Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Black Fly Song

Well, we went fishing this weekend.

Fishing in northern Ontario.

Camping in a tent in northern Ontario.

In the height, no, the very apex of black fly season.

When I begin to recover from the itchy swollen mound between my shoulders, the squishy, pusified thing that used to be my head, I will tell you all about it.

In the meantime, watch this. It explains everything you need to know about black flies, the scourge of northern Ontario in May. I know, you don't have TIME to watch this. Well, make time. It's a classic Canadian folk tale, one of my very favouritest songs on the planet and, besides, I watched that video YOU posted, so ya owe me.

:)



And I'd be completely remiss if I didn't include the lyrics so you can sing along. Get singing! I'm listening!

The Black Fly Song
Lyrics by Wade Hemsworth

'twas early in the spring when i decide to go
For to work up in the woods in north on-tar-i-o
The unemployment office said they'd send me through
To the little abi-tibi with the survey crew

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly, no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly a-picking my bones
In north on-tar-i-o-i-o, in north on-tar-i-o

Now the man, black toby was the captain of the crew
And he said, "i'm gonna tell you boys what we're gonna do
They want to build a power dam and we must find a way
For to make the little ab flow around the other way"

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly, no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly a-picking my bones
In north on-tar-i-o-i-o, in north on-tar-i-o

So we survey to the east and we survey to the west
And we couldn't make our minds up how to do it best
Little ab, little ab, what shall i do
For i'm all but goin' crazy on the survey crew

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly, no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly a-picking my bones
In north on-tar-i-o-i-o, in north on-tar-i-o

It was black fly, black fly everywhere
A-crawlin' in your whiskers, a-crawlin' in your hair
A-swimmin' in the soup, and a'swimmin in the tea
Oh the devil take the black fly and let me be

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly, no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly a-picking my bones
In north on-tar-i-o-i-o, in north on-tar-i-o

Black toby fell to swearin' 'cause the work went slow
And the state of our morale was gettin' pretty low
And the flies swarmed heavy, it was hard to catch a breath
As you staggered up and down the trail talkin' to yourself

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly, no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly a-picking my bones
In north on-tar-i-o-i-o, in north on-tar-i-o

Now the bull cook's name was blind river joe
If it hadn't been for him we'd have never pulled through
For he bound up our bruises, and he kidded us for fun
And he lathered us with bacon grease and balsam gum

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly, no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly a-picking my bones
In north on-tar-i-o-i-o, in north on-tar-i-o

At last the job was over, black toby said, we're through
With the little abitibi and the survey crew
'twas a wonderful experience and this i know
I'll never go again to north ontar-i-o

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly, no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly a-picking my bones
In north on-tar-i-o-i-o, in north on-tar-i-o

32 comments:

  1. Can't say that I ever had a black fly bite but we sure get mosquitoes out our way. Cute video.

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    1. Come north, Delores... everyone deserves to appreciate their lack of black flyness by indulging in a few choice bites!!!

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  2. Charming. I watched the whole thing. Do you know it had a re-recorder. What the hell is that. I do know what the producer does. I learned this from a Katherine Hepburn book. The producer produces anything that's needed. I think your black fly just has an inflated ego.

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    1. No, I did not know it had a re-recorder! I don't have any idea what that is!!!!!!
      "Inflated ego." HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I don't know about his ego but his gut sure is plumped up with blood!

      Delete
  3. Toe tapping to the tap dancing skeleton here. What next my dear?
    That was a cute and fun video. God I hate those big black flies that bite. They hurt!
    Do you take your computer camping with you?
    Why is it when we were kids the flies never really bothered us?

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    1. These are actually teeny tiny flies... barely bigger than gnats! But there are a zillion of them and they swarm like nobody's business. Some people don't react to their bites but I swell up in huge itchy painful welts. So charming.

      Sometimes I take my laptop with me - depends where I'm going. I never take it to Kiosk because there's no electricity and no service - not even cell phone service! It's that far in the boonies! Sometimes I take my laptop just so I can work on my novel. Without any internet distraction, it's actually a good place to write.

      You know what? I hated bugs more when I was a kid than I do now. I used to just dread this time of year. I actually can't believe I went camping in the height of bug season. Crazy!

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  4. Oh, you're so brave to face those blackflies. Hope you both had fun. Catch any fish this time?
    By the way, Glenn and I just watched The Change-up. Loved it! But then, we weren't watching it with adolescents. I didn't have to cover anyone's eyes, lol!
    karen

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The Change-up WAS a funny movie! I think I want to see it again without the kids!

      And we caught LOTS of fish! It was ridiculous how many! I'll post some pix later! Thanks Karen!

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  5. Those flies sound very mean! Where I live, we have horse flies that swarm and bite in the summer months.

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    1. They ARE mean, DAisy! Most of the time we had to put our poor dog in the tent because she was being eaten alive!
      We have horse flies, too. They're obnoxious. Really bad when you're swimming!

      Delete
  6. I love that song, Cathy - and all the more because of its truth!!

    (What'll you post for a follow up... the Log Driver's Waltz? :) )

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    1. Absolutely, Chris! And this is just for you!

