>Two things about VT that I will not miss

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“Welcome this is a farmhouse.
We have cluster flies alas,
and this time of year is bad.
We are so very sorry
there is little we can do but swat them.”
–Phish, “Farmhouse”

A few weeks ago a man on one of my tours asked me if I had grown up in Vermont. When I replied in the affirmative, he exclaimed, “Do you have those….what are they called…CLUSTER FLIES??” I laughed and said that yes. In fact, lately the cluster flies have been driving me up the wall. At night I will lay in my bed and listen to them buzzing around my window. I can’t go to sleep until I turn the light on, grab a tissue, stand on my bed and squish them. Luckily they are very slow.

I just asked my Dad why Vermont has such a cluster fly problem. He says it’s because after the larvae hatch late in the summer or early fall, the flies want to survive the winter so they look for warmth on the sides of houses and eventually make their way inside through the windows. The point is that they are gross. Luckily the house we live in now is only 4 years old so we haven’t really had cluster flies until this year. At our old house (a farmhouse that was over 100 years old) it was a completely different story. I remember our attic would literally be carpeted with them. It was disgusting.

The second thing I will not miss about Vermont is hunting season. I’m not against hunting; I understand that it is a tradition in many rural parts of the US and that it also helps keep the white-tail deer population under control. That being said, I could never bring myself to shoot a deer (or any living thing for that matter) and I hate the taste of venison.

Hunting season is a major inconvenience for me. I like to take my dogs on a walk in the woods every morning, and I usually go on one particular loop that takes me about 50 minutes and gets me to work on time. However, a hunter has staked his claim to part of the woods out behind my house. He posted signs asking us not to walk on a certain section of trail that prevents me from going on my favorite loop. My dad says he’s harmless and I shouldn’t be afraid of him, but the fact of the matter is, he’s a man with a gun in a tree. I’m without a gun walking on the ground. That doesn’t make for a favorable combination for me.

Plus hunting season requires that I wear clothing featuring neon orange. No one looks good in neon orange.

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