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Flies drive me crazy

From the Farm

May 25, 2012
By Kerry Hoffman

There were so many flies in the milking parlor the other night, it felt like we could have been carried away to the great fly colony on a dung pile.


For several weeks, I had noticed the absence of flies in the milking parlor. This is unusual for this time of year. Normally there are so many flies you can't walk through the parlor without being hit by these disease carrying pests.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Flies are the bane of my existence.

Why is it when one fly gets into the house he, or she, can't just keep to him or herself?

OK, I despise flies so much, I will not longer refer to them as he or she.

Officially, they are all "its."

Our house has a rather large, spacious living area. There are no walls between the kitchen, dining room and living room.

Maybe that's my problem.

I need walls to stop one single fly from finding me sitting on the couch trying to read the last book of the latest trilogy craze "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Wink. Wink.


Why, when a fly has the entire first floor to itself, does it insist on buzzing around my head? You would think in this flies vast home area there would be something more pleasant to buzz than my head.

What about my house plants that are flowering right now? Shouldn't a fly like the litter box?

I think flies are evil.

Why else would it buzz my head then land on my leg and sit there until I try to catch it with my hand.

Have I ever told you about the time my Grandpa, in his later years, was catching invisible flies buzzing around his head.

I still laugh at his seriousness when I asked him, "What are you doing?"

"Well, I am catching flies," he replied.

Never mind that it was the middle of winter and there wasn't a fly within 1000 miles of Minnesota.

I try to catch flies with my right hand, and for some stupid reason, when that doesn't work, I try to catch them with my useless left hand. (I am a righty by birth.)

Just to antagonize me, that darn fly returns and sits on the same spot on my thigh and has the gall to face me and start cleaning itself.

I imagine this fly secretly mocking me while he rubs his needle-like front legs together.

Heck, flies are so shady and fast, I even have a hard time slapping them with a rubber fly swatter.

I have tried to smack them with a dish towel, wet dish rags and the ever-trusty rolled up newspaper.

I usually miss them will all aforementioned fly-killing utensils as well.

In the milking parlor, we use a fly bomb, or spray, to suck the life out of flies. Too bad it sucks the life out of us too if we get in the way of the mist. It's awful stuff.

So, the other night, when Russell, Ben and I were milking the cows (Russell begged me to help because he needed time to study for his Spanish final.) I really felt no sympathy for the flies I observed suffering from ataxia and spinning in a circle at 100 mph.

In fact, I felt what's the word? Vindicated?

These very flies were biting our poor cows on the ankles and causing them to kick the milking units off.

You know how it feels when a fly bites your ankles?

Now I know why Grandpa was catching those invisible flies.

Those darn flies drove him to "fly insanity." He had to deal with them when he was a dairy farmer in Wisconsin so many years ago.

They drove him nuts and, consequently, led him to believe the flies were always buzzing his head, landing on his lap and tormenting him or biting the cows' ankles.

Guess I get to look forward to catching invisible flies when I retire.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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