Our Patch

Toe toe the line on pampas

Sep 1st, 2019 | By

Here in our fertile lush region everything grows like a weed, including the weeds.

As you would expect in a warm temperate part of the world, we have a huge variety of pest plants.

There are the classic creepers and stranglers like jasmine, honeysuckle and convolvulus that choke the plants that we’re trying to grow, and the dreaded privet trees with their ghastly flowers making us ill.



A climate for change

Aug 22nd, 2019 | By

The people have spoken. A June Ipsos poll found that climate change was an issue of personal importance to 79 per cent of Kiwis (up from 72 per cent a year ago).

Fully 69 per cent of us have become more concerned over the past few years (up from 60 per cent).

More than two-thirds of Kiwis are prepared to act to reduce climate change impacts. Yet, surprisingly, only about half know what steps they should take. Here are a few suggestions.



Pitfalls in online ads

Aug 21st, 2019 | By

One of the problems of the internet is how difficult it is to advertise online.

So much of the web is funded by advertising that it’s hard to get away from it – unless you install an ad-blocker. So you might think, well, I’ll take advantage of that in my business, but unfortunately it’s not overly simple.

Unlike a regular newspaper or billboard, where you put the ad up and then you’re done, online advertising is much more complicated.



Choosing a garden winner

Jul 22nd, 2019 | By

Choosing the right plants for your gully or garden is a challenge.

Not only are we spoiled for choice with thousands of species to choose from but it’s not unknown for a plant to thrive in one corner of your garden and sulk in another.

Even expert gardeners often rely on trial and error for best results.



The word on email programs

Jul 18th, 2019 | By

What constitutes a good email program?

Well, partially that it’s not made by Microsoft, for starters. I know a lot of people use Outlook, and I’m not against it, necessarily, but there are so many problems associated with that program I’d need an entire chapter of a book just to explain them.



Children have fun playing sports and don’t need to satisfy adults’ ambitions

Jul 10th, 2019 | By

Playing sports has clear social, physical and mental health benefits for children. But evidence shows that youth sports in Western societies have become increasingly controlled and regulated by adults, which takes the fun out for many children.

Participation rates by adolescents have been declining and recent statistics released by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) show a 60% surge in sports injuries for children in the 10 to 14 age group over the past decade in New Zealand.



Warmer home grants open

Jul 10th, 2019 | By

The Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes Programme is now offering grants for insulation and heaters to low income, owner-occupied homes.

The grants cover two‐thirds of the cost of installing insulation. Grants for approved heaters (efficient heat pumps, wood burners and pellet burners) are capped at a maximum of $2500.

To be eligible for a grant:



Ode to country living

Jul 4th, 2019 | By

“Ninety percent of people who shift to a lifestyle block do it because they don’t want any neighbours.”

Such was the frank observation of a real estate agent in the audience of a Fieldays presentation looking at the loss of productive land to small rural blocks.

His comment struck a chord with me. After close encounters in the city, my wife, Sandy, and I longed for more space and bit of peace and quiet.



Psst! Wanta buy a Mac

Jun 18th, 2019 | By

Recently Apple made a bit of stir by releasing a $US5000 computer screen, then charging an extra $US1000 for the stand that the monitor required to stay upright.

The cynic in me thinks this is probably just a marketing stunt – they wanted to charge $6000, but knew they’d get more publicity if they got everybody riled up about how ridiculous this is, and keep themselves in the headlines for a lot longer than if they’d just, you know, sold the thing.



Food, farms a-changing

Jun 16th, 2019 | By

A dairy farmer friend said to me: “Just go to a café, look at the menu and what people are eating, and you know things are changing.”

That was years ago. Change continues, and the pace of change is accelerating.

The Craft Meat Co of Dunedin, for example, has “100% plant-based” No-Meat Mince. Sunfed Meats offers Chicken Free Chicken Wild Meaty Chunks made from premium yellow pea protein.