If I Only Had Time

June 4, 2018

John Rowles has been knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours:

Sir John Rowles has been appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to entertainment in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

“I think it’s just a wonderful thing to have at my age and point in my career,” Sir John said.

“It’s something I can carry with a lot of pride on my shoulders through everything that I’ve achieved in the world – from Kawerau to New York.” . .

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365 days of gratitude

June 2, 2018

The Fire and Steam Festival which precedes the annual Steampunk Festival in Oamaru wasn’t going to happen a few weeks ago.

However, a small group of volunteers, upset at the last minute cancellation, got to work and made sure it did happen.

Last night their efforts were rewarded with a event that attracted and entertained the crowds.

I’m grateful for the people who blew life into the ashes of the cancelled festival and made last night a success.

 


Rural round-up

May 23, 2018

All you need to know about Mycoplasma bovis:

As the Mycoplasma bovis disease spreads, here is everything you need to know.

What is Mycoplasma bovis?

It’s a bacteria that can cause diseases in cattle. It can cause untreatable mastitis, abortions, pneumonia and arthritis.

How is it spread?

It’s spread from animal to animal through close contact and bodily fluids. Calves can be infected through drinking milk from infected cows. Farm equipment can play a role in spreading the disease. It’s spread between farms through the movement of cattle.

Can it be spread to other animals?

Other animals are very unlikely to be infected by the disease.

Had it been found in New Zealand previously?

No. The original July 2017 detection was the first time the disease had been found in New Zealand. . .  

A timeline of the Mycoplasma bovis spread around New Zealand :

Cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is spreading around New Zealand farms at a rate much faster than previously thought. RNZ maps out the spread of the virus over time.

July 2017 – Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) responds to the detection of Mycoplasma bovis on a dairy farm near Oamaru. The farm, part of the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group (VLDG), is put under legal controls to restrict movement of stock and other at-risk goods. Other farms in the group are also put under controls.

July 31, 2017 – A second farm in the VLDG is confirmed to have the disease.

August 2017 – Testing begins on farms bordering VLDG properties.

August 2017 – Four more properties test positive, bringing the total number of infected farms to six. . .

Farmer’s determination pays off – Sally Rae:

When Logan Wallace returned home to take over the family sheep farm in South Otago, he had a big task to take on.

He set some goals, including making sure he farmed sustainably, meeting both the environmental requirements of councils and expectations of consumers.

The young farmer’s determination and ability has already paid off. He and his parents, Ross and Alexa, were this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Award winners and he will also represent Otago-Southland in the grand final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest in Invercargill in July. . . 

Merino and natural fibres could help clothing companies battle scourge of microplastics – Jess Cartwright:

Microplastics are one of the biggest threats to oceans and synthetic textiles are a huge contributor to the problem, but now a New Zealand company is hoping to lead change by promoting the use of natural fibres like merino wool.

The issue of microbeads in beauty products is well known, but tiny plastic fibres from clothing are an even bigger issue for oceans and marine life.

For example, each time people wash their synthetic clothing these microplastic fibres break off and, because they’re so tiny, they’re then carried into rivers and eventually oceans. . .

From a ‘nasty little wet farm’ to an award-winning dairy property – Gerald Piddock:

Sandra McKinnon always remembers the unflattering description made of the farm she and husband Rob bought in 1992.

The 44 hectare property near Matamata was unkindly called by an industry colleague: “A nasty little wet farm and what did we think we were doing buying it.”

She admits it had little going for it at the time. But it did have a a stream and native bush and that was enough.

“It’s an ex-ballot farm, it hadn’t had a lot of work done to it,” she says. . . 

Farmer’s mid-life crisis results in buying a rare sheep breed – Peter McDonald:

 “Honey, I’ve just bought a sheep stud.”

That’s what I said as I put the phone down. I joke that I will just have to throw this one in the bucket with all my other mid-life crisis, although this is starting to wear a bit thin I’m told, as mid-life is well and truly in my rear vision mirror.

The ryeland is classified as a rare sheep breed in New Zealand with about six to seven mostly small flocks scattered throughout the country. Some could say they are a breed that time forgot, their popularity peaked in Great Britain in the 1800s and here through the 1960s.

