Sometimes a word or two can spark an outrage or can offer comfort. Other times words might even be prophetic.
Unfortunately, it seems the later is the case. I write about Australia’s Covid-free bubble and cautioned that weshouldn’t become too complacent and forget hygiene measures.
At New Year’s Eve, I noticed people were fast getting a too cocky with life, resuming normal practices like hugging and kissing, even though there were still a few isolated Covid cases in a few states, including ours. All cases were in hotel quarantine and out of public access, until now. Then:
New Covid Outbreak in Queensland, Australia
A cleaner in hotel quarantine has come down with the highly infectious UK strain of the virus. The cleaner was catching public transport for a week prior to detection.
The region is now in lockdown from 6pm tonight and masks are mandatory. [You might remember I was prevented from wearing masks, last year in my workplace].
The announcement came at 8.30 am today, but at 8.20 am people were already out and about panic buying.
Toilet paper supplies, I suspect.
The lockdown is only until Monday morning, but they suspect it could last a week.
Has the public forgotten shops were once closed all weekend? Are we not able to survive more than one day without shopping? Are toilet paper supplies that thin? (Excuse the pun).
One Covid case; (no new cases today) and wholesale chaos reigns at the stores. Think of the UK – or other states and countries that have been in lockdown for months.
The hotel staff in the quarantine hotels, are now going to be tested daily. I wonder why this wasn’t previously instituted?
I recently volunteered to assist an animal rescue group. I am retired so would like to contribute more to community not-for-profit organizations.
This group have a private messenger chat so that they can access volunteers quickly when someone has called in an injured animal. I put my hand up and I wanted to help. I was added to the private group chat as advised during my “induction.”
All good so far.
Recently, a message came in via the group chat that help was needed, at a location, less than 1 km away from my place. The main rescuer, it went on to say, has a bad back and needs help lifting a cage. I am new at this task, but okay, I think, sure I can help. I indicate this on the group chat saying I can be there in a jiffy.
There is no response.
Just silence, which seems highly unusual, going by what I have read so far on past chat convos. So after ten minutes or so, I again message the group: “Look I am new at this, it would be my first rescue, but I can definitely help lift the cage and am in walking distance of the location.“
The response is strange: “If you do want to help, you will have to contact Don.”
Me: “Who is Don and how do I contact him?“
After 10 minutes, the response comes: “I don’t give out other people’s phone numbers.”
I mull over this and think how, the devil, am I to help if I am not given the contact details of the person I need to contact.
So I give up. Maybe this group isn’t for me. They are clearly worried about privacy issues. Which frustrates me, well, it really pisses me off. I could discuss this later with the President, to clarify matters but right now I feel unsure if this is the right group for me in my retirement. It all seems a little too hard. Doesn’t it?
What do you think?
How many times have you, as an individual, listed your phone number on a internet sales purchase, delivery form, survey, hotel, tradesmen enquiry, or Covid declaration in a cafe, of late? If you are like me, it is all the darn time. So why are they frightened of giving out a number in a closed group within a private chat amongst volunteers who are all interested in helping animals, I wonder?
The irony is a week or so later, an unrelated email comes out with all and sundry’s email addresses listed. So much for privacy concerns.
Has privacy issues gone so far as to block communication?*
*N.B. I am not advocating advertising your phone number publicly, as no one wants unfettered offers aka spam texts or messages that contain offers of enlargement medications, bitcoin or the opportunity to be the sole beneficiary of an inheritance from a stranger from Sierra Leone, do they? Me neither.
The keywords you enter in a post show up at the bottom of your article or blog post in WordPress and are commonly called ‘tags.’ If your blog post is about your trip to New Zealand, your post might be tagged Travel and New Zealand.
Do you add so-called ‘tags’ to your blog posts? Do you think much about what the tag might be?
There is so much debate about whether tags are beneficial or deleterious to SEO, I have assembled some tips for you to decide, for yourself, based on the purpose of your blog.
Tag Pages in WordPress
WordPress will create a Tag Page linking your post to all other articles tagged with that keyword. This is important from a Search Engine perspective as it can help you rate higher in a search index.
