A procession, live music… A ripe zucchini… An odd solution to drive away the flies…

Sandwich sized Ziplock bag clipped to the railing of the veranda with clothespins with the intent of keeping houseflies from bothering us, biting us and from coming inside the house.

Last night, as darkness befell Boveglio, a procession of parishioners commenced originating in the old church with the loud bell tower that we’d videotaped a few weeks ago. (Please see archives for June 30, 2013).

Here are our videos of the procession. Bear with us, it was dark:
Video #1 – As the procession left the church and entered the road
Video #2 – As the procession was maneuvered up the road
Video #3 – The procession as it made its way passed our house
Locals walking on the steep roads during the procession last night.  The woman on the far left in navy blue is our own, Santina, our precious cleaning lady.

Much to our surprise the marching band and followers walked the long, steep roads traversing past the door to our house as they continued on to the square near the Bar Ferrari.  

As we stood outside on the road, outside of our house, as the procession stopped for a few minutes for prayer. There’s Santina again in navy blue. Notice the heels on her shoes!

Making the video in the dark was difficult when we wanted to avoid blinding them using flash and thus our video is hard to see. Their safety on the dark winding roads superseded our desire to make an easy to see the videos.

The shrine, across the street from our house, was well lit with candles and the focus of the prayer led by the priest as we stood outside of our house.

Many of the parishioners carried candles, illuminating the way for the marching band.  Need I say, it was a delight to behold.  Our vantage point made the festivities all the more exciting, being able to watch the beginnings from our veranda and later from the road outside our front door.

The locals were dressed in their finery with many of the older women walking the long steep trek in 2″ high heels.  Oh, I’d better stop whining about climbing these steep hills, casually dressed while wearing tennis shoes!  They were a sight to see, quite an inspiration.

Zucchini from our garden???

Our solitary zucchini which grew in the garden on the patio.

Years ago, I had a garden in the overly wet soil in the only sunny spot near the lake at our home in Minnesota.  Amazingly, much of the produce we’d planted actually ended up in the kitchen while I feverishly made salsa, a plethora of zucchini recipes, and myriad dishes made with a variety of peppers. 

The tomatoes didn’t do as well in the soil or in the pots we’d placed around the yard. As a result, I made a determination that my thumb wasn’t green enough to be a garden enthusiast and I stuck to small herb gardens. 

Eventually, I converted to an Aerogarden, a lighted indoor garden given to me by my dear friend and business partner Theresa which ultimately kept us in herbs year-round.

Arriving in Boveglio on June 16th, two large planters were prepared for us to tend, literally jammed with herbs, tomato, and pepper plants in their infancy. Unfortunately, flowers had been planted as well, attracting many bees of which we’re allergic. 

As a result, we used the herbs regularly but didn’t spend much time tending to the care of the planters, other than an occasional watering with the hose provided. 

For some reason, yesterday, I decided to get rid of some of the weeds and dead leaves spending a little time to hopefully giving the garden a chance to grow. Wouldn’t you know? I stumbled across this 8″ zucchini with what appears to be more on the horizon.

With renewed interest in the garden, Tom immediately began watering again taking special care.  This one zucchini gave us hope.  Ironically, we had purchased a basket of 8 zucchini when grocery shopping on Monday some of which I’d used the prior two nights to make a stir fry of zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes seasoned with fresh garlic, basil, and rosemary from the garden.

This patio is where we suntan a few times a week.  These impatiens seem to attract the bees as do most flowering plants requiring us to pay special attention during our hour in the sun, quite close to the planters.
The second of the two planters.  As you can see, the giant leaves on the are those belonging to the zucchini.  It appears we’ll see more zucchini over the remaining summer along with the abundant herbs we’ve been using.

Why in the world do we have hanging Ziplock bags half-filled with water and a few coins in select areas of the house?

Tom and his retired railroad guys, friends, and family member send hundreds of emails between one another each week in addition to frequently posting on Facebook. Many are silly jokes and a wide array of goofy entertainment.

On occasion, a post or email may contain “how to’s” that work (or not) to ease one’s life in one manner or another. Over a year ago, Tom’s sister Rita and most recently a railroad friend, posted this information on how to get rid of annoying flies.

Recently, I’ve resorted to wearing my Exofficio Bugs Away pants at dinner each night to keep the flies from biting my legs which are intended for use on our upcoming almost year-long travels to Africa. 

It’s comforting to know that these pants and other such clothing we’d purchased online while still in the US, embedded with Permethrin, actually do keep the bugs from biting.  The product remains in the clothing after 70 washings. We have 69 washings left, having worn them on several of our excursions in the desert while aboard ship. 

The main purpose of this type of clothing is in the prevention of mosquitoes carrying Malaria from biting, as well as other insect-borne diseases (Of course, we’ll be taking anti-Malaria pills and, had numerous immunizations while in the US, many lasting up to 10 years).  However, some insect bearing diseases have no prophylactic medication or appropriate vaccination).

In any case, when this “home remedy” with Ziplock bags came down the pike several days ago, we began our own research.  The efficacy of this remedy is disputed and confirmed by many reliable and less reliable resources.  Studies had been done, not under ideal conditions which are often the case in certain studies.  The most substantial validation of this simple process was the general public in 1000’s of comments and reviews all over the web.

Here’s a Ziplock bag half-filled with water and a few Euros to ward off house flies. See the story for the results of using these well-placed bags over the past 48 hours.

At times, when a household remedy is used, naysayers say the results are “psychological” or “the placebo effect.”  Keeping flies at bay is hardly either of these. Are they less intrusive after two full days of use?

Ziplock bags are not sold in Italy.  Luckily, we have many with us that we’d used in our luggage to contain small items and bottles that could potentially spill. Dumping the contents of several of the sandwich-sized bags (the only size we have with us), we tested them for holding water.

Here are the instructions for this housefly deterring remedy. There are dozens of websites debunking this supposed Internet legend. What did we have to lose to put a few Euros (no pennies with us) in plastic bags in a few choice spots around the house:  the kitchen, the patio where we keep the door open for air during the day, and the veranda where we sit outdoors most days?  We could reuse the bags after drying them and put the Euros back in Tom’s pocket if it didn’t work.

The definitive answer is “YES!”  It works! Without wearing the Bugs Away pants since we clipped up the three bags, I don’t have one new bite, not during the day, not during dinner. 
We’ve actually watched the flies attempt to fly in, immediately heading back outdoors. Now, we can sit on the veranda with only an occasional crawling insect.  With the kitchen windows opened from the time we awaken until bedtime, we’ve only killed or chased off a total of three houseflies, as opposed to the dozens we were dealing with only days ago.
Why does it work? From what we read, flies have a powerful vision, including peripheral vision.  When they see the bag with the water’s reflective light, they perceive it as some life-threatening creature, heading the other way.
It works for us. With the hottest period of Italy’s summer fast approaching, we no longer have to keep the windows shut in these three areas, where we spend most of our time.  The bedroom door and windows continue to stay closed around the clock, considering the fan we use at night. 
Thanks, local residents for the procession of last night.  Hello, zucchini. We’ll dine on you tonight. And most of all, goodbye houseflies!
At the end of today’s post, there is an explanation as to why we have a Ziplock bag of water hanging near to the door to the patio where the planters are growing herbs and vegetables for our use over the summer.