Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gettin' Naked...

I know I am really milking the book club's field trip but we really did have some unusual experiences.



Our  groups's last organized activity on our get away was travelling down the road 10 miles from Mineral Point right off the interstate to partake in some spa treatments.

Spa services were limited due to a wedding party's presence and shortage of staff so while others had massages, I treated myself to a natural herbal wrap.  Well of course ' natural.'  If you have never had the opportunity to have a wrap, it is a very unique 'mummifying' experience.  Imagine these layers on top of a massage table: a large insulated silver foil like blanket covered with a large piece of plastic and a blanket. After removing your clothing, you slide under the top blanket face down with your face looking downward through a doughnut  hole like pillow. You cover yourself up with the blanket with the plastic and insulated cover underneath. And the massage therapist reenters the room.

Calming music plays in the background in the low lit room while oil is massaged on and herbal salts sprinkled one appendage at a time and recovered with the blanket. After the back side is finished, you flip over and the procedure is repeated. The blanket layers are then swaddled around you and tucked in tight like a mummy.  The foil wrap and plastic starts you cooking.  The masseuse leaves the room to let you baste." While the herbal salts penetrate the skin's pores and help cleanse the underlying tissues. Amino acids help repair damaged tissues on a cellular level which lead to more healthy, glowing skin and increased elasticity.  The selected herbs were also chosen for their other healing properties. " You can just call me "GUMBY"now.

It was very refreshing indeed and different than just sweating swatting away the bugs in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Squash It...

Even if my feet are small, you get the idea.
It's that time when you have to get out to the garden quickly before the squash take on a life of their own and become gigantic monsters.

Hence a new recipe was found as there would be no problem coming up with the required 6 cups of summer squash as I used both summer squashes, the yellow and zucchini.

So if someone offers you some of their squash, you will have a new recipe to try out...

What's  not to like about the following recipe even if you swear you don't like squash! I promise you can't even tell this is squash with these dairy products added.

You might even find this hard to believe but we had this Squash Casserole dish polished off before I remembered that I didn't have a pic of the final product... It's simple to make and tasty.

ENJOY!

Ingredients:


6 c lg diced yellow squash /zucchini
Vegetable oil
1 lg onion, chopped
4 T butter
1/2 c sour cream ( I used Greek yogurt)
1 t House seasoning, recipe follows
1 c grated cheddar cheese
1 c crushed butter crackers (recommended: Ritz but I used salad croutons)


House Seasoning:

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups


Directions:

Preheat oven  350 degrees F.

Saute the squash in a little vegetable oil over medium-low heat until  completely broken down, ( 15 to 20 min) Line colander with clean tea towel. (OK I admit I used paper towel)
Place the cooked squash in the lined colander.
Squeeze excess moisture from squash.
Set aside.

In a medium size skillet, saute  onion in butter ( 5 min). 
Remove from pan and mix all ingredients together except cracker crumbs. 
Pour mixture into  buttered casserole dish.
Top with cracker crumbs.
 Bake  25 to 30 minutes.



Monday, July 29, 2013

Historical Overnight Becomes Hysterical...



I really appreciate someone else planning my getaways and that includes our book group's getaway to southern Wisconsin's Mineral Point.

The planners did an outstanding job in the lodging department too as we were booked in side by side townhomes.  What a delight to stay in a historical abode called Mousehole Lodging on Shake Rag Street in the appropriately named Townside and Shakerag suites!
Centrally located and walking distance to downtown .

The road trip's destination must have needed a memorable occurrence and as a car was moved seeking shade, a nice crunch like a branch being rolled over was heard.  Somebody's prescription glasses must have been on their lap when they stepped out of the car. I swear I have never seen anyone take the news so well that her new glasses had been rolled over.  Thank heavens the eyeglasses at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital have a warranty to be replaced should anything happen to them. Holy Toledo...

Anyhow, take a look at our cute historical abode. I don't mind selling it as a getaway as it was spotless inside with a basket of goodies and bottle of wine awaiting its inhabitants. US. Our stone walled modern applianced kitchen even had an expresso machine besides the drip coffee maker. I was super impressed.

Here is the description of the side I stayed on.

