A rural face in my #art

In November the town I live near celebrated 150 years. A friend of mine Deane Patterson, a talented local photographer had taken a vast number of images of the event over the course of two days. In amongst the numerous images was one that caught my attention. I asked Deane for permission to draw it and this is the (almost finished) result. I don't draw people much at all. I prefer animals to drawing people. But this I have enjoyed immensely. I've put my camera somewhere so I can't show you the finished result.! Hope you like it as much as I do.


Wait a minute- that 'aint no reindeer!

Santa must have got it wrong. I specifically asked for a Reindeer but left at the door was a Jersey cow Terrorist soaking wet from the rain and looking like she was innocent somehow.

And my gumboots appear to have been disturbed. Heck he didn't even bother to wrap this Terrorist jersey cow up in paper and tinsel although I suppose there's a sparkle in her eyes.

I think what she is really saying (with dog to back her up) is Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2014 from all of us here at the Mad Bush Farm.


A slice of heaven

 Slowly it's winding down towards Christmas. It's been a long couple of weeks. The kids finally finished school on Tuesday just gone. 6 am the other morning Ranger was outside trolling the dog, after he had pulled all the paper out of the recycle bin!. What a mess he made. Then he had decided to go and give the dog grief. Poor Simon ended up trapped inside his kennel while Ranger tried the stand over tactics. Silly small horse he is. Window cleaning time is well over due.!

I had a few visitors arrive at my door over the last few days. Just as well the door wasn't fully open, otherwise Shadia would have invited herself in, if she could have. I've been enjoying just watching her transform from a frightened young horse with bad memories of her contact with human beings, into a beautiful natured young 4 year old mare with a lot more to give than a bite or a kick these days. She has a lot of love to give for the years yet to come. I'll say it again. Mini horses aren't toys. They're living breathing beings that need the same care and kindness all animals deserve. Please don't breed these little horses, unless you know they can be found a good and knowledgable home. Too many are so badly bred they have serious faults caused by a lack of caring about conformation or genetic deformities. If you have a mare or a stallion with a history of stifle lock then don't breed from them period. I have three here that are the result of poor breeding choices and a lack of proper knowledge. Be vigilant and don't buy young horses with faults.

And as for this..........this was River trying to lick me and the camera! She showed up and stuck her head in while I was reading the newspaper. Slimings by cow tongue aren't exactly a fun experience.

Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth with that look! I've got a slice of heaven here at the farm, and I just love it.


Those quiet moments when you just need to forget your troubles - listen to your kids

Sometimes I just need to get away from my troubles. I've had a few worries of late, how to pay the bills, what my future holds workwise and how would I get through Christmas. Inaya though reminded me yesterday that we live in a special place. She suggested we went for a walk into the bush. It's been a while since I've really spend any time down there just walking through and looking around. With the crazy dog in tow, Inaya with her archery gear in hand we both decided to go and forget both of our worries and fears for a while.

I had almost forgotten how beautiful our farm really is. When you get so entangled up in your own troubles, get too busy and can't seem to find the time to even find a spare half hour just to go and walk, look and take in what nature can bring. So I stopped, and looked all around at the old totara trees, the ferns on the edge of the stream bank and listened to the sound of Tui and water. Maybe it was trying to tell me something. Telling me I needed to come again and just .......listen.

And the lesson I learned from our journey together into the bush last night? Sometimes our children can be far wiser than we give them credit for. Sometimes we need to stop and listen when it all gets too much.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami


Congratulations to my amazing three children

I'm one very very proud mum this year.  I have three daughters all wonderful young women who are coming very much into their own. My eldest daughter just finished her final exam and now has"Doctor" in front her name.She's just accepted a position down country and is really looking foward to her new career. After nine long years of study she deserves to have a holiday. And then my second daughter Inaya (photographed above) came home tonight with her St John Youth Cadet (Maungaturoto Division ) of the year award, and Gold Group Cadet of the year award. She also achieved a rank of Corporal and her First Responders Badge. My youngest daughter Michelle, is singing and taking an active part in our local community theatre group. She also created two backdrop sets for the theatre's 1001 Arabian Nights production. Awesome for a young woman who has autism as a daily challenge. Happy me!


