Iconic Images we can't ever forget

Campbell's Soup Can 1964 by Andy Warhol

One of many pop artist Andy Warhol painted during the height of his years as one the world's most popular artists. He is also noted for his images of an electric chair, Marilyn Monroe and of American Dollar bills.

Rudolph Valentino as the Sheik

One the earliest sex symbols in the silent movie era. Rudolph Valentino became a legend. I've linked to his biography on Wikipedia if you want to read further about this silent film star who died on the 23rd of August 1926 from peritonitis. He was just 31 years old.

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

Much has been written about what most consider the most famous painting of all time. She has been stolen more than once. Now safe and sound in the Louvre in Paris the Mona Lisa continues to baffle her admiring audience with her enigmatic smile. In truth she is a true work of artistic genius all theories aside. And totally unforgettable.

Marilyn Monroe Photograph New York 1954

Photographed by Matty Zimmerman of the Associated Press during the filming of The Seven year Itch in New York 1954 of the tragic Marilyn Monroe. This is one of the most unforgettable and instantly recognisible images of all time.

The famous Coca-Cola Santa that shaped the Santa we see today. Coca-Cola though did not invent Santa That part is a complete myth (Snopes). Talented Commercial Illustrator Haddon Sundblom found his influences for this jolly fellow from earlier versions. He first illustrated this version of Santa in 1931.

"The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth." - Jim Lovell Astronaut Apollo 8 Mission 1968

A view of the earth for the first time taken over the lunar landscape during the Apollo 8 Mission in 1968. It made the world realise just how small and vunerable Planet Earth really was.

This just a small selection of the list I have and not in any particular order. There are many many more I could post and will at another time. Hope you like them (or not).


Born in '59 And she's an American Classic


I heard the growl of a seriously big engine come cruising up to our farm gate. There she was. An all American Gal that would have fitted right in a Hollywood movie. Marilyn eat your heart out. This is one blonde bombshell that will outlast everyone. She came from Minnesota and she's still in her original condition right down to that huge grunty engine of hers. Nineteen feet long. Oh yeah. She belongs to my cousin Carla too cool for words. Yes hate to tell you this but I am also a secret car nut. Can't help it when my Dad fixed them up for a living. He turned smashed up wrecks into cars again and did well from it. This he would have absolutely loved. She's a 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood untouched unchanged and she's just perfect. She's staying with us for four days so my camera is going to be very very busy...cool. I LOVE CLASSIC CARS OH YEAH!!!! Oh and motorbikes too.LOL!

Christmas Day on the Farm

The Christmas tree had been visited by Santa afterall

I Played Santa and they didn't know I took their photo...

Inaya loves her new outfit but she says she wants to be a Wildlife Vet so this photo is a oncer

Michelle isn't so sure about becoming the next Face of Paris (LOL!)

Christmas Bells ringing Joy to the World

This reminds me of the little Drummer Boy Christmas song

A Beautiful Christmas Angel on the top of the Christmas Tree

An awesome sunset for the end of a great Christmas Day

After sorting out the Terrorist and making the desserts. I was in between my Mums and down here at my place. Plans got changed yet again which happens. So it ended up being me, Mum and the kids for Christmas dinner, and it was YUM. Nothing really fancy. We have a lovely chicken Mum had don in the slow cooker, lots of fresh vegetables and the dessert I made. Remember that Pineapple Pudding Recipe? Well I made it but...I had forgotten to get the Vanilla Instant Pudding mix so I had to use Strawberry and it was wonderful. The kids got loads from presents from my family including two lovely dresses which I had to photograph. Long day ended with a great sunset and the promise of a great day for the next. And sure enough we have brilliant blue skies this morning. I'll be doing work today. Lots to do on the farm including finishing a cafe sign off I've been doing for a friend of mine. Well... I had better go and take the Terrorist to her paddock she's complaining all ready..Merry Christmas everyone. Have a great day today. No doubt the computer will lure me back...


