I haven't ever done a lion before not in pastel anyway. He's kept me sane while I'm tearing my house apart looking for things I know are there but can't find (growl). He needs a better name. Suggestions are welcome. He's not finished of course but he's starting look like a lion instead of a dusty mess of strange colours and shapes. I'll post him up again when he's all finished and looking like someone loves him.
This photo was taken by my former husband Dave when he lived in Whangarei. The Bounty was built by a local Whangarei boat builder for the movie of the same name - directed by Dino De Laurentis. I think we all remember Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian so I won't bother with history lessons there. Bounty of course is no longer moored in Whangarei.
If there was a perfect equine sculpture I would have to rate the beautifully carved marble head of Horse of Selene held in the British Museum as being the one I would choose. the head came from a magnificent marble frieze collected from the Greek Parthenon in Athens by Lord Elgin. The Horse of Selene forms part of a collection referred to as the Elgin Marbles. I did this drawing as a way of learning how the finer details of a horses' head relate to each other and because I just love that sculpture.
I love the moon when it comes out just before sunset. I got this shot by chance the clouds in the east were suddenly lit up by the sunset in the west. I need a big giant telescope. Michelle asked me when she was five if the man that went to the moon was still there..No Neil Armstrong and his team got back safely I had replied. Her reply was deadly serious "Did they bring back their kids any cheese?" How could I keep a straight face over that one.
Timespanner replied with these two links Google Moon
Moon Cheese (Google again but with Swiss Cheese)
When I was helping my mum move from her old house I was able to have some time out to sit and draw some of the boats tied up at the Leigh Wharf. Leigh is a great place to visit. Busy though in Summer when the holidays are on. Here's the final result of one of those drawings.
To deny we're not spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches would mean being told to get a life. Just ten minutes from our farm is beautiful Whakapirau Beach. It's a quiet little settlement located on the eastern reaches of the Kaipara Harbour. During the summer the kids and I love to go down in the afternoon and just chill out. Usually there's someone there we know. I always take my visual diary and scribbling away to my heart's content, while the girls take a swim or jump on the big rope swing tied to a big old macrocarpa tree down the Southern end of the beach. Every January they hold a regatta at adjoining Pahi. Everyone with a boat turns up and has a great time and probably one too many drinks in the process. (I'm not actually serious). A lot of history has happened in the area including a Maori war, a vineyard, a timber mill and a Dairy Company just by where the wharf is in the photo. Whakapirau itself means literally "Stinking Waters" This was due to the battle between Maori Tribes that occured there in the earlier part of the 19th Century. Enough said about why the name was given. Nothing smelly about Whakapirau now that's for sure.
In the US the specialised breeding of both bulls and bucking horses is big business. Some of the animals are worth a small fortune. Professional Rodeo Clowns lay their lives on the line to keep the bulls from hurting the rider after they come off. An entire industry has developed from the concept. What would happen if suddenly overnight all of that was banned. A lot of people would lose their livelyhoods and damage the local economies of the areas concerned. Not a good thought.
I have no doubt there have been serious cases of mistreatment involved with rodeo events however that won't necessarily mean that all Rodeo events are in the same category.
All I will say is - our local show wouldn't be the same without the Rodeo coming to town, but that is my own personal opinion.
This article is from the NZ HeraldProtest group targets rodeo
4:00AM Wednesday Nov 12, 2008
By Jarrod Booker
Auckland may have banned it, but rodeo is still riding high in Christchurch where an international event is spurring animal rights activists into action.
Lobby group Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) is promising protest action ahead of the International Rodeo being held in Christchurch this weekend - a feature of the New Zealand Cup and Show Week.
SAFE this year successfully lobbied the Auckland City Council to ban rodeo events from its land, in a first for New Zealand.
Councillor Cathy Casey said: "I disagree we should use animals as some means of entertainment."
The International Rodeo in Christchurch has attracted 39 of the world's best "cowboys and girls" from the United States, Canada, Brazil, England, Australia and New Zealand, in an event dubbed the "biggest wild west stand-off ever staged in New Zealand".
