Dealing with Insect Bites

Recently I went with a church group to help clean up after Canton’s tornado. Part of the cleanup was removing pieces of a house from a pasture. Would you believe it, several of us got chigger bites?

The question was: “What do I do for chigger bites?

One answer was to rub Listerine on them several times a day. That’s necessary because it rubs off. Supposedly Listerine makes chigger bites stop itching.

Another answer was to paint them with nail polish. Colorless nail polish was suggested, but guys could use their feminine companions’ red nail polish in a pinch. This puts a nice air-proof crust on top of the chigger bite. Supposedly this suffocates the chigger.

If you put nail polish on a chigger bite, don’t use nail polish remover to take it off. It hurts.


Journeying into the land of slender

Well, dear readers, I promised I would keep you up to date on my health status.  I know you're all impatient for my report, shifting from one foot to another.  And here it is! 

In March, I decided to stop drinking soft drinks.  Our friend, Bob Moore (who writes the column 'Walking With Bob'), has the right idea.  Since March, I've lost 30 pounds.  Drinking more water, being a little more careful at the buffet line, stuff like that.  I could stand to lose more, and slowly but surely it's happening.  That, coupled with a colonoscopy, has helped.  Speaking of colonoscopies, have you ever had one?  When you have gone through both childbirth and a colonoscopy, you have no dignity left.  At least after childbirth you have a child to show for your efforts.

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The Inspired Cook

Column 22 of The Inspired Cook for the Van Zandt News

Squashing our garden’s bounty

Most gardens produce an overabundance of vegetables each year, leaving gardeners wondering what to do with it all. Many people freeze or can their harvests while others eat what they can and give away the rest. In addition, some sell their bounties at roadside stands or farmer’s markets. 

                Last year, Charles, my better half, created a garden that exploded with squash, yellow crookneck and zucchini, forcing me to delve deeper into my cookbook collection for new recipes.

                Today I’m sharing two newly formulated recipes inspired by my need to reduce our squash supply. I discovered the original recipes in an old church-compilation cookbook but have tweaked them to fit our particular tastes. Maybe they will suit yours, too.

Doubly Cheesy Squash Casserole



To Canton City Council:

My name is Mark Morganfield and my wife Barbara and I are residents of Van Zandt County.

We have been tax-paying residents of Van Zandt County for almost 10 years, and we oppose the creation of the Saline Creek Lake for personal reasons.  Specifically, we oppose the City of Canton’s application to acquire the water rights to Saline Creek.  The impacted area would immediately place a cloud over the effected properties and prohibit, or at a minimum, greatly diminish their value and marketability.   This will have a deleterious effect on our friends and neighbors, many of whose families have earned their living off these properties for generations.

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Something is wrong

By nature, I’m not really a reactionary kind of guy.  My ability to “knee-jerk” as a go-to response has pretty well passed me up.  I usually take a moment to explore the possibilities of any given situation, and do my best to make an educated, mature decision.  It saves me a lot of the proverbial “egg on my face.”  That said, there is something decidedly wrong.  I know it.  I’m pretty sure you know it, as well.

The question is, what do I do about it?

Logic teaches us that the best way to develop a solution to a problem is to find the cause.  What’s happened?  What was the grain of sand that started the first irritation?  More importantly, how do I take that irritating grain of sand and transform it into a pearl?  You would think that if something as bizarre as an oyster can find that answer, surely I can, too.


Serving breakfast foods any time of day

Column 21 of The Inspired Cook for the Van Zandt News

Serving breakfast foods any time of day

Good day, readers! Have you had breakfast yet, or are you eating it as you read the newspaper?

As for me, well, I’m a steadfast breakfast eater. During all the stages of my life, I have eaten breakfast nearly every single day.

                With the primary function of breakfast being to reboot the metabolism by providing an energy source to fuel the body for its daily functions and activities, we can do so by eating a variety of different types of food. Some of the most popular breakfast foods consist of cold or hot cereals, biscuits, breads, meats, doughy cakes particularly pancakes and waffles, and potatoes, mostly fried home-styled and hash browns.


Canton WIC to hold breastfeeding celebration

Breastfeeding is a very personal decision, but it is also one that is likely to elicit strong opinions from friends, family, and sometimes strangers.  You may be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal? Why is this important?”  Take time to learn the facts, and be sure you are making the best decision for you and your family.

Join your Canton WIC office for our annual breastfeeding celebration honoring all moms at 10 a.m. Aug. 18.  We will serve brunch, give away door prizes, play games, and enjoy time with fellow mothers in our community.


20 The Inspired Cook

Exploring uncovers a sweet surprise

Two summers ago, my sister Beckie’s coworkers had been raving about a tea room in our birthplace of Athens. Wanting to see what all the hoopla was about, she and I set out one Saturday afternoon to find this mysterious place called The Geranium House Tea Room.

Despite our growing up only 12 miles away in Eustace, neither of us knew that this place even existed. To our surprise, we discovered it just a few blocks off State Highway 31, which cuts through the heart of downtown.

We found it quietly nestled among trees and with open fields behind it. The old home stands majestically on the corner of Wood Street and Old Highway 31.

Ah ha! We didn’t realize that there is an Old Highway 31. That’s why we didn’t know where it is.


Property tax burden Is crushing the Texas dream

Everything is bigger in Texas - including, unfortunately, your property tax rate. In fact, Texas has one of the highest effective real estate tax rates in the nation. Only Illinois and New Jersey beat us. Let that sink in. Illinois. And New Jersey. That's unacceptable.

Texas is still the envy of the nation. With our strong economy, overall lower costs of living and high quality of life, Texas remains the best place to raise a family, build a business and create greater opportunity for all.

Your hard-earned dollars still stretch further here; you can buy or rent more square footage with them than in many other states.

And the Texas dream is still within reach for many. For now.

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How to Waterproof Matches

Boy Scouts learn to make waterproof matches, so it isn’t rocket science. If you’re going to be doing any camping, hunting, or fishing, learning to waterproof matches is a skill you need.

The first and most important thing is to get the right matches. You must have “Strike Anywhere” wooden matches.

You can tell them from any other kind of matches because they have a bright red head with a white tip.

The white tip is a phosphorus compound that will burn from friction. When it burns, it ignites the red compound, which in turn starts the wooden matchstick burning.

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