Shake Rag
: Fully-furnished with cozy living room and fully-equipped eat-in kitchen on first floor. Two bedrooms and bathroom on second floor. One bedroom has a queen bed and the other has two twin beds. Lovely linens and organic bath amenities. Central air conditioning and heating. Cable tv in master bedroom and living room. WiFi. No Pets/smoking. Not handicapped accessible


The decor was tasteful to say the least.

WE were happy that the AC existed and even if it worked overtime, worked.  as the downstairs zone's thermostat was stuck on 64 degrees. Thank goodness we had sweaters/light jackets with us although there were those plush Oprah robes in the bathroom.

The living room's chair's ingenous movable arm book holder intrigued us and I have a feeling a web search might help one find its way into some of  our homes.


A roll of the di would determine who got the kingsized beds and can I say ecstatic at being one of the high rollers since Lady Luck never seems to be on my side. (They weren't lying about the nice linens.)

But bedtime was a ways off as there were exploring to do, dinner to be had, an unplanned musical to attend and a rip roaring evening full of laughter of Catchphrase to be played.  Memorable lines such as " Maybe we should change seats " met with the response " Like What? You don't want me on your team anymore?" / arms making a wing flapping motion followed by the word home as a clue gave us lots to laugh about. Guess you just had to be there.

So if I had to venture south of End of the Rainbow Valley for an overnighter staying at 14 Shakerag in Mineral Point with at least 5 of the Happy Bookers is the way to go.

Looking forward to more field trips...



Friday, July 26, 2013

Pop, Pop, no not Sugarpop... More Serendipity

Sometimes locals are the best source of go to for tourist info so when our Book Group inquired at Spurgeon's Winery for places we shouldn't miss en route to our Mineral Point destination,  we were told to head to the Popcorn store. I wondered if this was going to be like the first winery, not quite worth our while but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 Off we went with directions on a country road recently graveled due to the past week's heavy rain and washout. I was quite relieved when it became black top again and I could increase traveling speed a bit.  As I accelerated on an incline, a stop sign appeared out of nowhere necessitating a quick brake application before the T intersection. Gee, I hope I don't get sued for whiplash. ( It would be my luck to find another vehicle had I not stopped! )

As long as we were at a complete stop and uncertain whether to turn left/ right, we opted for the wrong direction for a couple of miles and  back tracked to the small town of Highland en route.  We were back on track heading south another 10 miles before our turn off to find Rural Route 1 Popcorn. It wasn't quite Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, but a great stop.

The history of this gourmet popcorn was really interesting since in the 80's, farmers were compensated to let lands go fallow and with a decrease need for seed corn,  the owners opted to experiment with 25 acres of their seed corn land for gourmet corn since it used the same equipment. Hence a new cottage industry began and now several hundred of their 3000 acres are used for this purpose. Quality rather than quantity ( high yielding corn) is used. Besides yellow and white popping corn, various flavors are mixed up in nearby Montford.

One could sample / request other flavors
It was quite a sight to the see the popcorn bins besides the nice sized gift shop. It was time for testing a wide variety of flavors, cheddar cheese, sour cream... among others with our group's favorite being jalapeño.   Natureman lucked out that I picked out the SS Dunkle, 'out of this world' popcorn that is dipped in fudge and then sprinkled with sea salt.

SS Dunkle to die for...
OK it was worth the unplanned stop...Ah serendipity again.  I had found the perfect thing to take back home to End of the Rainbow Valley... 

And I know how to get more. Here's the link in case you are interested:http://www.ruralroute1.com


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Delinquent in So Many Ways...

So you may have noticed some delinquency on my part with no blog entries for 2 days last week... Well,  I played hooky with the girls last Wednesday as our book group, The Happy Bookers, with a field trip to the south western part of the state. En route we had our first stops in the town of Fennimore  at a local diner, Frederick's, where a piece of homemade pie is just $2.50 (just one reason to love small towns) and a place I had intended to stop at before which was the museum home of the Railroad Historical Society and the docent was thrilled to have our company... After beginning our photo journal off we went down the street...


One ringy dingy
to Carr's Cheese Shoppe for a variety of cheeses for our evening game, wine & cheese soiree.  SO we had the game and the cheese only  only one thing missing... Yes,

some wine purchases.  A trusty GPS made sure it was as the sign said:



Our first winery stop was Whispering Winds where maybe fate had us finding a locked door ???
We obviously interrupted the day's one man bottling operation of a wine ironically named 'Autumn Breeze' as it was a 90 degree day and I think the owner really would have appreciated an autumn breeze, don't you?

