Art Stuff - The Old Kaukapakapa Slaughter House Oil on Canvas

I finished it. Not a masterpiece but I like it and I won't dare do anymore to it. I like abandoned buildings. This is the first time I have ever attempted to paint one in oils. The last oil painting I did looked like some kind of mutation. I still have it but it's terrible. This one at least looks like something. I've also decided I really like oils. People say they take too long to dry but the colours are wonderful. Learned a lot from doing it and that's a good thing.

Off the Farm - Pukearoa Maungaturoto Northland NZ

Bovine Blackmailer

It seems the Terrorist always has some kind of cunning plan to get my attention. The other day it was an hour of staring at me through the open window. Didn't convince the hooman thought to give her a bottle. At Sixteen weeks as of today I think somehow the bottle is going to have vanish - try telling her that.

Michelle's Tenth Birthday with Retro Ray

My youngest child Michelle made it to ten on Thursday. She celebrated with Grandma, Inaya, and of course me and Retro Ray!!! We had heaps of fun then headed on back down the long driveway to our crazy farm.


Art Stuff - the Old Kaukapakapa Slaughter House work in progress

The camera flash didn't help do justice to this painting I'm doing. Strange things can happen with digital cameras at ungodly hours of the night. I love old buildings especially disused farm buildings. This one has had an unpleasant history being the place where cattle and sheep once met their end. Still it's part of our heritage no matter how unsavory it may be. Not all heritage has to be a grand home or a restored settler's cottage. I'm an architecture nut - so if it's interesting I'll photograph it. I've known this old building for over twenty years and sadly now time is taking it's very harsh toll. My friend Anne asked me to paint something rural and not what seems to be the trendy thing with art at the moment. Everyone seems to be painting Frangipanis. I love them but I'd rather learn something new by giving this a go. I'm not really a painter more into the drawing side of things. My birth Grandmother was a marvellous drawer of light houses. She grew up living in isolated parts of New Zealand and as a young girl she used to sit and draw the places where she lived. My cousin Marama is one of New Zealand's best water colourists. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Blog to Check out - The Ngongotaha Volunteer Fire Brigade

This one is really good Kiwi blog. Written by a member of the Ngongotaha Volunteer Fire Brigade this blog gives you an insight of how it really is from a volunteer fire fighters point of view. These hardworking guys like many of the volunteer fire brigades around the country are having to fund raise to buy badly needed equipment not funded by the NZ Fire Service. Check it out it's worth a read.

Red Hot off the Press - AgResearch Media Release 'Support for Science'

5 December 2008

Support for Science

AgResearch has worked with the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology to achieve a funding package that will allow a significant reduction in the number of scientific and technical positions that would have been disestablished.

“We are able to use this transitional funding from the Foundation to help us retain scientific and technical capabilities that will support farmers and the food and textile industries,” says AgResearch CEO Dr Andrew West.

“The Foundation was concerned about the loss of national research capability that might be hard to get back again in the future and has offered AgResearch $1.8 million over 18 months,” says Dr West.

“This will not be sufficient to entirely remove the need for some positions to be disestablished. We have thus made decisions based on how we believe AgResearch can best address the scientific needs of the pastoral sector. Meetings with affected staff are being held to communicate the review outcomes.”

AgResearch employs approximately 650 research staff across 4 campuses and two centres

Media Release - Federated Farmers Media Release "One Plan - Plan Chapter disappointment'

One Plan – Land Chapter disappointment

Federated Farmers told the One Plan hearing panel in Palmerston North today that farmers had been hopeful, but were disappointed with Horizons’ unwillingness to comprise on the Land Chapter of the plan.

“New land rules have the potential to impact massively on hill country farming, for good and for bad,” said Ruapehu president Lyn Neeson.

“Landowners are proactive resource managers who rely solely on their properties natural and physical resources for their farming business. It is entirely in their best interest and that of the region to manage their land sustainably.”

The initial hearing for the Land Chapter, which covers Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI), erosion, farm tracks and scrub clearing, was in July 2008 but was reconvened after the hearing panel found that Horizon’s needed to do further consultation with those affected.

“Federated Farmers supports the goal of reducing soil erosion. We have suggested a number of further compromises to the proposed rules. These have been ignored,” Lyn said.

Federated Farmers is concerned that a consent based system will be very costly and is not the best way to achieve the goal. The compliance costs for getting resource consent or determining whether one is required are likely to be significant. The great uncertainty these rules will create is likely to result in people doing nothing for fear of the consequences.

She says Horizons' One Plan has the potential to set a precedent throughout New Zealand with new principles and new policies.

Federated Farmers is concerned that unrealistic restrictions on farming activities proposed in the One Plan will threaten the economic viability of farming.

“For farmers to support One Plan the regional council needs to balance environmental enhancement with economics. A balanced win/win situation is sought,” Lyn concluded.

