Friday, May 6, 2016

Anna Sultana’s Honey Wine / Mint / Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

Yes, it’s been a while since I posted.
Sorry... but I do have an explanation.

My birthday - Number 66 - happened last weekend and it’s been a bit hectic.
Plus I don’t have the energy I used to have.
In its own little way, the birthday, the chores and the lack of energy combines to make a perfect storm.
But now I’m back… more or less.

In honour of my birthday, I relaxed with a glass of Honey Wine, an old Maltese favourite.
Honey Wine is not the same as Mead.
It’s more like mulled wine.

Honey is very traditional for anyone Maltese.
Some say that the name Malta came from the Greek word meli, honey.
The ancient Greeks called the island Melitē meaning honey-sweet, thanks to a species of bee that lives on the island. 
The Romans, a few years later, called the island Melita.

Others say that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth, meaning a haven or port since Malta has many bays and coves.

The Romans were very big on wine, both as a beverage and as an industry.
Imperial Roman edicts in Britain from 92 - 277 AD prohibited the planting of new vineyards to protect the established vines they had in the Mediterranean. 
The Maltese climate has always been ideal for grape cultivation.
Archeologists suggest a very strong wine production there during Roman times.
Some clever Roman decided to combine a bit of the native honey to the wine and, Wallah!!!, a favourite Maltese drink was born. 

If you want something similar, without the alcohol, mulled apple cider is also nice.
Having the gang over? Why not make a pitcher of sangria?


Mint, as well as being as popular Maltese seasoning, is also a natural remedy.
Eating or drinking some mint can help ease heartburn, nausea, abdominal cramps, morning sickness, and irritable bowl syndrome.
Mint can help clear sinuses, relieve sore throats, calm coughs, and soothe asthma and bronchitis. 

Mint oil is a good thing to have on hand.
A spoonful can help prevent diarrhea and reduce flatulence.
Apply mint oil to pimples, skin rashes, sunburn, bug bites, and hemorrhoids. 
The oil can also speed the healing of minor cuts and scrapes.
Rub mint oil over sore muscles and achy joints, injuries, or arthritis. 
Mint oil on your temples can help soothe headaches, including migraines.

Mint oil is easy to make.
Just pick, wash, and dry some fresh mint, and release the oils with a mallet. 
Place the crushed mint in a jar and cover it with a flavourless oil, such as jojoba or almond oil, and shake to combine. 
Place the jar in a warm place for 24 hours, then strain the oil through a piece of cheesecloth to remove the mint leaves.

                        Honey Wine

Have on hand
1 bottle white wine

Place in a medium saucepan
6 ounces of the white wine
Warm gently over low heat.
Stir in
4 Tablespoons (more or less) honey
A sprig or two of fresh mint
Allow the wine to cool. 
Remove the mint and mix in the remaining wine.
Pour the wine into a bottle with a cover and place it in the refrigerator.
Serve cold. 

About the sky this week…

There’s a new moon tonight. Can’t see it. You knew that.

On Monday, May 9, Mercury will cross directly in front of the sun, an event that hasn’t occurred since 2006 and won’t happen again until 2019. This happens about 13 times every century.

If you missed out on seeing Halley’s Comet in 1986, you’ll have an opportunity this week to see bits and pieces of it in the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. It’s usually the year’s richest meteor shower for Southern Hemisphere observers, but north of the equator it’s one of the more difficult annual displays to observe. The shower remains active at roughly one-half peak strength for a couple of days before and after the maximum. 

You might see an Earthgrazer, meteors that skim the top of Earth’s atmosphere like a stone skipping across the surface of a pond. They appear when the radiant of a meteor shower is near the horizon, spewing meteoroids not down, but horizontally overhead.

If you're wondering... Halley’s Comet won’t return until the summer of 2061.


  1. Hi Margaret:)
    It sounds like you had a wonderful yet exhausting birthday!!!

    Relaxing with a nice glass of Honey Wine sounds just perfect. I love the touch of mint. I'm a firm believer in the benefits of mint. I often put mint oil in the diffuser at night for sleeping. I don't think it's touted as a sleep inducer but it sure does work for me!

    It's so interesting to learn how Malta may have gotten its name. They must be some really special bees, lol...

    Thanks so much for sharing Margaret...

  2. Good morning, Louise!
    Yes it was (or maybe I'm just slowing down) :-)

    Thank you for sharing the way you use mint. As the song says: whatever gets you through the night is alright.

    It rained all day yesterday and we're going to have a few more wet days this week. Time to relax indoors and have another glass of honey wine!

  3. Sorry I missed your birthday!! Happy Birthday!!

  4. Thanks, Pam! It was a good start :-)


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