Did you know that if you repeatedly use a tag word indiscriminately, WordPress will bump you from the WP reader? This lowers the chance for readers to find your site.
Tag your posts accurately
Google reads tags or keywords completely differently: “website” and “web site” and “websites”.
Duplicating the same term in a category, as well as a tag, will confuse Google and the search engines will not know which page or site to rank first.
Be consistent in the way you tag your posts.
There’s nothing wrong with either keyword, [‘web site’ and ‘websites’, above], but choosing one form and using it that way consistently increases your chances of getting ranked for that form of the keyword.
So pick one and stick with it. Either you always use “website” as your tag or you use “web site”. Don’t use both interchangeably or you’ll be missing the chance for better rankings and more traffic.
Doing your homework and looking up the number of searches each version of a keyword gets, is time-consuming and tedious, but it will help you when you are starting out. If you add bogus keywords as tags, then your “tag pages” will be full of spam.
How Many Tags is a Good Number to Use?
What is a good number of tags to use?
The jury is still out on this question. Some recommend 4 – 12 tags, others say the less the better and still others maintain the more you use, the higher you will rank.
When visitors click on a particular tag, they reach the page whereon all posts, having the same tag, are displayed. It allows them to look for the desired content easily. Tags and categories are both examples of a taxonomy system. When used correctly, a good taxonomy system can boost your site’s SEO. The opposite is also true: when used wrong, it’ll break things. (theblogpress.com/)
What have you found worked for you?
Less tags or more?
Do you use Categories and Tags, or one or the other? Let me know in the comments.
If you want to find other blogs of interest and read fun, uplifting and positive things that are happening in the world, head on other to Trent‘s collection of Weekly Smiles.
We all need good news stories at the moment. Right?
This week I joined in on a free Qi Gong Exercise class on the beach at sunrise. This group practises every day at the same time, and the best part is that it is totally free. No strings attached, no hidden agenda, just a wish to have a community activity that would include and welcome all.
It started with a few ladies who were going through Breast Cancer rehabilitation and has grown to include a dedicated group of instructors and attendees. The oldest is 88 years old and is an instructor on the weekend. She pulls in the bigger crowds. She is inspirational and takes me to task, in a gentle way, if I am not doing the exercise correctly.
And although it is gentle – meditative almost, I feel it in my gluteal muscles the next day! So it has to be doing something.
And I am still smiling.
The other surprise I had was to receive a generous gift of aromatherapy lotions and creams from Utama Spice in Bali. This is the first free gift I have ever received as a blogger so it certainly made me smile. It was the perfect timing as I was just writing about lavender at the Home by the Sea, recently.
What do you think the underlying message says. Does it refer to the support of friends and family that folk find so essential to personal growth and development?
Or, could it refer to the many divergent paths one might consider, or does take throughout life, before we reach our ultimate destination or end goal?
I often find there is profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages, to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.
Nothing is more beautiful and powerful than a smile that has struggled through the tears
~ Demi Lovato (Actress and Singer Song-writer)
This theme of this week’s quotes is power, not raw power, but rather that power of the self, as an entity, that power we find within ourselves.
The less effort, the faster and more powerful
you will be
~ Bruce Lee
We have nothing to lose by trusting the infinite power
of the Self, except the bondage of our own ignorance
~ Mata Amritanandamayi Devi
And finally there are these words:
“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now.
By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
Are all Bloggers would-be storywriters, in disguise?
I had to think a little more about why bloggers are attracted to write in the first place?
Is it because we have a desire to express ourselves and communicate to others, using the written word?
Blogging is like a Facebook post on caffeine!
Writing Your Own Story
I believe the stories we, as bloggers, write are to entertain or inform. Whether that is a work of non-fiction or a completely fictitious story, it can be entertaining for the reader.
Mostly, for the reason that people ARE interested in the details of other peoples’ lives and happenings. If you are in doubt, just look at how many Reality TV shows are on TV.
It can be a levelling experience for us to be watching or engaging with others. In doing so, we also learn about ourselves, as well as the journey through life.