Rodeo exponents say the sport is popular, and animal welfare is carefully monitored.
But SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek said rodeos tormented animals for people's amusement, and sent the wrong message to children. Straps and electric prods were deliberately used to get horses and cattle to buck.
"It has got nothing to do with good stockmanship. Good stockmanship is all about handling animals [while] causing them the least amount of stress. The whole principle of a rodeo is to cause them the highest amount of stress, so they will actually perform.
"They call it man versus beast. It's akin to the mentality that you see in Spain with bullfighting. We want to prove somehow we can dominate these creatures - and it's such nonsense."
Gary Jackson, of the Rodeo Cowboys Association, said that rather than being forced, animals were "encouraged to perform to the best of their ability", and some simply would not. His association was made up of experienced animal owners, and it engaged regularly with bodies like the RSPCA.
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The Back Blocks
I found this old photo taken at the Auckland Zoo when I was just nine years old. The zoo has changed dramatically since then. No more Chimpanzee tea parties or sad looking lions pacing around in small cages. Seeing this photo brought back memories of the encounters I have had with wildlife that I would never again have the privilege of doing.
- When I was eight I went on a school trip to the Auckland Zoo and sat on the back of an Indian Elephant. His skin was soft to the touch with lots of wrinkles and the hairs on his head tickled my nose. I felt like I was sitting on a high mountain top
- When I was nine my father took me to visit a man who looked after sick birds. The man had a baby Kiwi that had been injured in his burrow by a bulldozer clearing the bush where it lived. I was allowed to hold him. His feathers were like hair and so soft to the touch . He had nostrils and whiskers at the end of his beak. And his feet were big and strong.
- When I was 23 my brother and I went to the Massey Lion Park. Sadly it had closed down but the man who owned it was so pleased we had come to see the lions that we were allowed into the park. Just us and no-one else but the owner. We helped to feed the Lion pride and the two Siberian tigers. The best thing of all...we played with the lion cubs for three wonderful hours. And that above all I hold the most special in my heart.
Came inside to flop after having yet again to fix the back boundary fence - a tree had fallen through it. But NO my sofa had been invaded by secret agents of Basement Cat pretending to be my two cute kitties. I got .....a dirty look...scary..........
These bulls were on a property I used to deal with as a rental manager. The grazing was leased and these stroppy youngsters were used to keep the grass down until they were put in with the Dairy Cows to put in calf for the following season. Jersey Bulls don't have wonderful temperaments. I'd rather deal with a Hereford or Red Devon Bull than a grumpy Jersey. There has been a move in dairying over the last few years towards cross breeding Jersey and Fresian. I have heifers here. Some refer to this type as Kiwicross or Kiwi Cows. Recently some Kiwicross Bulls were added onto Livestock Improvement NZ Genetics' list of A.I. Bulls.
Two from AgResearch honoured by the Royal Society of New Zealand
12 November 2008
A prominent AgResearch Scientist, Dr Bryce Buddle, has been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ), while AgResearch CEO, Dr Andrew West, received the Thomson Medal for outstanding and inspirational leadership in the management of science.
Dr Buddle, based at the Hopkirk Research Institute in Palmerston North, is one of ten new Fellows elected by the Royal Society for their innovative science that is being carried out in New Zealand across the range of universities and scientific institutes.
Dr Buddle is part of AgResearch’s Animal Health Section and his specialist area of work includes immunology, microbiology, and applied science, covering a range of diseases. He was elected to the Fellowship of the RSNZ for his focus and understanding of the response of hosts to disease agents, and how to produce vaccines and improve diagnosis.
Dr Buddle says being elected to Fellowship of the RSNZ is an acknowledgement by the New Zealand science community that science within AgResearch is of the highest quality.
This is the second time in weeks that Dr Buddle’s work has been recognised by the Royal Society. He also received the Hutton Medal in Animal Sciences for his longstanding work in controlling infectious diseases. This world-leading research has reduced disease in cattle, deer and wildlife in natural and farming environments. Dr Buddle is currently concentrating on research in tuberculosis in wildlife and cattle. He also leads a new research programme to develop a vaccine to reduce methane emissions by ruminant animals.