Hot off the Press - Agresearch Media Release "New Centre for Reproduction and Genomics to encourage Collaboration

New Centre for Reproduction and Genomics to encourage Collaboration

5 December 2008

The new Centre for Reproduction and Genomics at AgResearch’s Invermay campus near Dunedin will next week (9 December) be officially opened by the Chairman of AgResearch, Sam Robinson.

The purpose-built building, which will be known as the Christie building (named after AgResearch’s former chairman, Rick Christie) will house scientific teams from both AgResearch and The University of Otago. AgResearch CEO, Dr Andrew West, says bringing together the complementary capabilities of both AgResearch and the University in genomics and reproduction will enable the two organisations to greatly advance in this type of research.

“Scientific endeavour in the fields of reproduction and genomics will help many issues facing the world today, such as sustainability and food supply,” he says. “The future for food supply and sustainability lies partly in how we use our knowledge of reproduction and genomics. The CRG is poised to contribute to that movement.”

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Skegg, says the centre heralds a new era for cooperation between the University and AgResearch. “The two organisations’ history in collaboration dates back almost four decades – In the late seventies it started off as an informal network of University and Invermay staff who met regularly to discuss scientific issues, but later it became a formal collaborative effort between Invermay and the University’s Biochemistry Department.” Professor Skegg says with some of the country’s best brains in genomics and reproductive research collaborating as part of the CRG, new research opportunities will be created, new skills will be uncovered and no doubt new challenges will emerge along the way.

The new building features an innovative design aimed at fostering collaboration. AgResearch Chief Information Officer, Dr Phillip Lindsay says a focus on facilitating and enhancing collaborative research was essential in designing the $16 million facilities. “The focus on joint facilities has come from increasing recognition of the need to establish cross-discipline research programmes. The removal of physical barriers, supported by great facilities, fosters an environment for collaboration and facilitates the quest for cultivating and sharing ideas,” he says.

The key features of the Christie building are large, open-plan laboratories, easily adapted to different types of work and large open-plan general staff areas. While the design is modern and answers to the latest accepted wisdom in comfort and environmental consideration, it also needed to be future-proofed. “By going with an open-plan and flexible approach we hope to be able to adapt the space to the inevitable changing pattern of research work. As for our biological containment facilities, we have gone further than just implementing current regulatory requirements, by setting a standard that will take us into the future,” says Dr Lindsay.


Christmas in a pink caravan

I can barely remember my parent's pink caravan that used to be on site at the Red Beach camping ground during the 1960's. But what I do remember is that it was pink and had a wonderful lead glassed cabinet inside it. I also remember my Dad (who sadly passed away in 1997) shining a torch out into the bush because my older sisters were scared of the possums. So here's my version of the pink caravan and all those possums at Christmas time waiting to be invited to the Christmas dinner. No thank you.

Very Red Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release "Thank you for listening Dr Bollard. Will the banks now act?'

4 December 2008

Thank you for listening Dr Bollard. Will the banks now act?

Federated Farmers has thanked Dr Bollard for listening to New Zealand’s farmers in cutting the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 150 basis points to five percent this morning. The Federation now looks to New Zealand banks to pass on lower interest rates to businesses and farmers.

"Dr Bollard deserves high praise for delivering a record cut in the OCR. The Reserve Bank has listened to farmer concerns that the commodity outlook is ugly in the short term. We don’t expect commodities to turn the corner until late 2009 and possibly, the early part of 2010,” said Federated Farmers economic spokesman, Philip York.

“A cut of this magnitude is smart this side of Christmas. Federated Farmers’ economists first saw arable commodities softening in March and we warned in September, that the global outlook was bleak. We are hoping arable commodities might now be reaching the bottom of the current cycle but it is still too early to call.

“With the spectre of drought returning this summer, this cut will provide needed stimulus. More so as we expect Fonterra will need to revise its forecast downwards given the continuing slide in dairy commodities. 2009 will not be a stellar year for the economy.

“We fully support Dr Bollard in his call for financial institutions to pass on most of the 3.25 percent the Reserve Bank has cut from the OCR since July. Businesses are simply not seeing the OCR reflected in their overdraft interest rates. Dr Bollard is right to ask when businesses can expect the banks to pass on these lower wholesale interest rates to them?

“To reduce a major economic risk to the economy, the government must now prioritise water storage as part of its planned infrastructure package. New Zealand doesn’t lack for water, we just don’t bank the stuff when it’s plentiful.

“Last season’s drought hit the economy to the tune of $1.2billion. If we can keep the grass growing over summer it reduces an increasingly large risk to our economy. Banking water is an economic no brainer,” Mr York concluded.

