365 days of gratitude

December 28, 2018

Domestic duties don’t feature high on my list of favourite things to do but I do get pleasure from having done them.

Tonight I’m grateful for the satisfaction of jobs ticked off the domestic to-do list.


Word of the day

December 28, 2018

Twankle  – to twang with the fingers on a music instrument.


Maggie muses

December 28, 2018


Rural round-up

December 28, 2018

Loss of agricultural training campuses ‘will leave massive hole’ – Piers Fuller:

Carrying $23 million in debt, Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre was forecast to continue hemorrhaging money.

The Wairarapa based organisation which has campuses all over New Zealand including Telford Farm Training Institute in South Otago, went into interim liquidation on Wednesday.

National Party agricultural spokesman Nathan Guy said the loss of Taratahi and Telford would leave a massive hole and he questioned why the Government couldn’t have done more to save it. . . 

Conservation order is rife with uncertainties – Rhea Dasent:

The Ngaruroro Water Conservation Order brings uncertainties that point to an untenable proposal, writes Federated Farmers Senior Policy Advisor Rhea Dasent.

Federated Farmers opposes the Ngaruroro Water Conservation Order because of the uncertainty it brings.

The order is uncertain in three ways: it dumps limits on the community with an accompanying regime to be worked out by someone else later; inconsistent units; and inconsistent timeframes. . . 

People are the cherry on top – Neal Wallace:

It soon became obvious the interview with Harry and Joan Roberts was near the pointy end of the stone fruit season.

The long-time Central Otago fruit growers were amicable and generous with their time to accommodate an early December interview but the season was obviously ramping up, evident by the succession of staff requiring a piece of their time with inquiries.

They were diverse requests: questions about labelling details for the first pick of new season cherries, confirmation of exactly which block of fruit tree needed spraying and there was a constant stream of young people, many foreign backpackers, looking for work. . .

Environment Canterbury happy to make changes to farm-management system– Paul Gorman:

Environment Canterbury (ECan) says it already knows about the pitfalls of Overseer, following a critical report on the farm-management system by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton.

It says it is prepared to make any changes that may be recommended as a result.

In his report earlier this month, Upton said the Overseer model needed to be more transparent if the public were to trust in it as a way of regulating pollution from farms. . . 

Breeder says goats need scale – Alan Williams:

Owen Booth has trophies and ribbons highlighting the quality of his Boer goat herd but says there’s one major drawback for the industry.

There’s just not enough of the breed in New Zealand to provide the scale to ensure good earnings for farmers producing them for their meat.

It’s hard to build markets and get dedicated processing space at meat plants, he says.

Of the 130,000 or so goats killed in NZ each year only 5% to 10% are Boer goats, a specialist meat breed introduced here from South Africa. . . 

US farmers fear lucrative Japanese exports will wither – Jacob M. Schlesinger:

After seeing exports to China tumble, U.S. farmers and ranchers are now bracing for more losses in their next-biggest Asian market: Japan.

On Dec. 30, Tokyo will begin cutting tariffs and easing quotas on products sold by some of American agriculture’s biggest competitors—including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Chile—as part of the new 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. . .


People and birds pooh too

December 28, 2018

Auckland beaches are awash with human faeces.

Holidaymakers are being asked to avoid 12 Auckland beaches because they are contaminated by faeces.

An alert on the SafeSwim website today advises that water-quality models predict levels of Faecal Indicator Bacteria that exceed national guidelines for swimming, based on guidance published by the Ministry of Health and Ministry for the Environment.

Eight beaches in West Auckland and two in central Auckland have long-term alerts which rate them as no-swim zones. . . 

Further south Craig Hickman says seagulls are to blame:

As you travel north into Ashburton you are greeted by a stark black billboard with large white lettering making a very bold claim: Ravensdown & Ballance Pollute Rivers.

The billboard is in a 50km zone so your passenger may even get the chance to read the hashtag in the bottom left hand corner, #TooManyCows, and see Greenpeace’s distinct logo in the bottom right.

Shortly after passing the billboard you’ll drive over the bridge that spans the Ashburton River and through a flock of wheeling and squawking gulls in a scene reminiscent of the rubbish dumps of my childhood. You could take this opportunity to explain to your travelling companion that the guano from the thousands of gulls nesting in the braided river below is as thick as the irony contained in the billboard’s simplistic message.