Summer is here

It's nearly the end of the year, and summer has come. It's been hot, humid and I'm glad we're still getting rain. I went to Auckland Zoo again at the end of November to meet up with my friend Shar who is doing a thesis on human/elephant relationships. She was going to be filming that day, so before I went to meet up with her, I stopped to check out the new meerkat enclosure Auckland Zoo had recently completed. It was perfect to get a photo of one of the female meerkats on look out duty in the early morning summer sunshine. Right now I don't know if I'm coming or going right now. The girls don't finish school until next week, and yesterday I forgot all about picking them up! Ooops! I wasn't that late thank goodness! I'm glad I had my girls even if it was in my late 30s. They've been a real joy in my life, as well as a precious blessing. I found the Terrorist sleeping on the driveway this morning. Silly moo just doesn't get it that she's a cow not a person. But well even cows have intelligence. While I was doing some research recently I cam across a photo of a rather wrecked looking car from the 1920s, that had met with a rather unfortunate demise at the bottom of Piroa Falls which isn't far from where I live. I titled it "Push it over the gorge" The Great Maungaturoto Insurance Scandal of 1926. Have a read it's hilarious. You can read it here


The long and the short of it is.......

I got what I always wanted. I can wake up each morning, have breakfast and get a friendly greeting at the door. He got my toast,  I got my coffee and the company of an equine friend. Animals can do so much for healing a hurt, and helping us forget our troubles. And in turn we can help them get through their troubles. Most of the horses I have on the farm have had sad backgrounds. Ed too had a hard life before he came to me nearly ten years ago. His days are coming slowly to an end. Soon I'll have to make a decision about his future. Simply he is getting very old and with it health problems have come along. He won't be sent off to the hounds or off for pet food. I couldn't repay his years of companionship with a betrayal like that. So when that day comes for him to cross the rainbow bridge he will be buried here on the farm.

And on the other side of things we have Shadia, who not so long ago was an angry withdrawn shadow that avoided human contact and didn't take kindly to having anyone near. I took this today. As soon as she saw me she was heading straight for my location. Different little horse to the nasty dangerous angry filly that arrived not quite a year ago.

When I was 8 years old, my parents asked me what I wanted for christmas. I said I want a farm! I meant a real farm, and like any kid of that age was sorely disappointed when the farm I got was made of plastic. I played with it anyway, and said thank you to Santa for at least trying his best to make me into a farmer. Well I'm not a farmer as such, more a mad person who lives on a farm, be it all a small one, but I respect my neighbours who do have real farms and work very hard seven days a week. In short I love it here, and I love it when I get moments when I can just share a quiet moment with my horses, and know they are safe with me. Shadia will never leave here. I made a decision that she wouldn't ever be any good for rehoming. So we're stuck with each other for the next couple of decades at least. My girls love all the animals. My youngest daughter Michelle is away for a couple of days helping a friend to show their cattle at a show up North. Last show they went to, Michelle came home with a reserve champion ribbon, how;s that for a kid who started off as severely autistic, physically disabled and it seemed she would have a hard road to walk. She's done brilliantly. All my kids have. Proud mum I am. My eldest daughter achieved her PhD in Psychology a few weeks ago, Inaya too has done really well and Michelle is learning to sing opera. Enough of my rabbiting on. Maybe we should all be more concerned about Cows with guns and Chickens in Choppers. Enjoy the video it is hilarious!


Kids should just be kids I thumb my nose at the PC brigade

I'm tired of seeing more and more of these politically correct jerks in power telling us what to do with our kids. More so when it's getting to the point where kids can't even play in a tree without a stack of regulations being drafted to keep kids safe. How safe is too safe. When our kids can no longer explore a tree, play on a field, or sit in the mud and make mud pies just in case they get germs. When my girls were little, they ate dirt and sand, tried worms and slugs and the cat food. Why? Because they were being kids! What's really crazy is the latest piece of stupidity and that is to introduce A Sexuality/Health Curriculum for children of the tender age of just five years old. State schools have to implement the new curriculum which is as follows:

What Year 1 students will learn

• Working together as a class to create a safe classroom environment

• Discussing the meaning of respect and showing respect for others

• Describing themselves and their relationships with others, including similarities and differences