The eye of River

Yesterday was so hot even the animals were running for the shade of the trees to get out of the heat. Late in the afternoon I usually take the Terrorist for a walk when I'm checking the fences and the water. Some of the Kahikatea trees have started to form berries on the tips of their branches to I had taken the camera down to get a couple of shots. River was right by the fence so just for fun I took a close up image of her eye. It turned out really great right down to the reflection of the trees and me taking the photo. The Terrorist though didn't like those moo things she ran away and back up to the house. Trouble is she is a moo thing too but thinks she should be with the hooman that gives her a bottle still. Weaning has been slow. Once the bull goes then the Terrorist will have to go into the paddock with those moo things she doesn't like. I'll be having lots of sleepless nights when she does...groan.


Art Stuff - Yet Another Dingy at Whakapirau from my Visual Diary

I think as this rate I'll start and entire fishing fleet. Boats, boats, and more boats. This one was lent up against an old macrocarpa stump on shore just above the High tide mark. Now all I want to do is go and get my 14 foot Surfcasting rod and go somewhere and catch a fish for dinner. Too late it's dark. I had to do an interview today. Ditz here left her note book behind and all I had in the car was my visual diary. I wrote it on the back of the drawing and over some stick figure thing I had scribbled out one strange day. Who knows why. This was just another scribble with paint on it. I don't think anyone wants to read the strange notations on the back of it about funding and other stuff. NO? Neither do I. I have to have the entire thing written up by Friday..mutter

It was one dark night.......all was peaceful when....

Amy...we really need to talk here....LOL!!!!

Very Red Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release 'Taupo decision not to be appealed'

Straight off the email
3 December 2008

Taupo decision not to be appealed

Federated Farmers has confirmed it will not be lodging an appeal in the High Court challenging the recent Environment Court decision on Environment Waikato’s “Lake Taupo Variation”, Variation 5 to the Waikato Regional Plan.

“The decision not to appeal was taken with a heavy heart. The implications of the Environment Court decision is gut wrenching for the farmers affected by it,” said Federated Farmers President, Don Nicolson.

“Councillors, lawyers and council officers lose sight of the fact that these are real people who have invested their blood, their sweat and their tears into their farms. They are decent people who care about their lake and who now face an uncertain future.

“Federated Farmers senior policy analysts have reviewed the decision alongside senior legal counsel from Simpson Grierson. Our legal advice is that an appeal to the High Court, while possible, would be unlikely to succeed. Even if it was successful, it would be unlikely to result in any significant change to the Variation. We have reluctantly accepted that advice.

“The review makes it clear the implications of this decision will be confined to the Lake Taupo Catchment only. This will provide some degree of comfort to farmers in other areas. This decision has absolutely no bearing on any other part of the country. If other councils think about using this decision in their plans, the Federation was ready for a major fight.

The Federation also said the decision showed up all that was bad about how the Resource Management Act (RMA) has evolved. “Farmers need to and do care for their environment. It’s their future. They operate in the natural elements everyday and harvest the land for the benefit of the community.

“The Lake Taupo decision shows the sustainability ethic in the RMA has become inherently imbalanced. Economic, social and environmental issues need to be in balance and without it, the lives of real people are being seriously impacted. I hope the new government is listening as they move to review the RMA.

“We are also concerned about the significant financial implications this decision foists onto affected farmers. It highlights a concern we have that farmers are being adversely impacted by planning provisions without compensation.

“If these farms were needed for a new airport they would receive full compensation. Yet this decision under the RMA gives councils around Taupo the mandate to dictate stock levels, wiping thousands off the value of each hectare. What do farmers receive for this? Nothing.

“Overall we are very disappointed at this outcome. There are some outcomes from the Federation’s challenge that might prove useful but these pail when compared to the implications of this decision. As President, I promise our members we will advance their interests to get practical and workable solutions for them,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

Federated Farmers Ruapehu and Rotorua/Taupo presidents, Lyn Neeson and Gifford McFadden, also expressed deep concern for affected farmers. A meeting with those members is being held on Tuesday, 16 December. Federated Farmers is now providing direct policy support in caucusing with Environment Waikato to limit individual effects of Variation 5. The Federation is also attempting to promote more flexibility around district council subdivision rules for affected farms. Additionally, the Federation is providing support in negotiating with Environment Waikato on a number of other issues.

Ruapehu president Lyn Neeson was still in shock over the decision, “I remain shocked. I think some people think it only affects farms backing onto the Lake, when in fact, it impacts farms many kilometres from the Lake with no line of sight to it. It leaves families in limbo and with no prospect of fair compensation. These are young smart farmers that will now be selling up to move to Australia. As a profession and a country we can’t afford to lose these talented people and their families.

“I think it is a sad indictment on the last government and its priorities that it could afford to buy a high country lease in the South Island for $40 million, land the government already owned, but it did nothing to compensate farmers for slashing the value of their farms. I just want to know what the new government will do about it,” she finished by saying.

Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release 'Farmers say 1.5 percent rate cut is needed tomorrow'

3 December 2008

Farmers say 1.5 percent rate cut is needed tomorrow

Federated Farmers is calling on the Reserve Bank to cut the Official Cash Rate (OCR) this Thursday by 150 basis points or 1.5 percent.

"In light of the Reserve Bank of Australia cutting its official cash rate to 4.25 percent, a 150 basis point cut is needed in New Zealand this side of Christmas,” said Federated Farmers economics spokesperson, Philip York.

“Even if a 150 basis point cut is implemented Thursday, our OCR will still be higher than that of our biggest export market, Australia. This cut is needed with farmers facing a rapid cooling in commodity prices and the potential return of drought over summer. A 150 basis point cut in the OCR will provide a much needed stimulus to the economy," Mr York said.

Analysis by Federated Farmers economists pointed to the new Government being constrained by pre-election spending pledges. This puts the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in the position of being able to stimulate the economy by easing monetary policy. Federated Farmers also points to projections by the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), predicting above average temperatures and decreasing soil moisture over summer in key regions. The risk of drought over summer is another point the Reserve Bank needs to factor into its OCR decision. Last season's drought cost the New Zealand economy an estimated $1.2billion.

"Fonterra's recent downward revision of its forecast payout by $0.60 per kilogram of milksolids will reduce on-farm income by $720m,” Mr York said.

“The 2008 Budget said that if international commodity prices for New Zealand’s exports were 10 percent lower than forecast through to 2010, it will wipe $8 billion off gross domestic product. We are now facing this reality.

"Demand for fibre is also being affected by the global economic slowdown. We are seeing a sharp retraction in demand from the building and construction industry and an easing demand for luxury fibres. We are now facing the same retraction within the arable sector. Arable commodities will take some time to recover given global liquidity lock and increased global output creating downwards price pressure.

“When we look towards lamb exports going into a struggling UK economy and a similar outlook for beef into the United States, Federated Farmers has a bearish outlook for 2009.

"Given the importance of farming to the economy, a 150 basis point cut in the OCR Thursday will partially offset falling commodity prices. The economy will benefit a cut of this size when it needs it the most," Mr York concluded.

Very Red Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release 'One Plan - Farmer Concerns over living heritage rules'

3 December 2008

One Plan – Farmer concerns over living heritage rules

Federated Farmers told the One Plan hearing panel in Palmerston North on Monday December 1 that contents of the proposed plan and a number of rules will restrict normal farming activities.

Representatives from four Federation provinces spoke at the Biodiversity and Historic Heritage section hearing which covers rare and threatened habitats, wetland protection and historic places.

Wanganui president, Brian Doughty said the Federation agreed with Horizons Regional Council that the involvement and commitment of private landowners is crucial to halting biodiversity decline.

Mr Doughty told the hearing that Federated Farmers is comfortable with a planning approach that encourages landowners to adopt responsible management and environmental practices. The Federation is concerned farming practices will be restricted due to rules which could be applied to biological diversity, including: indigenous vegetation, swamps, tussock lands and natural springs.

Federated Farmers asked that individual assessments should be made in consultation with affected landowners, rather than blanket restrictions being imposed upon all landowners with areas of indigenous vegetation, swamps, wetlands and springs.

“Landowners should be provided with incentives to permanently protect and manage rare and threatened areas. Only areas that meet national importance criteria should be scheduled. Lesser areas should be protected entirely by non-regulatory methods,” Mr Doughty said.

“The risk with new rules is that a lot of productive farm land will be captured in a policy ‘drag net’ aimed at protecting just a minuscule area.

“Many landowners voluntarily take time and make the effort to protect special areas on their property. They farm around these already responsibly with the environment to the fore. All Federated Farmers is asking is that these efforts now be recognised,” said Mr Doughty.

One Plan hearings continue this week with the controversial reconvened Land hearing on Friday. Farming on land that slopes 25 degrees or more could become severely restricted under the proposed plan.

Hill country farmers in the Horizons region (Wanganui, Tararua, Ruapehu and Manawatu/ Rangitikei) are urged to support Federated Farmers in its submission at 9.30am at the Horizons council chambers in Palmerton North. The Taumarunui Farmers Action Group will also speak on the issue at 1pm.


Timespanner sent me this really cool link. The ultimate in Pop Art. Get Warholized. Not sure about this one of me wearing those Retro Raybans though. Anyway give it a try! I'm going Warholize the cats next!!! I also just happen to love the works of Andy Warhol he was a great artist of his era. Have fun!! I am.


Just Cosmic!! Thanks Bridget!!!!


Clouds now and again give some respite from moon-gazing - behold - Basho

I have Bridget to thank for this. She left a post last night on her Cabbage Tree Farm blog
Well Bridget the planets weren't above the moon tonight but they still looked incredible.

Okay there's another award here!!! Thanks Rae!!!