You see, from State Highway 1 to the ocean it’s those native seagulls that are polluting our river, not a fertiliser company. There’s not as many nesting this year as have in the past, only an estimated 8000, but that’s still equivalent to 4000 cows pumping E.Coli into the river every single day.

That’s right, two seagulls excrete as much E.Coli per day as a single dairy cow, which is still far preferable to ducks, a single one of which poops out nearly 16 times as many of the nasty organisms daily as a cow does.

Up river you can still happily and safely swim, but once you reach the colony of seagulls the danger of getting sick becomes very real.

I guess NATIVE SEAGULLS ARE POLLUTING RIVERS wouldn’t cause the type of outrage their disingenuous offering is hoping for. . . 

Seagulls are the source of high E.Coli in the Kakanui River which borders our farm, and from which we get our drinking water.

If you listened to the propaganda you’d think that cows were the cause of all New Zealand’s water woes.

But people and birds pooh too and in Auckland and these rivers they are to blame for unhealthy water.

If farmers were to blame they’d be liable for prosecution and sizable fines.

If individuals aren’t responsible for the dirty beaches, at least one council is but rather than fines, it should be required to upgrade its storm and waste water systems urgently.

We can’t fine birds, but if they are so numerous as to cause significant pollution, why can’t some be culled?

There are strong calls to cull cows, but there’s one rule for bovines and another for the birds.


Quote of the day

December 28, 2018

I know there is something out there and like most people, I tend to believe in it more when things go bad. – Dame Maggie Smith who celebrated her 85th birthday today.


December 28 in history

December 28, 2018

457– Majorian was crowned emperor of the Western Roman Empire and recognised by Pope Leo I.

484 – Alaric II succeeded his father Euric and became king of the Visigoths. He established his capital at Aire-sur-l’Adour (Southern Gaul).

893 – An earthquake destroyed the city of Dvin, Armenia.

1065  Westminster Abbey was consecrated.

1612 Galileo Galilei becomes the first astronomer to observe the planet Neptune, although he mistakenly catalogued it as a fixed star.

1635  Princess Elizabeth of England was born (d. 1650).

1768 King Taksin‘s coronation achieved through conquest as a king of Thailand and established Thonburi as a capital.

1795 Construction of Yonge Street, the longest street in the world, began in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto.

1836 South Australia and Adelaide were founded.

1836 – Spain recognised the independence of Mexico.

1856  Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1924).

1867  United States claimed Midway Atoll, the first territory annexed outside Continental limits.

1879 –  The Tay Bridge Disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapsed as a train passed over it, killing 75.

1879 –  Billy Mitchell, American military aviation pioneer was born  (d. 1936).

1895 The Lumière brothers performed for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines marking the debut of thecinema.

1908 An earthquake rocked Messina, Sicily killing over 75,000.

1912 The first municipally owned streetcars took to the streets in San Francisco, California.

1929 ‘Black Saturday’ in Samoa – the day that New Zealand military police fired on a Mau demonstration in Apia, killing 11 Samoans, including the independence leader Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III. This led the Mau movement to demand independence for Samoa.

'Black Saturday' - NZ police open fire in Apia

1934 Dame Maggie Smith, British actress, was born.

1935 Pravda published a letter by Pavel Postyshev, who revived the New Year tree tradition in the Soviet Union.

1945 The United States Congress officially recognised the Pledge of Allegiance.

1950 The Peak District became the United Kingdom’s first National Park.

1953 Richard Clayderman, French pianist, was born.

1954  Denzel Washington, American actor, was born.

1956 Nigel Kennedy, British violinist, was born.

1981 The first American test-tube babyElizabeth Jordan Carr, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

1989 A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit Newcastle, New South Wales, killing 13 people.

1999  Saparmurat Niyazov was proclaimed President for Life in Turkmenistan.

2009 43 people died in a suicide bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, where Shia Muslims were observing the Day of Ashura.

2010 – Arab Spring: Popular protests began in Algeria against the government.

2011 – Uludere airstrike: Turkish warplanes bombed 34 Kurds of Turkish nationality in the district of Uludere.

2014 – Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed into the Karimata Strait en route from Surabaya to Singapore, killing all 162 people aboard.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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