366 days of gratitude

May 25, 2016

The ground was white with winter’s first real frost this morning.

The day that followed was cool but sunny.

This is normal for winter here. We get a good frost to kill the bugs and sweeten stone fruit and swedes and then we have the sun.

It might not bring high temperatures but the dry, crisp cold is preferable to warmer but moister winters which are typical further north.

Today I’m grateful for the dry, blue-sky cold.


Word of the day

May 25, 2016

Sedens – someone who remains a resident of the place or region of her/his birth;


Rural round-up

May 25, 2016

Shareholders unhappy with NZ’s biggest meat company split – Julia Lee:

If New Zealand dairy is our nation’s economic life-blood, then New Zealand meat is our muscle.

At $7 billion a year it’s our second-biggest export earner.

Seven-thousand New Zealanders work for the country’s biggest meat player Silver Fern and 16,000 more have shares in the company.

A company part-owned by the Chinese government are on the verge of signing a deal to split its ownership in half with Shanghai Maling. . . 

Longtime farming families honoured – Samuel White:

More than 200 people from all over the country congregated in Lawrence on Saturday to honour the 33 families receiving a Century Farm and Station Award this year.

The New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards honour and recognise New Zealand families who have continuously farmed the same land for more than a century.

The awards ceremony was held at the Simpson Park Recreation Centre in Lawrence on Saturday night. . . 

Excellence awards for Armidale:

The Paterson family, of Gimmerburn, have won the Clip of the Year title at the Otago Merino Association’s merino excellence awards.

Simon and Sarah, and Allan and Eris Paterson received the award at a function in Queenstown on Friday night, after winning the stud flock category.

Their Armidale merino stud, which has enjoyed considerable success over the years, was founded by Allan Paterson’s grandfather George. . .

Announcement from MPI’s Director-General in relation to independent review – Martyn Dunne:

On 19 May I initiated an independent review into circumstances surrounding specific MPI compliance operations. I have now approved the Terms of Reference which will inform this review, and am making these available to the public.

The credibility of MPI is of utmost importance to its ability to successfully discharge its role as the regulator of fisheries in New Zealand. Each year MPI prosecutes in excess of 300 cases in the fisheries sector and issues more than 3,000 infringements. . . 

Conservation group’s claims slammed:

A campaign launched by a Northern Hemisphere conservation group targeting the New Zealand fishing industry is based on inaccurate allegations, Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst says.

Nabu International is calling on fast food chain McDonald’s to drop New Zealand fish to “save Maui dolphins”.

“McDonald’s use New Zealand hoki. Maui dolphins are not found in the deepwater where hoki are caught, Mr Pankhurst says. . . 

New international cooperation on animal diseases:

The Government has signed three new agreements to work closely with and support other countries in the event of animal disease outbreaks, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“As a Government we are working extremely hard to protect our borders and the primary sector from natural threats. An important part of that is international cooperation in case there is a major incident,” says Mr Guy.

The agreements formalise the participating countries’ commitment to support each other in the event of animal health emergencies, including the sharing of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine in an outbreak and recognition of zoning principles for foreign animal disease outbreaks. . . 

Faster rollout of fisheries monitoring:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today signalled the Government’s intention to speed up the rollout of monitoring equipment on commercial fishing vessels.

“Work is already underway on installing electronic monitoring and cameras on all commercial fishing vessels, however today I’ve signalled to my officials that this work should be fast-tracked,” says Mr Guy.

“This increased monitoring will provide greater transparency of the commercial fleet’s activities and improve public confidence that our fisheries are being well managed. . .

New Zealand poultry industry – new strategies needed to catch next wave of growth:

Strong growth in both volume and value terms is possible for New Zealand’s chicken meat industry, but it needs to focus on alternative strategies to capture new opportunities, according to a new report by agribusiness specialist Rabobank.

In the report, Catching the next wave of growth, Rabobank identifies the development of new markets, the capturing of a greater share of consumer spending and improved margins through productivity gains as three key strategies that will enable the industry to maximise volume and value growth. . . 

Latest Overseer Update Reduces Workload For Users:

OVERSEER Limited released today the latest update to OVERSEER® Nutrient Budgets (or OVERSEER). The new version OVERSEER 6.2.2 reduces the amount of manual data users need to input into the tool.

OVERSEER 6.2.2 lets users access soils data directly from Landcare Research’s S-map database. OVERSEER uses the S-map database to seamlessly provide online data on soil properties affecting farm nutrient leaching. State of the art technologies link the two systems.

“This new OVERSEER version is great news for users, reducing the manual input of up to 18 soil data fields. For the first time, OVERSEER has connected with other software to provide auto-population of data. Our users have been asking for this capability. The new version is an exciting step forward for OVERSEER,” Dr Caroline Read, OVERSEER Limited General Manager says. . . 