And, following in the footsteps of some of New Zealand’s most respected science leaders, AgResearch CEO, Dr Andrew West was named this year’s recipient of the RSNZ Thompson medal. This medal is awarded annually for outstanding and inspirational leadership in the management of science.
Dr West, who is also Chairman of Science New Zealand, which represents all nine Crown Research Institutes, says it is an honour to receive such an award from the Royal Society on behalf of the scientific community and that the achievement recognised the culmination of many individuals’ contributions and assistance.
12 NOVEMBER 2008
Federated Farmers in international talks
“There is huge interest in New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme as we are seen to be a guinea pig. Delegates have expressed incredulity that New Zealand, the world’s most efficient agricultural producer, is including farm animals when Kyoto doesn’t require it. Federated Farmers agrees,” Mr Nicolson said.
Very Red Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release Permit to farm leaves food producers gutted
This will have serious consequences for everyone in New Zealand who farms if this decision by the environment court is set as a precedent in other parts of the country. - Liz
12 November 2008
Mr Screech turned up today. Still noisy as always. Then up popped Fuzzy Screech. Fuzzy Screech must have followed Daddy Screech to see what was going on. I didn't have the camera so I had a fuzzy moment and came up with this little charmer complete with the giant pink feet.
Mercure Wellington, The Terrace
Dramatic change is all around us. Who would have guessed just six months that ago a charismatic young man would become the 44th President of the USA, or that the world would face its worst financial crisis since the depression of the 1930’s.
Closer to home – who would have guessed six months ago that the NZD at 77c US would now be closer to 60c, that the reserve bank would be dropping its interest rates 100 basis points at a time, that the New Zealand dairy juggernaut would come to such an abrupt halt.
Who would have guessed that New Zealand meat and fibre producers, who had just finished their worst financial year in real terms for two generations, receiving returns of just $55 for mid-season lambs would now be talking about a thing called T150; a target of $150 for a good mid-season lamb within a five year period.
Just as Obama has inspired millions of Americans that there is hope of a better future, my hope is, that in our own small way the T150 campaign that has been actioned on behalf of all meat and fibre producers, will lift the spirits and aspirations of New Zealand sheep farmers and give them the hope of a better future ahead.
Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre has raised the flag; we have drawn a line in the sand. But talk is cheap. The real challenge is making T150 a reality.
We all know the problems in our industry. Many of you have lots of ideas about what needs to be changed or improved.
My challenge to you all is that in two days time when you return to your farms, informed and inspired after what I hope will be a stimulating conference – that you take the T150 message back to your provinces and through the leadership positions you hold, do your very best to realise the hope of substantially better prices for lamb for the people we represent.
Over the next two days we will talk a lot more about what we need to do and how we might achieve this goal.
Many in the industry are relying on us to make a difference. Let me read to you just one of the dozens of emails I have received.
This is from Carol and David Saunders in the Maruia Valley they wrote…
“As the only sheep and beef farmers left in our valley out of 34 here earlier, we just want you to know that we totally support the push to get better prices for our product. Unless we get over $150 for the average lamb in the very near future we too will be forced to quit the industry. We have been farming sheep and beef on our property for over 40 years and have lifted production considerably increasing lambing percentages from around 90% to over 160% but it has done little good and we have just about run out of optimism as there has been no reward for increased efficiency and our hard work. We applaud what you are trying to achieve. Keep up the good work.”
To conclude and inspire let me quote a 47 year-old black man form Chicago who recently spoke these words to inspire a nation. These same words fit with my commitment to the sheep farmers of New Zealand, that with your help we will continue to do everything we can to ensure a more prosperous future for us all.
“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but I have never been more hopeful that we will get there.”
Thanks to CATS
This blog is a must to see. Lion Guardians this is a project based in Kenya working with the local people and collared African Lions. Because of this project the Lions have been preserved. Check it out.
