365 days of gratitude

23/08/2018

In the old days wedding cakes were fruit cakes.

Traditionally they were iced with almond icing, often with a great deal of artistic decoration.

These days wedding cakes aren’t necessarily even baked – Whitestone Cheese does a wonder line of celebration “cakes” in cheese.

The one I’ve been asked to bake is a chocolate cake to from the base of a tier.

So far so easy. But the request came for the cake to be 35 centimeters and the recipe I wanted to use was for a 28 centimeter tin.

I enlisted the assistance of someone who’s much better with numbers than I am and he said I should increase all the ingredients by half.

So far so easy, until I got to three eggs. Do I try to halve an egg or use five instead of 4 1/2?

I opted for five.

It worked and I’m grateful for that (and our dairy staff who will get the rest of this practice version probably will be too).

 


Word of the day

23/08/2018

Thwaite – a piece of wild land cleared or reclaimed for cultivation; a piece of land used as a meadow, field, or pasture; specifically : forestland cleared and converted to tillage.


Just wondering . .

23/08/2018

. . . why a recipe that stipulates unsalted butter includes salt as an ingredient.

Is there something in the chemistry that makes salted butter different from unsalted butter plus salt?


Rural round-up

23/08/2018

Calf rearer changes tactics after Mycoplasma bovis battle – Heather Chalmers:

Farmers who believe they can live with Mycoplasma bovis need to think again, say a Southland couple who are finally clear after eight months battling the bacterial cattle disease. 

Lumsden couple Ben Walling and Sarah Flintoft are now “gun-shy” of returning to their calf rearing business, knowing the risks involved. 

They had bought 1600 calves to rear last spring before being “clobbered” with M. bovis. Their farm was confirmed clear of infection by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in early August.  . . 

New research into animals that give off less nitrogen:

New research may hold the key to lowering our emissions, by breeding animals that naturally excrete less nitrogen.

Utilising the genes of animals that produce less nitrogen could provide farmers with a breakthrough in managing on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.

Two research projects are currently looking to see if there’s a link between the nitrogen content of milk and animal emissions and whether it’s possible to identify and then replicate genes in animals that might control how much nitrogen an animal gives off. . . 

A2 Milk shares rise 4.4% as company doubles down on US, Asia – Sophie Boot:

 (BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk’s shares rose 4.4 percent following the milk marketer’s annual results this morning, but are still well off record highs seen earlier this year.

The company more than doubled net profit to $195.7 million in the June 2018 year, as it widened margins and increased infant formula sales. Revenue rose 68 percent to $922.7 million and earnings before interest, tax, deprecation and amortisation also more than doubled to $283 million. A2 already gave that revenue figure last month, just beating its $900 million-to-$920 million forecast from May, and at the time said ebitda was about 30 percent of sales, implying a figure around $277 million. . .

Milking it: I spent a day on the farm and my nose may never recover – Anuja Nadkarni:

NZ is known for its dairy products, and is home to one of the biggest dairy companies in the world. In this Stuff special investigation, we examine how the price of milk is set and explore the industry behind our liquid asset.

I milked two cows last week.

A bog standard Auckland millennial, milked two cows in my jeans, puffer and rubber boots on a dairy farm.

Being the typical city slicker I am, for a moment I arrogantly thought to myself, “yeah, I could do this”.

Could I though? . . 

Sheepmeat and beef levies to increase:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Board has decided to proceed with the proposed increase in the sheepmeat and beef levies following significant support from farmers.

From 1 October 2018 the levy for sheepmeat will increase 10 cents to 70 cents per head and the beef levy by 80 cents to $5.20 per head. This is 0.4 per cent of the average slaughter value for prime steer/heifer, 0.7 per cent cull dairy cow, 0.7 per cent of lamb, and 1.1 per cent of mutton over the last three years.

The additional levies will be invested in accelerating four key programmes: the international activation of the Taste Pure Nature origin brand and the Red Meat Story, helping the sector lift its environmental performance and reputation, telling the farmer story better, and strengthening B+LNZ’s capability to address biosecurity risks. . .

Comvita hones focus on biggest growth drivers as it seeks to bolster profits – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, New Zealand’s largest producer and marketer of honey and bee-related products, is reducing its risk and positioning itself for future growth by honing in on where it can get the most bang for its buck.

The company’s shares are the worst performer on the benchmark index this year after earnings were hurt by two consecutive years of poor honey harvests. Its honey supply business lost $6.2 million in operating profit in its 2018 financial year and $6.6 million in the 2017 year. . . 

Guy Trafford looks at what the future might hold for Lincoln University, and how consumer perceptions might change feedlot operations – Guy Trafford:

Lincoln University staff were called to a briefing on Tuesday this week from Chancellor Steve Smith and Acting Vice Chancellor Professor James McWha on what the future holds for the University.

