2013-11-30

Inspiration with Google's Picasa 3


I love great quotes that inspire or reflect our mood that day or in that moment. I went out today and took some photos down at the new wharf area in Maungaturoto. The ripples on the water, the quiet and the bird life was a welcome change from the chaos I deal with on the farm. I took my camera with me and did some experimental shots.


I asked my youngest daughter Michelle to stand in the centre of the wharf so I could get this shot. I used the features on Picasa 3 to create the effects on the images you can see. One thing I like about this program is the simplicity. If you don't have photoshop, but want to create something special out of your images this free photo editing software from Google is a good option to choose.


I had a play with some of the effects by mixing them and seeing what came out of it. Picasa 3 has cropping options, straightening of crooked shots, and all the basics you need to create a great final image for your blog or for prints. I've found it better using Windows 8 rather than my old XP software.

I had a look on the net for different quotes that fitted the images after editing. I think they're inspiring, and creative to do. They're also great for making cards out of as well.  You can download Picasa 3 here. Another option is Gimp which is also a great photo editing software and like Picasa it's free you can download it here. Most of all I hope you like the photos and the quotes. They were fun to do and that's what matters.

2013-11-28

ANZ Young Farmer Contest sets sights on Taupo



The ANZ Young Farmer Contest is pleased to announce the 2015 Grand Final events will be held in Taupo.

The decision comes after a unanimous vote by the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Management Committee.

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest alternates between the North Island and the South Island each year. This year it was held in Auckland and the upcoming 2014 Grand Final will be in Christchurch, 3-5 July.

“After three Grand Finals based in larger metropolitan areas, I think the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final hosted in an increasingly agricultural area will go down as one of the most exciting and well-run events in the history of New Zealand Young Farmers,” said Terry Copeland, New Zealand Young Farmers CEO.

This promises to be a successful event with great support from the Taupo District Council and the promising leadership from the 2015 Grand Final co-convenors, Alastair Neville, and Hamish Lee, who both belong to Reporora Young Farmers Club, which also won 2013 title ‘Best Young Farmers Club’.

“Both Hamish and I are really proud to have the opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s rural talent. We are keen to bring the contest back to the grassroots and add to the success stories from the central plateau,” said Mr Neville.

“It was great to see the passion and commitment from the Reporoa Club bidding team. This determination and vision is equally shared by the events team at the Taupo District Council which really tipped the balance in awarding the contest to Taupo,” said Mr Copeland.

Taupo District Mayor David Trewavas said it was an absolute honour for the district to be selected to host one of New Zealand’s most prestigious farming events.
“Our selection acknowledges the Taupo District is becoming a significant player in the rural agricultural sector,” he said. “The 2015 event will most certainly be one to remember.”

The contestants vie for their share of the impressive prize pool worth over $300,000, thanks to a strong family of eights sponsors. The contest offers cash prizes and products from ANZ, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Vodafone and Husqvarna and several scholarships and awards for career development programs from AGMARDT and Lincoln University.

Grand Final contestants will be put through a diverse range of practical, theoretical and technical farming challenges. Each level of the competition combines practical hands on agriculture skills and general knowledge. The level of complexity and difficulty increases as the contestants progress from districts to regionals and finally at the Grand Final. 

“Taupo can certainly put on a show, and New Zealand Young Farmers have the best rural challenge skills-based competition in the world,” said Mr Copeland.

The Grand Final is a full-on two-day event including all the hands on competition plus technical elements such as an interview and an HR challenge. The contestants must also deliver a convincing speech on a topic specific to them, and the competition culminates in the live-televised show in a quiz format. 

2013-11-26

It's chaos around here! (What's new?)


I figured out I hadn't blogged for a couple of weeks. Why?Just way too much happening, because here it's summer, near the end of the year and things are nuts. I came home late yesterday afternoon after a long couple of hours drive. I'm barely home for an hour the phone is ringing, kids want stuff signed, and later on there's a meeting on at school at 7 pm. That thing called life sometimes just gets a little too busy for my poor old brain to keep up with. And on top of that I'm attempting to have a breather with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, and what sicks her nose into my nice little world of Ah bliss.......and all of that kind of relaxation type stuff..yes that wet slimy nose belongs to the Terrorist. Normal sane people have cats and dogs for pets or even a pony. I have a cow.

She likes to keep me company whenever she can. I got licked of course. Cow Slime isn't exactly going to make a hitseller of a skincare product any time soon. When she got a little too much I shut the ranchslider. She didn't like that much.

You can see cows don't make very good window cleaners. Neither do cats with muddy paws plastered on the glass, or horse noses breathing snot all over the place. Paw print, cow slime and horse snot will never make the grade in the natural cleaning product range. I better clean my windows again I suppose.


Last weekend my kids' school had put on a car and bike show called Wheels on the Field. Having grown up with cars because of my dad being in the trade naturally I gravitated towards the irresistable lure of big V8 engines and old pick up trucks with stunning paint jobs and a price to match.  I loved this Dodge '38 pickup . I wanted to take it home, but reality comes into play on that. But I can look at least.

Possum Bourne's Subaru  rally car was also on display. "Possum" aka Peter Bourne was a world class rally driver. He drove for Subaru for many years, before sadly he was killed in a tragic accident in 2003 in the Climb to the Sky challenge.


Then there was this amazing custom motocycle, with beautifully detailed custom worked flames all over it. I bet that can melt the tarmac with the big engine it had powering it. Yes I love motorbikes as well.

 Then there was this cartoon. I drew it one night because I got mad! Trophy Hunter Melissa Bachman made headline news over her posting of a photo posing with an adult African lion she had shot. Hunting it wasn't. Bachman is but one of many overseas trophy hunters who pay up to $US135,000 for the privilege of shooting an african lion, in one of the many canned hunt farms spread through out South Africa. This type of hunting involves leaving an adult human-habituated lion in a large enclosed area. Often these animals are shot from a vehicle or at close range. Lion breeding farms make a fortune from these animals with cub petting, Lion walks and paying volunteers, who have no idea they are helping raise cubs to end up as mounted trophies in some wealthy big game hunter's trophy room. I had posted this on my facebook wall with the comment "I hate canned hunting.."A friend of mine involved with the zoo industry saw it, and shared it over onto his wall. Over 200 shares later the feelings of people were being expressed. Many had reacted with shock that this does occur. There's nothing funny about canned hunting. Lion Aid a charity based in the UK asked for my permission to post the cartoon up on their blog. Have a read what they have to say gives you a deeper insight into what is a cruel, pointless trade based only on profit taking which truly puts the 'con' into conservation. I cull possums because they are noxious pests, not because I paid some jerk outfit $135,000 to go and blow it away so I could get my photo taken with a dead animal. But on a more humorous note...

Smokefree Rally (Possums) from Health Promotion Agency on Vimeo.

This ad is from 1995, for the Smokefree Rally of New Zealand. It features two animated possums having a fag and a chat in the middle of the road......"Check it out two moon" says one of the possums..........and the rest is Kiwi iconic history. It's hilarious at least to kiwis since possums are a serious pest here in this country. Not their fault some idiot decided to introduce them here. Well that's me for another post.