Listen …


Photo by Hakan Dahlstrom via Wikimedia Commons

You can run, but you can’t hide!


Photo by Steve Povey via Wikimedia Commons

The gallinippers are out for blood!

Yup, gallinippers.

They’re not vile villains from a scary sci-fi movie (although they do fit the bill).


Image from Bill Nye’s History of the United States (1894) via Wikimedia Commons

Gallinippers, as some of you may know, are mosquitoes.

Specifically, BIG ones.


Photo by Edibobb via Wikimedia Commons

Gallinipper (GAL-uh-nip-er): any of various insects that sting or bite, especially a large American mosquito, Psorophora ciliata (shown in the photo above).


So, have you been lucky (or sly) enough to avoid these annoying and potentially dangerous pests this year?

If not, Erin McIntosh of Mountain Rose Herbs is here to help. Check out her recipes for non-toxic DIY repellants and bite-soothing spray.

Natural Bug Repellents for Summer Fun

The first recipe is a flower-water-based spray and the second recipe uses oil for a longer-lasting solution. Both contain catnip ingredients, since the essential oil found in catnip can actually be just as effective as commercial chemical repellents, without the nasty side effects from toxins like DEET. If you have fresh catnip growing in the garden, you can use a high alcohol tincture instead of the hydrosol. Pure grain alcohol (95%) will totally dehydrate the catnip, extracting the oils in about a week. I’ve also included my astringent spray recipe that can be used on bites to help stop itch and swelling.

Summer Repellent Spray

8 oz organic Catnip Hydrosol
20 drops organic Cedarwood Essential Oil
20 drops organic Lavender Essential Oil
10 drops organic Lemongrass Essential Oil
10 drops organic Lemon Essential Oil

Slowly drip each essential oil into the hydrosol, counting with care as you go. Mix all ingredients in the bottle by shaking vigorously. Shake well before each use and reapply as often as needed.

Summer Repellent Oil

8 oz organic Jojoba Oil or Almond Oil or Sunflower Oil
20 drops organic Lavender Essential Oil
15 drops organic Catnip Essential Oil
10 drops organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil
5 drops organic Rosemary Essential Oil

Slowly drip each essential oil into the oil, counting with care as you go. Mix all ingredients in the bottle by rolling the bottle between the palms of your hands. Shake before each use and reapply as often as needed.

Astringent Relief Spray

This spray will help ease the itchiness and pain of bug bites. Plantain is a classic herbal remedy for itchy bug bites, while green tea is also super astringent. The cooling nature of peppermint adds a comforting sensation.

4 oz organic Peppermint Hydrosol
2 oz organic Green Tea, brewed
2 oz organic Plantain Tincture
3 drops organic Peppermint Essential Oil

Pour all ingredients into a glass spray bottle. Shake well before each use and store in the cooler for an extra refreshing chill.

Smudge Them Away!

Another good tip to know is that most bugs really hate aromatic smoke, but people love the nice smelling aroma! Instead of burning those chemical-soaked repellent candles, try burning a bundle of organic mugwort or white sage to smudge the area. You can also use the essential oil recipe blends above in a diffuser for an extra bug-away boost.





At about 4:30 this morning, I awoke to hear a friendly bird outside my window. My heart brimmed with whimsy as I whisked off my quilt to begin the day!


Image courtesy of Bumble Button

Okay, clever girl, did you catch the literary device I employed in the sentence above?

It was neither alliteration nor hyperbole,

not metaphor or simile …

So, what could it be?

The repeating short “i” sound I used to describe my morning is an example of assonance, a rather tricky technique involving the repetition of words that share vowel sounds but have different beginning and end consonants.

Told you it was tricky. And I’m not even sure I have it right.

It can be tough to pin down instances of assonance (it probably slips right past most of us), but ambitious writers have been known to rely on this device to set the mood of their text. Long vowel sounds tend to s-l-o-w the energy of a passage, making the tone more somber, while short vowel sounds lend a literary lift.

Assonance has been used by all sorts of famous wordsmiths …


“He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.”


“Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore.”


“Poetry is old, ancient, goes back far. It is among the oldest of living things. So old it is that no man knows how and why the first poems came.”

Do you dare to come up with a line or two of your own using assonance?




An app for … lagging knees?


Photo by Tamar Assaf via Wikimedia Commons

Um, no, somehow I doubt that’s it.

Here—you take a look at the word I’m sputtering and tell me if you can pronounce it:


This is what the dictionary tells me:

lan-YAP – or – LAN-yap

Easier said than read!

With that cleared up, all I can think is, “Stop your lan-yapping … lagniapping?”

Sigh … wrong again.

If you’re a Texas or Louisiana belle, you might have used this word in conversation, and I do wish you were here to save me from sounding so silly!


The “Lone Star Belle,” ca. 1908, Cowgirl Postcard, via Wikimedia Commons

But, since I’m on my own up here in Idaho, I’ll give it my best. Something like …

When Debbie Sue was at the farmers’ market selling her delicious homemade doughnuts, the early-morning customers would flock to her stand to buy a dozen because everyone knew that Debbie Sue loved a lagniappe— her dozen always meant a classic baker’s 13.

Photo by Kronn via Wikimedia Commons

Get it?

Debbie Sue’s lagniappe was an extra doughnut, but it could be just about any small gift given with a purchase to a customer, by way of a compliment or for good measure.

“The word entered English from the Louisiana French adapting a Quechua word brought in to New Orleans by the Spanish Creoles,” explains Wikipedia. “It derived from the South American Spanish phrase la yapa (referring to a free extra item, usually a very cheap one). In Andean markets, it is still customary to ask for a yapa (“a little extra”) when making a purchase. Although this is an old custom, it is still widely practiced today in Louisiana. Street vendors, especially vegetable vendors, are expected to throw in a few green chilies or a small bunch of cilantro with a purchase.”


Photo by Tammy Farrugia via Wikimedia Commons

Have you received a lagniappe lately?