Bugging out

As part of our weekday morning routine, Hubby Bryan and I have devised a new form of workout. We call it the Walk and Swat.

Our year-round ritual — on days when it isn’t snowing, below zero temps or raining heavily — is to go for a quick walk every morning. We don’t go far, probably about a mile, just enough to get the body moving and muscles stretched out.

On Monday, as we headed down the street, we suddenly realized we were under sneak attack. Swarms of mosquitoes were lurking just around the corner from our house, and as we passed their headquarters they surreptitiously began their blood-sucking quest. Pretty soon, Bryan was swatting bugs off my back, and I was returning the favor.

We must have been quite the sight to behold as we progressed down the street, alternately doing body scans and smacking the tiny tiny pests as we spotted them. But it was certainly more of a workout than just walking.

I have to admit to a bit of paranoia where mosquitoes are concerned. In the past, I’ve had the misfortune of several bad reactions to bug bites that have turned into serious infections. Over the last two very dry years, mosquitoes haven’t been much of a worry, but this year I am resigned to covering myself with bug spray. I just didn’t think to do it before our morning walk.

With the way the mosquito population is booming this year and inability to treat our yard with a hose-end sprayer repellant due to the continued watering ban, I don’t think I’ll be able to venture out to get the mail out of the mailbox without the proper head-to-toe precautions.

Another thing that is booming this year due to our recent rains is my herb garden. I love to pick the big leaves of basil and scatter them over roasted vegetables or in salads.

Monday is salad day at our house, so each week I’ve been experimenting with different toppings and homemade dressing choices. So far, this lemon dressing is one of my favorites. Since I was out of honey, I used 1 teaspoon agave nectar in its place. Besides on a lettuce salad, it would be good drizzled over roasted broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus.

Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette

Whisk together 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt, ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, 2 teaspoons honey, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt.

I hear from my gardening friends that there is also a bumper crop of radishes, so a recent email from Laura Gjerde of Wilmont is particularly timely.

“Don’t know if I’m the Johnny Come Lately to the roasted radish party, but if you’ve never tried them, you should — a great way to use an early garden abundance,” writes Laura. “Simply cut them in half (quarter the big ones). Toss in extra virgin olive oil to coat. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and dried thyme leaves; Roast at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. They get very sweet and are really good — who knew?”

Thanks for the tip, Laura. I didn’t know about roasting radishes and will have to give it a try.

If you’ve got a recipe or method for seasonal produce, be sure to share it by emailing me at brickers@dglobe.com.

One thought on “Bugging out

  1. I highly recommend wearing 1 or 2 “bug bandanas” — the fabric is impregnated with permethrin, a “natural” insect repellent. (Best to hand-wash in cool water and line dry, and wash infrequently.) I swear by them–I’ve worn them while camping near Ely and got nary a bite (when I get bitten by mosquitoes or black flies each bite swells up the size of a quarter!). Available at REI (where I got mine), and Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/ExOfficio-3153-2061-8050-One-Size-Bugsaway-Paisley/dp/B00FAN8GVW/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0CGCD6P5K83A5CD3NMMF

    Also, if/when you do get bitten, take a Benedryl tablet or capsule as soon as possible (but it will also work a day later)–it really helps minimize the itching/swelling of the bites.

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