      The Log Drivers' Waltz

      If you should ask any girl from the parish around
      What pleases her most from her head to her toes
      She'll say, "I'm not sure that it's business of yours
      But I do like to waltz with a log driver".
      Chorus
      For he goes birling down a-down the white water
      That's where the log driver learns to step lightly
      It's birling down, a-down white water
      A log driver's waltz pleases girls completely.

      When the drive's nearly over, I like to go down
      To see all the lads while they work on the river
      I know that come evening they'll be in the town
      And we all want to waltz with a log driver.

      To please both my parents I've had to give way
      And dance with the doctors and merchants and lawyers
      Their manners are fine but their feet are of clay
      For there's none with the style of a log driver.

      I've had my chances with all sorts of men
      But none is so fine as my lad on the river
      So when the drive's over, if he asks me again
      I think I will marry my log driver.

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  7. I heard that song while I was living on Ontario... mean buggers

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    1. Mean doesn't even begin to describe what buggers they are!!!!!! Pass the bug dope, Baygirl!!!!

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  8. We have our own pests, this side of the Atlantic, thankyou! I spent Saturday morning putting anti-bug nets on the conservatory windows so we can leave them open for fresh air, but the creepy-crawlies and 'flying beasts' can't get in!

    Eeeeuw - that black-fly song is buzzing around in my head now (thankyou for that particular ear-worm, Cathy!)

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    1. Hahahaha! The Black Fly Song is my FAVOURITE ear worm! I'm so happy to hear it's stuck in your head, too!!!!

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  9. Ha ha what funny cartoon - those black flies come around here in the Summer - have you heard of the Ozzie wave, it's what we do to chase them away ^__^

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    1. YES! Only here we call it The Muskoka Wave!!!

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  10. I don't miss black flies. Nasty little buggers. There's one good thing about Southern Ontario.

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    1. It just kills me, Jeannie, when all the tourists head up north on the May 2-4 weekend, heading up into the heart of black fly country. That is precisely the BEST time to go shopping in downtown Toronto!!! Usually I avoid being outside this time of year - oh well, I obviously momentarily lost my brain. Yes, good old Southern Ontario, home to plenty of black fly killing pavement... ah yes.

      Delete
  11. Oh lord, that's so Canadian! Love it. I remember running into a lot of black flies when I took a vacation to the NWT. (I know, who goes to the NWT for vacation...especially in the summer when it's never dark.) They were a pain! Literally.

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    1. Isn't THE most Canadian thing EVER? Like even more Canadian than mounties, beavers, hockey games and Tim Horton's, eh? NWT during black fly season? Clarissa, and I thought I was silly!!!!!!

      A lot of people whine about winter in Canada but it's all good by me - NO BUGS.

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  12. That's ace! Love the animation. I remember my sis's neck being eaten as a kid, near Brantford. Some bugs really do need to be extinct. Feel better (ick!).

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    1. Her neck, Carrie? Are you sure it wasn't a vampire fly? Did it sparkle?
      Yes, I agree about the bugs being extinct thing. I know, the bats and the birds need them but really, you'd think if they needed them so darn bad they'd eat more.

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    2. Brantford - home to Wayne Gretzky... how cool is that?

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  13. Oh believe me, I think the black fly is Maine's state bird.

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    1. Oh yeah, JoJo, Maine loves 'em as much as we do!

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  14. Glad I didn't end up going if the bugs were that bad! One thing about it, when it's -10, there were no blackflies! No fish either for that matter! Love the blackfly song!

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    1. EXACTLY!!!!! Cold air, no bugs. I KNEW there was a reason why I don't usually camp this time of year. (Except Balsam... still bug free for some reason). You shoulda come, though - it was a blast!

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  15. Ah, distinctly I remember: northern Ontario, black flies, and the song. You've taken me back about 50 years; not many people can do that!

    I do hope you survive your largely self-inflicted misadventure. (Fishing at the apex of black fly season is a self-inflicted disaster.)

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

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    1. 50 years???? How old ARE you Rob-bear????? (Kidding... not polite of me to ask, is it?)
      I loved your comment so much I read it out loud to my husband who laughed and enjoyed it as much as I did.
      Yup, self-inflicted - as are most of the world's nicest things!!!!
      Bear hugs right back atcha.

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  16. I live in northern Maine and have lived in Alaska - Maine has Alaska beaten when it comes to bugs that eat you. We have black flies, midges, deer flies, mosquitoes and some things I can't even name. The unbelievable thing is they seem to have it timed where they hatch one after the other. I was a Navy survival instructor and lived and worked in the north Maine woods for over eight year. I would start out at the beginning of each class covering all exposed areas with Ol'Woodsman insect repellent (citronella and cold tar pitch)and each day stand in the smoke from camp fires as much as possible. I wouldn't bathe or change my clothes the whole time we were in the woods with a class - just keep adding the Ol'Woodsman and curing in the smoke. After about four days the black flies wouldn't bother me. By the end of the class - after a week - even people wouldn't get near me.

    So that's my recipe. You are brave going in the bush when you don't have go.

    the Ol'buzzard

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