365 days of gratitude


Some days my morning walk is a duty, sometimes it’s a plea sure.

But even on the days when having done it is so much better than doing it, I feel better for it and I’m grateful for that.

Word of the day


Affinage – the act or process of refining a metal or aging cheese; the  action of purifying or maturing something.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


P kicking out dope in the provinces – Richard Rennie:

Rural New Zealand is playing host to a wave of methamphetamine (P) lab production and consumption that has knocked cannabis off its pedestal as the recreational drug of choice in the provinces.

Research by Massey University associate professor Chris Wilkins has highlighted that contrary to popular belief it is rural New Zealand, not large metropolitan centres, where P’s availability has resoundingly surged.

His research work has revealed small towns and rural areas where gang influence predominates are targeted specifically for P use to maximise gang drug revenue. . . 

Heading for a TB-free future – Barry Harris:

Ospri Chairman Barry Harris says New Zealand farmers can be proud of the progress of the TB Plan towards eradicating the infectious livestock disease bovine tuberculosis.

Among the most important challenges facing New Zealand agriculture is managing and eradicating diseases that threaten our dairy and meat exports. 

While Mycoplasma bovis has hogged the headlines recently, the progress of the TBfree programme to eradicate bovine tuberculosis has been quietly progressing as planned.

TB, caused by the similar-sounding Mycobacterium bovis, has been a problem for farmed livestock since they arrived in the 19th century.  . . 

Push for authorities to subsidise farmers’ use of dung beetles to help reduce environmental impacts – Gerald Piddock:

A company that grows and supplies dung beetles to farmers wants to partner up with local government to lift the insect’s uptake across New Zealand.

The insects are another tool to help pastoral farmers mitigate their environmental impact, according to Dung Beetle Innovations director Shaun Forgie​.

Forgie, along with business partner Andrew Barber and Peter Buckley, outlined to Waikato Regional Councillors at a recent committee meeting why it would be economically and environmentally beneficial for landowners and local government to include the beetles in steps for improving water quality and soil health. . . 

Stud stock agent judge of qualities – Sally Rae:

Among the hordes of exhibitors and visitors through the sheep pavilion at the New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch last week, there was a familiar face.

Stud stock agent Roger Keach is a well-known figure within the New Zealand stud stock industry and  regular show attendee for many years.

This year, he was tasked with judging the Hampshire sheep section and  all-breeds wool ram hogget class. . . 

Getting in behind – Rebecca Harper:

A lack of practical experience made it hard for Ashley Greer to get a foot on the career ladder in the sheep and beef industry, but she refused to take no for an answer. After years of trying, she has landed her dream job shepherding on a progressive sheep and beef farm near Masterton. Rebecca Harper went to visit her.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. It’s an old proverb, but one that is particularly relevant for 28-year-old Ashley Greer.

Ashley set her heart on a career in the sheep and beef sector and began studying towards her Bachelor of Science, majoring in agricultural science and minoring in animal science, at Massey University. In her holidays, she needed to obtain placements on farm. . .

North Otago meat plants ‘flat out’ – Sally Brooker:

North Otago’s two major meat processing plants are working flat out.

Alliance Group Pukeuri plant manager Phil Shuker said the site just north of Oamaru was operating three chains, processing both beef and sheep.

”Lamb is continuing to come through strongly, with the plant having just completed a very busy period processing chilled Christmas orders for the important United Kingdom market. . . 

Thriving horticulture sector behind new degree at Massey University – Angie Skerrett:

A booming horticulture industry has prompted the introduction of a new degree course at Massey University.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) quarterly outlook figures for New Zealand’s primary sector estimates growth in the horticulture sector for the coming year will be 13.1 percent, a $0.7 billion increase on the previous year.

A three-year Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree is set to begin in February to cope with the expected growth. . . 

Technology trumps taxes


Technology not taxes are the best way to carbon-zero, Federated Farmers Dairy chair Andrew Hoggard says:

It was with slight amusement that I spotted a tweet from Greenpeace with what they thought was a witty retort to opposition to the oil and gas ban, noting “likely a mixed reaction to the end of the stone age”.