For several years rumours and stories have been doing the rounds regarding Lincoln not helped by the issues surrounding the recently appointed and then moved-on Vice Chancellors.

The crux of the announcement revolved around the fact that Lincoln had signed a memorandum of understanding with University of Canterbury to form a joint future together. Considerable effort was spent reassuring staff that, whatever the future holds, Lincoln will retain its brand and culture and its autonomy to operate its multidiscipline programmes with their land-based programmes. . . 

Farmers protest California water plan aimed to save salmon :

Hundreds of California farmers rallied at the Capitol on Monday to protest state water officials’ proposal to increase water flows in a major California river, a move state and federal politicians called an overreach of power that would mean less water for farms in the Central Valley.

“If they vote to take our water, this does not end there,” said Republican state Sen. Anthony Cannella. “We will be in court for 100 years.”

Environmentalists and fishermen offered a different take on the other side of the Capitol to a much smaller audience. . . 

 


Old MacDonald Had a Daughter

23/08/2018

Maggie Rose, rewriting the song for the women rewriting the rules:


Mixed Ownership Model works well

23/08/2018

National’s partial sale of a few state assets has been vindicated by a report released by TDB Advisory:

An independent report released today by TDB Advisory shows that the Mixed Ownership Model introduced under the previous National Government has been an overwhelming success, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“The Mixed Ownership process successfully generated $4.7 billion for public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and broadband and TDB’s findings highlight the wider issue with the Government’s ideological opposition to private sector involvement in funding new assets.

“The partial sell-down of Genesis, Meridian and Mercury began in 2013 and had three simple objectives: to lower Government debt; to increase investment opportunities for ‘mum and dad’ investors; and to improve the financial performance of each company.

“TDB’s study shows all of these objectives have been achieved.

“The most striking finding is that despite electricity prices being flat-to-falling over the period of the Mixed Ownership Model, shareholder returns have increased by 69 percent and the Government has received higher dividends despite owning a lower share of each company.

“The report also shows that opposition to the Mixed Ownership Model was misplaced. It didn’t lead to higher electricity prices. And it didn’t result in a drop-off in renewable energy generation, which has increased over the period.

“The current Government has an irrational opposition to the private sector. Labour’s ideological resistance to Private-Public Partnerships to build public assets means a number of important projects are failing to get off the ground.

“The Government shouldn’t shut itself off from ideas such as Private-Public Partnerships or Mixed Ownership purely on ideological grounds. Evidence, not ideology, should drive good policy.

So the fear of prices soaring was misplaced; the government is earning a similar amount in dividends from a small shareholding; and pausing less interest; and the people who invested in the shares are getting dividends too.

This report  ought to encourage the government to consider more sales.

. . .Taxpayers’ Union Economist Joe Ascroft says, “This report demonstrates what most analysts already knew: private-sector discipline can transform bloated, inefficient Government-owned companies into efficient market-disciplined businesses. It’s a win-win-win for taxpayers, investors, and consumers.”

“With the Government struggling to meet its self-imposed budgetary restrictions, it’s actually the perfect time for an expansion of the Mixed Ownership Model. Raising capital and increasing dividend payments would give Grant Robertson the room to invest in infrastructure without seriously damaging the country’s books.”

The three parties now in government were vehemently opposed to the MOM.

The report proves them wrong and shows their opposition wasn’t based on fact.

The state still owns too many businesses which could easily be sold, partially or fully, to the benefit of the public finances, taxpayers and the businesses.

If the government would let evidence not ideology guide its decisions, it would sell at least some of them but it is very, very unlikely to do so.

The report is here.

 


Quote of the day

23/08/2018

Somehow our devils are never quite what we expect when we meet them face to face. Nelson DeMille who celebrates his 75th birthday today.


August 23 in history

23/08/2018

30 BC – After the successful invasion of EgyptOctavian executed Marcus Antonius Antyllus, eldest son of Marc Antony, and Caesarion, the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt and only child of Caesar and Cleopatra.

20 BC – Ludi Volcanalici were held within the temple precinct of Vulcan, and used by Augustus to mark the treaty with Parthia and the return of thelegionary standards that had been lost at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC.

79  Mount Vesuvius began stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

1305  William Wallace, Scottish patriot, was executed for high treason.

1328  Battle of Cassel: French troops stopped an uprising of Flemish farmers.

1514  Battle of Chaldiran ended with a decisive victory for the Sultan Selim I, Ottoman Empire, over the Shah Ismail I, Safavids founder.

