Zimbabwean lowveld

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Zimbabwean lowveld

This '73 Land Rover has got through some serious work. Spending time with Eliot as he drops game scouts off for patrols.

Near Beitbridge, Zimbabwe

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Malilangwe ranger selection training session

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Malilangwe ranger selection training session

While I was in Zimbabwe I spent a week with Save African Rhino Foundation and one of the places we visited was Malilangwe - an incredible private wildlife reserve bordering Gonarezhou National Park. We spent some time meeting the people who run their amazing anti-poaching operations. I was invited to spend a few hours training with a group that were going through a selection camp to become rangers. Some amazing athletes - these guys can run all day. It was inspiring to see their drive and dedication to their work.

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Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

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Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

During our trip to Kenya we spent a few days at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. They're doing some amazing work with wildlife, cattle and community development.

Rhino handler, Esogon, with the last Northern white rhino on earth.

Rhino handler, Esogon, with the last Northern white rhino on earth.

Zachary and Esogon with a baby white rhino they've been nursing back to full health. They've been feeding him every 4 hours and sleeping next to him every night.

Zachary and Esogon with a baby white rhino they've been nursing back to full health. They've been feeding him every 4 hours and sleeping next to him every night.

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On foot

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On foot

There is nothing quite like walking through the wild African bush. What a privilege to have this opportunity. Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

There is nothing quite like walking through the wild African bush. What a privilege to have this opportunity.
Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

Those eyes. A lioness still feeding on a zebra while the rest of the pride lay around. Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

Those eyes. A lioness still feeding on a zebra while the rest of the pride lay around.
Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

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Eightytwenty Vision fundraising event in Canberra

Thanks to everyone who came along to the Eightytwenty Vision fundraiser at Teatro Vivaldi last night.

A fun night of food and music. I really appreciate the support from the Canberra community for the work of EightyTwenty Vision. It's fantastic to see people able to connect with the lives of a community in rural Zimbabwe struggling to overcome their circumstances through grit, determination and innovation. 

A huge thanks to Grant Roberts and everyone who helped him organise the evening. A huge effort amongst uni assessment and all Grant's other commitments! 

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Notre Dame

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Notre Dame

We spent the last two weeks at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. Two solid weeks of training with a game against the USA in Chicago as part of our preparation for the Rugby World Cup .

The long days allowed time in the evenings wandering the campus.

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Professional Whey

Professional Whey

Early on in my rugby career, I was sponsored by a supplement company. I was young, trying to maintain my weight and wanted protein to use at home and free product was pretty exciting. 

As I became more aware and interested in where the products were sourced, the impact this had on the products quality and the people involved in manufacturing them, as well as the impact they were having on my body, I started to ask questions about whether some of these things could be improved. Whether they would take the first, and what I thought was fairly reasonable, step of using Fairtrade or ethically sourced cocoa in their chocolate flavoured products? After a good couple of years, these questions came to nothing and so I parted ways with that company. I had found Professional Whey online and was really impressed with both their ethics and the quality of their products and so I began ordering protein powders and a few other products from them. 

This continued for a couple of years until Stephen Morris, the founder of Professional Whey, contacted me to chat about how I was finding the products and if I had any feedback. After hearing more about the business side of Professional Whey from Stephen I was even more impressed. They have a real commitment to sourcing great products from ethical sources and avoiding the kinds of additives and artificial sweeteners found in so many sports supplements.

After a few more conversations I became an ambassador for Professional Whey. I've been incredibly wary of promoting or pushing products that I don't believe in - that's one of the reasons I've been blacking out my boots for years - but with Professional Whey I genuinely believe in what their doing and have found their products really work for me. 

I understand that we're all sick of people trying to sell us stuff - in posting about this my hope is that people who do use sports supplements maybe think about some of these questions, and understand that there are companies like Professional Whey committed to providing an alternative. Hopefully we will see more of this across the industry. Thanks to Stephen and his team for their leadership. 

Update on Hope

Update on Hope

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” - Chief Seattle

"What is happening to the rhino is symptomatic of the environment as a whole and I have a deep sense of a crunch approaching now." - Dr Ian Player

These photos tell the story of a species on the brink of extinction.
An extinction being caused by humans.
An extinction being stalled by the desperate efforts of humans.

