Chopped Summer Salad

This is an incredibly versatile salad that can fit any occasion. The flavors are fresh, and reflect what is available during the Texas summer season.

Essential Ingredients:

  • 1 cup each of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, sweet pepper, cauliflower or broccoli, and radishes
  • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro and lemon balm. Almost any fresh herb will work, but too many different herbs muddies the flavor. I like to go with a single herb for any given salad
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Salt to taste.

Other great ingredients include snap peas, beans, zucchini or other summer squash, raw beets, bean sprouts, onions, kohlrabi, anise, celery, fresh corn and jicama. 

To make it a meal you can add chick peas, black beans or lentils. Any hearty bean will hold up well and make this salad a nice light summer dinner.

To prepare, toss all ingredients together, refrigerate for about an hour before serving. Enjoy!


Stealth Mosquito Sources, or Why You May Have More Mosquitoes Than Your Neighbors

Everyone knows that mosquitoes need water to hatch their eggs, and complete their life cycles, but not everyone is aware of the secret hiding places and breeding grounds they might have around their homes.

Adult mosquitoes like moist, still, shaded areas and primarily feed on vegetation. Only the females need a blood meal to produce eggs. Most mosquitoes also have preferred times of day to feed, and rest during other times. Unfortunately for us, a well planted landscape, shaded patio or the underside of a deck provide excellent mosquito harborage. Vines, flowers, thick hedges and lush borders are a haven for mosquitoes. All the things that make our yards pleasant for us, also make them pleasant for mosquitoes.


Homes can also harbor stealth breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes lay eggs in a variety of habitats, and some are unexpected. Very few mosquitoes lay eggs in running water, so a fountain or pond is rarely a mosquito source. Gutters, tires, toys, potted plants, tree holes, bird baths, air conditioner drips and rain barrels all can become mosquito larva factories. The southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, prefers stagnant water with a lot of organic matter, such as storm drains, gutters and septic systems. The yellow fever mosquito and Asian tiger mosquito both prefer man made containers for laying eggs. Even a tablespoon of water (about the amount in a large bottle cap) can provide space for hundreds of larvae.

Taking back your yard from mosquitoes begins with a few easy steps. To control mosquito breeding, regularly empty water from all temporary holding places. Replace water in bird baths, pet bowls, and wading pools at least every other day. Make sure rain water barrels are tightly covered and screened. If you are on a septic system and have large numbers of mosquitoes in your home, check the system. Make sure all roof vents are screened, screen septic tank vents and make sure septic tank lids are tightly fitting and closed. Add a larvacide or mosquito dunks to septic systems and rain barrels to ensure that adult mosquitoes do not develop. Maintain sprinkler systems and do not overwater.

To prevent bites from adult mosquitoes, reduce harborage by keeping shrubs trimmed, and brush piles removed. Open areas of shrubs and vines to increase air flow. Install ceiling fans in covered patios, most mosquitoes don’t fly well in breezes greater than 10 mph. Avoid going outside during peak mosquito times. Wear light colored, loose fitting clothes, and use repellent. Treat lush, dense landscaping, hanging pots, and vines with a mosquito barrier spray. These areas are where mosquitoes hang out, and targeting them with an adulticide will go a long way in controlling mosquitoes.