Attracting More Blog Followers
Sandy and I have been discussing the art of blogging and the purpose of maintaining a blog after WordPress kindly reminded me I had begun this gig, ten years ago! This revelation was, for me, a little embarrassing when I looked at some bloggers who had acquired massive followings, in that same period of time. [And I say this trying hard to not focus on that number that pops up in my sidebar or notification lists.]
I do not blog to gain more followers, but I have to be honest: I do look at that number for feedback. I question myself: Am I writing something of interest to another person? Was my post boring? Is anyone listening to what I am saying? Did I communicate that well?
I worried too that my blog wasn’t focused enough, that I hadn’t found my niche. The thing is, I don’t know my niche.
Sandy from Thesandychronicles.blog
From the comments on these posts, it seems many of us, including me, might have this niggling doubt that our blogs. We worry our writing is not focused enough to gain interest, that is, unless we are a committed food/photographic or travel blogger, who posts solely on the one chosen topic.
Then I thought about the fact that we DO have people visiting and taking the time to post a comment, so that seems to prove otherwise. Thus, I’d like to challenge this almost subliminal notion many of us have, that our blog should be more defined.
Does it really matter if our blog is diversified in its topics?
I have some followers that enjoy my Sunday quotes, others who only like and comment on the photographic challenges and still others who will presumably only read the art, or lifestyle, posts.
With just a single focus for blogging, I would miss out on, “chatting” to this wide spectrum of readers via their own blogs and the comments they make.
Each and every one of my readers bring, with them, their own individual opinions and thoughts, which results in a wonderfully rich tapestry of backgrounds and perspectives that can only be beneficial for me, as a writer.
The number and content of comments on our posts, are perhaps the real litmus test for any Blogger. Growing a dedicated Blogger community will never happen overnight. In the meantime, we can continue to hone our craft and have a lot of fun in the process.
What is it that attracts you to a certain blog?
Join the Conversation with Sandy and Amanda
This post is a part of a new series of CONVERSATIONS between Sandy and myself. Over the next little while, we’ll talk about a topic, compare notes, share Q&A and invite you to join in.
Do you have any topics to suggest for our Blogging Conversations?
Pingback to join in and write a conversation post.
I blogged earlier about the benefits of magnesium rich foods, and broccoli and spinach are great sources of magnesium. Broccoli soup is an easy and delicious way to eat much more broccoli than one can eat as a humble steamed vegetable.
500 g broccoli (diced stalks and sprigs)
Several large spinach leaves, chopped roughly (or silverbeet or rainbow chard)
1 onion, diced
Several celery stalks,sliced
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cream, (if you want cream of broccoli soup)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pepper and salt to taste
Lemon slices as garnish
Saute the onion and celery in a pan til the onion turns transparent.
Wash broccoli and cut into sprigs and add broccoli, chopped Spinach, chicken stock and onion/ celery mix to a large saucepan.
Bring to boil and simmer for 10- 15 minutes til broccoli is soft.
Then either A or B below:
A. If wanting to make cream of broccoli soup, process using hand blender or vitamizer-blender till smooth.
Add cream and return to saucepan heating through whilst adding seasoning and lemon juice. Garnish and serve
B. Gently blend or stir til broccoli breaks up into small sprigs. Add seasonings and lemon juice. Garnish and serve.
A nice accompaniment to Broccoli and Spinach soup would be almond or walnut bread. Delicious to ponder about, even better to taste.
In addition to our regular posts, the Friendly Friday team at TheSandyChronicles and StPA, are featuring Guest Posts from Bloggers who contribute to the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.
Ju-Lyn, a Singaporean blogger, from All Things Bright and Beautiful especially enjoys food and cooking, in addition to making ‘purposeful choices, ‘ and has kindly contributed a guest post to our weekly theme of “Something Different,“ in the form of a post about a Basque Burnt Cheesecake.
Ju-Lyn regularly posts mouth-watering foodie delights, on her blog, and this recipe is no exception.
Did someone say Cheesecake?
I hope you will be tempted to try it, for yourself.