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To support rhino conservation: Save African Rhino Foundation

"What we do to the animals we do to ourselves." - Chief Seattle. The work of Adrian Steirn.

"What we do to the animals we do to ourselves." - Chief Seattle. The work of Adrian Steirn.

On a recent trip to Cape Town with the Brumbies (to play the Stormers in a Super Rugby qualifying final) I managed to catch up with Adrian Steirn. Adrian is well known for his 21 Icons project (the first season included the last portrait taken of Nelson Mandela), as well as using images and videos as a means to stimulate discussion and action around a number of issues. I was blown away by his passion for the work that he is doing to highlight the plight of wildlife - especially rhino in Southern Africa, currently being poached for their horns at a rate of 1000+/year. I know rhinos get a lot more press than other species under threat in Africa (African Wild Dog, Pangolin, etc), but that doesn't change that they are infinitely worth saving.

He told me about recently photographing a rhino named Hope. Hope was found alive after having her horn hacked off by poachers. Adrian describes Hope as "a rhino that represents a species on the brink." He documented the hours of surgery and care to save Hope's life and, while the below images are graphic, I believe they are extremely powerful.

"Can you imagine her confusion...as the same species who hacked her face in half are now trying to save her." - Adrian Steirn

"Can you imagine her confusion...as the same species who hacked her face in half are now trying to save her."
- Adrian Steirn

Hope after her third operation.

Hope after her third operation.

The people working to protect and save rhinos are truly amazing, putting their safety at risk to protect these magnificent animals. The issues around the trade of ivory and rhino horn are complex and it will take time to reduce demand - in the mean time the tireless effort of game rangers all over Africa is crucial. As is our support.

To support this vital work, check out Save African Rhino Foundation

Adrian Steirn: Instagram and Twitter. Both photographs are his.

Here's a short video that's well worth a watch.
'Thandi's calf: the rhino that should never have been born'

 

 

      

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


     

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


    
 A couple of the Emus we saw out at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve this morning.  

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A couple of the Emus we saw out at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve this morning.  

Cacao Balls by #HITB

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Cacao Balls by #HITB

Here's a recipe from the amazing Anna Keenan of Hang In The Balance. Her blog is definitely worth checking out.

Made them as an afternoon snack to have while watching some club rugby.

Filling:
2 x 30g scoops protein powder - I used Professional Whey Elite 3.0 in Vanilla
2 x heaped tablespoons cacao powder
3 x tablespoons dessicated coconut
½ teaspoon vanilla powder
good pinch of sea salt
2 x tablespoons coconut cream
2 x tablespoons almond butter
50 ml shot of espresso (cooled), or water

Coating:
50g cacao butter
4 x tablespoons cacao powder
pinch salt
pinch vanilla powder

Method:

Filling:

1. Combine all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together

2. Add in the nut butter and coconut cream and combine

3. Add in the water or espresso in small amounts. The consistency should be so that it can easily be rolled into balls, but not so wet that the mixture sticks to your hand when trying to roll. If you accidentally add too much liquid, add in a small amount of protein powder and combine again.

4. Leave the mixture in the bowl until the coating is ready
 

Coating:

5. Melt the cacao butter in a pan over a low heat

6. Once fully melted, remove the pan from the heat and add in the cacao powder, salt and vanilla until combined

 

7. Now, take a small amount of filling and roll into a ball
8. Dip the ball into the coating mixture and place directly onto a plate

9. Repeat until all the filling mixture is used up and place the balls immediately into the freezer
10. Leave in the freezer for 5 minutes, then remove the plate and recoat the balls with the coating mixture by pouring over with a spoon. Pour any excess liquid from the plate, back into the pan.

11. Place the coated balls back in the freezer for another 10 minutes or until set.

12. After ten minutes or so, remove the balls from the plate and into a sealed container, and consume, or store in the refrigerator.

 

Note - if you have excess coating, simply pour onto folded baking paper or a silicone mat, allow to set in the fridge and you have yourself some sugar free chocolate!