Irrigation greener option

May 25, 2016

Greenpeace is highly critical of the decision to provide funding for irrigation in Canterbury.

. . . Genevieve Toop, Greenpeace’s agriculture campaigner, said:

“The government is throwing away millions of dollars on this controversial industrial irrigation scheme which will pollute our precious rivers.

“Millions of tonnes of pollution ends up in our rivers already. And this will only get worse if government departments like MPI throw taxpayers’ money at irrigation schemes like Central Plains Water that expand the industrial dairy sector.

“Ecological farming is much better for our rivers, our land and our international reputation. It’s this that the government should be backing, not some failed industrial agriculture model which is polluting our rivers.” . . 

IrrigationNZ counters her arguments:

IrrigationNZ welcomes government funding of $7.85 million for Canterbury irrigation projects that will help lift the water quality of Lake Ellesmere and groundwater in the Hinds area.

The Central Plains Water scheme has been injected with $6.64m to help get its next stages through to construction, and $312,000 has been puttowards a pilot study for aquifer recharge in the Hinds area which aims to restore spring-fed stream flows and alongside address groundwater nitrate issues.

IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis said the Hinds recharge project was particularly exciting because it was the first time techniques commonly used overseas would be used to improve water quality.

“The trial – a first in New Zealand – will use clean Rangitata River water to soak into the aquifer in an area of high nitrate concentrations, diluting the nitrate, whilst also providing better reliability for groundwater takes, and stream flows”, said Curtis “

This alongside the move to Good Management Practice through Audited Farm Environment Plans will allow natural ecosystems to regenerate,” said Curtis. 

Pollution from intensive farming happened over time and it will take time to improve water quality but that’s not an argument to oppose irrigation when better management and independently audited farm environment plans will protect and enhance waterways.

The water will come from the Ashburton District Council’s unused stock water allocation via the Rangitata Diversion Race and Valetta Irrigation Scheme. Groundwater, surface water and climate monitoring will be built into computer models to distinguish the trial effects from other water influences.

“Managed aquifer recharge is used a lot in the United States to replenish aquifers, but is new to New Zealand. This trial is about replenishing aquifers and diluting nitrates. It could be a great tool going forward with excellent environmental outcomes. The success of the trial could lead to it being used in other catchments in New Zealand.”

The project is expected to bring many benefits to the Ashburton community including economic, environment and recreation, said Curtis.

IrrigationNZ also welcomed the announcement by Minister Guy that responsibility for the Government’s irrigation programmes will change in July when Crown Irrigation Investments Limited takes over grants for the development of regional irrigation schemes. This role was previously carried out by the MPI’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund that continues to be involved in supporting early stage strategic water studies and smaller irrigation scheme developments.

Curtis agrees it makes sense to link the Government’s irrigation investment agency more closely to developing schemes, they have much expertise and their help and advice is welcome in setting up the commercial side of community water storage projects as this is one of the biggest hurdles to be overcome. “In the past we have often commented that the two government organisations involved in irrigation should be joined at the hip so this makes much sense,” said Curtis.

Bigger irrigation schemes, particularly those with water storage, are better for the environment than individual farmers pumping underground water.

The bigger schemes use less power and replenish aquifers rather than taking from them.

Of course Greepeace would prefer no irrigation at all and is blind to the economic environmental and social benefits it brings.


Quote of the day

May 25, 2016

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. Ralph Waldo Emerson who was born on this day in 1803.


May 25 in history

May 25, 2016

567 BC – Servius Tullius, king of Rome, celebrated a triumph for his victory over the Etruscans.

240 BC – First recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.

1085 Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo, Spain back from the Moors.

1420  Henry the Navigator was appointed governor of the Order of Christ.

1521  The Diet of Worms ended when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw.

1659  Richard Cromwell resigned as Lord Protector of England following the restoration of the Long Parliament, beginning a second brief period of the republican government called the Commonwealth of England.

1738  A treaty between Pennsylvania and Maryland ended the Conojocular War with settlement of a boundary dispute and exchange of prisoners.

1787 In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates convened a Constitutional Convention to write a new Constitution for the United States. George Washington presided.

1803 Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and philosopher, was born (d. 1882).

1809 Chuquisaca Revolution: a group of patriots in Chuquisaca (modern day Sucre) revolted against the Spanish Empire, starting the South American Wars of Independence.

1810 May Revolution: citizens of Buenos Aires expelled Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros during the May week, starting the Argentine War of Independence.

1837  The Patriots of Lower Canada (Quebec) rebelled against the British.

1861 – The first edition of The Press went to press.

