Life on Regal-Hill: May 14, 2008


The May flies have begun to pester us here at Regal-Hill. There seems to be many big black flies right now. The smaller, thinner black flies bite causing an intense pain at first and then it starts to itch before it swells up. The one thing I do not enjoy in the spring and summer are the insects that come and try to eat us alive. Those are the times I would rather be inside working rather than let the biting insects bite me. However there are times when one has to be outside. One time is when the rose bushes need to be fertilized just before it rains and another time is when fences need to be repaired.

It never fails that when we need to be fixing fences and preparing to put the cattle out for the summer the bugs decide they need to be around biting you wherever your skin is exposed. We do have bug repellent to use, but I have never found it very helpful. Usually I wait until after I have been bitten and go inside and put Benadryl gel on. After I apply the Benadryl I put long sleeves on so I don’t scratch the bites.

When it is at least 70 degrees one doesn’t really want to wear long sleeves and long pants while working outside. Sometimes if you wait until about four o’clock in the afternoon to work outside, the bugs aren’t so determined to bite you.

I am not sure, but I think sometimes when the humidity is high, usually right before it rains, the bugs are more likely to be plentiful and want to bite. I hope they are not going to be bad all summer, but chances are it won’t be getting ready to rain every day either. As soon as there is a day when the bugs aren’t biting I expect to spend it working the ground, and planting seeds or setting out young plants.

Rhubarb is ready to harvest. If you are wondering how to tell when Rhubarb is ripe here is the answer. The leaves are the opposite of people. When they are young the leaves are wrinkled, but when they mature the leaves become smooth and the stalks are ready to eat. Every year there seems to be more recipes using rhubarb. We use it mostly for pie, sauce or jam but it can also be used for salads, chutney, various desserts and beverages. Try these and see if you don’t agree it can be used for many foods. 

Spring Rhubarb Salad


  • 4 cups diced fresh rhubarb
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package (6 ounces) strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries


Combine rhubarb, water and sugar in saucepan; cook and stir over medium heat until rhubarb is tender. Remove from the heat; add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add orange juice and peel. Chill until syrupy. Add strawberries. Pour into 6-cup mold; chill until set.

Yield: 10 servings

Taste of Home Low-Fat Country Cooking

Rhubarb Delicious Bars


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour and powdered sugar. With a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in chopped pecans.

Press mixture into the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, granulated sugar and 1/4-cup flour. Fold in rhubarb.

Pour over baked crust. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is set and lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Makes 36 bars.

Successful Farming, May-June 2003