Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Thrush & A Tui

I was wrong. The thrush appears to be nesting in the camellia shrub outside my study window after all. This morning it had just hopped up when a tui appeared and settled on the bush seeking nectar from the flowers. I wondered the smaller bird thought about this large intruder. Thought? How much would be thought and how much instinct? I did appreciate the close-up presence of the tui, what splendid colouring.

On the boyhood farm we used to find the odd thrush nest, mud, moss and grass with colourful blue eggs speckled with brown. Apparently the female builds the nest and incubates the eggs herself but when they hatch both parents share the feeding of the fledglings.

I’ve finished reading the life of Talleyrand. The creation of the state of Belgium was probably his most far-reaching action. He was a great survivor but I find it hard to accept Lawday’s lionising of him.

Today’s news has a sad and frightening item. On a farm owned by New Zealand’s largest dairy company calves had to be put down. The staff did not know how to make them drink. It’s a commentary on how farming has changed. It is trending to absentee landlords – often overseas – and hired hands. These hired hands obviously had no idea of what the job entailed and no training in the required skills.

In the farming of my youth skills were handed down from generation to generation. Farmers on the whole were their own boss, they had to learn the hard way and if calves starved to death because they had not been taught to drink the farmer would not survive because he was not earning an income. Sharemilkers aspired to own their own farms. They learnt the tricks of the trade. Pronto!

I see the Greens are polling below the 5% threshold. They, I’m sure, will regret the decision not to make Sue Bradford a co-leader. She provided a link to the social activists and necessary allies to the environment movement.

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