When we first moved to the farm, nearly 4 years ago now(!), it was early fall. One of the first things I did was to throw away all the nasty fly swatters that were hanging in the entry way near the kitchen. Who would want those filthy things in their home? Ewwwww.
I found out why the following summer. Farms have flies. Lots of flies.
Last week I was sitting in my comfortable St. Paul campus office enjoying my lunch and a latte at my desk. I was working on the computer, taking an occasional sip of coffee and slowly eating my lunch. But something was out of place-- something nagging the back of my mind. I felt uncomfortable. I finally put my finger on what was wrong. I wasn't constantly waving my hand over my food and drink. It was the absence of flies on my coffee cup and threatening my food.
I am hopeful each year that we do a home repair that THIS will finally take care of the fly problem "New windows and screens will stop those flies from getting in!" Nope. "That new roof will put a dent in the number of flies!" Nope.
Exasperated, I asked Mike if the flies had always been this bad. "No" he said, "they used to be worse." He remembers spending an hour after dinner swatting flies, killing 3-5 per swat. The farm was an active dairy farm then, so his memory is probably correct.
I have this short childhood memory etched in my mind. Sitting in my grandma Alvina's kitchen in the late evening (after milking cows), a bare, dim yellow lightbulb hanging from ceiling, and the room just filled with flies everywhere. But 15 years of living in the City and one can completely forget that flies even exist at all. Likewise with mosquitoes compliments of Metro Mosquito control.
I've been quite good at killing flies. Killed two with one blow this morning. Got some ooh's and aah's from the kids and I believe I even took a bow. I've often thought that there should be Olympic events for the things in life that really matter-- like Olympic baby diaper changing (having had 4 babies- I often fantasized about the crowd going wild over my fast, but gentle diaper changing abilities). Likewise, my fly swatting skills are a matter of pride. Getting the correct angle and aim, the flick of the wrist, the trajectory of their falls so they don't land in our food, etc....
We recently painted every room inside in the house-- lovely yellows, chartreuse, sage green, brick red, Mediterranean blue, and in the main level- shades of nut browns. I picked the colors with an eye towards what would show the least amount of fly specks (a.k.a. poop).
I think I paint an idyllic picture of farm life most of the time. So good to introduce those small, uncomfortable bits of reality. And while we have flies in the house nearly every week of the year, but it's only this bad for a few weeks at summer's peak and that is right now.