To give you an idea of their long history as a breed it was reported that Queen Elizabeth requested before the onset of winter that stockings be knitted especially for her from ryeland wool, now this is not the current Queen Elizabeth this story refers to Queen Elizabeth the first who ruled from 1558-1603. . . 

EU co-funded Armenia wool value chain project kicks off in Shirak Province

Within the framework of the European Union (EU) Days in Armenia, Minister of Territorial Administration and Development Suren Papikyan on Sunday attended the official start of the EU co-funded EU4 Shirak: Wool for Jobs project, in Amasia rural community of the Shirak province.

Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Armenia, also was on hand at this event, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development informed Armenian News-NEWS.am. . . 


May 19 in history

May 19, 2018

1499  Catherine of Aragon, was married by proxy to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales. Catherine was 13 and Arthur 12.

1535  Jacques Cartier set sail on his second voyage to North America with three ships, 110 men, and Chief Donnacona’s two sons (whom Cartier had kidnapped during his first voyage).

1536  Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII , was beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.

1568  Queen Elizabeth I of England ordered the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots.

1643 Thirty Years’ War : French forces under the duc d’Enghien decisively defeated Spanish forces at the Battle of Rocroi, marking the symbolic end of Spain as a dominant land power.

1649  An Act of Parliament declaring England a Commonwealth was passed by the Long Parliament.

1749 King George II granted the Ohio Company a charter of land around the forks of the Ohio River.

1780 New England’s Dark Day: A combination of thick smoke and heavy cloud cover caused complete darkness to fall on Eastern Canada and the New England area of the United States at 10:30 A.M.

1795 – Johns Hopkins, American philanthropist, was born  (d. 1873).

1802  Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Légion d’Honneur.

1828 President John Quincy Adams signsedthe Tariff of 1828 into law, protecting wool manufacturers in the United States.

1846 Thomas Brunner, Kehu, a Ngati Tumatakokiri Maori, and Charles Heaphy reached Mawhera Pa.

Brunner, Kehu and Heaphy reach Mawhera pa

1848 Mexican-American War: Mexico ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo thus ending the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states to the United States for $15 million USD.

1861  Dame Nellie Melba, Australian opera singer, was born (d. 1931).

1864 American Civil War: the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House ended.

1879 Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-born politician, was born (d. 1964).

1881 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1st President of Turkey, was born (d. 1938).

1890 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese leader, was born  (d. 1969).

1897  Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Gaol.

1919 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk landed at Samsun on the Anatolian Black Sea coast, initiating the Turkish War of Independence.  The anniversary of this eventis also regarded as a date of remembrance for Pontic Greeks on the Greek genocide.

1921  The U.S. Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act establishing national quotas on immigration.

1922 The Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union was established.

1925 Malcolm X, American civil rights activist, was born (d. 1965).

1925   Pol Pot, Cambodian dictator , was born (d. 1998).

1928 Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars, was born (d. 1982).

1939 Nancy Kwan, Hong Kong actress, was born.

1941 Bobby Burgess, dancer, singer and original Mouseketeer, was born.

1943 World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Monday, May 1, 1944 as the date for the cross-English Channel landing (D-Day). It was later be delayed over a month due to bad weather.

1945 Pete Townshend, English musician (The Who), was born.

1948 Grace Jones, Jamaican singer and actress, was born.

1951 Joey Ramone, American musician (The Ramones), was born  (d. 2001).

1953 Victoria Wood, English comedian and actress, was born (d 2016).

1954 Phil Rudd, Australian drummer (AC/DC), was born.

1961  Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first man-made object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (the probe had lost contact withEarth a month earlier and did not send back any data).

1962 A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy took place at Madison Square Garden. The highlight is Marilyn Monr0e’s rendition ofHappy Birthday.

1966  Jodi Picoult, American writer, was born.

1971   Mars 2 was launched by the Soviet Union.

1983 Jessica Fox, English actress, was born.

1987 The attempted hijacking of an Air New Zealand Boeing 747 at Nadi airport was thwarted when a member of the cabin crew hit the hijacker over the head with a whisky bottle.

Attempted hijacking in Fiji foiled

1991 Croatians voted for independence at their independence referendum.

2009  Sri Lanka announced victory in its 27 year war against the terrorist organisation, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

2010 – The Royal Thai Armed Forces concluded its crackdown on protests by forcing the surrender of United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship leaders.

