September 26, 2022 at 6:40 p.m.
This old lady’s flies
The rain was coming, and we knew not to start harvesting corn silage until after the storm passed and the soil soaked up all the moisture. We were pretty surprised to get 6 inches of rain when the last storm cell was hanging in our area for more than two days.
Steady sprinkling added up, everything got very green again, and all the flies on the farm came into the barn. They have been doing the congregating thing on the posts and rails in the barn when it cools down at night. A swarm of them pile up on each other, making it very easy for me to pat them with my gloves to kill a bunch at once. It is satisfying to go right down the rail and watch them all fall off dead.
Now with harvesting corn silage, there are more flies than ever coming in with the corn. These flies find the barn a warm hideout until morning. I have some fly spray I use in the milkhouse and robot rooms, and now, I am spraying over the posts and rails hoping this will do the trick to kill them on contact. I sprayed around the door on our porch, by the calves, by the pigs and even in the dumpster. To say that I hate flies would be an understatement.
The other day, I was hosting a tour for a couple families. As we were walking into the barn, I opened the door and held it while everyone filed into the robot room. I took a deep breath to start to tell them about the cows coming into the robot, and I swallowed a fly. This is not the first time, but this time, I had to cough and try to not let everyone notice what had happened.
Well, one of the kids knew exactly what happened, and he looked at me and asked if I swallowed a fly. The boy and his dad looked at each other and smiled, because they had just read the book based off the song, “I Know an Old Lady (Who Swallowed a Fly).”
So as the story goes, the old lady then eats a spider to capture the fly, and then it continues on and on with other animals that the old lady eats. So as funny as it was at that moment, I did laugh when the little boy said with a sly grin, “Well, now you have to eat a spider.” I played into his game, and I said, “I guess that is what I will have to eat for lunch.”
As the tour continued around the farm, it was great fun for us to keep up the story as we saw the cat, the chickens, turkeys, pigs and then the cow.
The other families had older children, and they all knew the story too. We all recanted the whole line at the end of the tour giggling and laughing about how silly it was. They were adding on the animals the old lady was going to eat.
All of the adults knew the old lady was me. One mother thought it was mean to call me the old lady, but I know to a 5-year-old, I am an old lady.
We ended the tour on the wagon ride back to the shed singing the whole song from start to end.
Tina Hinchley, her husband Duane and daughter Anna milk 240 registered Holsteins with robots. They also farm 2,300 acres of crops near Cambridge, Wisconsin. The Hinchleys have been hosting farm tours for over 25 years.
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