biscuits next to cup of coffee
blogging, food, health, recipe

Home made Honey and Oat Cookie Recipe

Honey has been on my mind lately, interviewing as I was, an expert on Beekeeping in my job as a reporter for a community magazine.

I can now tell you loads about the complexities of a bee colony, what threats they face, how they are heavily regulated by themselves and the bees and the process of making honey.

Whilst beekeeping can turn into an obsession, I am more obsessed with honey and its use as food. I sourced a wonderfully tasty Immune boosted raw Honey from the Beekeeper himself. This honey has all sorts of health benefits as the bees graze from a wide variety of food sources.

Apart from having one teaspoon of this delicious food from the Gods, each day, I made some Honey and Oat Biscuits, (or Honey and Oat Cookies if you are American), using a favourite recipe of mine, that I will share here:

Honey and Oat Cookies (Biscuits) Recipe

  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour, (or all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons Baking powder)
  • 3 tablespoons custard powder
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) or softened butter
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup wheatgerm or bran

Method

  1. Blitz the flour and custard powder
  2. Add sugar and oats and blitz again
  3. Add butter through the chute as processing til blended
  4. Add honey and process till well combined
  5. Roll teaspoonfuls of the mix into balls and toss lightly in the wheatgerm/bran
  6. Place on baking tray and flatten lightly with the back of a fork
  7. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes in a moderate over 180 degrees C (350 F)
  8. Allow to cool on tray

Makes about 15- 18 cookies

seachange logo
puppy and girl walking through water fountain by lake newport australia
blogging, photography, writing

Travel Photo

How shall I choose the final photo in this challenge that Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful kindly nominated me to complete?

Shall I choose somewhere closer to home?

Or:

  • my favourite destination – some Nordic ‘hygge/koselig’ location
  • enigmatic Poland
  • wistful Estonia
  • mystical Japan
  • South-East Asia

This is what I decided. One of the most incredible places on earth.

A place you can literally stand between two continents.

And I did.

Once again if you would like to be nominated for this challenge, I would be happy to update this post with your blog url. This is the final post in this challenge.

Happy New Year from a Home by the Sea and Something to Ponder About

Melbourne Cup party man with bookmakers outfit
blogging, writing

Chocolate Orange Cake for Su’s Virtual Afternoon Tea

I do enjoy drinking a lovely cuppa at mid-morning. To savour that cuppa with other enthusiastic bloggers at Su’s Virtual Tea Party, is an extra treat.

tea cake and sandwiches

The Thirteenth day of November in the calamitous year of 2020, is auspicious, but I am not superstitious. I do wonder how many extra lotto tickets will be sold today.

Having once worked in a Newsagency, I can vouch for the increase in sales on days like these.

Meanwhile November has been busy. There always seems to be something happening at the Home by the Sea.

Melbourne cup day without the racing crowds continued in our neighbourhood and one of our wonderful neighbours dressed up as a bookie running a sweep or two.

Melbourne Cup party

I have been joining in with Qi Gong exercise every day that I can through the week, however turned awkwardly this morning and have pulled a muscle in my back. Ouch…. Getting old sucks. Really.

Schnauzer November News

The dogs have not been forgotten and had a fantastic run at the fenced off leash area and the doggie beach. First time off leash for the pup and she loved running with the chocolate labradors and then having a hydrobath afterwards. They rested well afterwards.

The doggies were spoilt a bit with early Christmas presents from Pupsnaps anti – anxiety beds. Since these arrived, several of my friends have had theirs delivered. Pupsnaps must be so pleased with the business from the Schnauzers. The dogs almost need to recieve a commission.

The Koala Rescue group have been making Christmas garlands, complete with koalas. We threaded up all of these one weekend. I hope they sell well at the markets as the funds all go towards running the Rescue operation.

At least one koala is killed or wounded every night in breeding season. Staggering statistics.

So finally, here is what I am eating for Su’s Virtual Tea – A Chocolate Orange cake.

chocolate orange cakechocolate orange cake slice

Feel like making it yourself? Here you will find the Cake recipe.