Check the Policy and see if it's covered by an Act of Cat

Red Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release 'Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas from the Farmers of New Zealand'

25 December 2008

Farmers hard at work on Christmas day

“Christmas is a great time for relaxation with family and friends but it’s also a very busy period for farmers the length and breadth of New Zealand,” said Federated president, Don Nicolson.

“From beekeepers engaged in pollination right through to dairy farmers milking, Christmas is a busy time. It is also a time for everybody, farmers included, to take stock and be thankful for what comes off the land.

“At this time it is important to remember the human dimension. I really feel for the owners and staff of the mushroom farm in Morrinsville as well as the farmers in the Taupo catchment. Their Christmas and outlook for 2009 is grim. This all stems from an unfeeling interpretation of the RMA and an unsympathetic Environment Waikato.

“I hope when people are tucking into Christmas lamb that they have pause to think of how that food got to the table. Christmas is a time to thank the farmers and farm workers of New Zealand for creating the wealth all New Zealanders enjoy.

“2009 may not be a stellar year economically however it could be a lot worse. We could have taken the advice of many an economic pundit like Rod Oram and moved away from agriculture as the basis for our economy.

“Thank goodness we didn’t as people may not need a new LCD TV but everyone needs food. Farmers are not just for Christmas.

“From the farmers of New Zealand we wish everyone a very merry Christmas. If you excuse a sour note to end on, we are hoping for a wet spell in Gisborne-Wairoa, the Hawke’s Bay and the Waikato. Sorry," Mr Nicolson included.

Christmas Day - Yay! And a Sketch from my visual Diary I did last Christmas Clydesdale Horses Heads in ink

I did these two lovely boys last year for some Christmas cards I was making. I love to use pen and ink for drawing. They say it all about Christmas. Working together and being great friends. that's what Christmas is all about. Great friends and caring about each other. Hope everyone has a great day today and for those in the northern hemisphere. Santa is on his way. Fine morning and now I'll be heading on up the hill with the Terrorist to put her in the paddock for the day. Then I'll be going and seeing my Mum. The kids will be getting impatient - present opening time is nigh. Love to you all.



Cool Holiday Reading on the Blogosphere

Off and on while the kids haven't been looking and I haven't had to do work - well it was pouring with rain and we did seriously need it. My tank is a little fuller tonight which is great. If you're utterly and totally bored and need some blogs to read I've compiled a little list below for you to check out. They are seriously worth going over to visit.

  1. Photo-Africa Blog - Seriously awesome wildlife imagery. All done by top level professional photographers. Everything from Vultures right through to close ups of huge bull elephants and the stunning African landscapes to top it all off. Keep you occupied for days. Awesome
  2. Paris Daily Photo - A blog of note some months back. Images of Paris taken each and every day. Other cities around the world as well you can check out through the Daily Photo Blogs
  3. On the Wine Trail in Italy - another noted blog A must for the wine lover and if you love Italian things anyway this is definitely one to check out.
  4. Cabbage Tree Farm - I really enjoy Bridget's blog. She's a wonderful cook and a great gardener as well. Bridget and her family own a ten acre small farm and are making a great go at being self sufficient. Great recipes, great food and great posts. Gotta read it.
  5. Dry Well - this is a great blog. Muzzy and her family are starting out with their own piece of land in Western Australia. Chickens, Sheep, vegetables. They're a real true blue Aussie mob. If you're interested in small farming check this blog out and even if you aren't read it anyway. It's loads of fun.
  6. Cake Wrecks - when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong. It's on the header. Believe me you should see the last post they did. Oh man the cake is well...take a look
And if you haven't discovered this website.............

Well that's only part of the long list I've got here in my evil little black EHD...Hmmm. Should keep everyone busy at least for a few days if things are really boring. Otherwise seriously have a great Christmas. Me I'll be trudging up a hill tommorrow morning with the Terrorist. The kids were kidnapped by Grandma. good now I can get up to no good like...sleeping in!!!

This really would get anyone angry - 'Protesters: Eating Cats Shameful and Cruel

I cut this clipping out of the Northern Advocate from last Saturday. My kids were disgusted and asked me to post this up. Eating cats has been a centuries old practice in China. Now modern times have caught up more and more people in China are saying the practice is both cruel and abhorrent. Because I'm in the media part time I tend to post stuff up like this. I've retyped the article so you can read it better. I'd like opinions on this one.

