Gimme All the DEETs!

We welcomed our first official guests to Casa P. (or is “Ye Olde Homestead” better?) on Saturday. Stephanie is a blogging friend from way back, though like Tara, she long ago hung up her proverbial quill. We met up with them once before, in Portland. Had a great time but figured we’d never see them again, since they lived 2,000 miles away.

Fast-forward seven years, and the gap has shrunk to 900 miles. They’re in North Carolina now, and because Stephanie is super into gardening, she wanted to visit Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, WI, which is apparently well-known amongst gardening nerds, though I like to think the fact that we live here now had something to do with that decision. She and Tara have bonded over alliums and stinkweed and variegated whateverthef@cs, so she invited us to tag along as they checked out the farm. We figured we might as well meet up for breakfast first, and then since they’d traveled all that way, why not have them over to our place for dinner? Just like that, it turned into An All-Day Thing.

But a good one. I may not be into plants like those two, but the perennial farm was beautifully landscaped and had a lot of cool features, which made for interesting photo opps.

Afterward, they made the 45-minute drive out to our place, where we gave them a tour of the yard and hung out on the deck for a few hours, listening to records and sipping adult beverages and chatting. Sometimes about things not garden-related! I grilled chicken, Tara made macaroni and cheese, and they brought an apple pie from Lake Geneva, where they were staying. It was a good time, and Laverne & Shirley were on their best behavior. We didn’t know how they’d react to company, but they couldn’t have cared less. 

“Congratulations!” they told us on their way out. “You aced the Stephanie and Jon hospitality test!”

Good thing, because we really don’t entertain that often. And it was perfect practice for my parents, who arrive tomorrow for a week-long stay. 

It’s been a long time since they’ve bunked with us. When they came out to Wisconsin last October, we were in our subterranean apartment and didn’t have a guest bed, so they stayed in a motel. Earlier in 2022 they’d planned a visit to Rapid City; their luggage made it, but they never did. 

I hope they packed mosquito repellent, ‘cause man alive, those suckers are out en masse. I think our yard might be an official Mosquito Sanctuary? I cannot set foot in the backyard without emerging covered in bites, even after spraying myself with insect repellent.

I was using some hippie-dippy DEET-free spray that contained ingredients like sunbeams and unicorn tears but that wasn’t doing shit, so I switched to Deep Woods OFF!. I know some people don’t like using possibly toxic chemicals, but I am not one of those people. Gimme all the DEETs! The CDC says as long as you don’t breathe it in, swallow it, or get it in your eyes, it’s perfectly safe. I’ll take DEET over malaria or dengue fever or Zika virus any day.

Having said that, even lathered in the stuff, I still manage to end up with bites. You have to reapply every so often, but the problem is, “every so often” is awfully vague. Apparently, two hours spent cutting the grass and pulling weeds while sweating in the warm sun is too long to go between applications, because I still ended up with a fresh round of bites yesterday. 

Mosquitoes: they’ll be the death of me.

(Hopefully not literally.)

What’s a good name for our new pad? Do you have a lot of mosquitoes out your way? What do you to do protect yourself from bites?

49 thoughts on “Gimme All the DEETs!

  1. Yay! Sounds like fun and who doesn’t love that? I’m glad Laverne and Shirley kept the cattiness to a minimum, but bummer about the mosquitos. Obviously they don’t know where they’re not wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The trouble with nature is the damn bugs! I refuse to go camping anytime other than the fall, but with kids in hockey season that never happened. So, outdoor activities (for me) are planned carefully around bug season and limited to certain times of the day and time and dates and whatnot. Also, nudity is not recommended unless you like itchy hives all over no matter how private your backyard digs are. 😀

    Don’t ask me how I know this. 😇

    Anyway, I hate sticky smelly sprays but they say certain plants are repellant to bugs. Ask Tara to do some research and organize a few planters and maybe some smoking fire tiki torch things and you should be able to enjoy your outdoor space anytime before and after dusk when the bugs are at minimal.

    Question: what’s the mosquito situation in South Dakota or in desert type places? I don’t recall any in Sedona when we went there almost 20 years ago…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny you should mention the tiki torches. We’ve got four of them set up around one of the ponds, and yes, they contain citronella-based fuel to keep the mosquitoes away. We haven’t fired them up yet, but this next week will be a good opportunity to try them out. They worked pretty well in Rapid City, though to be fair, the mosquitoes weren’t as bad there.