2012 – Three gas cylinder bombs exploded in front of a vocational school in the Italian city of Brindisi, killing 1 and injuring 5 others.

2012 – A car bomb exploded near a military complex in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, killing 9 people.

2015 – The Refugio oil spill deposited 142,800 U.S. gallons (3,400 barrels) of crude oil onto an area in California considered one of the most biologically diverse coastlines of the west coast.

2016 – EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea en route from Paris to Cairo. There were no survivors.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Quote of the day

May 18, 2018

A hair divides what is false and true – Omar Khayyám who was born on this day in 1048.


May 15 in history

May 15, 2018

1252  Pope Innocent IV issued the papal bull ad exstirpanda, which authorised but also limited, the torture of heretics in the Medieval Inquisition.

1514  Jodocus Badius Ascensius published Christiern Pedersen‘s Latin version of Saxo’s Gesta Danorum, the oldest known version of that work.

1525 The battle of Frankenhausen ended the Peasants’ War.

1536  Anne Boleyn stood trial on charges of treason, adultery and incest; she was condemned to death by a specially-selected jury.

1567  Mary, Queen of Scots, married  James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, her third husband.

1602  Bartholomew Gosnold became the first European to see Cape Cod.

1618 Johannes Kepler confirmed his previously rejected discovery of thethird law of planetary motion.

1648  The Treaty of Westphalia was signed.

1701  The War of the Spanish Succession began.

1718   James Puckle, a London lawyer, patented the world’s first machine gun.

1755 Laredo, Texas was established by the Spaniards.

1756 The Seven Years’ War began when Great Britain declares war on France.

1776  American Revolution: the Virginia Convention instructed its Continental Congress delegation to propose a resolution of independencefrom Great Britain.

1791  Maximilien Robespierre proposed the Self-denying Ordinance.

1792 War of the First Coalition: France declaresdwar on Kingdom of Sardinia.

1793 Diego Marín Aguilera flew a glider for “about 360 meters”, at a height of 5-6 meters, during one of the first attempted flights.

1796  First Coalition: Napoleon entered Milan in triumph.

1800 George III survived two assassination attempts in one day.

1811  Paraguay declared independence from Spain.

1817  Opening of the first private mental health hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason (now Friends Hospital) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1836 Francis Baily observed “Baily’s beads” during an annular eclipse.

1849 Troops of the Two Sicilies took Palermo and crushed the republican government of Sicily.

1850  The Bloody Island Massacre:  a large number of Pomo Indians in Lake County were slaughtered by a regiment of the United States Cavalry, led by Nathaniel Lyon.

1851  Rama IV was crowned King of Thailand.

1857 – Williamina Fleming, Scottish-American astronomer, was born (d. 1911).

1858 Opening of the  Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

1859 Pierre Curie, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born  (d. 1906).

1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture.

1863 – Frank Hornby, English businessman and politician, who inventedMeccano, was born, (d. 1936)

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Resaca, Georgia ended.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of New Market, – students from theVirginia Military Institute fought alongside the Confederate Army to force Union General Franz Sigel out of the Shenandoah Valley.

1869 Woman’s suffrage:, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stantonformed the National Woman’s Suffrage Association.

1891  Rerum Novarum, the first document of the Catholic Social Teaching tradition, was published by Pope Leo XIII.

1897  The Greek army retreated with heavy losses in the Greco-Turkish War.

1901 – First conviction in New Zealand for a motoring offence: Nicholas Oates appeared in the Christchurch Magistrates Court charged with driving ‘a motor car within the city at a speed greater than four miles an hour’ (6.5 km/hr) on Lincoln Road.

1905  The Russian minelayer Amur laid a minefield about 15 miles off Port Arthur and sank Japan’s battleship Hatsuse, 15,000 tons, with 496 crew.

1905 – Las Vegas, Nevada, was founded when 110 acres (0.4 km²), in what later would become downtown, were auctioned.

1910 The last time a major earthquake happened on the Elsinore Fault Zone.

1911  The United States Supreme Court declared Standard Oil to be an “unreasonable” monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and ordered the company to be broken up.