Protesters: Eating cats shameful and cruel

A southern Chinese province must stop the "shameful' and "cruel slaughter" of cats for food, a group of more than 40 animal lovers in Beijing said as they unfurled banners in a tearful protest.

Thousands of cats have been caught in the past week by traders and transported to Guangdong province to be killed for food, said the protesters gathered at the Guangdong government's office in Beijing,

"We are very angry because the cats are being skinned and then cooked alive. We must make them correct this uncivilised behaviour," said Wang Hongyao.

The protesters urged the provincial government to crack down on cat traders and restaurants that serve cat meat, although no law says it is illegal to eat cats. The demonstrators held up banners saying "Cooking cats alive! Shame on Guangdong!" and "Resolutely oppose slaughter".

Chinese media in recent days carried pictures of furry felines peering out through bamboo crates and metal cages as they were being loaded onto trains, apparently to be transported to Guangdon's capital. Other pictures show cats being skinned in restaurant kitchens.

The Chengdu Business Daily said Guangdong people eat 10,000 cats a day. Many of the protesters in Beijing said they had been caring for stray cats and have used their pensions to feed and spey them.

"These cats, they are like our children," said Cui Qingzhen. "We can't let these people to this to them."

- Sourced AP (Clipping from the Northern Advocate)

You can also read about the Campaign to stop the slaughter in China of Cats and dogs at the Sirius Global Animal Organisation Website. WARNING ON THIS SITE THE IMAGES ARE VERY GRAPHIC AND MAY UPSET. The stories there are disturbing and heartbreaking. I would like to see comments on this. What do you think?

I reckon this Attic Cat thing is just a ploy to catch innocent Ceiling Cat Followers

Jennifer mentioned this guy....hmmm. Could he really be genuine...with a crafty look like that I'd say he was the one that set that critter up to steal the Christmas pudding...perhaps Basement Cat and Attic Cat did a deal..


Excuse me but isn't that Basement Cat rising up behind you?


Well it's been a long day. My grandmother visited today so I was between media releases which is why not much has been happening on the other side of this insane blog and talking to my Grandmother who is now 92 years old. My sister Lynette(she's the eldest in my family of six kids!) came up with Gran since the drive from Auckland is nearly two hours away. Gran is a great great grandmother with many grandchildren, great grand children and yet more coming. My Mum has a photo of five generations starting with Gran and all her descendants. My Gran is awesome and I am so glad she's been able to see another Christmas.

Sad news today too. A close friend of our family passed away today from cancer. She had hoped to make it to Christmas Day but sadly that was not meant to be. Her pain is over but our sadness is great. Her husband with her built up one of the world's leading rose breeding nurseries. Their roses are exported all over the world and are in many well known gardens. That will continue with their wonderful family. My Mum naturally is devastated that she has lost a lifetime very close friend.. I have one of her special rose bushes here in my garden and I hope it will continue to produce wonderful blooms for many seasons to come.

On a brighter note the girls and I want to wish all our wonderful friends from all over the world
a very merry Christmas. Please lock up your Christmas puddings there are....greedy eyes about...

Very Red Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release 'North Island drought preparations stepped up '

23 December 2008

North Island drought preparations stepped up

“The recent rain in the Canterbury region has probably brought a month’s relief from drought here, but the picture is very different in the North Island,” said Frank Brenmuhl, Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson.

Federated Farmers is not saying the dreaded ‘d’ word just yet, but is taking the pragmatic step of preparing for a declaration in several regions. The Federation is elevating its drought preparations in the central North Island as well as the East Coast of the North Island.

“Of concern to us are the Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne-Wairoa provinces. These all have major rain deficits and the next fortnight will be critical. Without rain any feed shortage will only increase pressure. This will impact production at the worst possible time as many are still recovering financially from last year’s drought,” Mr Brenmuhl said.