Guest Post by All Things Bright and Beautiful
I love cheesecake, of all sorts: baked/unbaked, cream cheese/ricotta, New York/Japanese. I will scoff each with delight!
It was love at first bite! So enamoured was I that I didn’t realise there was no crust, which I only registered in retrospect. I have never made a cheesecake without a crust before so the idea intrigued me and I begged the recipe off the friend, who gifted me the slice.
It took us a while to get started because our baking shop was out of 500g tubes of cream cheese. After searching for more than a week with no small tubes in sight, I decided to take the plunge and bought a 2kg block. With this quantity, I was free to experiment. The recipe is simple enough, but it makes a tall cake baked in a 6-in circle tin, resulting in a silky gooey centre. Older Daughter wanted to see if dividing the batch into two, (ie. 2 x 6-in tins), would make any difference as she prefers a firmer crumb.
So we did. The verdict is split. Half of us love the taller version, with a slightly squidgy centre. The other half prefer the uniformly firmer texture of the shorter slice. We do all agree that we love the intense, smokey caramelised top of both versions.
· 3 large eggs, room temp (approx 150g of eggs without shell)
· 270g heavy cream/thickened cream
· 20g all-purpose flour
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1 tsp lemon juice
1. Line a 6” circle cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper and trimmed to have an overhanging amount of 1.5″-2″.
2. Preheat oven to 240 degrees C.
3. Cream sugar and cream cheese together until smooth.
4. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.
5. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Beat until just mixed.
6. In a separate bowl, mix flour and heavy cream until smooth.
7. Slowly pour the cream/flour mixture into the cheese mixture until mixed through.
8. Bake for 30-35mins until top is dark amber and almost charred at parts but the middles still has a wobble to them when you give jiggle the pan.
9. Cool in the tin fully on a wire rack at room temperature to allow the cheesecake to set.
10. Remove from the baking tin and enjoy at room temperature.
11. For a less “gooey” center, place into the fridge after cooled to allow it to chill and set.
For the 2-tin version, we lined the tins with only 1 layer of baking paper.
We shortened the bake time by 5 min.
Thank you Ju-Lyn for creating something different for us.
The photos are enough temptation for me to try creating this on my own.
If you would like to feature in one of the Friendly Friday Team’s Guest Posts, please contact Sandy, from (TheSandyChronicles) and Amanda, from (StPA), either by way of comment below or directly via their Blog Contact Pages.
The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge with the theme Something Different, will conclude Friday this week, when Sandy will post a new theme on The Sandy Chronicles.
In these strange times of pandemic, we are called to act differently from the norm. We adjust our lifestyle to accommodate the lock downs and social distancing, according to our own countries. I like to think of it as the beginning of something new, rather than something lost.
A New Kind of Photography Challenge
With new beginnings, comes change.
Friendly Friday is changing. Slightly.
It is our intention to expand the Friendly Friday challenge.
In the first two weeks of each month, participants are encouraged to dig a little deeper into the theme with their response. adding a short narrative, a story or recipe along with their photo.
Guest Bloggers Wanted
Furthermore, we will be publishing a guest post from a Friendly Friday blogger, in addition to the theme, which will be published on our blogs, in the second week of each month.
If you would like to nominate for a guest post slot on either of the host’s blogs, please let us know in the comments below. More details below.
How has Friendly Friday Changed?
This week and for the first week of each month following, we will set the F.F. theme and, in addition, post either a story, a recipe or a narrative of some kind, along with our photo, addressing the Friendly Friday theme for that week.
As always, it is up to you to interpret the weekly theme, as you see fit. You are only really limited by your imagination.
Bloggers who prefer to simply post a photo, will not be left out as the remaining two or three weeks of each month, will be devoted to the regular Photo challenge in the previous format. i.e. You will be presented with a different photo prompt suggestion for you to interpret as you wish, each week.In this way you will still have an opportunity to publish a photo or photos, on Friendly Friday, if you so choose.
Friendly Friday Theme for this Week
This week, I am challenging you to post a photo and story/recipe/narrative about:
Something New/Something Different
It might not be a food you have tried or a recipe that is the “something different” for you, it might be some other kind of activity, or something from your past that you have suddenly had the opportunity to revisit, something new in your garden, or a different way of doing things.