In 2005 I had been on the farm for six months and somehow it lacked something. We had one cow here and it wasn't ours. It was June just coming into winter and the last thing on my mind then was getting a horse. Then an advert appeared in the local newspaper. Free to a good home. Horse 15.1hh aged. etc. Inaya saw it and desperately implored Mum to ring up about it. I hesitated but okay why not the chances of even getting it were zero anyway - so what did I have to lose? Nothing of course. So I rang and sure enough heaps of people were interested. I left Brian and Elaine my number then completely forgot all about it. Two weeks later the phone rings. It's Brian asking if I still wanted the horse. I said yes then realised later I didn't have a trailer to put the horse in it. Neighbours came to the rescue. So with two kids in the four wheel drive, trailer hooked on the back off we went for over sixty miles to pick up the horse. We made it - but the horse we thought we were going to get had already gone. We were introduced to a muddy but friendly first cross quarter horse named Edward. He was 23years old. Perhaps too old but the kids didn't want the alternative for him and that was Brian's gun. So we took him home. We've had him ever since. Ed is now 28 years old healthy and happy. He's a great ride too sometimes a little frisky - he stag leaps now and then then remembers his age and settles down. The kids love him and so do I and that's the story of our old man. Hope you liked it.
Sometimes I read stuff that just makes me want to say something. Well on my blog I can. We all have our days where we'll sit down and read the newspaper. In this case it was an online article on the home page of Melbourne's Herald Sun written by columnist Jill Singer. This lady is an award winning journalist, proudly Australian and well over to the left. That's fine. A well respected columnist though, writing utter baseless drivel is well below the line.
The opening line starts with this
"New Zealanders have voted for change - a leap from Left to Right - with all the enthusiasm and reasoning power of a doped slug".
Yes the majority did vote for change and for mostly perhaps the following reasons if not others. The New Zealand Herald put it nicely when they termed the now former government "The Nanny Government" .
We ended up living in an era of over-regulation and ridiculously stupid political correctness. The introduction of Green MP Sue Bradfords' Anti-smacking legislation, the debarkle over the Regulation of shower flow rates perhaps was the last straw that finally broke the Labour Party camel's back. People were sick and tired of being told what to do - so with that in mind and the economy into a second quarter of recession the bell soon tolled for Labour's end.
But for Jill Singer, well respected award winning journalist that she is, to sit down and write a piece of hard journalism on New Zealand politics. On this score she rates a big zero.
Her opening paragraph took a cynical perhaps narrow- viewed opinion of we who are New Zealanders. I'm wondering if Pharmac had extra funding for a nation of 'doped slugs' on election day. Could it be a secret National Party conspiracy perhaps. Back door deals made with the heads of Pharmac to drop strange substances onto the ballot papers? The answer to that is of course not.
The cynicism didn't stop with the opening paragraph she continues -
"As the rest of the world struggles with the excesses of capitalism and free-market worship, our dearly beloved neighbours suddenly think a former investment banker can make them ruch, as well as thuck."
Free-market worship sounds like the Roger Douglas era to me. Again I disagree. The US for instance, still has a protected market. While the previous administrations have preached the "Free Market Economy" philosophy to every one else on the global platform the protectionism for US producers has stoically remained. Fair enough. When it comes down to the base line taking care of one's own first before taking care of someone elses' pockets.
In 1984 New Zealand lost that protectionism our manufacturers and agricultural producers had so enjoyed, to then Finance Minister Roger Douglas' extreme Keynesian views. Fine in theory. Cold economic models to determine a countries' economic policy in a real world situation needs everyone else playing ball. Except it didn't happen. The major economies remained well protected we didn't.
In just one stroke of the pen - subsidies were removed as were the import tariffs. Suddenly our farmers and manufacturers were facing the cold realty that the NZ Government wasn't going to look after them any more. A lot of people lost their jobs during those hard years, farmers lost their incomes and farms, companies went into liquidation, factories shut doors. Rural towns went dead overnight. The Share Market Crash of 1987 and excessive interest rates helped the process along.
This continued during the recession of the 1990 era when, disheartened with the Labour government, the New Zealand public voted for change. The winner then -National led by Jim Bolger. Jim was later shuffled aside for Jenny Shipley. Cold Corporate Policies, further financial pain and advertisements such as the "Benefit Fraud it's a crime" campaign once again changed the public's attitude. Term of office for the National Government until the 1999 elections. Nine years. Term of the Labour government until 2008 - nine years. People had again asked for change. So much for the history lecture there.
