1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh, the flowers and seasons this watering can has seen!

  2. ooh how I love vintage and antique watering cans like these!

  3. Nancy Coughlin says:

    My grandmother had one of these cans. Sure wish I knew what happened to it.

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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.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Did you know that we in Florida say our state bird is the mosquito? Yep. We specialize is mosquitoes of all kinds! Big , little, and in between, we have them all in various locations. Of course, the daily rain showers that dump buckets of rain for 30 minutes leave standing pools of water in the low areas and in containers of all kinds. Keeping your bird bath water changed every few days is an art form down here. It is a race to see if you can keep the mosquito larvae from establishing overnight!

    • 2 words, Winnie: Mosquito dunks, they are a natural form of BT for getting rid of the larvae . they look like donuts and they sell for like $ 6-8 for a package of 6 or 8. Work like a charm! last a long time, please give them a try!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    We had so-o-o many mosquitoes this spring & summer! They have tapered off now. I made Mary Jane’s mother’s repellent and that worked for the most part! Thanks for more recipes to try.

  3. I have a collection of giant mosquito tee-shirts from everywhere I have visited . My personal favorite is from Chincoteaque VA ( the home of the giant mosquito in my opinion) It says in big letters over a huge depiction of the insect : ” I GAVE BLOOD” .

  4. Karlyne says:

    Why, oh, why, didn’t I plant catnip this year?!? Re-post this one next April, ok, MJ?

  5. Karlyne says:

    In the meantime, I’ll try these recipes!

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love Zinnias. They are the flower that most reminds me of summer here in the south because they thrive even in the heat and humidity.

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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?


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Whoa, fascinating! This is tricky and I have been sitting here trying to “get” it and I am still not sure I understand from the examples given. The child’s book photo sentences and Frost have this cadence that seems to run the flow of the sentence thoughts so I don’t understand which vowels are being highlighted. Poe has the “o” repeated but again, it all is tied up with the rhyme and cadence. Sandburg completely throws a monkey wrench in my understanding. But, this is really interesting and challenging to try and figure out. Great poetry lesson for a Tuesday morning!

  2. Karlyne says:

    In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I crack up every time when Edmund calls Eustace out for his using an assothingy and tells Lucy to pay no attention to him. But as far as thinking one up, it might tax my brain too much for a hot summer day!

  3. Ok, fess up ,MaryJane , do you sleep with the Webster’s unabridged by your bedside? My parents did, they were avid crossword workers and actually had 2 on the bedside tables , the British and the American editions. My stepfather actually wrote and published ( in the New York Times) crossword puzzles as a hobby and his specialty was double anacrostics. ( another level of h–l in the crossword world) If it made my mother cry in frustration to work it , it was a winner !

    • MaryJane says:

      I still use a hardbound dictionary rather than something online and when I was a kid I used to read it page by page. I also love my Rodale thesaurus (The Synonym Finder), a gift from my daughter from many years ago. My mother devoured crossword puzzles, but I don’t indulge, maybe when I’m old and ancient and have the time. That’s amazing that your father wrote crossword puzzles at the level he did!!!! Impressive.

    • Karlyne says:

      We tried to write crosswords for our book club once, and it was amazingly and surprisingly difficult even for those of us who actually do them. They were simple little puzzles and they took us forever. So I am very impressed with your parents!

      • Yes Karlyne,definitely not easy to do. It was my stepfather who wrote them – one of the smartest people I ever knew.And you didn’t want to tangle with our family when we played scrabble. As a kid I memorized the wood grain of the blanks and high scoring letters ( we put the pieces upside down on a board to choose them)- no one could figure how such a small child was beating them!
        I love my thesaurus , have 2 kinds, can’t write without them.

  4. Karlyne says:

    Oh, for heaven’s sake! Is that why my dad painted the backs of all the Scrabble pieces?!?

  5. Karlyne says:

    I have no idea why he painted them, but that sounds like a good guess!

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