Word of the day

26/07/2020

Pruina – a woolly white covering on some lichens; frost; hoarfrost; rime.


Maya muses

26/07/2020


Peter Green 29.10.46 – 25.7.20

26/07/2020

Peter Green who co-founded Fleetwood Mac has died.

Peter Green, who has died aged 73, was one of the greatest Blues guitarists Britain ever produced.

His shape-shifting riffs and long, improvisational excursions made Fleetwood Mac one of the most exciting live bands of the 1960s Blues explosion.

He first picked up a hand-me-down guitar at the age of 10 and, like many of his peers, began to devour the import vinyl that trickled into the UK from the States. He studied the greats – Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and BB King – combining their tensely coiled playing style with the shimmering vibrato of The Shadows’ Hank Marvin.

But he actually started his professional career as a bassist, until an encounter with Eric Clapton persuaded him to ditch the instrument.

“I decided to go back on lead guitar after seeing him with the Bluesbreakers. He had a Les Paul, his fingers were marvellous. The guy knew how to do a bit of evil, I guess.”

He later had the seemingly impossible task of taking over from Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Fans were unconvinced at first, but after a handful of incendiary performances, he won them over, earning the nickname “The Green God”.

The musician was humble about his skills, however. “I didn’t really know what I was doing on the guitar,” he later told Guitarist Magazine. “I was very lucky to get anything remotely any good. I used to dash around on stepping stones, that’s what I used to call it.”

Mick Fleetwood on the early Fleetwood Mac

In 1967 he poached Fleetwood and bass player John McVie from Mayall and formed Fleetwood Mac – naming the group after its rhythm section.

It was here that his compositional skills came to the fore – creating songs that were tender and truthful, but often with an undercurrent of menace. Black Magic Woman incorporated Latin blues and two exquisite solos, while Oh Well’s pounding riffs inspired a thousand metal bands. . .


Rural round-up

26/07/2020

Pork farmer predicts ‘massive’ productivity drop – Yvonne O’Hara:

Like many in the pork industry, North Otago pig farmer Ian Carter is dependent on experienced and skilled migrant workers to run his 318ha, 2000 pig, 700 cattle operation.

If farmers cannot access migrant workers with the needed skill sets and experience, including from the Philippines where there are large commercial pork operations, he predicts a “massive drop in productivity” within the industry.

As a result of Covid-19, workers who would ordinarily be arriving to work here on three-year visas had been unable to fly into the country.

Although the former New Zealand Pork chairman was pleased to see the recent visa extensions introduced by the Government, he did not think those changes would be enough to meet the needs of the industry. . .

M bovis eradication on track -Annette Scott:

The number of properties infected with Mycoplasma bovis has dropped to an all-time low, triggering a wave of confidence that the plan to eradicate the cattle disease from New Zealand is on-track.

Three years on since the disease was first confirmed in NZ, industry leaders are confident the world-first attempt to eradicate the disease is making positive gains towards eradication being within reach in the coming seven years.

As of July 22, the M bovis programme had just four confirmed active properties on its books.

Of these,  two are dairy and one beef in the North Island, with one beef property in Canterbury.  . . 

Smith downplays British farming fears – Nigel Stirling:

A former Trade Minister is hopeful he can play his part convincing Britain to open its farmers up to increased competition from New Zealand and other rival producers once it leaves the European Union.

Lockwood Smith credited his appointment to a new commission advising the British government on trade agreements and agriculture to his long experience as a farmer and former trade and agriculture minister, as well as his knowledge of the British farming and political scene as a recent High Commissioner to London.

“There is a realisation that (British) agriculture needs to move forward and this is an attempt to find a consensus on how best to do that,” Smith said. . . 

Can-do farm installs methane-run generator – Yvonne O’Hara:

Dairy effluent is being used to power an Isla Bank milking shed and mitigate methane emissions at the same time.

Dairy Green and Scandrett Rural owner and consultant John Scandrett has been overseeing a biogas conversion project at Glenarlea Farm, Isla Bank, since November 2016.

Glenarlea Farm, which is owned by the Fortuna Group and managed by Brendon and Lorelai Santos, milks about 900 cows at peak.

Bacteria convert effluent solids into biogas, of which methane and carbon dioxide are the main constituents.

The methane fuelled a converted diesel motor, which drove a generator to make electricity, Mr Scandrett said. . . 

Taranaki dairy farm doing twice the average milk production scoops national awards :

A Taranaki dairy farmer who has won a raft of production awards attributes his success to having well-grown young stock.

Stefan Buhler milks 260 Holstein Friesian cows on his 80-hectare coastal farm at Manaia near Hawera.

The herd produced 202,000 kilograms of milksolids (kgMS) in the 2019-20 season.

“It was a record season for us, despite the drought. We produced 2525 kgMS per hectare, which is quite incredible,” he said. . .

Report questions gender bias in succession planning – Mollie Tracey:

WHILE the agricultural industry has made great progress in advancing women in the workforce, little work has looked into shifting traditional patterns of patrilineal farm succession, which act as gender barriers for daughters growing up on farms.

That’s according to a new report by 2017 Nuffield scholar and Morawa farmer, Katrina Sasse, who investigated the position of daughter successors in United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark – a study that was motivated by her own keen interest as a daughter successor and desire to help women in Australia find a pathway back to the family farm. 

It’s an unfortunate fact that in rural communities some people continue to view daughter successors differently to sons and more needs to be done to empower young Women to remain in family farming operations. . . 


Keukenhof Garden without visitors

26/07/2020

The Dutch garden Keukenhof is reputed to be the most beautiful tulip garden in the world.

Photographer Albert Dros visited it During lockdown when it was closed to the public and captured it in 31 stunning photos.

This year is ‘special’. Keukenhof is closed, for the first time in 71 years. But that doesn’t mean there are no flowers. On the contrary; the flowers look incredible and get as much attention and care as always. All the passionate gardeners do their work as they’re used to. Because even without people, nature and the show of the garden goes on.

I’ve been photographing the tulips since forever, mostly in the countryside. I photographed them from all angles you can possibly imagine, but there was one thing that I still wanted to capture one time in my life: Keukenhof without any other people. This seemed impossible, until this year’s April 2020. With the COVID-19 virus keeping everyone at home and tourists away, I knew this was my only chance of making this happen. I contacted Keukenhof explaining what I had in mind and they were so kind to let me photograph the garden for a day.

When I visited the park it looked at its best. Interestingly enough, we have experienced the sunniest April EVER in the Netherlands, making all the flowers pop very fast. Photographing in broad daylight with the strong sun was a challenge. But forget about the photography for a moment: walking around there all alone, with only the sounds of birds and the incredible smell of all these flowers, is an experience by itself. I sometimes just sat next to the flowers and the water, enjoying nature for 30 minutes long. It was just a magical experience. Having no people in the park allowed me to photograph paths and angles in a certain way that you normally don’t get to see because of the crowds.

This photo series is an initiative from myself in collaboration with Keukenhof. We aim to show the beauty of the park through these images. Too bad there’s no smell involved. . . 

Clicking the link above will enable you to take the virtual tour.


Sunday soapbox

26/07/2020

Sunday’s soapbox  is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Many persons have a wrong ideas of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.– Helen Keller


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