 Downstairs in the bottling area didn't appear to be much cooler from the looks of things...
The girls gave me the empathy award for making a purchase at this stop but if they really think about it, there weren't many stops that I didn't buy something... My motto is to support local businesses but I have to admit  we all enjoyed our next stop better. 

We learned more about the different wines and I left with 2 award winners,  Spurgeon's Grand Raspberry and their Cranberry.

We also enjoyed their gift shop and everybody left with at least one souvenir of our visit, wine coasters to use for the rest of our stay in Mineral Point.  What's a girl without her own personal drink coaster.


 It doesn't take much to make us Happy Bookers...

A girl's day is always special even if one lives in the End of the Rainbow Valley... But you know I am thinking we do grow grapes.  Nah, I'll leave those for jelly and juice and leave the winemaking to the wineries.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Serendipitous


The planners of our book group club's Mineral Point overnighter did a great job of planning stops, lodging and eateries.  So don't get me wrong if I say the best part of the 48 hours was the unplanned part.

Upon our return walk from a yummy dinner wafting through the air was singing. Whether it was chorale practice/ a performance at the Shake Rag Arts Center, our neighbor, our group set out to investigate as I headed in to shower and remove the day's dust and sweat.

Mexi'k'an?
I hurriedly jumped in the shower to cool off, clean up and then head out to join the others.  It took a bit of sleuth work as the music had stopped and following voices might have led into a private party. As luck would have it, there in a small outdoor theater in a wooded clearing the musical The 25th  Annual Putnam 's County Spelling Bee's cast was in rehearsal.

We were invited to be an honorary audience. Unbeknownst to me was that preceding my arrival, the others had given their names and were to be participants in the Spelling Bee.  So much fun to sit back and watch them on stage being middle schoolers.

What a hoot! And their spelling wasn't bad either...



Here's the original cast...
Three of us in this pic... Far left back row, and 3rd and 4th in front

There was an opportunity to Can Can

AND raise the roof!
It was definitely worth the extra mosquito bites to enjoy live theater out in the woods of Mineral Point.  You just can't plan everything. Serendipity reigned!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Free?

There's something happening in a lot of communities around the U.S. and I was reminded about this charming phenomena this past week again.  It's something that helps community building through sharing and this time it's through reading.

Reading?  Yes, reading.  Little Free Libraries. We all have books lying around at home, right? So when you are through with a book you purchased/ were given, you place it inside this box that appears to be a very large bird house on a stick on private/public property. I first saw these mini libraries in a Milwaukee suburb in a residential yard near the sidewalk where a passerby can peruse its contents and borrow/ take a book. The understanding is that you will either return the book when you finish/ perhaps donate a book to its contents yourself.

The homemade libraries are causing quite a stir as you can see by my book group, the Happy Hookers on our outing to Mineral Point.

Mineral Point, WI
These libraries come in all shapes. Sometimes they are built by one person as a fundraiser/ individuals purchase/build their own. I personally have seen garden shed shaped, castles, church cottages/ houses. There were some for sale in a gallery we saw for $300.00 so they are definite pieces of art and can be personalized / as plain as you'd like.

This library gem was in Stockholm, WI
I have given serious  thought  about having one as we certainly have the yard space and interesting reading material ... but do you think I'd get much traffic back here in the End of the Rainbow Valley?

Nah, me neither. I guess I will just have to enjoy these Little Free Libraries in someone  else's yard...
Are you game?




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ZIP It? No, SEAL It.

I know you are really going to be jealous now because while in Little Rock I received a very special gift  for Mother's Day and it has finally been taken out of the box as the garden is producing. It's first job was cilantro. My toy is called a "Food Saver."



The details of our previous frozen storage technique 'was' pretty 'high' tech.(Sarcasm)  Ziploc bags and a straw to suck out the air. Well the new kitchen aid once plugged in, is a sealer that automatically vacuums out the air and excess liquid and then heat seals the bags shut. Pretty fancy, eh?

                                           Today beans got the treatment.



Now if I just didn't have to label those bags by hand, life would be so much easier here in the End of the Rainbow Valley. Wink, wink.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Berry, Berry Nice

Weeding has been more difficult than usual with our Wisconsin summer's rainy June and extremely buggy hot July weather.