1572   St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre – Mob violence against Huguenots in Paris.

1595  Michael the Brave confronted the Ottoman army in the Battle of Calugareni.

1708  Meidingnu Pamheiba was crowned King of Manipur.

1775 King George III declared that the American colonies existed in a state of open and avowed rebellion.

1793 French Revolution: a levée en masse was decreed by the National Convention.

1799  Napoleon I of France left Egypt for France en route to seize power.

1813  Battle of Grossbeeren, the Prussians under Von Bülow repulsed the French army.

1839  The United Kingdom captured Hong Kong as a base as it prepared for war with Qing China.

1858  The Round Oak rail accident in Brierley Hill, England.

1866  Austro-Prussian War ended with the Treaty of Prague.

1873  Albert Bridge in Chelsea, London opened.

1875 William Eccles, English radio pioneer, was born (d. 1966).

1891  – Roy Agnew, Australian pianist and composer, was born (d. 1944).

1896 First Cry of the Philippine Revolution was made in Pugad Lawin (Quezon City), in the province of Manila.

1900 Malvina Reynolds, American folk singer/songwriter, was born (d. 1978).

1904 The automobile tyre chain was patented.

1908 – Hannah Frank, Scottish sculptor and illustrator , was born (d. 2008).

1912 Gene Kelly, American dancer and actor, was born (d. 1996).

1914 – World War I: the Battle of Mons; the British Army began withdrawal.

1920 – Violet Waldron, aged 15, became New Zealand’s first female Olympian.

New Zealand's first female Olympian

1921  British airship R-38 experienced structural failure over Hull in England and crashed in the Humber estuary.  Only 4 of her 49 British and American training crew survived.

1923  Capt. Lowell Smith and Lt. John P. Richter performed the first mid-air refueling on De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.

1929  Hebron Massacre during the 1929 Palestine riots: Arab attack on the Jewish community in Hebron in the British Mandate of Palestine, continuing until the next day, resulted in the death of 65-68 Jews and the remaining Jews being forced to leave the city.

1934 Barbara Eden, American actress and singer, was born.

1938 English cricketer Sir Len Hutton set a world record for the highest individual Test innings of 364, during a Test match against Australia.

1939 New Zealand writer Robin Hyde died in London.

Writer Robin Hyde dies in London

1939  World War II: Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret addition to the pact, the Baltic states, Finland, Romania, and Poland were divided between the two nations.

1942  Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.

1942  The last cavalry charge in history took place at Izbushensky.

1943 Nelson DeMille, American novelist, was born.

1943   Kharkov was liberated.

1944   Marseille was liberated.

1944   King Michael of Romania dismissed the pro-Nazi government of General Antonescu, who was arrested. Romania switched sides from the Axis to the Allies.

1944  Freckleton Air Disaster – A United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber crashed into a school in Freckleton, England killing 61 people.

1946 Keith Moon, English musician (The Who), was born (d. 1978).

1946  Ordinance No. 46 of the British Military Government constitutes the German Land (state) of Schleswig-Holstein.

1947 Assisted immigration to New Zealand for British people resumed after WWII.

Assisted immigration resumes after war

1947 – Willy Russell, British playwright, was born.

1948  World Council of Churches was formed.

1949 Rick Springfield, Australian singer and actor, was born.

1951 Queen Noor of Jordan, was born.

1958  Chinese Civil War: The Second Taiwan Strait crisis began with the People’s Liberation Army’s bombardment of Quemoy.

1966  Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.

1975 Successful Communist coup in Laos.

1977  The Gossamer Condor won the Kremer prize for human powered flight.

1979  Soviet dancer Alexander Godunov defected to the United States.

1982 Bachir Gemayel was elected Lebanese President amidst the raging civil war.

1985  Hans Tiedge, top counter-spy of West Germany, defected to East Germany.

1989  Hungary: the last communist government opened the Iron curtain and caused the exodus of thousands of Eastern Germans to West Germany via Hungary.

1989  Singing Revolution: two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stood on the Vilnius-Tallinn road, holding hands (Baltic Way).

1989 – 1,645 Australian domestic airline pilots resigned after the airlines threaten to fire them and sue them over a dispute.

1990  Saddam Hussein appeared on Iraqi state television with a number of Western “guests” ( hostages) to try to prevent the Gulf War.

1990  Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union.

1990  West and East Germany announced that they would unite on  October 3.

1994  Eugene Bullard, The only black pilot in World War I, was posthumously commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

1996 Osama bin Laden issued message entitled ‘A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places.’

2000  Gulf Air Flight 072 crashed into the Persian Gulf near Manama, Bahrain, killing 143.

2006 – Natascha Kampusch, who was abducted at the age of 10, managed to escape from her captor Wolfgang Priklopil, after 8 years of captivity.

2007 – The skeletal remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, and his sister Anastasia were found near Yekaterinburg, Russia.

2010 – Manila hostage crisis, in which 8 hostages were killed

2011 – A 5.8 earthquake occurred in Mineral, Virginia.

2011 – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown after the National Transitional Council forces took control of Bab al-Azizia compound.

2013 – A riot at the Palmasola prison complex in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, killed 31 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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