For me, it was baking with a different food! Read more of what I made, below. But first a reminder on how to participate in Friendly Friday.
How to Join Friendly Friday
To participate in the Challenge this week, you need to:
Create a Friendly Friday Post titled: ‘Something new/something different‘
If you can, include a recipe or write a short narrative or story, but most importantly, include a photo interpreting this week’s theme.
Tag your post,“Friendly Friday – Something New, Something Different”
Leave a comment below so that the hosts and others can find your post (ping backs don’t always work)
Let the hosts know if you would like to be featured as a guest blogger.
My New Beginnings with Something Different
Most people say they don’t have time to cook. Has Covid given us more time? Or only reduced distractions so we are willing to do things we have not done avoided before?
Cooking New and Different Foods
I’ve never in my life used Figs before. Neither have I made a Sourdough Mother. My kids might teasingly say I am a sour mother, so I guess I am halfway there! Lol!
So it is definitely a new beginning in the kitchen.
But let’s get back to the figs.
Fig and Walnut Loaf
I don’t really know anything about figs. Figs are something new and different for me. I might even confess to being a bit terrified of using figs. But I don’t want to admit ignorance. They are, after all, very much on trend at the moment.
Not only do I not know how to prepare figs, or how they can be eaten, I don’t know what they go well with, or their nutritional benefit. In fact the only contact I have had with Figs prior to this, is from my local cafe.
They served a mean Fig and Walnut Loaf, sliced and toasted, with lashings of warm butter, strawberries and icing sugar! Garnished with mint.
It was fantastic, it was filling and I was in love.
Soon after discovering the delight that comes with eating figs, this local cafe closed down. I went into an a kind of fig/walnut withdrawal that might see me raid the walnut jar late in to the night! So it became my mission to find a recipe that would equal the cafe’s culinary delight of Fig and Walnut Loaf.
Today it was done and happily shared with neighbours. It was good, really good and now my addiction has been properly fed, the body will no doubt, demand a repeat performance. Figs may be on the menu for some time to come.
Writing a Guest Post for Friendly Friday
Are you interested in being featured here as a guest blogger?
Would you like to write a guest post to be published here on Friendly Friday?
You may choose your own theme or alternatively use our suggestions, but a guest post would follow the format:
Address the weekly Friendly Friday theme by writing a post.
The feeling that the Moth, (Man of the House), and I are becoming a bit…. old.
I shouldn’t be surprised, as this feeling isn’t really that new.
I first felt like this, when I turned thirty years old. How silly was I then? But of course, 30-year-olds don’t always have any point of reference for what older age really feels like, until now.
We feel our age a little more, every time a milestone passes. You know the sort where we get to celebrate yet another 12 wonderful months of life on this planet? Except you reach a point where you don’t want to celebrate the number, anymore. It is almost a forbidden word once you pass three score years, which I haven’t quite reached yet, but the Moth most certainly has.
Today, however, I did feel extra old, particularly when the Moth asked me a question and the ensuing conversation went like this:
“Have you seen that blue cold pack from the freezer?”
“No, should I?” (have seen it?)
“I just had a look and it isn’t there.”
“Are you sure?”
“You know – the blue one.”
“I’ve never seen a blue cold pack, but I did see an orange one there, last week.”
We live in a designated Koala area as the new house is located within a known corridor and adjacent to a protected Koala habitat. Yesterday, we spotted a Koala on our way home from essential shopping at the Hardware store.
This is not our first Koala sighting in our area. Several months ago, a male Koala was spotted resting in the lower branches of the same tree. See my post on Koala spotting here.
The Gumtree in which the furry marsupial was sitting, has a flourish of succulent new growth towards the crown, due, no doubt, to the recent rainfall. This has attracted another Koala occupant and this time it was a female with a Joey, (a baby Koala), in her pouch.
According to a neighbour living directly opposite, the koala had been in this tree for a week or so, I contacted the Koala Rescue to report the sighting.