Rae from Wilmoth Farms Handmade Soaps has given me the Marie Antoinette Blog Award!!!

Official RULES:
1) Please add the Marie Antoinette award photo on your blog

2) Place a link to the person from whom you received the award

3) nominate 7 exceptional blogs to receive the award

4) put the links to those blogs on your blog

5) leave a message on their blogs to tell them they are the chosen ones

Okay so here are the creative blogs I have nominated

My Photography Journal

Kentucky captured through photography as seen by Rachel - a friend, a wonderful artist and a great encourager

Renie Burghardt's World

A wonderful inspirational blog as written by Renie one very special person who writes exceptional stories and cares for the world

Salina's Home Journal

Salina a dedicated mother and wonderful creator of beautiful things


Doda an exceptionally creative and talented creator of wonderful crafts and jewellery

Flowers of Life

Leslie. A mum, a wonderful story teller, a great artist and fast becoming another wonderful friend from across the world

Clare Artist

Avril a mother, a fellow lover of wildlife and an exceptionally gifted artist
Avril paints stunning landscapes, portraits and wildlife
Avril's blog is something you have just go and see it's awesome

Steven L. May - The Long Way

Steven a gifted talented poet painter of pictures with his wonderful words
I love his poetry

For Christmas I would like my daughter to live - a story all parents should read

Look at this picture carefully. It shows an idealised family preparing their stockings for Father Christmas. Mother and father with their two lovely delightful children. On Christmas morning the children will find their stockings loaded with delights and lots of presents waiting for them under the magical tree. Christmas lunch and dinner with family and friends. What a wonderful thought.

We all like to think our children will grow and become parents themselves one day. That we will be able to share with our grandchildren wonderful stories of Christmas day when we found that special present waiting under the tree. This Christmas story I am about to tell isn't one of presents or of sharing with family and friends. This is a story of a family torn apart and of a mother's grief and pain and that of her eldest daughter's struggle with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).

Before Christmas Came

My then seventeen year old daughter called me asked me to come down and meet her after her exams were over. She was living with her father then. We had been divorced in 2001 after a struggle to somehow get our shattered family back together - the decision I had made was with the realisation it would never happen. I knew something was wrong even then. My daughter was badly depressed and worse still she was cutting herself with anything sharp she could find. They call it self harming and the scars remain for life and not just on the outside. I spent a wonderful afternoon with her and we talked as best as we could. She assured me she had gotten some help which she had and was on medication to help manage her depression. I went home still gravely concerned and deeply disturbed by my daughters terrible anguish and pain. I should have seen the warnings even then. A mother knows when she is about to possibly lose a child even one that isn't so close to her in their relationship.

Christmas day came. I spent it alone with my youngest daughter who was then three years old and just diagnosed with severe Autism (she's doing just fantastically now!) her elder sister then barely five had been taken to see their Grandparents by their father before heading up North on holiday. Their eldest sister had told her father she had a friend coming to stay with her. It wasn't true.

Boxing day came and went then the next day at 1 pm in the afternoon my telephone rang. It was North Shore Hospital ICU telling me my daughter had overdosed on anti-depressants and was on life support. They had nearly lost her. I called my sister in a terrible state and she took me to the hospital and I had to see the site of my precious daughter unconscious. The same child I had nearly lost when she had been born at six weeks prematurely. Then I was barely just 21 years old. I had to face the very real possibility that I might have to bury my child.

I blamed myself. I blamed her father. I blamed everything I could think of. In truth it wasn't anyone's fault. It had happened and somehow we had to make sure my daughter lived. My family came together and working with Mental Health and Mercy Missions in Australia my daughter spend a year undergoing therapy. The outcome is a wonderful young adult now about to undergo a PHD in her chosen major.

I had my Christmas wish - my daughter lived. For some families though, there wasn't a happy ending. They had to bury their children asking why someone so young had taken their lives. What as parents had they done that was so wrong that their loved child had committed suicide. New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world. Here's what I have learned from my own personal experiences

  • Get help immediately for both yourself, your family and for your child
  • Get support of family, friends and your local church group even if you don't go ask for help. Many hands will be extended in the community if you ask.
  • TALK TO YOUR KIDS!!If your children are younger make sure they can come to you about anything and know they can tell you when they are feeling hurt or worried. It will pay off when they are older.
  • If your child has made an attempt at taking their lives don't tell them you understand - because you don't
  • Be there for them as best as you can. They may not want you there but stay quietly around. DON'T TALK ABOUT NEGATIVE STUFF OR ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING. STAY OFF THE SUBJECT.
  • If your child has been depressed and is suddenly happy that is a warning sign they will attempt possible suicide. GET HELP IMMEDIATELY. Contact your Doctor and arrange for Child Mental Health to help.
  • Your child may not tell you the truth about what is really going on. Check every story.
  • Don't let the Mental Health system attempt to pull the Privacy Act on you if your child is a teenager. If you are in New Zealand. Contact the Privacy Commissioner and seek advice.
  • IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! Don't blame yourself or anyone else. Get counselling immediately you will be a fool to think you can cope because reality is you won't.
  • Talk about it but then move on you have to. Learn from the experience you have gained and then share it with wisdom when others are facing that crisis
Resources: The Mental Health Foundation

Lifeline Counselling

Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Mental Health Commission NZ

Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand


Be Prepared for trouble! He's going to press the YES button!


