REPOST – An ode to Antony.

It is election time again, and I rediscovered this post I wrote a while back. The blog now has the ability for people to leave comments, and Antony is doing a weekly campaign diary which is just as fascinating as his election night coverage.

Antony Green

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more brainy and more accurate:
Rough winds do shake the country,
And election night hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the studio light shines,
And often is his laptop power dimm’d;

Dinner is ready to go in the oven.
The cheesecake is in the fridge.
I await my evening of Antony.

Once every four years is not enough.
Who knows what the night will bring?

Whatever it is, Antony will
keep me informed
with his laptop and his pie charts and his
analyst ways.

And then, almost like a dream
he will be gone *sob*
and the election will
be over.

Then the waiting will begin again
another four years
or two or thereabouts, if you are lucky
and he covers your state election.

But wait! What light through yonder Internet breaks?
He has a blog..
Alas I cannot comment
and tell him how much I respect him. :(

Perhaps he will search
for his name
and find this post
one day.

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Elections

We have a date, at last. September 7.

If you have never worked at an election, you should put your name up for consideration. The AEC will be assembling one of the largest casual work forces in Australia over the next month or so.

I have to tell you it is one of the most fascinating jobs I have ever had, and the money isn’t too bad either.

Anyone interested in applying for an election job – click here. :)

And anyone voting, if you are going to draw male private parts on your ballot rather than actually vote, if you want to impress us vote counters, USE THE WHOLE CANVAS. You have a piece of paper which is about a metre long. Do not draw the size of your own manhood, or the size of manhoods with which you are familiar. Your artwork tells us a fascinating story.

Last election I worked which was a state one, there was one industrious individual who drew a little tiny penis in every single box you were supposed to number. From memory that was something like 86 boxes. Sadly the only people who saw it was our little counting team. It is my feeling these should end up in an art gallery somewhere.

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Officially Un-favourited.

I wrote this comment on Dancing with Frogs just over a month ago now. I have an update, and some photos. :)

My favourite (Red Comb) was attacked by a hawk this morning. She is sort of ok. We have not been able to find any injuries. She did have some blood on her beak but my thought now is that blood belongs to the hawk and that is why she is still with us now. She is no shrinking violet and I am sure she gave that hawk one heck of a pecking.. and was thus unceremoniously dumped as too much trouble.

I don’t think this can have happened too far from the ground because she was still in the chook pen.

She was unsteady on her feet, but I think maybe that is shock, and also that she was probably dropped though none of us saw the attack, we did see the hawk sitting in a tree nearby right after. Nothing is broken, though I suspect she might have bruising we can’t see. She is still alert and still her regular loopy self personality wise.

She stayed in the nesting boxes all day with all the other girls comforting her, except for one girl on the lookout in the run, anytime a bird flew by there was much bagerk-ing and posturing from the lookout. They took it in turns – one keeps the watch, the others comfort – until it was roost time. As soon as it got dark and the other girls put themselves to bed, we took her inside because it was going to be a cold one tonight.

Right now she is safe in a box, all toasty warm (but not too warm) by the gas heater. I am resisting with all my might the constant urge to check on her. She needs her sleep. I must not touch that box until 5:30am at the earliest.

If she survives the night, before the other chooks wake up in the morning, I will install her back in the nesting boxes in a warm box she can get in and out of with food and water nearby so that she will not lose her place in the flock. My hope is that she’ll have had enough time and rest to be back to normal – if not, we will keep up the night time warm inside sleepovers until she is.

It does not matter what it is, if anything happens to the chooks it is always her it happens to and I think this is because she is my favourite. I have now officially un-favourited her, and I am going to have no favourites now. I must like them all equally. It isn’t fair to the favourite!

We will now be installing bird netting over their area, to keep them safer from flying predators. Though it is entirely possible that hawk will not return – too much trouble for no reward. If the hawk had picked one of the other girls the hawk might have had better success.

It might be time to re-visit the design of the chook pen, too.. I really want to just suck it up and bite the bullet and make them a huge totally enclosed area like the one on henblog..

So.. what happened next?

Red comb did survive the night. At 6:05am I opened the box, which had been in front of the new gas heater overnight. I tell you, this was the warmest chicken I have ever held. And she was so happy to see me, and I was so happy to see her. It was raining outside so I wrapped her up in a towel so she wouldn’t get wet, and took her back out, putting her in a safe box in the nesting area.