• Describing themselves in relation to their gender

• Exploring and sharing ideas about friends and classmates

• Using 'I' statements to express ideas and feelings

• Identifying body parts, including sexual parts

• Discussing changes to the body and ways to care for the body

Sourced: NZ Herald "School sex ed guidlines start at year one" (November 2,2013)

I;m not old fashioned and there are certain things children should know, however five year olds would have no comprehension of the politically correct terminology that is peppered through out the above. They are little kids! And little kids should be allowed to play, not end up being made to somehow fit in with some pc nutter's idea of how a young child should be educated. Parents should have the right to object and withdraw their child from such a curriculum. In short it's stupid, short sighted and an invasion of a parent's right to educate their child about the birds and the bees at the appropriate age. 5 years old is not in my honest opinion that appropriate age. All of this stuff is a hangover from the "I" stuff from the early 1980s. Self awareness courses, woman's rights movement (which I am not against) and other ideaologies. I thumb my nose at the policy makers who came up with that PC crap for little ones. LET KIDS BE KIDS!


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.


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. 


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.


Top Honours for Young Farmers

New Zealand Young Farmers members are making waves in the agricultural scene at home and abroad.
Former NZYF Chairman, Paul Olsen was recently awarded the prestigious agricultural Nuffield Scholarship for his research topic on potato (cropping) production.

The Nuffield Scholarship is awarded each year to just a few individuals who have been identified as future leaders who want to make a positive difference to their sector of the primary industry. Only 140 scholarships have been awarded over the past 60 years.

“It’s fair to say I was over the moon and slightly humbled given the calibre of the past Nuffield scholars but very much thrilled to be given the opportunity,” said Mr Olsen, a Manawatu potato grower.

The selection process involved a written application and two rounds of interviews. The award includes a cash payment of $40,000 and an opportunity for international travel attending a Contemporary Scholars Conference with all other Nuffield Scholars globally for that year and participating in a six-week Global Focus Programme with a group of ten people covering six to eight countries.

Mr Olsen will start his travels in March at the Contemporary Scholars Conference in Canberra, Australia.  Later in the year he will travel to the Philippines, China, Canada, United States, Netherlands, France and Ireland where he will look at everything to do with agriculture including their markets’ opportunities and constraints.

The award is an opportunity for not only personal and professional development, but also a great opportunity to contribute to the wider New Zealand primary sector. “I see some large benefits to maybe helping some younger growers and farmers through a possible mentoring role. I am very keen to help where possible as the industry has given me a lot of support and encouragement,” commented Mr Olsen. “It’s also about stepping outside of my comfort zone, experiencing different cultures and adversity first hand around the globe,” he continued.

Cam Lewis, current NZYF Vice-Chairman, has also been quietly achieving after being named the Rural Young Achiever for New Zealand.

Mr Lewis, a dairy farmer from Levin, will represent New Zealand while competing for the Australasian Rural Youth Ambassador title at the Royal A&P Show in Feilding, 6-8 December. The previous winner of the 2012 Australasian title was another Young Farmer, 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion Tim Van de Molen.

The competition will include a panel interview and each contestant must present a speech on a topic given to them that day. Judges will be looking for a solid understanding of the industry, community involvement and general knowledge. Mr Lewis is up against the top six Australian state finalists.

Mr Lewis commented that he is very excited about the opportunity, “It’s the type of competition that suites my strengths and is more geared for people behind the scenes in agriculture,” said Mr Lewis.

Both of these achievements by Mr Olsen and Mr Lewis are outstanding examples of the up and coming talent in the primary industry and an opportunity to showcase New Zealand agriculture to the world.


Federated Farmers Update "Lets support our Filipino migrants

Let’s support our Filipino migrants  

To all members 
Federated Farmers asks the farming community of New Zealand to put their hand in their pocket to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. This typhoon has devastated the Philippines and they need the international community to back them just as they backed us during the Canterbury earthquakes.
Many in our farming community have close links with the Philippines, with their migrant Filipino workers playing a big role in the success of their farming business.  Many also helped out during our own disaster when earthquakes played havoc in Canterbury.
We recommend that you help by donating money to the New Zealand Red Cross.  This organisation will see that the money gets to where it is most needed.
For more information, please contact the Red Cross on 0800 733 27677.