Well, I doubt there was, as mankind discovered a new technology – bronze. Its benefits were obvious and it was taken up. We didn’t need a tax on stones, there wasn’t a concern about ‘peak stone’ and we didn’t need to stage protests in front of the chieftains’ caves to argue for the use of bronze.

It came down to developing the new technology, which had benefits over the old technology, and disseminating the knowledge.

Taxes might change behavior,  if they’re high enough and there are viable and affordable alternatives to what’s being taxed.

To me, that’s one of the things we are losing sight of in the climate change debate. What are the alternatives? Are they realistic? What are the barriers to uptake, and what will our lifestyles and production systems be like without fossil fuels?

Some 83 per cent of our electricity generation is renewable. But of our total energy, only 40 per cent is from renewable sources; most of our vehicles and industries still rely on coal, gas and oil.

No doubt solar, wind and other renewables can be stepped up over time to help bridge that gap but we also have lots of electricity outages and a creaking distribution infrastructure that won’t cope with Kiwis all coming home from work and plugging in their EV cars to charge up. . . .

EVs are fine for short journeys, the batteries don’t yet have sufficient power for,longer trips and will be no good at all,if we don’t have sufficient electricity, or the power fails.

What the hell would happen in a CO2-emission free world?

Without that diesel generator, what are my options? Solar panels on the cowshed roof aren’t a bad idea, and something I might look at, but they would only make sense to cover the base-time load. Twice a day during milking I have a big load come on – I imagine I’d need a whole paddock of solar panels to cope with that. And the kind of weather than knocks out power is hardly conducive to solar.

It occurred to me I might install some of those Tesla power walls I read about to store power? But on checking the price I found just one of those units costs the same as my generator, puts out a tenth of the power and is run out after 3-4 hours. That just ain’t going to cut it.

Another big user of energy on the farm is vehicles. I could get an EV to go to town for the groceries but a Nissan Leaf isn’t ideally suited to tow a silage wagon. To the best of my knowledge there are no commercially available EV tractors out there.

Perhaps robotics and autonomous vehicles will at some time in the future take care of some of the work of tractors at a smaller size, with the ability to be able to work 24/7 – excluding charge times obviously.

To my way of thinking we need to stop with the virtue signalling and start working on the technologies and solutions we’ll need in a zero-carbon world. . . .

Would our efforts perhaps not be better spent in looking at practical solutions – for example, how we could create biodiesel for tractors or generators from poplars planted for shade or riparian purposes.

Practical solutions will come from research and improved technology not virtue signaling and taxes.

Quote of the day


I was the same kind of father as I was a harpist – I played by ear.  Harpo Marx who was born on this day in 1888.

November 23 in history


534 BC – Thespis of Icaria became the first actor to portray a character onstage.

1227 – Polish Prince Leszek I the White was assassinated at an assembly of Piast dukes at Gąsawa.

1248 – Conquest of Seville by the Christian troops under King Ferdinand III of Castile.

1499 – Pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck was hanged for reportedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London.

1531 – The Second war of Kappel resulted in the dissolution of the Protestant alliance in Switzerland.

1644 – John Milton published Areopagitica, a pamphlet decrying censorship.

1808 – French and Poles defeated the Spanish at battle of Tudela.

1837 – Johannes Diderik van der Waals, Dutch physicist and thermodynamicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1923).

1838 – Stephanos Skouloudis, Greek banker and politician, 97th Prime Minister of Greece, was born (d. 1928)

1859 – Billy The Kid, American outlaw, was born (d. 1881).

1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Chattanooga began.

1867 – The Manchester Martyrs were hanged for killing a police officer while freeing two Irish nationalists from custody.

1868 – Mary Brewster Hazelton, American painter, was born (d. 1953).

1876 –  Tammany Hall leader William Marcy Tweed (better known as Boss Tweed) was delivered to authorities in New York City after being captured in Spain.

