A Fly in the Microwave...
fun on the farm when no one's around
by Roy Mackey
Though I find it hard to believe I actually wrote a book... in fact two books. Due to the response from the first one being so good and I am lazy I decided to write volume two. People seem to think that it is a funny read. Hard to put down they say. They also tell me they laughed until they cried. Even my Dad said the only thing that could have made it better was being printed on a softer two ply paper! Though I have been saying it for awhile now volume three is starting to look like a possibility...
Anyway 230 pages, matte laminate cover, some photos and about 108 stories in volume one 98 in volume two. If you can't sleep then I urge you to check them out.
This is volume two. They are $25. each plus gst and can be purchased by clicking the link below. Shipping to anywhere in Canada and the US is included in this price.
Free stories from book one at bottom of this page
Then of course here is volume 1 that sold so well. Copies of both are always available so feel free to score a signed copy today!
If you want to buy hard copies you have to buy them
direct from me as of now.
To do that just click this
link: Hard Copies
You can also buy e-book versions direct from me
Now Available on Kobo in E-book format!!
To those a little reserved about the modern world of e-books may take comfort in this quote by someone smart.
"Lovers of the print are simply confusing the plate with the food"
Here are some sample stories from volume one...
First off, I have to thank you for taking the time to read this book especially if you bought it. After all there are a lot better things to do than sitting around reading any book let alone this one.
It should also be noted that there are some really stupid ideas written here, so stupid that if attempted, would end in injury or even more likely death. If you want to kill yourself or someone else then join the army, at least they pay you to risk your life. Plus you will have a lot more fun. Not to mention, you get to go to all sorts of third world countries to drop bombs and wreck all sorts of havoc. You see the truth is no one really likes a back yard “watch this” hero, especially if they end up dead. So, please, save yourself the pain and read this book for entertainment only.
It is also good to remember that this book is nothing more than a small collection of memories from my life growing up on the farm. Not only that, but memories are often not always how things really were. The mind can play funny tricks on people over time, and that is why two people from the same family growing up under the same roof can have different opinions on how things really were. Instead of debating with everyone on how things were back then, I decided to just trust my own memories in order to keep it simple. My Dad used to always say “son keep it simple stupid, and life will be easy” He eventually shortened this down to the word “kiss” So that is what I have done here, kept it simple.
Oh yes, one more thing I should note is the fact that I myself am not a writer, never will be a writer or ever intend to be a writer. I failed English 10 three times before finally dropping out of school. This fact should have become more than evident by now, and if not, will become more than evident by the time you are finished this book. I never had any interest in school or in the brain filler that they teach. This, I will have to admit has served me well since I have never amounted to much but have enjoyed every minute of my life to the “T”
One other thing is the fact that these stories were written down as they came to me and may not be in any particular time line or order. It also appears that they seem to keep coming to me on a daily basis. If this continues, then I may have to do another edition.
Back on the farm where I grew up life was good… really good. Sure it was a lot different but good just the same. Now that I have been living in the city for the last few years those differences have been standing out to me. Which may be why, I decided to waste the paper you now see in front of you.
Yes, back then the summers were hot and the winters were cold. It was way back before the earth had an ozone layer. It was also back when Christians did not know there were other religions in the world. Hell, everyone was either a Christian or heathen back then. We all figured a Moslem was someone who lived in a poor country and made muslin, that thin fabric we often used around the farm.
No one really needed killed, converted or healed back then except for the odd heathen here and there. Those few just needed a good round of bible thumping to heal their sins and they would have been fine. Of course everyone back there knew it was not going to happen.
Yes life was a ton different back then and you know what? I am glad it was. It taught me a lot of valuable stuff that I would not have learned growing up in the city. To me the most valuable were the lessons on independence and survival. Even though I might not have used those lessons as much as I should have, they did save my butt on numerous occasions. A lot of people would have taken it for granted but not me. I was always taught to appreciate what you learn because it may benefit you some day in ways you could not imagine.
A prime example was the time my Dad gave me my first switch blade knife. I had just started grade one and was finally able to head off to the big city of Invermere on my own. That was where the grade school was for the whole area. Well turns out that it was really not a city at all but compared to back on our farm in Dry Gulch Invermere was big.
