365 days of gratitude

December 10, 2018

Just home from The ABBA Show that took me back to my teens.

Tonight I’m grateful for music and memories.

 


Summer Christmas

December 10, 2018

A few years ago we spent Christmas in Canada.

For the first time a lot of the traditions we’ve imported from the northern hemisphere made sense there in a way they don’t here.

Our family accepted long ago that we’re in the Southern Hemisphere and our Christmas celebrations reflect that – keeping them simple and summery.

Beef + Lamb NZ is doing it’s best to foster the spirit of a southern Christmas:


Word of the day

December 10, 2018

Uffish  – a state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish; grumpy, crotchety, ill-tempered.


No direct path to happiness

December 10, 2018

St Margaret’s College head girl Jem Vaughan speaks about depression in her end of year speech:

Jem Vaughan was diagnosed with clinical depression in June, half way through her final year at St Margaret’s College.

She said she was not sharing her story for attention or pity but in the hope of connecting with anyone who had a similar experience, or might do in future.

“Whatever sadness, anxiety or worry looks like for you, please remember you are so incredibly valued and loved and you are always enough, just as you are.” 

“On paper 2018 was a dream year for me,” Vaughan told her classmates. 

“Captain of netball teams, good grades, attending the coolest school ever … amazing friends and an incredibly loving family. I feel blessed.

“Despite this, at the beginning of the year I actually found myself really unhappy. I was tired all the time, I lost my appetite, I was crying a lot for no reason.

“I had been really sad for quite a while and feeling really guilty about it, angry at myself. My problems seemed so trivial, so why was I unhappy?”

Vaughan learned after her diagnosis that mental illness “doesn’t discriminate”.

“My most important realisation was that there’s no direct path or checklist that will lead you to maximum happiness. Trust me, I tried to follow the path and it doesn’t make you feel any different from anyone else on any other paths.”

She shared three lessons that she learned throughout the year.

The first was that everyone has their own story “and it OK if yours isn’t perfect at the moment”.

Teenagers often judged themselves by the “highlights reel” of their peers’ social media, she said.

“We wear rose tinted glasses when we look at everyone else’s lives but then we take them off when we look at ourselves.”

Vaughan said lives can’t be ranked: “Your own messy, non-linear, imperfect life is the best life for you.”

Her second lesson was to “work hard at loving yourself”.

She told her classmates to allow themselves to be proud of their achievements – even if that was just getting out of bed in the morning – and celebrate nice moments like playing with your dog or eating all the cookie dough before baking it.

“Discover that the world doesn’t implode if you stop going 100 miles an hour.”

Her final message was to spread kindness and gratitude.

“I’m sure we have all noticed there is some pretty ugly things happening in our world at the moment so it’s our moral duty to do anything and everything we can to centre ourselves around being kind,” Vaughan said.

“We’re lucky enough to be in a pretty privileged position so let’s use it to be kind.”

It takes courage and strength to speak like this.

Being open about depression  is healthy and helps to educate people about mental illness.

 

 

 


Sowell says

December 10, 2018


Rural round-up

December 10, 2018

Farmers are up to the challenge of meeting climate change targets – William Rolleston:

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its special report on the actions needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.  This, it said, would require “transformative systemic change” involving “far-reaching, multilevel and cross-sectorial mitigation”.

The report says limiting warming to 1.5C implies reaching net zero CO₂ emissions globally by around 2050 and “deep reductions” in short-lived gases such as methane.

The report recognises that, as a long-lived gas, CO₂ accumulates in the atmosphere, whereas methane from agriculture (while a strong greenhouse gas) is recycled through the system. . . 

Farmers act on sustainability:

Taihape farmers are exploring ways to ensure environmental sustainability while improving the profits from their sheep and beef farms.

The Taihape Action Group formed under the Red Meat Profit Partnership Action Network, which had its first get-together in July, comprises nine farming businesses within a 50km radius of the central North Island town.

It is at an early stage of the profit-growing process. 

The farmers involved are developing individual action plans that set out the on-farm changes they want to make. . . 

The power of a farmer’s story – Jennie Schmidt:

Christmas is a season for stories. We tell tales about the Nativity and the three kings. We also laugh about the time when Uncle Klaus wore the awful sweater to the family dinner.

Stories are the most powerful form of communication available to us. That’s why the four most compelling words in the English language may be: “Once upon a time.”

Farmers don’t always appreciate this fact, especially when we’re discussing our own business of agriculture. We’re inclined to mention inputs and outputs, moisture levels, yields, commodity prices, and more. You know: farmer talk. 

