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Chuck Hinman IJMA #183: Shoo Fly!

II's Just Me Again #183:Shoo Fly!
The next earlier Chuck Hinman story is Home, sweet home, circa 1929 Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at:

by Chuck Hinman

Shoo Fly!

Growing up on a Nebraska farm is an experience that everyone should have. One thing however that I didn't miss after leaving the farm is flies.

Flies are attracted to the refuse of farm animals and poultry. We had cattle, horses, pigs, and chickens. Their considerable refuse was for the most part accumulated within 300 feet of our house.

Every spring, Dad spent several weeks loading the manure from the barnyard on a manure spreader and took it to the fields where it was spread on the ground. It was the only fertilizer in those days and long before manufactured fertilizer was used.

Remembers hoards of flies on the backs of farm animals

In my boyhood days I remember so clearly the hoards of flies gathered on the backs of our cattle, horses, and pigs. Many times there were over one-hundred flies on the backs of large animals. And can you imagine the discomfort? One fly drives me batty! When the animal's tail shoo-ed the flies from one area of the back, they just set up business in another.

To keep our milk cows from being so restless when we were milking them, we sprayed their backs with fly spray which offered temporary relief only.

As careful as we were in handling the milk for human consumption (including ours) we frequently found a couple dead flies on the milk strainer pad. But better there than in your oatmeal cookies with raisins!

On the farm, it was constant warfare with flies from spring until the first hard freeze. Before the screen windows were put on the house to replace the storm windows, they were carefully scrutinized to see if there was any place a fly could enter the house. If there was such a place it was repaired before the screen was hung.

The main weapon was a fly swatter

In spite of utmost precaution on everyone's part, flies still managed to get in the house. The main weapon was the fly swatter with which each room was armed. If there were too many flies to kill one at a time, fly spray was used.

And of course there was "fly paper" that was very effective in controlling flies who preferred living in the house and tip-toeing barefoot through the food you were about to put in your mouth. Fly paper was a strip of paper two inches wide and 24 inches long. It was hung from the ceiling just above your head. It had a sticky substance on both sides of the paper. Something in this substance was attractive to the flies and when they zoomed in for a snack they soon found they were hopelessly trapped alive along with hundreds of their friends.

A final observation needs to be made concerning the culinary preferences of flies. They seem to be as at home on President Obama's arm in the White House as they are on a pile of fresh horse dung on a Nebraska farm, the refuse in the White House being attributed to BS accumulating there since President Obama's election. What say you?

Chuck Hinman, 87 year old former Nebraska farm boy, spent his working days with Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Houston, Texas. He lives at Tallgrass Estates in Bartlesville where he keeps busy writing his memories. Chuck is visually impaired. His hobbies are writing, playing the organ, and playing bridge.

This story was posted on 2009-07-12 02:30:38
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