Time Thief

Sunday, June 26, 2005

weekend wrap-up

It's "molting" time for the sycamore trees here in perfect village.

The trees were busy shedding their bark, but what did I do this weekend? Replaced the switches that control lights in the hall/stairs. Sounds like nothing, but that's two lines in three locations. Six switches in all! ugh. To make matters worse, I pulled the wires "backwards" in two of the boxes (meaning wires for the switch that should go on the left entered the box on the right and vice-versa) so I had to work the wires a bit to get them installed on the "right" sides.

So what the heck was I replacing? I had installed some "regular" three-way dimmers while waiting on a parts order. I replaced them with "smart dimmers" that can dim the lights from any location. They're pretty pricey, but after living with "regulars" for two weeks, I think they're definitely worth it. Hated having to go downstairs to adjust the light level.

Lots of other miscellaneous tasks: Fixed a switch in the bedroom that wasn't quite right. oops. Worked on more sanding, priming, painting of closet doors. One is installed, another coat of paint still needed on the second. Did a little sewing (yeah, I do it all) on a bedroom window treatment. I stupidly used some fusible tape along the bottom edge and it had started to pull apart. I also now have a hook in the new bathroom on which to hang my robe (yay!) and the guest room is ready for sanding/final touch-up coat of compound.

I spent way too much time playing out in the garden today. Why? It is the time for: squash vine borer patrol. I've had problems with them every year at this house. Grrrrr! I noticed the telltale signs when I was out watering the other day

as well as some other unknown invaders

I went out to try to identify the little leaf-eaters and work on evicting the borers, when I noticed a strange little wasp. My first reaction was to be afraid of it like I usually am of wasps, but then I watched it for moment. It started flying around the monster pumpkin vine. Then it would land on the vine and appear to (ahem) hump the vine. A-ha! I ran inside for a quick Google search and confirmed that it was the mama squash vine borer moth depositing her eggs! Grabbed the camera and went outside to go to work. Unfortunately, mama never showed back up to have her picture taken and meet her death. Maybe another day.

Once the borers have made their home in a vine, there are a couple of things you can do to try to save the plant, both of which are extremely difficult and time consuming.

1) Inject the vines with a solution of BT using a syringe
2) Cut open the vine and extract the worm (ewww)

In either case, the plant's "wounds" should be covered with dirt to encourage new root development. I used a combination of methods depending on the plant. I went
through this effort last year with mixed results. My own fault for taking a "wait-and-see" approach again this year. Won't make the same mistake again.

Ordinarly, I don't like to split the vine because it's hard to know where the borer(s) will be found. However, in a couple of the vines, the BT injections made the little buggers start to travel and poke their head out of their entrance sites to see what was going on. That made it easy to yank them out.

I even got a movie of this little guy. It isn't in focus (due to the angle, I couldn't exactly watch what I was filming), but you can see him moving around in there.

As I was injecting the vines, I also saw quite a few of mama's eggs, so I got rid of as many of those as I could find.

Nature is so cool.


  • Thank you for posting this. I know what to look out for now with my own plants!

    By Blogger lynette, at 2:36 AM  

  • Yea, the whole bug thing was pretty gross. I am worried about when Alli reads this.

    I think that you need to come here for a couple weeks and I will go there. I will do your wiring and you can do the painting with Alli. Deal? Good.

    By Blogger Ry, at 11:49 AM  

  • Ry is right. I am grossed out. I wish he had mentioned to me that I should skip this posting. I'm really not ok with borers. I get the heebie jeebies.

    By Anonymous Al, at 3:02 PM  

  • Sorry, Al. But wouldn't a good husband have given you a heads up to stay away? ;-)

    By Blogger SmilingJudy, at 5:58 PM  

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