Natureman decided to plant the new raspberry bushes roadside inbetween the coop and the wild, and I mean, wild as in crazy asparagus patch, that airy looking mass on the right, raspberry bushes on far left in the front.


To tell the truth,  access and soil will definitely be better for these new raspberry bushes and so far there have been some very good berries picked.

But there are more berries to be had and  off to the back pasture Natureman went on a 90 degree day to pick a bucketful of black berrries that Mother Nature has provided.

It is a very sticky job in more ways than one. Besides juices, those brambles can be torture even with long sleeves and pants. (Hint always wear your thickest jeans.)


 Super sweet haul!


I am afraid that they might get polished off  before they have a chance to  make it  into a pie...

Have no fear,  there are a lot more out there if you want to come picking, but be sure and wear old clothes when you come to go picking in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Say -Vee - Chay, Now Add Ceh rah cha

Driving into 'town' has some advantages so besides the view, another is catching some radio waves.  Thank goodness Natureman had switched my station to WPR so I happened to catch a recipe using sriracha, an Asian chili sauce with garlic also called 'Rooster Sauce.'  In fact, the radio guest, Randy Clemens has written a new book with 50 sriracha based recipes. It's not just one of my favorite new spices but also many of my countrymen are just discovering this 'hot' addition to their cooking. Just recently I told you about hotness and roosters in the Valley so it just stands to reason that I loved this recipe and so might you...

After hearing the ingredients I was missing the fish to a great summer cold seafood dish popular in Spain called Ceviche.

I'd be making the Kosher version since most seafood doesn't enter End of the Rainbow Valley. Fresh tilapia does and would be easy to find besides being affordable, it is also mild flavored.  Natureman likes having fish on the menu occasionally although cooking with fish is not usually my favorite.

This makes a lot so be sure and invite some guests to share!


SRIRACHA CEVICHE

1½ lbs Seafood ( shrimp, scallops, yellowtail, tilapia/ kampachi) 
½ c Freshly squeezed lime juice 
¼ c Freshly squeezed orange juice 
2 -3 med tomatoes, diced 
Lg red onion, diced 
2 Persian cucumbers, diced 
1 ear fresh sweet corn, kernels only 
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Jalapeño, seeded and minced ( I omitted this)
½ c fresh cilantro chopped, plus more for garnish 
2 T Extra Virgin olive oil 
1/2 c Sriracha  ( start with 1/4 c and adjust to personal hotness) 
1 c tomato juice or V8 vegetable juice 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 Avocado, sliced, for garnish 

Directions

Allow about 4 hours- there's a reason as that seafood marinades and ' cooks' refrigerating in these citric juices 

1. In  large bowl, combine  seafood with  lime and orange juices.

2.Cover and let sit in frig, stirring occasionally, until  flesh becomes firm and opaque, about 3 hours. 

3. Add  tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, corn, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, oil, Sriracha, and            tomato juice, stir.
  
4. Cover and refrigerate for another 30 to 60 minutes to allow flavors to marry. 

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

6. Serve in chilled bowls / martini glassess

7. Garnish with sliced avocado and cilantro. 


Servings: 8


Buen Provecho

Friday, July 12, 2013

Crazy Days...

Natureman calls me a hunter and gatherer.  That being said, July is my favorite month because that's when I get to show my prowess at seeking out the city's bargains in downtown La Crosse.

Usually Crazy Days are closer to my birthday but the Art Fair on the Green got that weekend. That's OK because I claim everything is for my birthday anyway.  The better the bargain, the better the gift.  You never really knew you needed an item until you see it on a sale rack/table. 
  
                                                                                                                                    Crazy Days are filled with sidewalk sales and entertainment.  This year chalk artist/s added drawings to the sidewalks to all those bargains. Check out the shoe design in the drawing's dress. Oh my, it must be a shoe store...


I struck it rich finding a parking space in front of one of my favorite stops call Kick, an amazing shoe store. Most of the time, it's my daughter that benefits from their bargains since if the fit is a bit big for me, she can wear them. This year I found boots. Summer is the best time to find a good buy on boots and she doesn't need winter boots in Atlanta, so guess who gets these? A girl can never have too many boots in Wisconsin.

