Camping season has started here in the Ozarks, but so far, our camper has not made it out of the driveway. We are hoping to get it out in the next couple of weeks. We've decided to stick with the smaller lakes around here, such as Pomme de Terre. It’s only about an hour away and isn't so huge that ocean liners are on it!!

   One time we headed to Lake of the Ozarks with some friends. We rented a house and settled right in for our weekend getaway. We had pulled our little 14-foot Jon boat to the lake with its 10 hp motor and trolling motor set up. We were planning on doing some fishing. David and I set out across the lake trying to find a good spot. Wow!! What a big lake!! We don’t remember seeing one other Jon boat!! All we saw were cigarette boats, catamarans, sail boats, every kind of fast boat you could think of but no Jon boats. We felt so tiny out there in the middle of this great big lake that we headed back to shore, tails between our legs. I think we sold that boat when we got back home. It just wasn’t for us.

   On that same trip, the family we were with brought their 3 kids. I’m guessing their ages were 13 (boy), 10 (girl) and 7 or 8 (girl). They were good kids and great sports. We were glad of that because of what happened next.

   We were out on the shore, or maybe a pier, I really don’t remember. The dad, Odell, cast his line out and caught it on something behind him. He whirled around to see that he had snagged his son in the nose! Well, you can imagine how painful that would be, a fishhook stuck in your nose with that tiny barb on the side. Odell tried to comfort his son, “Hold on son, I’ll get it out. It’ll be alright. Close your eyes and I’ll use my pliers.” Eric complied, closed his eyes patiently waiting for his dad to remove the hook. Odell looked and realized that it was not really stuck; it was just resting in his nose. But Odell decided to milk the situation. He dinked around looking for his tools and, of course, we all walked up oohing and awing so Eric started to get anxious. Odell lifted the hook out and walked away, leaving Eric standing like a statue. He didn’t leave him there very long but to Eric it was an eternity. When Eric opened one eye and realized we had all gone back to fishing he laughed hard, but not as hard as all the rest of us.

   I’ve started making my mental list of things to take this time out. I’m not as concerned about what food to take as I am taking the right bug sprays, tick repellants, etc. In the past, we’ve used the usual sprays with Deet in the ingredient list. I’ve always hated the feel of that stuff and wondered what it was doing to us physically. But the alternative was tick and mosquito bites so out would come the sprays and the less obnoxious citronella candles.

   This year, however, I am going to be trying some more natural concoctions and see if we can get away from so many processed things that could be detrimental to our skin and health. For mosquitoes around the picnic tables, I am going to be trying something I saw on Instagram posted by @inspiredlifeandhome. I am going to make her natural luminary, but I am going to add Belle Aroma® Lemongrass Essential Oil to the mixture.

   Here is what I am doing: into a pint size mason jar I am going to add sliced lemons, limes, and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Then I will fill the jar with water, and, to that, I am going to add 15-20 drops of lemongrass oil. The Belle Aroma® Lemongrass essential oil is fresh and light with a hint of lemon so should pair nicely with this combination. Then I will add a floating candle and light it! Interestingly, both lemongrass and citronella come from the Cymbopogon plant, so that is why lemongrass will act like a mosquito repellant much like its cousin, citronella. You can dilute lemongrass into purified water and spray on your skin or put it in a carrier such as coconut oil if you want to rub it on. The rosemary in the luminary is also obnoxious to insects so it is an essential part of this recipe. Not only is this a beautiful luminary, but I love that it is made from natural ingredients.

   Side notes on the use of lemongrass essential oil around pets: it is considered safe for pets when used in tiny amounts and is highly diluted, as in the case of this luminary. That said, always monitor your pet for discomfort, nasal or skin irritation.

Lori Herr for The Gift of Scent

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