"Only yesterday, the Met Service’s Bob McDavitt, confirmed the coast between Napier and Gisborne is now the driest part in New Zealand. We understand that Napier is having its driest December since 1914. What’s been good for the Cricket Test in Napier has been of concern to farmers.

“The Federation believes it is prudent for farmers in the three worst affected provinces to continue destocking if this is appropriate to their property, source additional feed or look for grazing in less affected areas.

“Those farmers running short of feed are encouraged to act early and speak to their stock agents and farm advisers, just in case drought is declared early in the New Year. I am in almost daily contact with our provincial presidents and while those provinces are not in drought, yet, it is getting pretty close to it.

“Given last year’s drought hit the economy by over $1.2 billion, most farmers want what holiday makers don’t, a wet Christmas – New Year period,” Mr Brenmuhl concluded.

The role Federated Farmers is preparing for if drought is declared

Federated Farmers will play an important role should drought, in parts of the country, be declared over summer. The Federation will work for members' in a number of areas:

· Monitoring the situation at a local, provincial and national level

· The provision of a number of services from Monday 5 January 2009 if required:

o Reactivation of the “0800 DROUGHT” (0800 376 844) service to coordinate available surplus feed

o Providing member access to internal support services, such as on animal welfare

o Acting as a conduit to external providers, such as the Rural Support Trusts, which the Federation helped establish and

o Providing links to other organisations who publish drought related material useful to farmers.

An emergency only contact number will be made available over the Christmas - New Year holiday period. More information will be posted on www.fedfarm.org.nz should a drought be declared.


Very Red Hot off the Press - Federated Farmers Media Release 'Re-examination of Fonterra online auction system needed '

22 December 2008

Re-examination of Fonterra online auction system needed

“Auctions on a falling market could hasten a fall in dairy commodities, but whether it is the catalyst is open for debate. A transparent assessment of the system by Fonterra for Fonterra supplier-shareholders is the only way ahead,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy spokesperson.

Federated Farmers made this call today after recent forecasting of lower payouts by competing milk processing companies, as low as $4.20 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS). This also follows months of speculation about the online auction system for dairy products. The Federation, which is the only independent advocate for dairy farmers, believes the new system may have some advantages but then again, there may be flaws that are leading to reduced returns for supplier-shareholders. Given Fonterra’s global position, a review of the auction system is needed to maintain overall confidence.

"Look, Fonterra’s auction system may be a case of extremely bad timing, given the meltdown in many global commodities. We have raised concerns previously about the auction directly with Fonterra. However, in the last few days, we have seen competing milk processing companies forecast payouts as low as $4.20 kg/MS. We now need to take stock and review the auction system," Mr McKenzie said.

“Unless Fonterra allows some transparency to the entire system, speculation about it will only mount. This speculation will likely increase if there is a further revision downwards of the revised payout figure of $6.00 kg/MS.

"Federated Farmers is acting in the interests of our members by making a call for a review of the online auction system.

“This goes to the heart of confidence as I know there are members of the Federation who think the system works okay. Then again, I know in equal proportion, a number who are extremely uneasy about it. These are the ones who ask if the auction system might be repeating the mistakes of the meat industry. Putting a “spot market” between Fonterra and its clients is a major structural change to the supply chain, which is why we had concerns about it from the start.

"If a review found nothing untoward with the auction system, great. If it did, then any remedial action would likely increase returns back to farmers, after all, that’s why we are in business.

“I really don’t see what there is to be lost in a review of the auction system by Fonterra for Fonterra supplier-shareholders,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

Quick let's run him through the ringer!!!

Dawn 5.30 am and............


Red Hot off the Press - AgResearch Media Release 'Spotlight on Reproduction and Genomics Science '

Spotlight on Reproduction and Genomics Science

22 December 2008

AgResearch’s new Centre for Reproduction and Genomics (CRG) based at its Invermay campus outside Dunedin will present a day-long colloquium early next year to focus on the latest research in the field or reproduction and genomics.

The CRG houses some of the country’s leading researchers in the field of reproduction and genomics and the inaugural science colloquium, which will be held on 19 February next year, will provide the first opportunity since the establishment of the Centre, to bring together interested parties to share the wealth of knowledge being generated by the science teams within and associated with the Centre.