Anyway my Dad always said “son always be prepared for anything and life will be easy” That was his motto behind the switch blade. He said as long as I was carrying one the tough guys in school would leave me alone. Course I had to learn a few tricks on using it before I was allowed to take it to school. I will always remember the time Dad spent teaching me how to use that knife. He was on weekend parole so every Sunday after Church we would go out behind the barn to practice flipping that knife around. I could stick that knife into an apple at twenty feet almost every time.
Well anyway sure enough a couple of smart alecks tried to rough me up after school one day. I whipped out that trusty blade and laid down a few nicks here and there. Should have seen those two heading home crying! Like my Dad said, “be prepared son…” after that experience I was always prepared as much as possible.
Of course those two could not say anything about my knife since they knew I would have told their parents about them smoking out behind the school. Needless to say they had to make up some excuse about how they got the cuts. This is just one of the many examples of the valuable lessons I learned back then that have benefited me immensely. Like my Dad used to always say, “Son the more you learn the more you earn!” I knew he was not talking about the mind filler you learn at school. No he was talking about real stuff… real down on the farm stuff. He used to also tell me that I could leave the farm but if I learned enough, the farm would never leave me no matter where I went.
My mother was also a huge inspiration to me and taught me a ton of valuable lessons in life. Her motto from the time I was born was to teach independence. Let me tell you she did that well. A lot of people said she was just lazy but I knew it was because she wanted us to be able to survive on our own independently, not like a lot of those city slicking kids in Invermere.
I can barely remember the first box of KD I made. I know I was walking but had not been for long. I was starving and realized that if I did not do something soon I was going to eat the dog. I had often watched Mom cooking up a batch of KD for herself so figured it cannot be that hard and off I went. I tell you my first batch was not that good but sure killed the hunger pains.
It took me a year or two though to figure out you had to boil the water for longer than one minute and that you are supposed to drain off the water before you added the cheese powder. I always wondered why it never tasted as good as Moms did. She never said a word and just assumed that I would eventually figure it out. Ever since then I have been perfecting the art of cooking KD.
Yes, I often look back with gratitude at those early years. Not many were as fortunate as I was having such good parents. That is one of the many things that made growing up on the farm so good.
“Mom! I Got One Salted!”
It was a bit of a story but for some strange reason our neck of the woods there had tons of squirrels. I mean tons, those suckers were everywhere chattering away like there was no tomorrow. The trouble was they had gotten used to us humans, at least that is what I had figured since they had no fear what so ever.
I remember us kids playing on the front lawn and those little bastards coming down from the trees and chasing us all over the yard. At first it was kind of fun but then later when the buggers laid a vicious biting on my sister Dad said enough is enough. He took the 410 shotgun he had and drug me out behind the barn for some shootin lessons. Man was that fun. Anyway after I got good at handling that thing he took some shells and emptied out the lead shot and replaced it with rock salt. When we kids went out to play on the lawn I would grab the 410 and some shells loaded with salt. Didn’t take too long for those suckers to get the message but in the mean time we had lots of fresh squirrel soup.
Us kids would hit the front lawn all laughing and playing and as soon as those squirrels started coming down the trees out came the 410. At first they were hard to hit since the kickback from the 410 would throw me off so much. Once I got the hang of putting the stock against the house and shooting from the hip it was soup time! Whenever I actually got one I would yell to Mom “Got one salted!” Right away she would put on the soup pot! Let me tell you after a diet of dry oatmeal nothing beats squirrel soup! Yes life really was different back on the farm.
Well, as you can probably tell I got quite used to being around guns back then. Guns were a big part of survival back on the farm. If they weren’t providing your food it was your warmth as in bear hides. Yes I used to love bear hunting. Every summer Dad and I would head out bear hunting to get some fresh bear hides for winter clothes etc. We would head out deep into the bush along with some old rotten meat. When we got to a prime place we would stop and get off of the old Harley. I rode in the sidecar.