The Rescue group has a number of volunteers who attend Koala sightings to perform a visual health check, as almost all Koalas in our State, are known to have a number of health issues, primarily Chlamydia infection. This is a particularly painful infection that can lead to Koala infertility, blindness and death. Along with Chlamydia, habitat loss has led to a significant decline in Koala populations to a point where they remain vulnerable.
Surveys have shown that some wild populations demonstrate a 100 percent rate of [Chlamydia] infection, which frequently leads to blindness, severe bladder inflammation, infertility and death. And treatment with antibiotics could create further problems for the marsupials, upsetting their gut microbes and making it difficult for them to digest the eucalyptus leaves that are a staple of their diet, researchers recently discovered.
The Moreton Bay Koala Rescue is an organization staffed by knowledgable volunteers who drop everything and run to aid a Koala. Marilyn and her able assistant used a set of binoculars to assess the Koala’s health from the ground, as the animal was too high to conduct a full-on assessment and rescue. In the video, they tapped the base of the tree with a stick, in order to assess her ease of movement and to get a better view of her as Koalas generally sleep during the day.
She may well be the Koala, known to rescuers as Barty, as she had a tag in her right ear, meaning that she is a female, (as women are always right!) and she did have a Joey in the pouch.
The Rescuers told us the Koala Mum has likely been carrying her Joey in the pouch, for around 6 months. In a few weeks time, this Joey will move out of the pouch and travel about on the Mum’s back for several months, until it is old enough and clever enough to live independently. If the Mum has chlamydia, she will, unfortunately, pass it on to the little Joey.
Koalas Killed on Roads in Breeding Season
Breeding season is when Koalas are on the move, crossing roads and hunting for a mate. This usually starts in July; perhaps it will start earlier this year, as daily temperatures have been higher than expected.
The Rescue stated that in the first 8 weeks of the breeding season in 2019, they received and cared for 22 injured Koalas, mostly as a result of being hit by cars. It is heartening that their numbers are still high in our region, but tragic that so many are still accidentally killed by motor vehicles when crossing the road.
Koalas are harmless creatures, they basically just want to eat their gum leaves, find a mate and sleep away most of the day. If you only ate one food, you might also sleep 18 hours in every 24 too! They are not endowed with speed and often travel at night when they are difficult to spot on the road.
Slow down if you drive through a known Koala Habitat.
Kangaroo Island Koalas
South Australia’s Kangaroo Island had the only population of Koalas in the country without Chlamydia infection. Sadly, it is believed up to 30,000 perished in the recent bushfires. 90 % of their food trees on the Island were burnt, so any surviving Koalas actually died from starvation, unless they were rescued. One resident claimed that you couldn’t walk ten metres in any part of the forest, without coming across a dead Koala carcass.
Why do we need to Protect Koala Habitat?
As incredible as it may seem, the Government still seems reluctant to protect Koala habitat. Koalas are specialised feeders; they are only able to eat four species of Eucalypt leaves and are thus, highly vulnerable to extinction. Ensuring that remaining Koala habitat is protected is a critical factor for their survival.
The Koala is an iconic symbol of Australia that brings millions of tourists and their dollars to our shores, yet it receives little recognition in the way of publicly funded support in return. After the recent bush fires, a new strategy to protect some realms of known Koala habitat in my own state, has even been criticised for not going far enough to cover many known Koala corridors.
It is absolutely essential to protect any remaining Koala habitat. We have been blessed with a responsiblity for this beautiful creature and it desperately needs our help to survive.
In order to maintain viable populations, the Koalas must be free to roam within their range and interbreed to remain healthy. Protecting Koala populations with Koala fences may actually prevent males from finding a mate to breed with.
Report Koala Sightings
It is imperative, therefore, that all sighting of Koalas are reported and documented, so that their movements can be tracked and the data collected and shared with Government bodies. This will assist in protecctive planning decisions that aim to preserve the Koala and its habitat for future generations to enjoy.
May 3 is Wild Koala day for the Moreton Bay Koala Rescue – a major fundraising event had to be cancelled, due to Covid 19. They are a not for profit organization dependent on donations and community support.
May the Rescue continue their great work. Thanks to every one of them.