress of KPH” to the Croatian Communist Party in woods near Samobor.

1941  The first Jeep was produced.

1942 Jerry Garcia, American musician (The Grateful Dead), was born (d. 1995).

1944  Anne Frank made the last entry in her diary.

1944  Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi occupation began.

1947 – Lorna Goodison, Jamaican poet and author, was born.

1949 Kurmanbek Bakiyev, President of Kyrgyzstan, was born.

1951 Tommy Bolin, American musician (Deep Purple), was born (d. 1976).

1957  The United States and Canada formed the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).

1959 –  Joe Elliott, English musician (Def Leppard), was born.

1960 – Dahomey (later renamed Benin) declared independence from France.

1964  The Belgian Congo was renamed the Republic of the Congo.

1966 Charles Whitman killed 15 people at The University of Texas before being killed by the police.

1966  Purges of intellectuals and imperialists became official Chinese policy at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

1967  Israel annexed East Jerusalem.

1968 The coronation of Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th Sultan of Brunei.

1975  CSCE Final Act created the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

1980  Buttevant Rail Disaster killed 18 and injured dozens of train passengers.

1981 MTV began broadcasting in the United States and aired its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles.

1987 Maori became an official language in New Zealand.

Maori becomes official language

1992 – Lorraine Moller won a bronze medal in the Olympic marathon.

Lorraine Moller wins Olympic bronze

1993  The Great Flood of 1993 in the US Mid-West  peaked.

1995  The first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

1996  Michael Johnson broke the 200m world record by 0.30 seconds with a time of 19.32 seconds at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

2001 – Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had a Ten Commandments monument installed in the judiciary building, leading to alawsuit to have it removed and his own removal from office.

2004  A supermarket fire killed 396 people and injured 500 in Asunción, Paraguay.

2007  The I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapsed during the evening rush hour.

2008 – Eleven mountaineers from international expeditions died on K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth in the worst single accident in the history of K2 mountaineering.

2010  – Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force.

2014  – Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence entered into force.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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