Join me at Su’s Virtual Afternoon Tea

A Home by the Sea
beach australia
blogging

A Historic Third Term for A Female Leader

During a fierce thunderstorm and amidst a global pandemic, a female political leader, has made a mark on history winning a historic third term as the state’s leader in the election.

And her words I particularly like – she is keen to get back to work as soon as possible.

“There’s nothing more important than the dignity of work.”

Anastacia Palaszczuk

.

Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszcuk after winning the 2020 Election

My wonderful daughter strongly believes and supports female representation in politics. For many years, female suffrage was not tenable to the authorities. Some women died for the right to vote. My daughter takes her constitiutional right very seriously. She requested a political sign for our garden. After all, we make up a little more than half the population, she reasons.

Women’s Right to Vote

New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in, but not to stand for, parliamentary elections in 1893.

The colony of South Australia allowed women to vote and stand for election in 1894. In Sweden, conditional women’s suffrage was granted during the age of liberty between 1718 and 1772. But it wasn’t until the year 1919 that equality was achieved, where women’s votes were valued the same as a man’s.

Wikipedia

Equity in something my countrymen and women feel strongly about but might hardly be aware that they do. Generally speaking Australia does not have many traditions, we can all our own, but for Australian society is mostly classless and everyone here is entitled, to use the vernacular: a ‘fair go’. Australia has developed, comparatively speaking a more egalitarian and economically mobile society, perhaps stemming somewhat from a lack of historic tribal associations. (generally speaking)

However, this is not to dismiss the extreme prejudice and terrible injustices wrought against the indigenous folk of Australia and the White Australia Policy. This racist policy of preferencing white migrants was a mid-twentieth century policy based on the irrational fear of becoming populated by migrants from Asia.

There will always be bad eggs in any society, just as there will be good eggs. I do believe that the worst of any prejudice is behind our country and trust my daughter will grow old in a country where each individual is taken for his or herself, with open-mindedness and in good faith.

“A cynical sneer gains no ground.”

plant, weed, flower,garden
blogging

Gardening with Alkaline Soils in Coastal Areas

Having a home by the sea has many advantages, however, one disadvantage, is the poor quality of the soils for gardens and the difficulty in growing plants that thrive in coastal areas.

Coastal soils are often sandy and have poor water retention ability but might also be heavy, salty and highly alkaline. This means their PH level is about 7 or above, which makes growing plants quite tricky.

Flower bud

If I wanted to grow Azaleas, Camellias, Magnolias or my favourite flowering shrub: Gardenias, for example, the coastal soils would need organic and chemical* help.

*Please note growing azaleas, camellias, magnolia and gardenias will require a specific fertilizer or may wither or develop yellowing leaves, without the right conditions.

As some of my garden had already been established, adding large quantities of peat moss, compost or organic matter wasn’t going to be a viable option, so in order to change the PH of the soil, I needed to look at other options.

It’s always best to test the soil’s pH level and follow instructions to the “T” when using anything to change soil pH.

If your soil is highly alkaline, adding sulphur, peat moss, sawdust, or aluminium sulfate can help neutralize it.

Adjust soil pH slowly, over time, avoiding any quick fixes. You can simply add plants suitable for alkaline soil. Read more about Plants For Alkaline Soils

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/plants-for-alkaline-soil.htm

Damage to Plants from High Ph Levels

The first warning sign that the plants in my garden were suffering from a high Ph level was leaves turning yellow with a green midvein, evident firstly with the alkaline sensitive Gardenias and later, the Murraya, or Mock Orange, and some of the small Cupheas bordering the garden.

My next step in remediation was to stabilize the Gardenia, in situ, with an appropriate chemical fertilizer suitable for the sensitive likes of those plants and plant out more alkaline-tolerant species, as well as add organic matter where possible.

Lots of blue colour in this garden. Westringia (a native Coastal Rosemary), Juniper, Strelitzia and of course, Lavender. All plants that thrive in coastal areas.

Within a few weeks of applying the fertilizer, the Gardenias and Magnolia had shiny new green growth. I applied a general fertilizer to the Murraya and the Cupheas and although slower, they are responding with new buds.