You’ll notice that you’ll only want to eat one or maybe two of these at a time. That’s because they are packed with healthy fats, so a small amount is incredibly satiating - much unlike sugary treats that leave your brain searching for more!

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Coconut raspberry treat

Coconut raspberry treat

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We usually keep an ice tray filled with coconut cream in the freezer. It makes making 'healthy treats' a lot easier. I sometimes have this after a big day of training if I'm still hungry after dinner.  

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Protein Chocolate Ricotta Squares

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Protein Chocolate Ricotta Squares

Good to have in the fridge for when you need a mid-afternoon snack.. Really nice with a dollop of cream and some rasberries!

40g of 90% (or higher) chocolate
120g butter
120g ricotta
1 tablespoon of almond butter (I just used almonds processed to a butter in a high power blender)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
240g Professional Whey Elite 3.0 Protein Powder in Vanilla or Cacao
1 tablespoon of cacao
2 tablespoons of sweetener of your choice (I used stevia)
handful of macadamias or pecans, chopped

In a small saucepan combine butter, chocolate, ricotta and almond butter. Melt while mixing to form a paste. Stir through your sweetener and vanilla. Pour into a bowl with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. It will be pretty thick and may require a bit of elbow grease (not literally) to mix it through. Tip into a lined square tin and flatten. Refrigerate and once solid slice into 16 squares. Store in the refrigerator.

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Farmer Angus

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Farmer Angus

Angus McIntosh's energy is infectious. From the moment you meet him you know that this is someone who embraces life and lives with passion. Inspired by Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma', he left behind life as a stockbroker with Goldman Sachs in London and headed back home, to South Africa, to farm... His philosophy is "we are custodians of the land and we need to ensure that at all times fertility is improving on the farm" and his farm is the the only pure grass-fed and finished beef operation in South Africa.

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In 2013 Emma and I visited his farm, located just outside of Stellenbosch. He uses high density grazing, running 350 cattle on 114 hectares. He also has 4,000 laying hens that lay their eggs in 'eggmobiles' (seen above) that are moved daily to new pasture.

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April Fools backfires

April Fools backfires

I thought I had a pretty good scheme to get Matt Toomua on 1/4/15 but as Jamie Pandaram writes, TOOMUA HAD THE LAST LAUGH

THERE were plenty of April Fool’s shenanigans going on in Canberra this week and not all of the pranks went down well.

We hear David Pocock thought he’d ruined his close friendship with Brumbies teammate Matt Toomua after being reverse pranked.

Toomua hates it when his fiancé, dual sports star Ellyse Perry, is asked to do marketing work by the Brumbies. Apparently Pocock used the email of the Brumbies manager to send a couple of requests to Perry for photo opportunities.

But Toomua was wise to the trick. Word soon filtered back to Pocock that Toomua had flown into a rage and smashed a glass door, sending the flanker scrambling to sort out the drama only to learn he had been done by his own prank.

Easter Chocolate

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Easter Chocolate

If you're keen to have some chocolate this Easter but not so keen on the sugar, palm oil and other ingredients corporate food put in chocolate, then here's a recipe for you. Emma made some home-made chocolate and it turned out really well.

Here's the recipe:
1 cup melted Cacao Butter
1 cup macadamia butter (or other nut butter)
3/4 cup Cacao powder
less than 1/4 teaspoon Stevia extract (or 6 dates if you want to use them)
Blend it for two minutes and then place in the fridge to set.

*Em added Cacao nibs and sea salt on top before it set
 

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        </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"         I went to a screening of 'That Sugar Film' here in Canberra last week and can't recommend it enough. Funny and informative, Damon Gameau has done an amazing job documenting his 'sugar experiment' and the effect that sugar has on all of our health.

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I went to a screening of 'That Sugar Film' here in Canberra last week and can't recommend it enough. Funny and informative, Damon Gameau has done an amazing job documenting his 'sugar experiment' and the effect that sugar has on all of our health.

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Took this in the Nishi Building in New Acton today. Part of the 'Art, Not Apart' exhibition in Canberra. A lot going on...

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“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”  
― Wendell Berry

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell Berry

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