I knew she was not out of the woods yet, that there might be internal injuries we could not see. The other half – who grew up in the country – had checked her over very carefully and could not see anything wrong. I crossed my fingers and went to bed about 6:30am (night shift) and when I got up that night she was still fine. Each day that went by and she was still here, I got more hopeful.

She did have a limp for a while and it took her a while to get back up on the roost but otherwise seemed fine.

She has made herself a new chicken friend by the name of Rosie and all appearances suggest she has been lowered on the pecking order. She used to be second chook, right after White Sussex. Now, it is White Sussex, the other two game hens, Ancona, Red Comb, and then Rose Comb (Rosie).

Now Red Comb and Rosie are inseparable. Where one goes, the other must follow. Rosie is the black chicken below next to Red Comb, eating a corn treat.

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I think the reason for the demotion was that Red Comb had a limp for a while, was not on the roost at night, and was not her usual speedy self.

The chooks were locked in their run/coop for a good couple of weeks. They were not a great fan of this, being it is winter and they like to be out scratching up a storm of bugs and worms in the softer ground. On Sundays they would get let out early when the other half got home at 4 and he would be out there with them for a couple of hours so they could free range a little under his watchful eyes. Many healthy treats were given in the coop/run to keep them from being bored.

Then a couple of weeks ago, we re-did the outdoor pen. It now looks like this -

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You can see the height of the pen has now been doubled to walk in height. It used to look like this – this photo was taken just after we put in a fresh sand floor back in the summer -

Chicken wire now covers the top of the enclosure. It took a good couple of days for the other half to sew it all together with binding wire.

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We put in a beam at the back to support the wire some.

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After this photo below was taken, I got out the pitchfork and made some holes in the dirt, for the girls digging pleasure. They had a blast.

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I don’t know. I think if a predator is determined to get my girls, no amount of chicken wire or protective measures is going to be enough to save them. I think this is a reasonable compromise for the time being. In the summer, it might be rethink time. I want to build me a chicken batcave safe enough no fox or quoll or other unfriendly predator can get through. For now, I think this will prevent further hawk attacks during the day while they free range, at least.

The other great thing about this is pigeons can no longer get in and steal the food. I like the pigeons, don’t get me wrong, and I mean to set up a proper bird feeder for them. I just am not a huge fan of the lice and mites they can sometimes carry with them. Our girls have been lice and mite free for a fair while now, though.

I’ve been on the overnight shift for a month or two now, as in starting work at 10pm or midnight – I have been meaning to post this for ages but events conspired against me.

I am not sure yet if Red Comb knows she has been un-favourited. She doesn’t get treated any differently, it is just in my mind I am not allowed to call her my favourite anymore.

As I type this, White Sussex has begun her ba-gerking. There are a tonne of cockatoos and galahs flying about overhead. She will ba-gerk for that or anytime one of the other girls lays an egg.

Speaking of eggs, these crafty girls were hiding theirs somewhere. Now that they are in this enclosure, hiding is no longer an option. I also suspect our resident blue tongue lizard was eating some of the hidden eggs! But maybe one day when spring rolls around and I get back to the garden, I’ll pull out something which has gone rogue over the winter in the garden only to find a huge clump of eggs hidden there.

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Who Is It?

The Year Of Me is more difficult for the people around me than it is for me.

Sometimes people will want you to change. They will tell you how they want you to be. They will call it growing up or making progress or something like that. They will use words like “Assertive” “Honest” “Open” in combination with “be more”.

When you do what they want, they quickly discover that what they actually wanted was for you to stay the same. And then they get all bent out of shape because you did what they asked you to do and became who they said they wanted you to be!

So, what does Me do when that happens? Does Me turn back the clock and go back to who Me was before, or does Me say to that person.. get used to this Me, forget the old Me.

I’m not going back. No way. No how. I’m feeling comfortable in this new skin. This is who I am now.

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Sydney Trip Report

Very interesting outcome of the Sydney Trip.

Darling Harbour right before heading to Sydney Aquarium at 6pm.

I was not as bad as I expected I would be. I had one gelato a day and I gravitated towards the more savory flavours in any case – salted caramel, salted coconut and mango. Even so I consumed more sugar than I had in a while.

It took 2 days before I felt hungry as a surprise. The amount of calories expended in those 2 days I could not even tell you. It was constant walking from the time we arrived in Sydney.