That shoe store block was a goldmine. I didn't have to go far for other bargain purchases as the next 3 stores held 'special' treasures. Next to the shoe store sits a gift store on one side, a women's clothing store on the other and around the corner the third, upcyles, found old items like battered doors/ windows created into new architectural interest pieces.  It's amazing how clever people are.
     
                      My find this year was a 'rusty' scrap metal rooster. 

Rusty even got a check out sniff from Romeo, the excellent watchdog that he is...
Rusty begged to come home with me and be added to my Coop Garden.  He will really be happy to see the girls and they in turn will be glad that he isn't real. (You know there's a reason the male chickens are called cocks and why we don't have any. ) 

Natureman says Rusty's too nice to be left outside. After a couple times of being sprayed with clear lacquer Rusty should be just fine in his new home here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Honey, I am HOT...

How is it that summer always flies by so fast? I hate to admit it but we are halfway through summer.

10 Summer markers have been met:

1. Corn is way past knee high now that we have had a very hot first week of July.
2. Fireflies have been out in force.
3. Birds are laying their second nest of eggs.
4. Farmers have gotten into their wet fields, hayed & planted albeit a bit later than usual due to rains.
5. Wood has been stacked.
6. Wednesday summer concerts in the park are almost done. 2 left.
7. I survived deer fly season, am dealing with no seeums as are the chickens sweat bees & mosquitoes.
8. The hanging flower baskets are looking a bit peaked.
9. I'm sick of weeding. BTW if you ever want physical exercise you can come weed for free.
10. Our AC has been used.

TO honor this summer heat, this year's new addition to the garden is a Hot Papaya coneflower isn't it HOT?



The blooming princess spirea bushes have doubled in sized ( who marked them dwarf?) and are  a' buzzing with 100's of bumble bees,  the lilies are popping like crazy.


 Every day there's something new opening in the garden.  The seed/tuber planted cosmos, zinnias and dahlias  are blooming. The first hollyhocks have started. 

 



The prairie flowers are going crazy on the hillside.

Summertime is in full force. Windows are open and evenings are filled with the sounds of owls hooting.

Summer life in the End of the Rainbow Valley being half over only means Winter will be here a lot sooner than I'd like to think...




Wednesday, July 10, 2013

'Wood' Ya, Could 'ya, Just Wait ?

It's pretty obvious when a big dumptruck comes down a country gravel road, especially ours.  Romeo, the ever companionable watch dog also jumps to attention and rushes down the road to greet guests.

Who do you think it was on this unusual humid hot summer July day?  Even the cute guy from, get this, Hook and Haul, who delivers our slab wood load couldn't get me to leave the confines of the house's cool comfort.

On a 90 degree day of all days, the winter's heat has been dumped and an excited Natureman insisted on starting to stack it. All morning and most of the afternoon he stacked.  He wouldn't wait for a cooler day. (He had even switched on the house air to demonstrate how hot it was.)


Well I, the Southerner, was not going to be part of that mishigas (craziness). I  know humidity and heat and didn't want any part of heatstroke nor those ferocious hungry bugs so I stayed inside with the AC. 
I should also mention my discomfort since yesterday while picking snap peas, a tiny sweat bee decided to sting the only unsprayed non clothed area, my eyelid. My eyelid had doubled in size. 




Looks like we won't only be warm this summer  but also this winter right here in the End of the Rainbow Valley.  Natureman was as busy as a beaver stacking wood.  He just couldn't wait for a cooler day for his city mouse's help...  What a Natureman!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

'Wining' about the Weather

Summer arrived in grand style this past weekend with 90 degree temps.  Have you ever ridden in a convertible with the top down and the AC on?

Well, we did as our Miata trip didn't start until mid afternoon and it was 'HOT' so we headed for a river ride north to Alma, a small river town, with great scenic views, quaint galleries and bars filled with lots of bikers. In fact the bikers were out in force on Saturday. Lots of leather, skin and of course tattoos. Harley Davidsons appeared to be the ride of choice.

Our favorite Alma eatery had closed at 2. Uh oh, now I was both hungry and hot, not a good combo.  The town's Legion's chicken-que wasn't ready until 4 so we had a good half hour to kill.  Plant shopping was done, a stroll up and down the 3 downtown blocks took just enough time for us to be the first in line for the take out dinners to head up for a picnic at the scenic bluff overlook.