And the point of all this perhaps over opinionated writing?
Two little words "ruch and thuck" Is this english or something made up in the Orion Sector of the Milky Way perhaps? No it was Jill having a go and in turn people had a serious go at her. I wasn't so nasty - just to the point in my email to her on the issue of New Zealand accents.
Jill Singer's reply was just as nice:
"Yes, I take the point re the accent thingo. I’ve had a lot of emails to the effect that Australians say Seeedny for Sydney and so forth, which doesn’t ring true to my ear.
I suppose that’s the thing about accents...my article was written for an Australian audience and we hear things differently. I think we’ve both got pretty harsh accents really...just heard an Australian reporter reporting on Remembrance Day and shuddered to imagine how the French would react to her pronunciation of France.
Anyway, I do now realise that my article would have been much better if I’d resisted my childish and inept attempt at mocking the Kiwi accent.
And thanks so much for being nice about my shortcomings."
Which I was.
Read the article and let me know what you think. I would be very very interested to know.
Thanks to Timespanner for putting me onto the article
Last year in my role as editor of the local community paper I had the privilege of going out to a local farm to visit a band of wild Kaimanawa Horses that had only just arrived the day before from the central North Island. The Department of Conservation holds an annual round up of the Kaimanawa Horses deeming them a threat to our native plants and habitat. Naturally a lot of people have been outraged about the culling that has been going on. People consider the horses as part of our heritage. Too many times the media has reported terrible cases of where the horses were sent off to holding farms and left to starve to death. Better for those that can't be found homes to be put down humanely. Some end up being slaughtered for export meat and that alone has angered people. In the US Horse slaughter was recently banned - but it has resulted in many unwanted animals ending up with a worse fate than being put down. I'm a realist when it comes to things like the welfare of animals and what is really best for them. My oldest horse here is 28 years old and still not showing signs of slowing down just yet. I hope he just passes away quietly in his sleep, but if the decision had to be made for him to be put down that would be the right thing to do. The horses in the photo were full of worms and thin from lack of grazing in their home range. They've since all put on weight, and have ended up being great horses for their owners.
I did this one during one summer when my sister Michelle and I went out to Piroa Falls with the kids for a swim. Strangely enough I only just recently discovered that the pitiful looking flow of water that runs through the middle of our farm is part of the Piroa Stream that eventually reaches a deep gorge and becomes a wonderful waterfall and stony bottomed stream. We're so lucky we have access to such a great place. Thanks to the local Rotary Club there's a path down to it and a place to sit. Pays to take the insect repellent though - the mosquitos are always ready and waiting.
Well if you are into collecting cows apart from the live ones that is - how about this lot of lovely bovines to adorn your home. I think they're neat but since my mum has a collection of model roosters - I think I'll stick to keeping the living ones (cows that is) instead. One thing about these ladies - they won't eat all the grass or the garden.
This time I really wished I had a big fancy digital camera with a massive lens on it. This is an Eastern Rosella. Introduced from Australia. Here's the history of when they were introduced to New Zealand. Thanks Timespanner . Beautiful Birds - I used to breed them years ago. This one was just a little too wary for me to get near enough to get a decent photo.
Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release "Fish & Game New Zealand and Forest & Bird report peer reviewed"
I must admit I have a love of Dairying History. No wonder with one of my Grandparents being a Dairy Farmer, a great Uncle who helped introduce the dried milk powder industry to New Zealand and a Great Grandfather who was heavily involved with the Co-operative Dairying in the early part of the 20th Century. That aside it's fascinating and I'll blame Timespanner for this. Lisa you can kill me later. This is one of the displays at the Matakohe Kauri Museum of an early milking shed. I took photos of the milk room equipment. The rest of the display was too crowded out with people (good for the museum). The old steam pump engine belonged to Victor Judd one of the pioneers of the local Maungaturoto Co-operative Dairy Company (it's long since been taken over the dairy giant Fonterra).