The gorgeous fish scale style ceramic wall at Sydney Aquarium

The first day we visited Chinatown and n2 extreme gelato, Paddys Markets, Sydney Aquarium, Pancakes On The Rocks for dinner, then off to Star City Casino for a look around there.

And what a look it was – they had mirrored crystal seating booths. I can’t even. The beauty of these cannot be shown in a photograph, I am sorry, you will just have to go and see it for yourself. :)

The second day was probably the most draining exercise wise as we prowled the shopping district during the day, walked from Westfield Sydney to Grilld at World Square for lunch (we shared a burger and fries as neither of us felt very hungry, it was such a hot day) then back to Paddys Markets, we walked around Darling Harbour multiple times, we liked Grilld so much for lunch we went to Grilld Harbourside for dinner, then to Star Casino for dessert at Gelato Messina.

Sydney City as seen from Darling Harbour.

The Sydney shopping district makes zero sense to me. I grew up in Adelaide where everything is laid out all neat like. Sydney is a mess of secret malls, overhead walkways that link shopping centres which come to you as a surprise, and underground corridors full of shops. It has a very short mall compared to Rundle Mall in Adelaide and the rest of the main shopping strip cars and pedestrians fight for space especially on a busy day.

Even the newest shopping centre – Westfield Sydney – has a dizzying layout which makes it impossible to see every shop without backtracking and walking in circles..

The third day we chilled out, had a lovely Paleo friendly breakfast at Darling Harbour, then I went wandering on my own via the monorail back to Westfield Sydney and the CBD while The Other Half met his friend for lunch. Then to Costco, then home via a Sushi Train.

I’m going to write up some reviews this week – including the longest photo review known to man thus far – and I also want to do some linking to Sydney food sites I read which inspired me to visit the places we visited.

So what did I learn?

For me, sugar, carbs like potatoes and rice, and grains, make me hungry. They also make me crash big time – on the third day I had a major blood sugar spike when I had a Starbucks coffee in the morning without any sugar added but it was a flavoured one and plenty sweet by itself. I then experienced a crash, a low blood sugar thing.

It was interesting to recognise that for what it was and see the symptoms it caused, and to look back and see where that has happened to me in the past and I have put it down to other things.

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Update On Everything.

PALEO – EATING

Things have been going well. I have been eating paleo for 23 days now. This will end tomorrow. It simply will not be practical to eat that way while in Sydney. I will not have a lot of control over the amount of sugar in things or the ingredients. And I have been reading about these gelato places for *months* and longing to try them.

This is going to be a very interesting thing, to see how my body handles sugar now. I wonder if I will get an appetite back. I still do not have one.

My intentions are to go back to Paleo when I return home, and start over again.

MEATINESS

I recently mentioned in my food exhaustion post about the huge amounts of meat involved with Paleo. On second thoughts, it is not truly that meaty. I think the reason it seemed like a lot more meat for me is because I did not eat very much of it beforehand. If I did eat meat, 9 times out of 10 it would be chicken.

I certainly didn’t eat things like pork or beef much previous to going Paleo – unless out somewhere and it was served to me as a surprise. An occasional pork roast, tacos with beef, a hamburger or a spaghetti bolognaise were the extent of my experience with those foods. I’m so excited about pork, I am a huge fan of it now. Beef I can take or leave.

I have been cooking meat in bulk which is not something I ever did before, so it seems like a lot more meat in the diet when you put in a 1.5kg (3 pound) pork roast, a 1.5kg beef roast or 4-6 chicken breasts into the pressure cooker. But most of the meals I cook in there I get 8+ meals out of and some of them end up frozen for eating later.

SUGAR OUTAGE

I think the most important thing for me has been cutting out the sugar. I think has changed everything.

I have always been someone who chooses full fat over fat free because I find what they replace the fat with is generally sugar and I have always believed fat is preferable to sugar because our bodies know what to do with it.

But if someone new to paleo was used to eating the low fat stuff, and they had a mindset that fat is bad, it would be a big change in their mindset. Plus, they would be used to getting those sugar highs from the “fat free” sugary food they were eating.

I was going to update you on my teevee watching but I have run out of time and could not get the images to cooperate, so that will come to you as a surprise later. ;)

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Sydney Trip

Tomorrow we head up to Sydney for a couple of nights away.