A good keen dog

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ” 
― Roger A. Caras


Just a boat (but it makes a good photo)

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”
― Rachel Carson

Nothing beats a solitary walk on the beach, the sound of the water and the smell of the sea - enjoy.


You've gotta have a tractor!

I love old tractors. They remind me of when I was growing up next door to a dairy farm. And I spotted a couple of old timers being used in the 150th Maungaturoto Through the Ages Parade last Saturday. There's this one and then there was ......
 This beautifully restored and working Massey Ferguson tractor and it goes as well. Okay some would ask why the heck would you want to blog about some old tractors for? Because they helped to shape agriculture towards the way we know it now. And just for good measure every rural community has to include in a parade.......

A darned good tractor! And it's got a trailer on it for good measure. Yes I like tractors because our farmers couldn't do without them.


Peace, Love and a Mad Bush Farmer

The Mad Bush farmer is having a really bad day. It seems the management (cough) invited some Flower Power people over. As usual all the Mad Bush Farmer could do was have a lousy bad attitude gleam, say BAH!!! and stick signs out all over the place telling everyone to keep out. Cartoons aside.......

This is created by me for our wonderful Christian school my two girls attend. And thanks to some wonderful kind friends the impossible became possible. That's the thing about a rural community, there's always a kind caring heart out there to lend a hand. We had our town's 150th anniversary celebrations over the weekend, and what else would a town have but a parade. We got allocated the 1970s for our decade so we came up with the Flower Power generation. I double checked my history of course to make certain we had it right. So with a lot of prayer, support and my sanity saved by Marg and Deane we had the hippies invade Maungaturoto. And......

look at all those hippies!!! All friends, their kids and my kids who showed up early on Saturday morning and we got the float put together in record time. We all did so well we were finished an hour early!!! Aren't they GROOVY???

Uncle Len drove the truck which was loaned to us by Betty and her husband who own the Paparoa Motor Camp. So nice of them. Len made some frames up for the boards on the side of the truck. We had Marg, Vanessa, Leah, Alan and all of our kids helping blow up balloons, tie string and arrange the flowers. And I had stolen Amy's daughter Renee to help out and also be a hippie on the float.

I had free handed all of the lettering. My daugher Michelle added her own creative additions onto this side after she insisted that she should help. It's definitely groovy!!!! 

The Mad Bush Farmer will just have to put up with the hippies for a while. Heck they might even convince said old grump with the bad attitude gleam and the sticking out hair to maybe, just maybe try some of those mung beans. Peace, love and mung beans baby!


Junk Science & Autism why I could kick the MMR blamers in the rear

Meet my family way back in 1972, at least this is my parents, my four sisters and my brother pictured with the little girl in the sailor dress. The little girl in the sailor dress is the odd one out. That little girl is me at aged 7 years old. And I never was quite like my siblings. A bit of an odd little girl who had an obsession with farms, horses and wanting to anywhere but living in the suburbs. In her thirties the little girl in the sailor dress was diagnosed with ASD. So were two of her nephews, then her youngest child. Later on we all thought on things and realised how just that slightly unconventional our wonderful dad was. He was a clever man. Very successful in business, and yet he had never had a full education at high school. He liked everything in rows at his work shop, and guess what his second to youngest daughter had the habit of planting trees in straight rows. We found out later on that dad';s birth mother was considered a very odd person, and her mother had been slightly ever so strange too. My newly found cousins also revealed that they had traits of ASD through their side of the family.. What am I saying here? Just two plain words Genetic Inheritance.

 And just the other day a friend of mine posted up an article about how the MMR vaccine supposedly causes autism. A line like this........

"Concerned parents everywhere were right all along: MMR vaccine can cause autism"
......would have any parent of a child diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder concerned, upset, worried and probably deciding it may not be a good idea to have their child vaccinated just in case it makes things worse. But, if you read the article the above line comes from, and look a little further into the court document issue..surprise surprise. The court cases are 'unreported and can't be accessed' Which rings alarm bells in my personal, perhaps somewhat rather cynical view. Why? Perhaps because I have ASD, I live with it every day, so does my youngest daughter. More than likely one of my grandchildren will have ASD.. And this quotation from Dr Wakefield the man who has pushed for the junk science theory that the MMR is responsible for the cause of Autism.