Although only recently established, the CRG is based on a longstanding relationship between AgResearch and The University of Otago. The director of the CRG, Professor Neil Gemmell, says in developing this new phase of the relationship between the two organisations, it is timely to review some of the many significant past achievements and look at the current work being undertaken by the Centre and other affiliated researchers.

“The work being undertaken by staff in and around the CRG is both exciting and broad. With between 50 and 70 scientists housed in the Centre it is a challenging task to keep up to speed with the work of close colleagues, let alone individuals who are working at different sites on systems and problems that do not appear immediately relevant.

“If we are to find the crucial linkages between the various projects undertaken by Centre staff and colleagues it is vital that we develop the means to enable our scientists and researchers to regularly meet and learn more of each other’s work,” he says.

The colloquium will feature presentations covering a broad area of reproduction and genomics. Fifteen of New Zealand’s leading researchers and some overseas speakers will cover a vast list of topics, varying from animal to human reproductive biology and genomics and health science.

To find out more about the colloquium or to register go to: http://www.crg.org.nz/colloquium/isrc.aspx

Rescuing "Grandpa" from a woeful end

Meet 'Grandpa' he's almost the same age as my Mum. As you can see poor old Grandpa is showing his great old age all seventy years of him. He's been passed on to my Mum by my Grandmother and Mum had him for years in an old clay pot. She didn't really like Grandpa much at all and well didn't bother with him. When I moved he was handed to me in a small pot looking the worse for wear, and somewhere during the move Grandpa ended up being lost. I found him looking forelorn and lost amongst the jungle that is supposed to be a garden, but as yet isn't. Now I have time on my hands the garden will become just that. Lots of work to be done but I spent fourteen years at my last place turning a horrible clay section into a palm tree paradise. I miss that garden, but not the neighbours. Here I've got at least an acre plus to play with. Lots of work and enjoyment as well.

Back to Grandpa. He was there in his broken looking plastic pot dried out and looking ...dead. I accidently dropped him and a small piece broke off ..and inside was a sign of life. Grandpa was clinging on to life...just. So I took him inside soaked him for two days in water to get some moisture back into his very dried out roots and the result is new growth. I've been nursing him very carefully for ten days. Today I'm going to repot him and give him a weak solution of plant food. I normally don't give plants names but Grandpa is an exception. I'd like to pass him onto one of my girls. I don't know how long chain cacti live for but I hope Grandpa lives for a very long time. Inaya has already put her name down as the next caretaker. That's cool. I'll take a photo in another week or so so you can see how Grandpa is doing. I love plants and gardening. Now at last I have some time!!! Yay!

Painted with Fire - Oh yeah

Last night just when I thought I wouldn't be needing my camera this appeared at sunset. The sky was painted with fire. Stunning.


Art Stuff - Old Cowshed Matakohe Northland New Zealand from my Visual Diary

Mum and I went to Dargaville the other day to get some things sorted out for Christmas Day. Of course as per my usual bad habit, I had the camera and my sketch book with me just in case I spotted anything interesting. Mum was really into stopping at all sorts of places and my camera's memory card was full of really great images. She spotted this old milking shed, then stopped so I could get some photos and a quick outline sketch of it. The result is above, now in my visual diary. I'll be doing a couple more small water colour sketches of it then I'll do a painting of it. While we were in Dargaville we stopped at Mum's favourite cafe for some lunch and they had some art on the walls from some local artists. The kids asked where the landscapes were. I guess like all things art seems to go through phases of different styles. Most were abstracts with purple and pink swirls. Very creative and very clever. I've done abstracts myself, but I think I've found more enjoyment with painting our local scenery and of course wildlife than having a creative type inspiration. I was reading The Artist which is a UK publication. This one I've had for heck knows how many years, but I love the art magazines I get now and then when I can afford them. This one had an article about how the art schools had stopped teaching the fundamentals of drawing and composition. Being creative is one thing. Learning the basics of good drawing and painting I feel should be a must. I'm glad I'm still learning with each new drawing and painting I do. And this one I really enjoyed doing.