Imma gonna be trying some stuff I have been reading about for.. well.. a long time. Many of these things happen to be Gelato. Also there will be Zumbarons.

So I guess this means I will be consuming some sugar for the first time in a while. It will be interesting to see how this makes my body feel.

I will of course, update you urgently. So be prepared, there may be a few quick photo type posts.

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Food Exhaustion

Gina from Running To The Kitchen said something the other day that truly resonates with me right now.

I think I’d like this whole strict paleo thing a lot more if someone could just prep all my meals for me. I feel like I’m constantly in the kitchen, constantly defrosting meat and going through protein at an alarming rate.

I am just exhausted by the constant food preparation and the huge amounts of meat.. I am also exhausted by trying to have to *decide* what to cook.

Part of this is because of the Lite N Easy – each day had a menu right down to the snacks so for two and a half months I did not have to make any food decisions.

Sometimes I like being told what to do. When it comes to food I love that because given the option between making a good choice which is difficult to cook, or making a bad choice that I can nuke in the microwave, I will choose the latter every time.

If given the choice between an apple which you have to cut up, and a packet of chips which you merely have to open and eat, I used to choose the latter.

Now I see how completely ridiculous making that bad choice that is. Cutting up an apple takes moments, and a decent knife.

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Update On The Lack Of Sugar.

Wow.

So I wrote a few days ago that everything seemed ok. And it did. But then, the dark days reared their head.

First of all, zero appetite.

None. Nada.

You could pile up a huge feast of the most awesome foods in the world in front of me, and I’d turn up my nose at it. Smell does nothing to change it. I’m eating because I have to, not because I want to. I’m forcing it every 2 hours.

This could turn into a pretty big issue – I’m finding it hard to get enough calories to begin with. If I forget – if I get caught up in something interesting or lose track of time, there is no ding ding HELLO time to eat signal from my body.

Second of all – my internals.

I don’t know why but over the past two days there has been an intense intestinal reaction to this new diet. I won’t go into details – TMI! But I did want to share it because from my googling on the webs, this is not an uncommon thing when switching to paleo. You change what goes in, you change what comes out.

A big part of me thinks that this is toxins leaving the body.

Another part of me wonders if this is a reaction to some of the spices I have used – eg chili which I do tend to react badly to – and the fact that I am using a lot more spices now.

Another part of me kinda suspects this might be because I had a massive pig out on pork crackling about 24 hours before this happened. I don’t usually consume that much fat in one sitting but wow, it was awesome. That was the first time I ever made my own pork crackling.

Actual Results

One week of zero sugar = 4kg lost.

When I say zero sugar, I mean absolutely no added sugar with two exceptions, which is one teaspoon of coconut sugar per day in my coffee, and the coconut sugar used in the chocolate recipe.

What Next?

This looks like something that might work for me. I’m not sure how long term this could be. By the end of January I am going to make a decision on whether or not to try the whole 30 in February.

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Making Chocolate From Scratch!

This is incredibly simple and once you try this you will likely not want “regular” chocolate again. The recipe I used can be found here

Chocolate (Homemade)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoons sweetener of your choice (I used 3tsp Coconut Sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
(I added cinnamon)

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I made one small change to the method – I added all the dry ingredients into a mug plus the vanilla extract and added hot water to dissolve them. This was mainly because of the coconut sugar which is quite granular when dry. On this plate the coconut sugar is directly next to the vanilla essence in the teaspoon measurer.

Then – Place all of your ingredients in a bowl with the coconut oil and whisk well until combined.

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It’ll look weird because the chocolate separates from the coconut oil until you whisk it enough.

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You’ll know it is ready when you can’t see any coconut oil and it is all amalgamated into an awesome liquid.

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It is magic whisk time, peoples!

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I ladled them into small plastic containers so I can have some chocolate snacks to take to work. Then put them in the fridge – or freezer if you want to eat it soonish. Once the coconut oil hardens, it is ready to eat.

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The levels of awesomeness cannot be described. :)

UPDATE –

I tried a new recipe for chocolate which I found here – Good Girl Gone Green – this recipe turned out great and will be the one I am using in the future.

Chocolate
1 cup of coconut oil, melted
1 cup of cacao powder
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 Tbsp of vanilla flavor

It works out a lot more solid than the previous recipe.

Here is a link to some other chocolate recipes which might be worth trying. 8 Vegan Chocolate Recipes.

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