ANN BAILEY: Pesky gnats bug golden retrieverOne upside of our cool, windy start to the summer is the lack of mosquitoes. Even though, we have a lot of standing water in the fields near our house, we haven’t had to battle the blood-sucking little monsters when we’re gardening, mowing and going on walks. But we have been bugged by gnats. They swarmed around us when we were planting the garden and I’ve swallowed a few when I’ve been doing the trimming around the farmyard with the push mower.
One upside of our cool, windy start to the summer is the lack of mosquitoes. Even though, we have a lot of standing water in the fields near our house, we haven’t had to battle the blood-sucking little monsters when we’re gardening, mowing and going on walks.
But we have been bugged by gnats. They swarmed around us when we were planting the garden and I’ve swallowed a few when I’ve been doing the trimming around the farmyard with the push mower.
Oh nuts, gnats
I didn’t view the gnats as much more than another one of nature’s annoyances, though, until a couple of weeks ago when my daughter, Ellen’s, golden retriever, Rosebud, had a fairly serious reaction to their bites.
After spending some time outside near us while we were gardening, we noticed that Rosebud’s face has swelled up and she was squinting at us through slightly bloody, watery eyes. Upon further examination we saw that she had red, blotchy marks on her belly. She soon began scratching furiously at her face, eyes and belly.
I called our veterinary hospital and left a message with the after-hours answering service about Rosebud’s symptoms and asked to have the on-call veterinarian call us back. He did, within a few minutes, and after asking my husband, Brian, a few questions, told him that Rosebud likely had an allergic reaction to gnat bites.
The vet advised Brian to give Rosebud a dose of diphenhydramine, an antihistamine, every eight hours until the swelling had reduced and the itching had eased. He also told him that we should monitor her breathing and if it became rapid or labored, to immediately bring her to the clinic.
Diphenhydramine to the rescue
We didn’t have any diphenhydramine, so I called my sister, Bonnie, who said she had some on hand. Her husband and son dropped a box over a little while later and we wrapped the dosage the vet had suggested in turkey and Rosebud swallowed the tablets.
After Rosebud finished taking the medicine Ellen laid a blanket on the couch next to her and petted her until Rosebud fell asleep. The diphenhydramine helped Rosebud sleep through the night until it was time for her next dosage early the following morning. By mid-day, it was evident the medication was working and the swelling on Rosebud’s cheeks was greatly reduced. Meanwhile, her eyes were no longer watering and she had stopped squinting.
That evening Rosebud looked and acted like her old self. Since then, we’ve been careful not to tie her out near the garden where the gnats seem to congregate. We also have a full box of diphenhydramine on hand. I thought we had a pretty good supply of first aid equipment and medication for our dogs and horses, but now I know that antihistamine is an important one we left out.
We hope Rosebud — and our other two dogs —won’t have an allergic reaction, but we want to be prepared in case they do.
When it comes to recipes, I think I’m jinxed. Last week, I ‘fessed up to forgetting to list two ingredients to a rhubarb recipe that ran the previous week. When I read my column in the newspaper this week, my heart dropped to my stomach when I saw that sugar, one of the ingredients, that I had added to the batter portion of the recipe so it would be correct, was edited out before it was printed.
I considered briefly not running another corrected version of the recipe, because I was concerned I had lost my credibility. However, my conscience wouldn’t allow me to leave the error uncorrected so here the recipe is, again.
If you’re in doubt as to whether you should trust this version, remember, the third time is a charm.
*1 16-ounce package frozen strawberries
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
Zc cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine and cook strawberries and rhubarb for five minutes. Mix sugar and cornstarch and add to strawberry-rhubarb mixture. Stir in lemon juice. Cook and stir until thick; cool.
1 cup butter
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
*1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift dry ingredients in bowl. Cut butter into pieces and cut into dry ingredients. Quickly stir in buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until moist. Spread half of batter in 9-by-13-inch pan. Spread filling over batter. Dot with remaining batter.
½ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Mix ingredients. Sprinkle over top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is set.
*Note: I used fresh strawberries instead of frozen and they worked well. I also substituted ½ teaspoon of almond extract for the vanilla. I liked the results even better.