Dad would then put little pieces of the rotten meat in my pockets and smear any really ripe stuff on my pants. Course I never wore my good pants on those days. Man did it stink. Then Dad would get me to walk ahead of him through the bush heading down wind. I guess the summer was best since the mother bear often had cubs and needed to feed them. The best days were when there was a bit of a breeze to carry the scent of the rotting meat downwind in front of me flushing out any bears.
If I ever saw any bear cubs I was supposed to throw rocks at them or whatever to make them make noise. That always got the mother bears attention in case she did not smell the meat. Anyway we got a lot of bears that way. Once a bear was spotted I was supposed to hit the dirt ASAP so Dad could get a good clear shot at the bear. Trouble was he insisted on reloading his own shells and usually half of them reloaded shells were duds. Man some days I was sweating waiting for him to find a real live shell! Let me tell you we had a few close calls with those dud shells.
Anyway the real funny part about this story is if we did bag a bear we would load the thing up into the sidecar and I would have to ride on the back seat. Now did that ever look hilarious with me on the back and the bear sitting there just like it was going for a ride.
You know it is kind of funny but every time I hear someone talking about shells even if for guns I cannot help but think of seafood. Not sure why the hell that is it just is. The strange part is we never had seafood back on the farm. That would be like sailing on the prairies or prairie oysters or something. Mind you we did make our own anchovy paste. Yup! Every spring Mom would send us kids down to the swamp to gather as many tadpoles as we could. My brother and I would love anchovy day just because we liked going to the swamp. We would grab a couple of buckets and a fine net and down to the swamp we would go. It was about a four mile walk but we didn’t care. Though I do admit carrying all those tadpoles in the two buckets was a real job.
The trouble was we would have to leave some water in the buckets to keep them alive until we got home otherwise they would have gone rotten in that scorching hot spring sun. Those buckets would sure get heavy by the time we got back. When we finally did Mom would fire up the woodstove and start canning up a big batch of anchovy paste. That batch of paste would usually carry us through to next spring when we would make another batch.
On the winters that we ran out I would get to breeding up a batch of guppies and she would use them instead. As a kid I always had aquariums and used to breed guppies like crazy. I would net out each new batch and freeze them until there was enough for another batch of homemade paste. It was slower mind you since it takes a heap of guppies just to make one small batch of anchovy paste.
You know I think as a kid growing up my brother must have had a lot of jealously since I was by far better looking than he was. He never said much about it but you could pretty well tell. I remember both Mom and Dad always saying I was not the brightest light on the tree. That was just their way of camouflaging what they said in order not to hurt our feelings. In this case Ivan’s since they obviously did not want him to get jealous. You see back on the farm we did not have a lot of electrical lighting. Bright lights were considered hard on the eyes, just like someone who is ugly is “hard on the eyes”. Since I was not the brightest light then I would have been “easy on the eyes” This was a term commonly used to describe people who were good looking.
You know not many parents back there in the valley did that for their kids. For example if one of us had a health problem they never rubbed it in their face. I remember the time Ivan had trouble with his back. Dad would never remind Ivan about this to his face. Though when he was not there I would often hear Dad say Ivan needed a spine or at least more back bone. That was just another example of how respectful they were of us kids. I guess they got it fixed though since one day I heard Dad yell out to Mom that he had just realized Ivan was bone headed. I figure the doctors must have used some of that bone in his head to fix his back cause he seemed fine to me.
Yes I will never forget mowing lawns back on the farm. I would say we had around four or five acres of lawns that needed mowing twice a week in the summer. That was my job and a tough job it was at least until I finally turned six. Then I was allowed to use the gas mower and not just the non powered push mower. Mom was always worried that I would cut my feet off with the gas mower and then would not be able to keep the lawn down.
I still remember my sixth birthday since Mom made me a huge birthday cake shaped like a gas lawn mower. From that day on I was allowed to use the gas mower. It felt like I had grown up at that point and was finally just like my Dad. Though, if I remember correctly, Dad never mowed the lawns much if ever. That was my job and kept me hungry and healthy. Dad always said a hungry kid is a healthy kid. Dad was a really smart guy but that was because he read lots of books. Of course not the kind they give you in school.