1865  In Mobile, Alabama, 300 were killed when an ordnance depot exploded.

1878 Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, American entertainer, was born (d. 1949).

1878  Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore opened at the Opera Comique in London.

1892 Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav resistance leader and later president, was born (d. 1980).

1895  Playwright, poet, and novelist Oscar Wilde was convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons” and sentenced to serve two years in prison.

1895  The Republic of Formosa was formed, with Tang Ching-sung as the president.

1913  Richard Dimbleby, British journalist and broadcaster, was born (d. 1965).

1914  The United Kingdom’s House of Commons passed the Home Rule Actfor devolution in Ireland.

1921 Hal David, American lyricist and songwriter, was born (d. 2012).

1925  John T. Scopes was indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

1926 Sholom Schwartzbard assassinated  Symon Petliura, the head of the Paris-based government-in-exile of Ukrainian People’s Republic.

1927 Robert Ludlum, American writer was born (d. 2001).

1933 Basdeo Panday, 5th Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, was born.

1935  Jesse Owens broke five world records and ties a sixth at the Big Ten Conference Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1936 Tom T. Hall, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1936  The Remington Rand strike, led by the American Federation of Labor, began.

1938 Raymond Carver, American writer, was born  (d. 1988).

1938 Spanish Civil War: The bombing of Alicante caused 313 deaths.

1938 – Margaret Forster, English historian, author, and critic, was born (d. 2016).

1939 Ian McKellen, English actor, was born.

1940  World War II: The Battle of Dunkirk began.

1946  The parliament of Transjordan made Abdullah I of Jordan their king.

1953  At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducted its first and only nuclear artillery test.

1953 The first public television station in the United States officially began broadcasting as KUHT from the campus of the University of Houston.

1955 A night time F5 tornado struck f Udall, Kansas, killing 80 and injuring 273.

1955  First ascent of Kangchenjunga (8,586 m.), the third highest mountain in the world, by a British expedition.

1959 Julian Clary, British television personality, was born.

1961 Apollo program: John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the moon” before the end of the decade.

1962  The Old Bay Line, the last overnight steamboat service in the United States, went out of business.

1963 In Addis Ababa, the Organisation of African Unity was established.

1966  Explorer 32 launched.

1966 The first prominent DaZiBao during the Cultural Revolution in China was posted at Peking University.

1967  Celtic Football Club became the first Scottish, British and northern European team to win the European Cup, beating Inter 2–1 in the Estádio Nacional, in Lisbon.

1978 Bastion Point protestors were evicted.

Bastion Point protestors evicted

1979  American Airlines Flight 191: A McDonnell Douglas DC-10 crashed during takeoff at O’Hare International Airport killing 271 on board and two people on the ground.

1979  Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from the street just two blocks away from his New York home, prompting an International search for the child, and causing President Ronald Reagan to designate May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day (in 1983).

1981  In Riyadh, the Gulf Cooperation Council was created between Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

1982  HMS Coventry  was sunk during the Falklands War.

1985 Bangladesh was hit by a tropical cyclone and storm surge, which killed approximately 10,000 people.

1997  A military coup in Sierra Leone replaced President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.

1999 The United States House of Representatives released the Cox Reportwhich detailed China‘s nuclear espionage against the U.S. over the prior two decades.

2000  Liberation Day of Lebanon. Israel withdrew its army from most of the Lebanese territory after 22 years of its first invasion in 1978.

2001  Erik Weihenmayer  became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

2002  China Airlines Flight 611: A Boeing 747-200 broke apart in mid-air and plunged into the Taiwan Strait killing 225 people.

2002  A train crash in Tenga, Mozambique killed 197 people.

2008 – Scott Dixon became the first New Zealander to win the  Indianapolis 500.

Scott Dixon wins Indianapolis 500

2009  North Korea allegedly tested its second nuclear device.

2011 – Oprah Winfrey  ended her twenty five year run of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

2012 – The Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS).

2013 – Suspected Maoist rebels killed at least 28 people and injured 32 others in an attack on a convoy of Indian National Congress politicians in Chhattisgarh, India.

2013 – A gas cylinder exploded on a school bus in the Pakistani city of Gujrat, killing at least 17 children and injuring 7 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


366 days of gratitude

May 24, 2016

“Are you wearing a singlet?”

This was my mother’s constant refrain in winter and any other time of the year if it was even slightly cooler than mild when I was a child and for reasons lost in the mists of time, I often wasn’t.

Fast forward several decades to the development of merino clothing and its wonderful warming qualities in single garments or layered and I can happily answer in the affirmative.

With fresh snow on the hills and temperatures on the downlands reflecting that, today was a two-layer-under and one-over day and I’m very grateful for all three.

 


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