First you may wonder what the heck is a Shoofly? Well, ever since I first came across the dirt track called Shoofly Cutoff branching off Mudflat Road south of Boise, I’ve pondered the name. I looked in vain for history related to Shoofly Road, but all I found was Shoofly Mine in the nearby Owyhee Mountains, Shoofly Reservoir, and Shoofly Canal—all of which I assume derived their names from the mine.
But I also discovered that there is a Shoo Fly plant, sometimes referred to as the Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes), which supposedly repels insects. And then there is Shoofly Pie, a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy made with molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, which looks quite tasty. Oh, and then there’s the Shoofly Rocker for children, with a seat supported between a pair of flat cutouts of horses, swans, or whatever the crafter is crafty enough to carve.
Okay, but how about Oolites, you ask? The word ooid is Greek for egg. Oolites are formations of sedimentary limestone that have encapsulated individual grains of sand to form white, eggshell-shaped spheres. Ooids form in shallow, warm, water, where wave action is gentle but constant. The Shoofly Oolites are a reminder of late Pleistocene Lake Idaho which once covered most of southern Idaho. It is one of the largest freshwater oolite lake beds in the world. As water drained from Lake Idaho, the limestone eroded creating fascinating shapes that are still worked on by rain and wind erosion.