      Also funny you should mention nudity and backyards, because…well. Just because.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mosquitoes are probably breeding in the pond? Those fish need to step up their game and eat the larvae. Maybe a cheese or brat theme house name, although I can’t think of one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The ponds don’t help, but there are mosquito repellent pods you can use to prevent them from breeding there. We tossed a couple in when we first moved in, but they only last a month, so it’s time to add some more now.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. They do lay their eggs and stagnant water. Used to work for an entomologist and participated in a mosquito repellent study. Ponds or open sources of stagnant water are very attractive to these pesky bugs.

      I say put the tiki torches around the patio where humans congregate. 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 2 people

  4. if you can install a bat house (not kidding, and not too big) outside, they each eat 1,000s of them a day and good for pollination as well. (i used to teach the kids of a couple of bat scientists). and they are not vampire bats so shy around people and you don’t have to worry unless you’re a mosquito. that farm looks really cool and sounds like a gardener’s delight.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Where’s there’s standing water, there are mosquitoes. Ponds without fountains are breeding magnets. Invest in some dragonflies, they eat the larvae. I tend to be a black fly favorite and the bastards feast on me like a drunken sailor. Bring on the DEET.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Love the gardens but hate mosquitoes. Don’t have any here or no problem with them anyway. The entertaining sounds like fun! As the weather gets nicer I will consider a few get togethers chez moi.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Western Washington, but not by any water. Plus, mosquitoes don’t generally like me. I traveled around in West Africa with my older daughter; she got bit a lot and I didn’t have a single bite.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mosquito Manse. Mosquito Manor. Mosquito Motel. Mirkwood. Mirkwood & Mosquitos. MarTar’s Mosquito Manor. Birds-n-Bug Bites. Bug Bite B&B. DEET & John Deere Domain. DEET & Dengue (formerly known as Dick’s). I could go on all day, but since Laverne & Shirley live there, maybe it should be Shotz Brewery?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like “the homestead” no ye olde….I am allergic to bug bites, so I’m all about protection. I use off. It’s dangerous for me to get bitten, so not getting bitten is my biggest concern

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I prefer Ye Olde Homestead, but if you’re going with that, you might as well add “Petrustic” before Homestead.
    Yay, you got any hosting kinks out with the Carolinians. We’ll be over shortly. 😉
    We get mosquitoes, but so far not a problem this year. What do I do about them? Go inside.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m laughing about the “ingredients like sunbeams and unicorn tears.” Right – not the active ingredients in OFF. When I went to South America in college and we lived with an Indian tribe in the jungle for a couple of weeks, the trip leader recommended we wear long shirts and long pants and also do the mosquito spray. But we were college kids. One of the women in my hut counted 120 bug bites on one arm – because we were also bored in the middle of the afternoon when it was so hot. 🙂

    Hope you have a great visit with your parents!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The mosquitoes were terrible at our last house. They’re nowhere near as bad at current home which is surprising because we’re now in a much more rural environment. Our house is very rustic and we call it The Cabin. I agree with an earlier comment; I like The Homestead without the “Ye Olde”.🤷‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Our last name also begins with a P, so we’ve always called our house The P(last name) Palace. It has a nice ring and I don’t mind sharing it.

    I don’t notice mosquitoes here, but I’m not outside at night too often. I’ve never seen one during the day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We used to call our townhouse the Pleasure Palace. Gotta admit, I still like that one!

      I guess all the mosquitoes don’t like paying tolls to get from Wisconsin to Ohio.


  13. I am terrible at naming things (we refer to our trailer as “the trailer” despite it having an actual name), so I won’t chime in here. I do enjoy thinking of your place as The Property though. Hurray for your first hosting experience! Sounds like a naturally occurring fun time.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Congratulations on your first visitors!! Hopefully, they’ll leave you a nice Yelp Review. 🙂 Of course, I would have loved to visit the gardens, too; sounds like a great day to me.

    Mark, I am a Mosquito Magnet. It’s pitiful how they choose me. I bought three Dynatraps for our 2.5 acre property and put them around the house; it’s made a huge difference for me. You might want to try one on your deck area and see for yourself. Costco sells them on occasion, but you can also get them on Amazon. No deet. No Spray, and they don’t kill bees or butterflies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somebody else mentioned Dynatraps, too. I’d never heard of them before but it sounds like something worth looking into.

      If they don’t give me at least a 4-star review I’m going to be so pissed…


  15. I vote for Palace Petruska 😉 I’m with you on the DEET as I’m a magnet for anything that bites, and I get huge great wheals and turn into a positively oozing sore from the scratching (sorry for the TMI).

    That garden does look rather fine – lovely pics indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Not only mosquitos, but black flies here. Someone told me once, how they don’t use DEET because of the chemicals. My response was, “they way I figure it, I did not start using DEET until I was over 60 years old, If I get cancer in 30 years I think I’m good.”

    Liked by 1 person

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