1918 The Finnish Civil War ended.

1919 – The Winnipeg General Strike begins. By 11:00 a.m., almost the whole working population of Winnipeg, Manitoba had walked off the job.

1919  Greek invasion of Izmir. During the invasion, the Greek army killed or wounded 350 Turks.

1920 Wanganui mayor  Charles Mackay shot poet and returned soldier Walter D’Arcy Cresswell who alleged that Mackay had made homosexual overtures to him.

Wanganui mayor shoots poet

1920 Council of Lithuania adjourned as the newly elected Constituent Assembly of Lithuania met for the first time in Kaunas.

1928 Mickey Mouse premiered in his first cartoon, Plane Crazy.

1929  A fire at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio killed 123.

1932  The May 15 Incident: in an attempted Coup d’état, the Prime Minister of Japan Inukai Tsuyoshi was killed.

1934 Kārlis Ulmanis established an authoritarian government in Latvia.

1935 The Moscow Metro was opened to public.

1936  Amy Johnson arrived back in England after a record-breaking return flight to Cape Town.

1937 Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, was born.

1940  World War II: After fierce fighting, the poorly trained and equipped Dutch troops surrendered to Germany, marking the beginning of five years of occupation.

1940 – McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

1942 World War II: in the United States, a bill creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was signed into law.

1943 Joseph Stalin dissolved the Comintern (or Third International).

1945 World War II: The final skirmish in Europe was fought near Prevalje, Slovenia.

1948   Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia invaded the territory partitioned for the Arab state by the British Mandate of Palestine  starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

1948 Brian Eno, British musician and record producer, was born.

1951 The Polish cultural attache in Paris, Czesław Miłosz, asked the French government for political asylum.

1953 Mike Oldfield, British composer, was born.

1955  The Austrian Independence Treaty was signed.

1955 – The first ascent of Makalu, the world’s fifth highest mountain.

1957  At Malden Island  Britain tested its first hydrogen bomb in Operation Grapple. The device failed to detonate properly.

1958  The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 3.

1960  The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 4.

1962 – Lisa Curry-Kenny, Australian Ironwoman, was born.

1963 Project Mercury: The launch of the final Mercury mission, Mercury-Atlas 9 with astronaut L. Gordon Cooper on board. He beccame the first American to spend more than a day in space.

1964 – Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, was born.

1966 Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky of South Vietnam’s ruling junta launched a military attack on the forces of General Ton That Dinh, forcing him to abandon his command.

1969 People’s Park: California Governor Ronald Reagan had an impromptu student park owned by University of California at Berkeley fenced off from student anti-war protestors, sparking a riot called Bloody Thursday.

1970  President Richard Nixon appointed Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington the first female United States Army Generals.

1970  Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green were killed at Jackson State Universit by police during student protests.

1972  The island of Okinawa, under U.S. military governance since its conquest in 1945, reverts to Japanese control.

1972 Arthur Bremer shot and paralysed Alabama Governor George Wallacewhile he was campaigning to be become President.

1974  Ma’alot massacre: In an Arabterrorist attack and hostage taking at an Israeli school, 31 people were killed, including 22 schoolchildren.

1987  The Soviet Union launched the Polyus prototype orbital weapons platform. It fails to reach orbit.

1988  Soviet war in Afghanistan: After more than eight years of fighting, the Red Army began its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

1990 Portrait of Doctor Gachetby Vincent van Gogh was sold for a record $82.5 million, the most expensive painting at the time.

1991 Édith Cresson became France’s first female premier.

1997 The United States government acknowledged the existence of the“Secret War” in Laos and dedicated the Laos Memorial in honor of Hmong and other “Secret War” veterans.

2008 –  California became the second U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state’s own Supreme Court ruled a previous ban unconstitutional.

2010 – Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail, non-stop and unassisted around the world solo.

2013 – An upsurge in violence in Iraq left more than 389 people dead over three days.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Rural round-up

April 28, 2018

Minister refuses to meet MP to discuss future of rescue helicopter base – Guy Williams:

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says Health Minister David Clark has refused to meet him to discuss the fate of Te Anau’s rescue helicopter base.

Te Anau was one of three bases cut from a list of bases in a tender for air rescue services put out by the ACC and Ministry of Health last month.