1887  Boris Karloff, British actor, was born (d. 1969).

1888 Harpo Marx, American comedian, was born (d. 1964).

1889 – The first jukebox went into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.

1890 – King William III of the Netherlands died without a male heir and a special law was passed to allow his daughter Princess Wilhelmina to become his heir.

1903 – Governor of Colorado James Peabody sent the state militia into the town of Cripple Creek to break up a miners’ strike.

1909 – Nigel Tranter, Scottish historian and author, was born, (d. 2000).

1910 – Johan Alfred Ander was the last person in Sweden to be executed.

1914 – Mexican Revolution: The last of U.S. forces withdrew from Veracruz.

1915 – Anne Burns, British aeronautical engineer and glider pilot, was born (d. 2001).

1916 – P. K. Page, English-Canadian author and poet, was born (d. 2010).

1918 – Heber J. Grant succeeded Joseph F. Smith as the seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1922 – Võ Văn Kiệt, Vietnamese soldier and politician, 6th Prime Minister of Vietnam, was born (d. 2008).

1923 – Gloria Whelan, American author and poet, was born.

1925 – Elaine Horseman, English author and educator, was born (d. 1999).

1925 – José Napoleón Duarte, Salvadoran engineer and politician, President of El Salvador, was born(d. 1990).

1934 – An Anglo-Ethiopian boundary commission in the Ogaden discovered an Italian garrison at Walwal, well within Ethiopian territory which led to the Abyssinia Crisis.

1936 – The first edition of Life was published.

1940 – World War II: Romania became a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.

1943 – World War II: The Deutsche Opernhaus on Bismarckstraße in the Berlin was destroyed.

1946 – French Navy fire in Hai Phong, Viet Nam, killed 6,000 civilians.

1947 A civic funeral was held for the 41 victims of the Ballantynes Fire.

Civic funeral for 41 Ballantynes fire victims

1949 – Alan Paul, American singer-songwriter and actor (The Manhattan Transfer)

1949  Sandra Stevens, British singer, member of pop group Brotherhood of Man, was born.

1955 – The Cocos Islands were transferred from the control of the United Kingdom to Australia.

1959 – General Charles de Gaulle,  declared in a speech in Strasbourg his vision for a “Europe, “from the Atlantic to the Urals.”

1962 – Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan union leader and politician, President of Venezuela, was born.

1963 – The BBC broadcast the first episode of Doctor Who(starringWilliam Hartnell) which is the world’s longest running science fiction drama.

1971 – Representatives of China attended the United Nations, for the first time.

1979 –  Provisional Irish Republican Army member Thomas McMahon was sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten.

1980 – A series of earthquakes in southern Italy killed approximately 4,800 people.

1981 – Iran-Contra Affair: Ronald Reagan signed the top secret National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), giving the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

1985 – Gunmen hijacked EgyptAir Flight 648,  when the plane landed in Malta, Egyptian commandos stormed the  jetliner, but 60 people died in the raid.

1986 Pope John Paul II celebrated mass in Wellington.

Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass in windy Wellington

1992  Miley Cyrus, American actress and singer/songwriter, was born.

1993 – Rachel Whiteread won both the £20,000 Turner Prize award for best British modern artist and the £40,000 K Foundation art award for the worst artist of the year.

1996 – Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was hijacked, then crashed into the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel, killing 125.

2001 – Convention on Cybercrime was signed in Budapest.

2003 – Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigned following weeks of mass protests over flawed elections.

2005 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia and became the first woman to lead an African country.

2007 – MS Explorer, a cruise liner carrying 154 people, sank in the Antarctic Ocean south of Argentina after hitting an iceberg. There were no fatalities.

2009 – The Maguindanao massacre.

2010 – The Bombardment of Yeonpyeong  on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea. The North Korean artillery attack killed 2 civilians and 2 South Korean marines.

2011 –  Arab Spring: After 11 months of protests in Yemen, The Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a deal to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity.

2015  – Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle became the first rocket to successfully fly to space and then return to Earth for a controlled, vertical landing.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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