Friday, July 2, 2010


Dark day at Moeraki Beach, South Island, May 2007

Warm Sunny Day at Pagosa Springs, April 12th, 2005

Snow Flakes necessitate a Quick Getaway, about March 20th, 2006

The Strawhouse on Highway 299 at Junction City about 67 miles from Redding Ca.

This statement was made by one of our senior weather reporters during a recent program containing snippets of news celebrating 50 years of TV. It's true, but are we more concerned than people in other countries?

As I read travel Blogs written by North Americans living in Recreational Vehicles, (RVers), I am impressed by the general concern about weather conditions. When it's hot most Rvers find a way to either go to the North West or to higher altitude. When it's cold they become Snowbirds, driving their motorhomes from icy northern climes to places like Quartzite in Arizona, along the Mexican Gulf shores, Southern California, Florida and Mexico. They avoid driving in strong winds and when it's stormy they either stay put or escape ahead of the storm and many of them recommend their radio controlled Bad Weather Warning Alarm as a serious safety measure.

The news is full of alarm about the danger of storms in the Mexican Gulf because bad weather will bring serious consequences in regard to the major oil leak caused by an explosion that killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform on April 20th this year. BP are in the firing line but nature can also be destructive. Our weather is important, and knowing in advance can be useful. Who knows that better than the people of New Orleans.

Daily there are stories of serious weather damage coming from all around the world. Flooding here, tornadoes there, lack of rain somewhere. Lives and/or livelihoods are threatened. Weather is one thing we cannot control and never ceases to fascinate us. I recently read in the N.Z. Herald about storm chasers in N.America who have become so numerous they are causing dangerous congestion.

As far as we in New Zealand are concerned our livelihood depends on a good knowledge of the weather. Growing up on a farm meant the weather ruled our life. The weather report was delivered into our home by radio several times a day. The day's farm chores were scheduled according to the weather. For many years we lived on a flood prone farm. Any rain brought a sleepless night and sometimes moving flocks of sheep and herds of cattle in the early morning hours. I remember looking down from the small hill our house stood on to see a grid pattern of black dots where the tops of fence posts showed above water. We dress ourselves for work and our children for school according to the weather forecast. We continue to plan our day according to the weather forcast.

Recently we had heavy rain on the Coromandel Peninsula. This is not uncommon and being forewarned is useful and sometimes necessary. Imagine if you have an important appointment or a plane to catch and cannot leave your home because the roads are blocked in every direction. We live in a tiny coastal village which is easily cut off from the rest of the world. We have narrow winding roads over rugged hills in either direction. There are landslides, big and small, with every downpour. There are several places going north and south where the road floods following heavy rain in the hills. We've been prevented from reaching our place of work. We have known of doctors, surgeons and dentists on holiday who have needed to reschedule their city commitments. We have heard of students in a panic because they cannot reach their Universities for finals.

I guess because New Zealand is two long skinny islands, we are more vulnerable to changing weather than most. Of course we are obsessed with weather but it's essential to living well.

I'm glad we don't have a Weather Channel though. When in USA we had to limit our viewing or we'd have become completely paranoid. As it turned out the only really bad weather we experienced, a short storm with huge hail stones in Florida and wind in Kansas, would not have caught our attention among all the reports. The only time we modified our plans was to avoid stormy weather on the way from Mobile to Indianapolis. We soon understood that drama is the food of television and there is more to weather watching than TV.

Obsession or wisdom? The interest in weather is universal.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


A Motorized Paraglider over our house. What fun sailing through the clear blue sky

New Zealand has introduced another tax. It's called the Emissions Trading Scheme and is all about carbon credits and looking good to the rest of the world. Laughing stock is what I call it.

Global warming is a buzz word to scare us into thinking the world is going to drown, explode or disintegrate or we are all going to go the way of dinosaurs in the near future. Ozone depletion, flatulence from grass fed cows and a love affair of oil fuels are too blame. I'm sorry but that makes me want to laugh, or cry. I cannot believe that these things are as serious as some scientists would have us believe.

Global warming is part of a cyclical pattern. It might be aggravated by modern lifestyles and that makes an interesting theory and gives opportunity for doomsayers to jump on their band wagons. It's so fashionable to be a 'Greenie' these days you have to listen carefully to hear the voice of reason.

If our Government was really serious about the danger of energy from oil causing pollution we would be encouraged to use alternative energy. One of our sons has been working toward erecting a windmill to produce electricity on his farmlet for more than 12 months. Resource Consent requirements changed everytime the supplier came close to completing the red-tape issues. Now he is faced with an impossible situation. His property has been deemed to be urban. He lives 45 minutes outside the city limits, surrounded for miles around by farms on three sides and sea on the fourth side. For goodness sake! Where is the commonsense. Wouldn't it be great if the tax money was used to help design a wind turbine or inexpensive solar system that was suitable for use by every household, urban and rural. The 'alternative energy' installation could even be subsidised by the carbon tax. There's a thought.

Who decided that farting animals, the most natural thing in the world, is dangerous? I feel so frustrating by all the silliness there are times I cannot bear to follow the daily news.

We are stuck with this tax for all of time. Have you ever heard of a Government repealing a tax law. Well yes, ... window taxes were repealed by the British Government at some point in time. Hopefully the day will come when enough people see sense again and repeal this stupid tax and pigs will fly.

This week we will see petrol and diesel prices increase and that means every other item because electricity and the transport industry are not going to carry the cost on their own. Farmers will be stuck with the short straw once more. And people like ourselves, on fixed incomes, will have to delete something else from our budgets to survive.

Can you tell I'm angry.

I do appreciate the environmentally aware. I think we should all be aware, protective and willing to enhance our environment but I am so tired of idealists who don't consider people as important. We are the most important beings on this planet. We are here for a purpose and that is to care for one another and the planet to the best of our ability. That means creating a sustainable lifestyle, not crippling people, and not making it increasingly difficult for people to survive.

I come from a farming background. There is no-one more practical and aware of the environment than a good farmer or rancher. No-one understands the value of natural processes and caring for our environment more but we are now turning our lives over to scientists who live in Ivory Towers. There's a lot more to life than a spreadsheet and statistics.

I must be growing old .... but I am heartily sick and tired of lobbyists who aggressively promote their their own brand of wackiness.

I'm thankful for this place to express some of my views.