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We have moved.  That is an entire blog post of its own, but I think I am still processing that immense change.  It is not blog-able just yet.

We are now official residents of the Adirondacks.  North Country folk.  Country music is on the radio.  It is a glorious life this time of year.  Nights are cool, and days are lovely.  The temperature is moderated by the lake, never getting unbearably hot.

Dark-eyed.deer_.fly_.dorsalI was out for a walk today on our road.  It seems every time I go for a walk on the road, about 1/4 mile from the driveway a deer fly finds me.  At first, it circles me widely, like a person finding Eataly (click here) for the first time ever.  “That smells delicious!”  “What is that over there?”  Food entices you, but you swirl and loop around, overwhelmed with the possibilities.

Eventually you find the antipasti area and move in, looking over the cured meats and the wood serving platters in front of other guests, and is that a sherry to accompany the food?  Yum.  Close in.  Gotta eat.


BAM!  The deer fly slams into my forehead.  It has cased the joint and figured out where to start its meal.

From this point forward, it becomes very clear that I am not a true North Country resident.  I nonchalantly try to swat where I believe the fly will next make its approach.  I try to be cool.  “It will just go away if I ignore it.”

BAM!  Another slam, this time into my neck.  “Cool” is disappearing, and “crazed” is making an entry.  Arms begin to flail, the fly roosts on my head.  Arms are now swinging wildly.  I try running away, but this dude can FLY.

Eventually I begin a dialogue with the deer fly.  “Just let me walk in peace!”  “WHAT is WRONG with you?”  “Aaarrrrggggghhhhh!”

If you live in the Adirondacks, “authenticity” is a complete lack of awareness of deer flies and black flies, and any other creature in its habitat.  Somehow natives and long-term transplants can go for a walk where I go, and their arms always stay down, and they never have conversations with deer flies.

We had a particularly acute black fly season in late April.  I had a conversation with a true North Country inhabitant during the infestation worst part of the black flies.  I could barely stifle my desire to run indoors, or into the car and close any and all apertures!  In contrast, my friend stood blissfully unaware as black flies careened into her face, her eyes, even her nose.

How does that happen?

There is a myth that the less you bathe, the less the insects bother you.  Among my “authentic” North Country friends, I do not notice a particular Eau de non-bathing, however.

There are some home grown remedies, like this “glass on a pole” option (click here).  I’m not sure what looks worse: flailing arms or a blue plastic cup on an old broom stick.  Here is an option using a peacock feather (click here). Slightly less idiotic than flailing arms?  For a true commando attack, look at this blue hat option (click here).  Now that is some serious attack on deer flies!

Me?  I tend to be a fan of the portable fly-zapping tennis racket (click here).

Now if I could only find it from when we moved…

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. Welcome to the North Country Claire! Summer is beautiful up here even with very insistent bugs. I’m sure this move has been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I’m happy to know you’re closer!

  2. Definitely had me laughing aloud while reading! Excited about this new adventure in your life!

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