The challenge increases when our conversations turn to technology, and especially when they involve new technologies, including GMO crops, gene editing, and so on. At this point, our rhetoric can sound like boring passages from science textbooks. They’re about as interesting as the homework that none of us miss from our school days. . . 

Waikato farmers acting early on effluent management:

We talk to three Waikato farmers involved in our Dairy Environment Leaders programme, about how they’re managing effluent on their farms.

Ian Taylor, Puketaha

When constructing a new effluent pond, Ian set his sights firmly on the future, by choosing a system that far exceeded minimum standards.

He’d been planning an effluent pond for a while, but was waiting on results from a project investigating how effluent runs through peat soil. However, a very wet spring last year prompted him to act earlier than expected. . . 

Smith keen to work with farmers – Annette Scott:

New primary industries director-general Ray Smith is a self-acclaimed passionate Kiwi who wants his fifth generation New Zealand children to experience a bit of the NZ he grew up with. He talked to Annette Scott on a visit to meet farmers in Ashburton.

Just three weeks into his new job as primary industries director-general Ray Smith was hungry for information and couldn’t get his teeth into his new patch soon enough.

He heard about a meeting being facilitated by Federated Farmers in Ashburton for farmers affected by the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis and made a call to ask if he could invite himself. . . 

China remains the key to dairy prices – Mark Daniel:

China remains the key to where the global marketplace is heading in dairy prices, says Westpac economist Anne Boniface.

Speaking at a recent Owl Farm focus day at St Peters School, Cambridge, Boniface said China’s growth had slipped from 6.9% to 6.3% in the past 12 months.

However, she believes Chinese consumer spending is still strong, with any economic slowdown due to a squeeze on credit for larger capital projects. . . 

How precision agriculture can transform the agritech sector and improve the lot of every Indian farmer – Shruti Kedia:

Using big data, satellite imaging and Internet of Things, Precision Agriculture can help address low productivity, lack of farm mechanisation, access to markets, and increase crop yields.

In 1965, India’s green revolution led to a sharp increase in crop yields and farmers’ income. Decades later, could a tech revolution change the way this agrarian country farms?

The answer is, yes it can. In fact, it already is. . . 

 


Paying price for unpreparedness

December 10, 2018

Got a problem? The government almost certainly has a review to consider it:

New figures released by National show that since being sworn in, the Government has announced 206 reviews and working groups, or one approximately every two days, at a cost of almost $700,000 dollars a day, National Leader Simon Bridges says.

“The Government has abandoned New Zealanders and delegated the job of governing to officials, think tanks, consultants and former politicians while it focuses on tidying up after itself and cashing its coalition negotiation cheques,” Mr Bridges says.

“This is a Government whose parties had three terms – nine years – to develop their own ideas, but they’re now farming the thinking out to others and charging the taxpayer as they do.

Instead of using opposition to prepare for government, Labour spent the best part of nine years on in-fighting and looking inwards. We are paying the price for their lack of preparedness  for government.

“The Government has no plans for growing the strong economy it inherited, or for improving the lives of New Zealanders. Rather than having a plan and a vision for New Zealand it’s focused on keeping the Coalition together and treading water while we wait for the ever-growing list of reviews and working groups to report back with instructions.

“Meanwhile taxpayers are forking out half a million dollars a day to pay for this Government’s laziness.

“The total cost so far is around $280 million but it is set to be much higher. The Government doesn’t know the cost of 79 of their reviews, so taxpayers could be looking at a $450 million bill. At a time when cost of living is on the rise, rents are going up, and more taxes and regulations are being piled on, New Zealanders don’t need this wasteful spending as they feel the pinch at Christmas time.

Some external consideration and advice is sensible, but 206 reviews and working groups at a cost of $700,000 a day is simply wasteful.

“It is flabby spending. National would cut the waste, stop mulching trees and rolling out free fees, and invest taxpayer dollars in a more considered, targeted way. Savings from these reviews alone could fund the Roxburgh children’s village for the next 90 years, end the teacher strikes, fund 5,600 cochlear implants or axe the regional fuel tax.

“Kiwis can go into this Christmas knowing that only National will be doing the hard yards all summer to hold this Government-of-missed-opportunities to account. We’ll do the work so we’re ready should we earn the right to govern again in 2020.”

That one of the expensive working groups is working on ways to tax us more is particularly galling.

If the government spent less and spent more wisely there would be no need for it to take more tax.

Judith Collins sums it up: Rather than $700,000 per day being spent on Working Groups to tell the Government what to do, wouldn’t it be better to just have a WORKING GOVERNMENT?

 


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