We parked in the only bit of shade as the  bikers had left just enough room for us. Once I woofed down the chicken dinner, we sauntered to the overlook for a scenic view of and I quote "the 240,000 acre Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge System of public lands and waters set aside to conserve wildlife for future generations."



Boats awaiting their turn at the locks
It was hazy albeit spectacular. Alma is an important town as the energy companies want to bring the power line through here as well as frac mining companies want mining rights. The city has voted on a ordinance to prevent the mining. But the power lines will be crossing the River here as the courts ruled that too many investors would be hurt if the line is stopped.  TS is what we respond since our state doesn't need nor will receive power from these massive CAPX 2020 lines.
That would be Dairy Land Power on the left 


There was a breeze on the ridge...

After admiring the view, we continued on to visit Danzinger Vineyards which is included on the Great River Wine Trail and where the owner 'kibbutzed' with us about how he as a dairy farmer for 50 years in the area (500 cows) decided to grow grapes and now has 20 acres for his vineyard.  His boys take care of the dairy operation and family take turns helping out in the vineyard business. ( In winter, he like many other smart senior Wisconsinites heads to Florida, Ft Myers.)


The site is impressive as you see the River and it's a great setting with a beautiful stone building for tasting/ shopping, a party room and an impressive large deck for weddings/ whatever the occasion.  

There's even a building on site for fermenting the wine where you can peer in the windows.

AND... if you time it right, you can also enjoy musical evenings with your wine.

It's definitely worth the drive... you should check it out.


Our grapes are looking good this year in the End of the Rainbow Valley but I'll be glad to let somebody else like Danzinger's take care of making the wine ...



Monday, July 8, 2013

Fresh... Are you getting fresh?

The garden has started producing and nothing is better than summer dinners straight from the garden. Tonight's stir fry featured sugar snap peas picked this morning. They were so crisp and beautiful green.

Thursday's garden salad dinner consisted of the garden lettuces, swiss chard, beet greens, onion, baby carrots and squash, snap peas, sun kissed strawberries, all topped with sliced hard boiled egg and dill. And yes, the egg came from one of the girls in the coop which is part of the garden plot.



Natureman  also concocted one his infamous homemade salad dressings. YUMMY!

 Of course it was even fresher as we enjoyed our meal on the screened porch.  We can't get any more local nor fresh than eating from right here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Four Letter Word ... Spelled with More Letters. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I need to start this entry with the comment - Natureman loves his campfires.  SO it came as no surprise that he would want to have a weenie roast to celebrate the Fourth of July.  He doesn't understand that not everybody loves a weenie roast as much as he does. In fact, his partner, namely me, starts dreading them as soon as he mentions his intentions.  We will get to why...

When the rain finally subsided its remains didn't just evaporate as we found out on our Miata excursions last week.  Farmers's fields still had water standing and Mother Nature's handiwork  was pretty apparent in some of the campgrounds with river frontage. Wouldn't you say?

We won't be picnicking here anytime soon unless we wear our rain boots/ bring our canoe.



It also would have been difficult to use the facilities but at least I would know what speed I needed to maintain to get there.

BTW that's the port 'o potty on the right!

Humor is always important at times like this/ else you'd be terribly upset if this was your vacation place.
When I saw these sights, I did feel sorry for those vacationers and all I could think think of was all that standing water. Standing water means breeding grounds for thousands of mosquitoes.

Some of you might be old enough to remember that Off commercial where the guy sticks his arm in the aquarium filled with swarming mosquitoes and they all avoid his arm because he has sprayed with the insect repellant.  Well, let me just say that wouldn't have been my arm.

Mosquitoes love me.  They are my 4 letter word spelled with more than four letters. It has to be the plural too because more than one will find me.  I can rub, spray/ douse/ heck bathe in any repellant and they will find me and bite. Some people are blessed to not be bothered by them, I am not one of those. The bite immediately starts swelling and oh I start itching.

AND when you have a summertime weenie roast and want to eat before dark, translated 9pm, you have to gather when the mosquitoes are out in force : DUSK. (There's a 4-letter word.) Last night was no exception.

We live in the woods, there are going to be mosquitoes.  All I can is they are going to be well fed this year in the End of the Rainbow Valley...