Art Stuff - Barge & Dingy Whakapirau Beach

I painted this on a blank business card one afternoon just to see how small I could make my artwork go. I had fun which was all that mattered. The little barge and the dingy are used by the local oyster farmer to bring in his oysters. Great subject matter on a hot summer's afternoon.
I love miniature painting but would need a huge magnifying glass and a very small brush to do it!
Timespanner sent me through this great link for a website called Art in miniature fantastic! Thanks Timespanner you always find the good ones!

World's Largest Squid Caught by Kiwi Fishermen in Antarctic Waters in 2007 stops traffic in Wellington in 2008

This first Story is from 2007. Scroll down the post to read further news.
Also a great video from National Geographic of a giant squid in the wild filmed by Japanese Scientists

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.

The squid, weighing an estimated 990 pounds and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said.

The fishermen were catching Patagonian toothfish, sold under the name Chilean sea bass, south of New Zealand “and the squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep,” Anderton said in a statement. Read the full story here

Also from National Geographic A Giant Squid filmed in the wild by Japanese Scientists

Giant squid stops traffic

The World Today - Monday, 1 December , 2008 12:50:00
Reporter: Kerri Ritchie

ELEANOR HALL: In the New Zealand capital Wellington, traffic has been brought to a standstill by a giant squid.

The 500 kilogram sea creature which developed a world-wide following when it was defrosted over the Internet has just been moved to the country's national museum, with some help from a police escort.

The colossal squid was caught by a New Zealand fisherman in the Ross Sea in Antarctica last year.

New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie spoke to Jane Keig from the Te Papa Museum, where the squid is about to go on display.

JANE KEIG: Well the latest in the saga of the colossal squid is that we moved it from the Tory Street research facility which is probably about five blocks away from Te Papa, the museum itself.

We got a massive crane in, to the specimen in its tank onto a truck, a hydraulic truck and then we set off on a convoy with a police escort who stopped traffic. Now the reason we needed to have a traffic policeman there is because we actually had to cross state highway 1.

So he stopped the traffic for us, we got down to Te Papa and moved the squid into the building.

KERRI RITCHIE: So what was the squid in?

JANE KEIG: It's in its display tank, now it's a stainless steel purpose built display tank, it weighs around two tonne and with the squid inside it weighs about 2.5 tonne.

Now we took all the liquid out of the tanks so it was sitting on the bottom of the tank, and it was covered in protective plastic film and that was weighted down. So when we actually opened up the tank down in the exhibition area, she hadn't moved at all. So it was a very successful move.

KERRI RITCHIE: So it's arrived safely and what happens now?

JANE KEIG: We've got our conservator down in the exhibition space, we're gradually filling up that tank with liquid again, it's going to be in a glycol mixture and that's going to have antibacterial agents in it as well, so we can keep the specimen as tidy as possible.

Now usually with specimens like this we preserve them in alcohol. Now because the specimen is going to be on display, having an alcohol solution isn't the right thing in terms of health and safety. So we're actually testing this glycol mixture, so yeah it's quite exciting.

KERRI RITCHIE: Scientists have been looking at this squid for months, have they found out anything exciting?

JANE KEIG: We know it has the most massive eye, the largest eye in the animal kingdom. We know it's a girl. But there's still a lot of questions that are left unanswered, there's still so much that scientists don't know about this creature.

In the exhibition we're going to have a 3D animation film, so you can pick up your 3D glasses and watch this animation of how we think this creature behaved in the deep ocean.

But again, we know so little about these creatures. Scientists are always quite keen to get down there and observe a creature in its natural habitat and regrettable because they live at such great, great depths we haven't had the opportunity to do that.

And they live in one of the most remote places in the world, the Ross Sea down in the Antarctic Ocean.

KERRI RITCHIE: What do you think it is about this particular colossal squid, why has it captured the hearts of people in Wellington and people around the world?

JANE KEIG: Yep, absolutely, we had about 450,000 visits to our website during the squid defrost, which was just amazing and it was quite unprecedented in New Zealand. It's a monster of the deep. I think that the attraction is that we do know so little about them.

We have this community of squid fans who are in regular contact with the museum through the blog, it's just it's been such an amazing experience, it really has.

ELEANOR HALL: Jane Keig is from the Te Papa museum in Wellington where the monster is about to go on display. She was speaking to our New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie.