Taupo and Rotorua’s bases were effectively restored to the list after three North Island mayors met Mr Clark on Monday. . . 

Scientists work on simple way to clean streams – Tony Benny:

Canterbury University scientists have perfected a simple method to reduce sediment load in waterways by up to 70 per cent, part of a project to find solutions to Canterbury’s water woes. Tony Benny reports.

On the Canterbury Plains alone, there are about 17,000km of waterways, many of which carry high levels of nitrogen, phosphate-laden sediment and faecal bacteria and a huge effort is going into ways to reverse this decline in water quality, with local and national government agencies, farm industry bodies, iwi and farmers all joining in.

Adding some science to the mix is the Canterbury Water Rehabilitation Experiment (Carex), a project by the University of Canterbury’s Freshwater Ecology Research Group, funded by the Ashburton-based Mackenzie Charitable Foundation. The Carex team comprises nine scientists including professors, researchers and students. . . .

Gas not grass at farm field day – Richard Rennie:

Ground-breaking research turning a commercial dairy farm into a living lab is starting to reveal some valuable insights for farmers seeking ways to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gases.

Waikato University has, for the first time, thrown back the blanket on its researchers’ cutting-edge equipment and early lessons from that equipment on a Matamata property that has been a core site over the past six years.

In something of a national first, the traditional style Waikato farm discussion day had greenhouse gases rather than growing more grass as the key focus for those attending.

At the heart of the property’s research into better understanding of nitrous oxide release on dairy farms is the university’s $250,000 Quantum Cascade Laser. The high tech kit is helping researchers gain far more accurate analysis what the gas does when released from cow urine patches.  . . 

Hurdles ahead in future irrigation development – Yvonne O’Hara:

Irrigation New Zealand’s (INZ) held its conference in Alexandra earlier this month and the primary focus was on irrigation and its future role.

IrrigationNZ chair Nicky Hyslop said the conference “celebrated the role that irrigation played”.

The future of the Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group’s plan to raise the height of Falls Dam by 6m to irrigate 12,500ha was highlighted following the announcement that the Crown Irrigation Investments (CII) would not be funding any more irrigation projects.

Water strategy group chairman Allan Kane said it had decided, based on pre-feasibility study information, that raising Falls Dam by 6m to irrigate 12,500ha was the best option.

However, the Government’s announcement meant alternative funding options would need to be found to contribute to the group’s final feasibility study. . . 

Bulk milk tests ‘not working’ – Annette Scott:

Frank Peters’ $4 million dairy herd, the result of 55 years of breeding genetics is about to be slaughtered despite being clean in bulk milk testing.

Now he’s worried about 2500 calves he has sold in the four years since Mycoplasma bovis arrived on his 1400-cow farm in stock he bought from Southern Centre Dairies in Southland in autumn 2014.

“That’s four years ago and we have sold 2500 calves in that time that could be anywhere now. . .

Big year for Wallace Family of South Otago – Rob Tipa:

Rob Tipa visits a family that has caught the judges’ eye in a couple of recent competitions.

This year is shaping up as a big one for the Wallace family of Waipahi in South Otago, winning several major southern farming awards in the space of a week.

Logan, Ross and Alexa Wallace won the Beef + Lamb Livestock Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the supreme award for the Otago region at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Wanaka earlier this month.

Last weekend Logan, 28, added a win in the Otago-Southland regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year awards in Winton to his impressive record in the industry. . .

Put wellbeing in business plan:

If the wool industry wants to attract the next generation of shearers it needs to prioritise the wellbeing of its workforce, industry veteran Dion Morrell says.

Dion and his partner Gabriela run a busy, Alexandra-based contracting business employing up to 50 shearers at peak time. 

He’s worked in the industry for over 40 years, starting as a shearer straight out of school, working his way up to elite level competition representing New Zealand and setting four world records along the way.  . . 

Viral American farming sensation on tour in New Zealand

From a family farm in Kansas in the United States, four siblings known as The Peterson Farm Bros have risen to social media fame with their funny parody videos.

Songs names like “Takin’ Care of Livestock” (Taking Care of Business Parody) are sure to put you on the map, and these siblings have racked up over 50 million views on their videos.

However, the world’s most popular farming family are using their fame for the greater good to advocate for agriculture and to correct farming misconceptions. . .


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