Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lady of the Flies

Living at a horse farm has always been one of my dreams. I love rolling out of bed and heading down to the barn to feed our horses. I could do without the dramatic whinnying, pawing and kicking, but that is the "music" of impatient, hungry equines. It's best to just block that part out and dole out the goods as fast as you can. Once they've been fed, the sounds of rhythmic hay munching, birds chirping, watching my dogs trot across the dew laden fields and speculating that I can do whatever I want to on a gorgeous summer day is the best feeling ever. Life on the farm has a magical quality on those days. And then...comes fly season.
Fly season is dreaded by the people who take care of horses almost as much as the horses themselves. The flies reach a crescendo around August and the hot, humid days are when they are in their most potent form of irritation. They swarm. They bite. They drive the horses crazy in the paddock.They land on us repeatedly. Worst of all, they come in my house. If we were clever people we wouldn't leave our doors open, but we're not, so they're open and the flies feel welcome. They freak me out.
This is our second summer living at the horse farm. The flies seemed much worse last year and I'm crediting the fly predators that I started using back in May for the lower numbers. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of flies, but somehow it seems a little better. Still, I have resorted to turning into a fly killing Ninja maniac with a rolled up New Yorker. I'll be fine one minute and then in the next, I grab my rolled up magazine and go on a stealthy fly smashing rampage. I have tactics, too. Successful fly smashing revolves around patience, timing and aim. I'm very good at all three of those things. Should I be proud of my fly smashing skills? Who cares. I like killing these little fuckers, especially when they're trying to land on our food. Sometimes I start talking while I'm on a bender, a little like Bill Murray in his famous gopher eliminating scene from Caddyshack. I like to kill one fly, then I start trash talking to the others in the room. "You want some of that, huh? You want some of what he just got?" I'll even leave a dead fly on the counter, just to show the others that their next on my hit list. While I take on this other persona of Fly Ninja, our dogs and cats usually flee from the room and Jonathan just shakes his head. He can sit on the couch with his legs stretched out on the coffee table and not even flinch as the flies land on him. This drives me crazy. If they land on me it incites feelings of reckless anger. I become obsessed with killing every fly I see. The most satisfying killing is getting two at once. Oh yes, that can happen and it's a sweet victory to get a double header. Very sweet, indeed. The gross part is cleaning up the smashed flies from the various surfaces that I've killed them on. I use a strong bleach fueled kitchen spray for this job. Also, I've learned that flies will not land on a freshly beach sprayed counter top. So, I spray and wipe down my counters a lot during this hellatious time. Being the Fly Ninja isn't a glamorous job. Wielding a blood smeared magazine that has random wings and legs stuck to it isn't something that every woman in the world is game to do, but I'm comfortable with that role, it suits me. I embrace the challenge to kill ALL flies that dare to cross our threshold. I'll restrain myself from laughing an evil laugh as I do it. Even Fly Ninja's have to draw the line somewhere.
The flies will be gone in a few weeks, for the most part. Then life will return to it's former bucolic bliss here at JEM Stables. Lately I've noticed people are already talking about fall and winter. Do they not remember the last winter we just endured? Shouldn't we get some sort of court order that makes it illegal to talk about cold weather this year until say, Christmas 2011? Let's just enjoy fly season while it's here, people.