Hot off the Press - Agresearch Media Release 'Science Partnership Comes under one roof'

Science partnership comes together under one roof

1 December 2008

Scientific teams from AgResearch and the University of Otago will soon come together under one roof, in the new Centre for Reproduction and Genomics (CRG) at AgResearch’s Invermay campus near Dunedin.

The purpose-built building, which will be known as the Christie building (named after AgResearch’s former chairman, Rick Christie) is to be the heart of research into reproduction and genomics, with a focus on livestock and human reproduction, health and disease and mammalian reproductive control.

Scientists and administration staff from AgResearch’s Reproductive Biology and Animal Genomics Sections are housed in the new building. Currently the Genomics Section’s Molecular Biology Unit is based at the University of Otago and together with university scientists working in the field of Reproduction and Genomics, they are all now relocating to the CRG.

The Director of the Centre is Professor Neil Gemmell, who earlier this year has been appointed to the AgResearch Chair in Reproduction and Genomics at the University of Otago. Professor Gemmell says the scope for the new centre is very broad and its strength firmly based on existing collaborations. “New Zealand is undoubtedly a world leader in the fields of animal health and breeding and genomic technology. I think we can build on that, and take information from decades of work in livestock and translate it into other areas of animal and human health,” he says.

He says the Centre will provide a hub and forum for scientists to find new ways to utilise the knowledge emerging from major genomic initiatives. “We want to enhance animal and human health and reproduction, create new wealth and industry and sustain our environment. We also want to generate new knowledge and train people who are capable of utilising that knowledge.”

AgResearch General Manager, Science & Technology, Dr Jimmy Suttie, says with a growing awareness of environmental sustainability, while at the same time having to provide products for expanding global markets, New Zealand is facing a major challenge. “We need to increase our productivity in terms of value rather than volume,” he says. “Our pastoral industry will be required to perform at a higher level but at lower cost – and that is where the Centre for Reproduction and Genomics will play a most important role. To a large extent successful farming practices will depend on the selection of elite animals by observing phenotype and the use of a variety of genetic tools, as well as gaining more understanding of animal reproductive systems.” Dr Suttie says ultimately the science that will be done at the CRG will also be translated into human health.

Animal Genomics Section Manager, Dr Theresa Wilson, agrees saying the New Zealand pastoral sector is in an ideal position for the uptake of new genomic technologies. “We face great challenges in continuing to produce high quality products that meet the needs of our export markets while at the same time juggling the growing calls for sustainability, addressing climate change and animal welfare.”

Very Red Hot off the Press - Agresearch Media Release "Top Textile Innovation & Commercialisation Award for Agresearch"

Top Textile Innovation and Commercialisation Award for AgResearch

1 December 2008

AgResearch Textiles has won a major international award for its world first machine washable, tumble dryable wool suiting fabric.

The Textile Science and Technology Section, based at AgResearch Lincoln, received the inaugural Product Innovation and Commercialisation Award at the 86th Textile Institute World Conference in Hong Kong. The award, organised in conjunction with the Institute of Textiles and Clothing of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, recognises organisations that specialise in cutting-edge product design, development and commercialisation.

Lincoln based Senior Textile Scientist, Dr Surinder Tandon and his team, won the Award for the development of an environmentally friendly, natural machine washable and tumble dryable merino wool fabric, developed in a project funded by Australian Wool Innovation. The technology developed to make these Natural Easy Care (NEC) shirting, trousering and suiting fabrics does not use any chemical shrink-resist process for wool – something that the textile industry has been unable to achieve - until now.

AgResearch Textile Science and Technology Section Manager, Dr Peter Ingham, says while wool is globally desired as a premium apparel fabric for its superb breathability, comfort and drape, the “dry-clean only” aspect isn’t quite so appealing. “So we have answered the call of today’s modern suit wearer with the NEC fabric.” He points out that Dr Tandon and his team originally developed a lighter version of the suiting fabric for men’s shirts and women’s wear. The comfort properties of these lighter weight fabrics are outstanding, particularly in hot conditions where wool’s superior moisture vapour transfer and better drape combine to give a much “cooler” and less sweaty experience, which can now be combined with full non-chemical easy care properties.

He says the development of the NEC wool shirting, trousering and suiting fabric brings wool into a new area of the apparel market, which provides an opportunity to promote a new image for wool. “While there are many synthetic suit brands on the market that lay claim to being fully machine washable, 100% wool suits always had a drawback. So we have combined the positive laundering care aspects of synthetics with all the inherent comfort qualities of wool and developed a unique product.”

Dr Surinder Tandon – the scientist who headed the team that developed the NEC fabric - says another advantage of the product is that it’s easy and cost-effective for the industry to adopt the technology. “The specially designed device used to create the yarn can be easily retro-fitted to an existing wool spinning frame and the technology is robust in terms of application and performance. NEC fabrics are given an improved durable worsted finish using standard worsted finishing machinery - and there’s no cost for shrink-resist chemicals.”

