Sippican Cottage

Close this search box.
Picture of sippicancottage


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Non-Scientific Survey- The Most Often Visited Post I’ve Ever Written

  • Fie On Thee, Horseflies, gets a handful of visitors every day. I’ve had more people read single essays I’ve written, of course, but this one is my intellectual leaky faucet. Sorry the item is written so poorly, people; as the old man said, if I’d have known I was gonna live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.

If you’re new around here, I live in a swamp. I know I’m supposed to call it a “pristine wetland,” but if you don’t mind, I’ll call it the bog-to-hell-and-gone instead. Everything comes out of that swamp all the time, sometimes to delight us, sometimes to bite me and give me a fever of 105. The swamp will kill you if you let it. It would pull my house apart in a decade if I ever stopped mowing the lawn.

The worst thing the swamp produces is the horsefly. It’s not actually only one kind of a beast; there’s a handful of types. They appear after the midges and mosquitoes, but before the poison ivy, generally. They’re the most vicious thing I can imagine. They attack like kamikazes, and get a blood meal from you with scissor mandibles. They make the end of my yard miserable for five weeks or so in the summer. Let’s kill them.

Go down the basement and bring your heir and your spare.

You need a plan. It should contain all the information you need to build the thing, plus a list of all the items you need to purchase to make it. It should be a loopy looking long-haired- equation looking thing like that.

1/2″ plumbing pipe, a clear plastic one-gallon jug with a screw lid, a funnel, a roll of 4 mil plastic, some punky wood strapping I dumped behind the shed 5 years ago.

The kids like the tinkertoy vibe of the plumbing pipe. I like the kids.

An 8″ square of MDO left over from windowboxes.

If you can’t use things for what they’re not intended for, you have no business on the Internet.

You buy a 20″ beachball at Wal-Mart, put a blessed halo around it with duct tape, leave a tab flap to pierce and hang the ball in the center with kite string. Spray paint the thing black while it’s hanging.

Horseflies are dumb. They see the ball swaying in the breeze and think it’s a spherical cow or something. When disabused of this notion, they always fly straight up. They eventually make their way through the funnel and die in the heat of the clear jug. No bait or poison is necessary. The trap is a little more than a week old and the jug has thousands of the nasty bugs in there. For Amityville spectacle, some of the beasts lay their eggs in the corpses of their brethren before perishing, and the little sluglike larvae hatch and crawl around in there too. For a while. Hence the breeding cycle is interrupted, and next summer is made better now.

What do you know. It works. The kids can play in the yard again. If I’d have known it would work, I would have made a better looking one.

“If I’d have known it would work, I would have made a better looking one” would make an excellent epitaph for my grave, now that I think about it.

10 Responses

  1. I'm sure this has crossed your mind but you could probably figure out how to sell this "kit" to others who are plagued over the internets and tube thingy.

  2. One of Englands few blessings is that besides our politicians and a few television stars our wildlife is generaly benign.

  3. We love the Thudster and his lively fambly.

    We love, and of course stand in mortal dread, of Vanderleun as well. He has overlooked the fact that a poor man cannot do anything on speculation. I poop ten ideas like that a day.

  4. You are a genius. I used to live near (way toooo near) a cattle feed lot. Oh if only I'd had this.

  5. Serendipity: was just posting on the same vile creatures myself…but I was just part of the problem, whining, whereas you came up w a solution. Love this.

    And priceless comment on V the Great and Terrible (whom I admire but whose critical eye would wither my amateurish photos and sophomoric prose…)

    Good luck with the new paper. Will send a small contribution to yr startup costs after payday.

  6. I read someplace once where people from the north of Minnesota would trap blackflies by wearing an orange hardhat coated with chainsaw chain oil. Blackflies go to the highest part of their victim, are attracted to orange and cannot escape once their little feets are mired in chain oil.

  7. Thirteen years after first being published I get the opportunity to comment. First a genius solution. Second, what a privilege for you to write and have vanderleun comment on your posts. Gerard was one of my go-to sites (American Digest) and I always learned something from him. Third, you were also on my go-to sites and I enjoyed hearing about your adventures and watching your family grow up (in this weird internet way). I’m enjoying your recent (2023) posts.

    1. Hello Hank- It’s great to hear from you again. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Gerard was a friend of mine, and I miss him. I didn’t find out he was ill until he had already passed away. He was one of the few very good writers on the internet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for commenting! Everyone's first comment is held for moderation.