Growing Lavender in Coastal Areas

Lavender plants are a sound choice for coastal areas as they relish well-drained sandy soils and don’t mind wind. The ones I planted thrived in soil that had an upper layer of very sandy alkaline loam with an underlying, also alkaline, clay. They are especially beautiful now, in full bloom. No fertilizer needed, or signs of alkaline damage, so far.

Lavender plants make spectacular borders and vary in height: Lavender dentata, for example, grows to a height of 60 cm and can be pruned to a ball shape lightly after flowering.

Growing Your Own Lavender Plants

Lavender blossoms make excellent cut flowers,or can be used in dried flowers arrangements or potpourri. After flowering, I remove the lavender flowers from the stems and pot up the trimmed down leaf tips and place them in potting mix after first dipping the ends in rooting powder and then seal them with a plastic bag for several months. After that, you should have some established new Lavender plants.

It’s really a plant that keep on giving.

Lavender is known for its therapeutic properties.

Growing Olive Trees in Coastal Areas

Contrary to popular belief, Olive trees do not really have troublesome root systems, and as they do like coastal conditions they can also tolerate alkaline soil, well, provided it is free draining. A great choice for a coastal garden particularly with their grey-green foliage.

Olive trees take about 7 years to produce fruit. Sadly, we had to leave a beautiful olive tree at our former location, when we moved to the ‘Home by the sea,’ one that was close to flowering and producing olives.

The tree was about five years old and about 3 metres tall. It was not in a position of full sun, but we do live in the sub-tropics, so the sun is stronger here. Olive trees seem resilient to pests, so are a great choice for coastal and Mediterranean-style climates.

Plants suitable for Alkaline soils:

Some other plants that cope well in Alkaline soil types are listed below.

Herbs/Vegetables for Alkaline Soils

  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Potato – my plants are thriving. Just pop them in and watch them grow.
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Celery

Parsley can be used as an edible border plant as it is a splash of greenery and handy for use in making Tabouli or salads in the kitchen. It is a herb that does like alkaline soils.

parsley in the garden
My Sweet potato and Rosemary plants – the Mock orange in the right hand corner of the photos still has some alkalinity damaged yellow leaves

Shrubs and Trees for Alkaline Soils

  • Viburnum
  • Cotoneaster
  • Mock Orange
  • Honeysuckle
  • Spiraea
  • Hydrangea
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Juniper
  • Olive Trees – as long as the soil is free draining.

Enjoy creating a Coastal Garden

Sunrise
walkway under tree beach redcliffe australia
blogging

Which Way Photo Challenge

I have been following San for a while over at Alive and Trekking so joined in with the Which Way Challenge at her blog.

After all, there are plenty of roads I have been on, some of them the same ones San has travelled.

The photo,(or collage), I have chosen to share was rather memorable.

Trollstigen in Norway – the Troll’s staircase a road over the mountains to Geiranger, is a special location and I was were lucky enough to see it before the weather closed in.

The Orange deck is the vantage point where I stood, in 2014.

Photo Credit – http://www.fjordnorway.com/top-attractions/trollstigen

A tree can create a tunnel. This is the way I will take today.

sunrise beach australia
blogging, environment, health, home

Friendly Friday Challenge – Morning Rituals on the Beach

Although I may be in the minority, I have to say that I love getting up in the mornings. No, I am not masochistic. I live by the sea and the mornings there are so joyous, it makes me want to get up early just to see the very best of the day.

Furthermore, I am now retired so I don’t need to be functioning all day, but can take it at an easier slower pace. To which, I am rapidly becoming accustomed. And, I love it.

The mornings are no time to sit and drink a hot cuppa. It is time to move – after sleeping all night.

I like to take a walk, after a morning routine of Yoga exercises, right on the beach if possible.

As you get older and more sedentary, the joints and muscles stiffen up and it is so vital that we keep them functioning for as long as possible. What good is it living to a ripe old age if you can’t enjoy it? Right?

Yoga Sun salutations are best performed facing east. Because that is where you will see the sunrise, of course.

Even better if you can do it on the beach.

A walk with the dog is next on the agenda.

Right on the beach if possible.

See what you are missing all you people who like a sleep in?

Linking to Sandy’s theme for Friendly Friday. I will be back at my main blog, StPA, next week with a new theme. You are welcome to join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge anytime.

See you then.