Judging criteria were based, among others, on the significance of the technological advancement, the product’s commercial success and market potential and the impact on the environment and society. The Textile Institute represents most of the world’s major textile industries with individual and corporate members in 80 countries. The aim of the Institute is to facilitate learning, recognise achievement, reward excellence and disseminate information.

AgResearch CEO, Dr Andrew West says this award confirms AgResearch’s Textile Science & Technology Section’s innovation leadership in the world of textiles. “The Textiles team in AgResearch at Lincoln is a valuable resource to the company and indeed New Zealand. They are recognised worldwide for their cutting-edge research and innovative developments, which validate wool’s rightful place in the textiles market.”

Art Stuff - Lilies in our pond from my visual diary

I sat down one afternoon alongside a pond full of water that originally was where our water tank was meant to be. The digger struck a spring and was going to fill it all in. No way was I going to let anyone take my future fish pond. So it stayed. My sister gave me some heritage waterlilies which I planted and hoped they would take. A year later there they were growing in the pond and flowering. The first flowers were the ones I drew that day. I'm not very good at plants or water colours for that matter, but I still will sit down and attempt to paint and draw flowers as well as anything else botanical.

The Great Impressionist Claude Monet

My favourite painter of water lilies is of course Claude Monet who had such a wonderful mastery of colour and shape that he could create wonderful pictures of his gardens at Giverny. He was one of the greatest impressionists of his time. One of my favourite subjects when I was at High school was Art History. I'm glad I took it as a subject because I appreciate it more now I am older. I'll be doing more later this summer once the Christmas rush is over and we don't have a farm full of family members. I have a huge family. Lucky for me and my Mum we have lots and lots of room here!
Water-Lilies 1916 Claude Monet
Oil on canvas 150 x 97 cm

You should have had the right Password!!!!


An afternoon with Amy, the kids and Retro Ray

This afternoon the kids and I went over to visit Amy. As usual Amy and I got up to no good and decided to relive our long since gone youth by wearing 1980's New Wave Retro Ray and taking our own self portraits - well enough said about the photos!!!. We were treated to a great song by Inaya, Renee and Michelle called Super Puppy!. Had a drink and Amy's famous blueberry muffins. YUM. Like all good things it had to come to and end but we had a great time and lots of fun. Thanks Amy!!!

A Beautiful Story that has touched my heart - A Story about Renie and her mother's cat Paprika - This is a must read.

Renie who lives in a stunning 100 acres of woods in at the Ozarks has just recently celebrated her 72nd Birthday. Renie is a talented author writing wonderful stories and has been published numerous times. Her post A Story on my Birthday - My Mother's Cat is Renie's story when she was growing up in Hungary during the Second World War. Her mother died at only 19 years old and the only link Renie had to her mother was a ten year old cat named Papikra. This is one story everyone should read. It touched my heart very deeply. Renie follows this blog which I have considered an honour and a privilege. So to you Renie Happy Birthday and thank you for sharing your beautiful touching story.

Awesome Blog Awards Ceremony - Everyone please read this post

In my frustrations that every award given for a blog has to lots of other blogs nominated in turn -which is really cool if you have lots of other blogs to nominate that is. I have created an award that doesn't follow the format. Bad blogger person yes I know but I have a bad habit of bending or breaking rules now and then. So I have created the AWESOME BLOG AWARD. It may not be top of the line graphic design but I have created it just for those blogs I really and absolutely love to read.

Here are the rules for the AWESOME BLOG AWARD
  • Accept the award and display it proudly on your blog
  • Link it back to the person who gave it to you
  • Nominate whatever blogs you love to read and enjoy as many or as few as you like
  • Or you can be a greedy smurf and just enjoy it anyway

The case of the missing Cat Wormer

Every three months written into the Farming Diary is the next date for worming all the critters that live here on the farm. I did the horses, and the chickens then it came to Dream and Emerald's turn. One slight problem - I couldn't find their worming tablets anywhere even though I had only purchased them two days before. Despite hunting everywhere no sign of the missing worm tablets could be found. In the end I went and got some more. I have the scratches in my hand to prove it. Then this morning I went to make my coffee. Sitting right alongside..you guessed it the missing worm tablets. Lucky for me I don't use substitute sugar pills in my coffee......

Off the Farm - Trophy Boar Head Opononi Hotel Hokianga Northland NZ

My girls thought this big tusker was awesome. I wouldn't want to have been on the end of those razor sharp cutters. The boar was shot around 1994 from what I can make out on the framed photo beneath. This along with a few others adorn the walls of the very cool Opononi Hotel. worth visiting if anyone ever heads that way on a trip.