August 20th, 2009 pt. 1

Last blog I recall sailing off into the world of Farm Fashion….or lack thereof. Today something came up which reminds me of another joy of farm living….filth. This blog is dedicated to those unspeakable episodes that are common to farming life….and part of why we don’t wear Versace out here. Today I thought I’d engage in a bit of long-overdue vacuuming….bust a few cobwebs, get all those garlic skins off the carpet.

As I worked my way over to the windows, I saw a very large fly, moving slowly. I learned long ago that the vacuum’s long tube attachment can be used to sneak up on and schlock up an unsuspecting fly, and in a moment the plumpie was history. And then I saw another. And another, and another. A veritable Amityville Horror of large flies crawled on my window. These sorts of encounters bother me on a deep, visceral level. First off, it’s in the house, which is the last refuge against all the filth that’s outside the doors. Second of all, where the hell were they coming from? TWENTY FOUR flies later, I located the carcass of a mourning dove behind a speaker…..just flippin’ wonderful.

Flies and dead stuff go hand in hand, so naturally during egg season, it’s significant when a single egg in a nest has a coating of flies. As a rotten egg works its way from bad to explosive, oozing putrid fluid will often leak out of the egg….and this is pretty much a fly’s version of Hometown Buffet, with extra fixin’s. Extreme caution is warranted when handling a rotten egg. The slightest jarring can cause the egg to spew sulfureous greenish-black stuff everywhere, so they are best lobbed far away to burst at safe distance. But the average rotten egg has nothin’ on its counterpart, the dead-chick egg. When an egg dies during incubation, the hens don’t figure it out. I’m not convinced that birds have a sense of smell….which would certainly be good for them. The eggs can crack and bulge since there is extra meat with which to work, until only the inner membrane is holding the whole decaying mess together. The stench is incredible….but has a certain use. Stores sell fly traps, which come with liquid bait which is supposed to smell like dead stuff and attract the flies into the trap. But why use fake dead stuff when the real dead stuff is already at hand? So to set a highly effective fly trap, take a deep breath, crack that unhatched egg, and shove the….innards…of the egg into the gallon milk carton. Then run 50 feet away, gasp for air, and go set the top on the trap. If still in possession of the most recent meal, go on to the next chore while congratulating yourself on all the flies that will now be caught. But wait, there’s more…..the final armament in the Awful Arsenal is the Soup Bird. There are Soup Everythings….Soup Cows, Soup Horses, but since we don’t raise hoofstock here, we never get past Soup Birds. If it hasn’t already been guessed, this is my special desigation for something that has been dead so long in the heat that the skin acts as a leaky bag for the liquefied contents.

Of course there are other sorts of filth…dead insects, live insects, manure of all descriptions, Things Cats Do, dust, dirt, smoke, ash, rotten vegetation, animal injuries and disgusting wounds….the list isn’t short. However, this keep the body healthy….studies have shown that children raised on farms have the lowest incidence of asthma as a population…’s the filth.

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