Monday, September 26, 2011

Confessions of a Fruit-fly Killer

Do you remember the Brave Little Tailor who killed seven flies with one blow and went on to inherit a princess and a kingdom?

I need him now. For the last 6 weeks, we have had fruit flies invading us in waves as one generation dies out and another is born or hatches or appears from nowhere which is sure what it seems like. (Where do they come from? Maybe don't answer that.)

It's something to do with the flood of tomatoes we had in August, I'm sure, and my slowness in getting them processed into sauce and canned. And possibly my continued watermelon addiction and the fact that in summer, the compost bucket under the sink does tend to fill up. (Did you know you can find watermelon all the way through October if you look hard enough? So that one marvelous juicy way to start the morning lasts all the way up to the beginning of the next, i.e. fresh orange season?)

Now I keep a clean house. (Some people say a little too clean.) Habit of twenty years of living with a child who is allergic to everything he breathes or touches, and my own inability to tolerate anything that smells. And I have a sensitive nose: when I walk the cove  in late summer, there is a peculiar, particular sweetish odor that field corn gives off when it is ready to harvest. Which no one else but me seems to notice. In the five months times three (pregnancies) when I threw up around the clock at the whiff of a tea kettle boiling water, that corn smell really bothered me. Now it just reminds of old times. . . .

Soybeans, actually
 I do appreciate nature. I'd better, with 63 acres of it outside my very door, not counting whatever our farmer neighbors own.

I just don't like it invading my space. MY space. And I have to admit that I also like my nature tidied and trimmed and mowed and confined, and you may dispute this, but I'm sure that in the Garden of Eden lurked a full-time gardener, deadheading, weedeating, pruning, planning, and otherwise laboring so that Adam could wander around looking for Eve. I mean, servants don't generally get mentioned in a lot of literature, and the presence of a gardener goes a long way to explaining the sudden appearance of a wife for Cain.

Not to mention why the garden was called paradise.

Here, our outside is a bit, well, shaggy.

But back to fruit flies. All those passing descriptions in old novels to 'flypaper' and 'turning the plates upside down to keep off the flies'--these are active strategies in my kitchen. I've even got flypaper hanging from my bedroom door, to Charlotte's dismay: before she learned to duck, she, or rather her hair, got thoroughly stuck. And let me tell you, once stuck, you stay stuck.  Not hot water nor soap nor rubbing alcohol nor plastic dish scrubbies will remove it from your skin. So you go around with other objects--scraps of paper, coffee mugs--attaching themselves to your fingers, like the pencil in that old denture commercial.  

Flypaper works wonderfully. But it's hard to put everywhere. So at the risk of estranging at least three readers I who will close this blog immediately and possibly our friendship, I have to confess that I did spray. Once. Ineffective; headache-producing; and, yes, toxic.

Oh, I love seeing those little brown dots adorning the flypaper. Though more satisfying is to whap the little buggers yourself. Except it becomes something of an obsession. You're always on the lookout, your eyes continually darting from side to side like one of the manic narrator in an Edgar Allen Poe story ("True! Nervous-- very, very nervous I had been and am. But why will you say that I am mad?" ) On alert for that one miniscule floating object, just there, right there, slowly, carefully-- whap! It's very distracting.

Which is why I need the Brave Little Tailor.

I can't promise him a princess or a kingdom, but if he could end this current invasion, I would share my last slices of summer-fall watermelon, the handful of Starbucks decaf beans I'm hording, and up to one-half of my collection of Beany Malone books.

But  please, may he appear soon.


  1. Hi Margaret,
    I feel like I know you having heard that you wanted to be a part of the CWG as an e-member. Your writing is delightful. I felt at home in your kitchen. I don't live on a farm, but am less than 50 yards from a 100+ acre farm behind my house. I never saw so many huge flies! But I love the sounds, the sights, and even the smells; I just have to take the insects with it! Keep on writing and good luck in the challenge. Pris

  2. Hi Margaret,
    I'm not sure if you noticed that I have two other blogs in adition to the challenge blog. Check them out, if you can. One is a personal blog that is spiritual while the other is an answer to a call from friends and family on how I seek and maintain a healthy lifestyle as a babyboomer.

  3. Yes, I noticed and wanted to get on them but our internet connection (we have satellite) decided it had had enough for the day. My next view! I'm very interested in all of your blog topics. . . .