The lawns were an ongoing job for sure since by the time I got to that last acre the first had grown up again. All the grass had to be then raked up and hauled off to the compost pile. We had a few big compost piles on the farm and used the compost on the gardens. Mom used to say that is why we had such big vegetables all the time.
Fun on the Farm
A lot of people used to think that us kids had to work steady back then but it was not true. Sure we had chores to do but there were all sorts of fun things we did also. One of my favorite was the “spray bomb roasts” that we used to have. This was a special day that Dad came up with after reading a book he had. I still have been unable to find a copy of that great book. I cannot remember who it was written by but I think it was titled. “A Fly in the Oven… Fun on the Farm When No One Is Around!”
This was one of Dad’s favorite books. Anyway we would all save every old aerosol can we could find. It did not matter if they were shaving foam cans or old spray bomb cans they all worked great.
Then every three or four months or so us kids would gather up all those cans and take them out to the front lawn. Sometimes Dad would phone some of his friends to come by for a beer and watch the show. Once all the cans were on the lawn Dad would drag out the old iron wheel barrel and a gallon or two of gas. After making sure the wheel barrel was level he would stand up six or seven aerosol cans in the wheel barrel. He would then pour in a half inch or so of gas and light it.
Us kids would all be sitting around at a distance of course and watch. As the gas burnt it would heat up the cans hotter and hotter. Pretty soon you would hear the paint cans make a pinking sound. They did this as they expanded since when they bulged out the little marble inside would jump. This was your clue that any second these cans were going to start blowing! And blow they did!! Some of the explosions would send the cans literally two or three hundred feet across the field. Some would send up huge balls of flame and thunderously loud bangs. Let me tell you, they may have been homemade fireworks but were far better!
One time as a can blew it sprayed the gas in the wheel barrel out onto the dried grass and started a fire that was quickly spreading. Dad got us kids to grab some fir boughs and go out to swat the grass fire out. That was a real crazy time since we were really close the other burning cans that had not gone off yet so had to be ready to duck at any second. One of the funniest ones was the time a can blew and the lid sailed about a hundred feet across the yard and took the side window out of Uncle Alberts brand new 67 Ford truck. Whoooo man was he mad about that one!
We also liked this night since we were allowed to stay up late. After all it had to be dark to get the full impact from the explosions.
Yes the fun we had back on the farm. One of my real favorite hobbies was making smoke bombs out of saltpeter and sugar. Every time I got a little spare change I would sneak off to the drug store to buy more cans of saltpeter. Unfortunately though the drugstore staff finally caught on that something was up since why was this six year old kid always buying saltpeter. That pretty well ended my smoke bomb making days for awhile anyway. They did the math and figured out that saltpeter is one of the ingredients in gun powder. I guess they figured I was making gun powder.
Anyway after being stumped by them for awhile I came up with a plan. As luck would have had it I found a recipe for tanning leather that used saltpeter. Even though I was using a different recipe at the time for the hides I was tanning I told Dad otherwise. I explained to him that I had some cow hides to tan and they needed a different recipe. I also told him that I would need lots since it was a big tanning job. Well he bought my story and off we went to the drug store. He told the druggist we needed a ten pound bag. The druggist was suspicious right away and asked Dad why he needed so much of it. Well Dad always hated to be interrogated but remained calm and told him that I was using it to tan hides and that it was part of the recipe. The druggist looked down at my smirking face and reluctantly gave Dad the powder.
Dad used to always tell me that sometimes you gotta play nice with the authorities in order not to attract too much attention. Trouble makers he said attract attention of the cops and then they never get away with anything. That is why he said we all had to go to church on Sundays. It was part of our cover he said.
Anyway once I had the saltpeter it was time to raid the sugar pantry. Of course Mom kept that under lock and key but I figured out where she hid the key. As soon as she was out on her Harley or something I would dash in there for a couple of scoops. Of course I always took a little extra and stashed it for when I was on sugar rations.
When making the smoke bombs you usually just mix the sugar and saltpeter one to one though I would often experiment by adding other ingredients. Man would it give off the smoke and stink! I even figured out how to make my own homemade fuses which really came in handy for a lot of things.
Thanks for reading....