 "There can be very little doubt that vaccines can and do cause autism," Dr. Wakefield recently stated from his home in Austin, Texas. "In these children, the evidence for an adverse reaction involving brain injury following the MMR that progresses to an autism diagnosis is compelling. It's now a question of the body count. The parents' story was right all along. Governments must stop playing with words while children continue to be damaged. My hope is that recognition of the intestinal disease in these children will lead to the relief of their suffering. This is long, long overdue."

In a world full of people with ASD, quite seriously this has to be questioned, and questioned constantly. Adverse reactions do occur to vaccines from time to time, but in very rare instances. So if we all have the MMR vaccine that means we're ALL Autistic??? Sciblog author Orac in his post David Kirby’s back, and this time his anti-vaccine fear mongering induces…ennui had this to say about Dr Wakefield's credibilily and those involved with the anti-vaccine campaign

It’s exactly the same sort of issue again, and Kirby echoes a mailing I got from the Autism Action Network (another antivaccine quackery group), complete with a link to the order on one of the children, Ryan Mojabi. Of coure, the AAN can’t resist throwing this gem in:
And remember Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license for suggesting that there may be a connection between autism, the MMR and bowel disease, and that further study was warranted (but people should continue to immunize.)
Uh, no. He lost his medical license for conflicts of interest, research misconduct, and unethical behavior, not because he suggested a connection between autism, MMR, and bowel disease. Nice try, though, and Wakefield was wrong about his purported “connection” between MMR and autism. Even Bob “I’m not anti-vaccine, no, really” Sears is in on the action, sarcastically saying on his Facebook page, “Vaccines don’t cause autism . . . except when they do.”

I'm not a scientist doing genetic inheritance studies, but I do know my own family, and how the genetic traits of ASD have been carried through each successive generation. So far with my great nieces and nephews, who have yet to grow and have children of their own, their development has been absolutely normal. No strange little people have popped up yet. And even if we do end up with another child of our extended family diagnosed with ASD, they will be loved and encouraged. I'll just say to anyone who is a parent of a child with ASD who sees those sorts of articles about MMR causing autism, question it, go on the actual documentation and not just some report shoved on the internet. Where is the evidence I ask? Until then all you "MMR Vaccine causes autism" please don't tell me my mother who cared enough to have me vaccinated helped to cause my ASD. And don't cause panic to parents new to ASD because you say it's so.

Signed Annoyed ASD Parent mother of three, with one child diagnosed with Autism to go.


The Acts of my kind hearted kids

Back in February, we were in the middle of an extremely bad drought. One of the worst for 70 years, the dry days ground on, and the stream running through the centre of our farm dried up. Here and there were small pockets of water gradually vanishing as the weeks without rain dragged on.Even our dam down the back of the farm had completely dried up. One morning, my youngest Michelle vanished off for a few hours. She told me she was going down to the stream to check the water level. I hadn't noticed, she had also taken a bucket and a couple of old soft drink bottles with her. As lunch time drew near I called her up.

Up Michelle came with a bucket loaded with freshwater native Crayfish and a dozen or so native fish along with them. She said something about fish, but I thought initially they were eels.

It turned out that indeed they were native fish! And a land-locked population at that. This fish in the photo is known as a Banded Kokopu. We also indentifed a second species of fish called Inanga. Then Michelle mentioned there were yet more to be rescued from a rapidly evaporating pool of water.

 So Inaya joined in as well rescuing what many would see as just whitebait to stick in their fritters for breakfast. Actually, the presence of native fish and crayfish in the stream gives a good indicator on the state of the water quality. There were my kind hearted kids doing what they thought was right to help the fish and crayfish survive.

With all the fish and crays that could be found rescued, the kids released them into a deep part of the stream which still had plenty of water in it. Michelle would go down on a daily basis to monitor the water levels. We hope they did survive what was a tough dry summer for us all. I was glad when the first drops of rain fell. And yes while the great rescue operation was taking place, the Terrorist naturally had to supervise. One thing as a parent I do know. I've taught my kids to care, and that has made me smile - a lot.

Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.
Margaret Mead