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The Gnature Of Gnats

June 12, 2014
by Kate Myers , Emmetsburg News

It is really hard to believe, but June is nearly half over! It must be about time to gear up for all the summer activities taking place in the next couple months. Having an ample supply of bug spray and sunscreen is going to be a must.

A couple weeks ago my mom asked if the gnats had arrived. At the time, I told her they had not. But just like trees budding and flowers blooming, we had to wait a little longer. And arrive they did.

Gnats seem to love me and my body does not return the affection. Just like my sense of humor, I have inherited my allergy to gnat bites from my dad. These pesky critters caused me to wonder how long I will have to battle the buggers. I am no entomologist, but from what I have read, these biting gnats are also known as buffalo gnats. It seems they live as larvae in shallow, clear, fast running water of rivers and streams and are most common during late spring and early summer. Like mosquitoes they feed on blood. The female gnats are the ones that cause the problem. Interestingly, they only bite during the day and lucky for us they have only one generation. So after about three four weeks, they will be out of our hair.

I have found some success using a natural spray that has lemongrass oil as its base.

This weekend, tractors taking part in the KCID Tractor Ride will be touring our neck of the Northwest Iowa woods. This will be the 15th year for the ride. After touring the Milford/Lake Park/Everly area on Friday, the group will take off from Spencer on Saturday morning, June 14 and head east. They will be taking their morning break at Lost Island Nature Center, having lunch at Salmon Park near Ayrshire then heading to Webb before finishing their trip. If you plan to be traveling the county roads, please take care if you see this group. Having gotten behind a group of tractors in the past, I know it can feel like you are crawling along, but for everyone's safety, patience is appreciated.

Next Friday, June 20th, Palo Alto's Relay for Life will be taking place on the Courthouse Square in Emmetsburg. In support of the event, a group of us participated in a 4th Annual Conquer Cancer 5K/Fun Run last Saturday and flocks of flamingos are traveling around the town hoping to be fed with donations to the cause.

I decided I was showing my age, if not my musical taste, when I read through the Boston Globe's 100 Years of Songs of Summer. Their criteria for the list was that the songs were either released during the summer or peaked in popularity during the summer of their release.

With the exception of the 2012 choice, Gangham Style, I didn't recognize any of the musical titles from this century. Ricky Martin's Living the Viva Loca from 1999 gave me hope I was wasn't truly out of touch! As I looked through the list, I was most familiar with the songs released before Chris and I started our family. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson was the choice for 1983. That made perfect sense, as did the 1981 song by Kim Carnes, Bette Davis Eyes. And who could forget the 1978 hit Night Fever by the BeeGees!? Doesn't just the mention of the 1975 hit Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain and Tennile make you want to burst out singing?

Reading through the list from the 1970's is like visiting with friends at a class reunion.

Many have become staples. I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher marked 1965, Patsy Cline's I Fall To Pieces got the nod for 1961 and the perennial Isty Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini hit the charts in 1960. Elvis brought us Hound Dog in 1956. Good Night Irene hit the charts in 1950 and Tommy Dorsey's Just As Though You Were Here was the pick for 1942. Gene Autry made it big with Back In The Saddle Again in 1939, while Happy Days Are Here Again was the favorite in 1932. I was surprised that Ain't Misbehavin' was from 1929 and was not one bit surprised that Over There was on the list for 1917.

As we sail through the summer, I hope to take the time to enjoy all the area has to offer. The music will be blaring as we travel with the Jeep's soft-top down and my bug spray at the ready.



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