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The good, the bad and the ugly

String! String is good! And this is excellent, if I do say so myself:

Solar sock yarn

One ball, 460yd/100g approximately, of merino-nylon blend sock yarn, in random blue and green colors, dyed in the handy dandy solar yarn cooker. Expect to see more of this appearing, maybe even on Etsy, since my enjoyment of dyeing stuff far exceeds my ability to knit socks speedily.

More good: the first tomatoes from the black cherry tomato plant! It’s an heirloom variety, and makes lovely red-purple fruit, here nestled on a few leaves of basil.

black cherry tomatos

These were a major component of my lunch today. They taste just like any other home-grown tomato, which is to say fantastic! The color extends all the way through.

One more picture, just because they’re neat looking:

black cherry tomato

Arts Fest is over. Yesterday morning, this is what I saw downtown.

Arts Fest cleanup

Arts Fest cleanup

All the landscaping goes back into the trucks, and it all gets hauled away. By the time I left work yesterday, there was nothing but a few stray bits of mulch here and there.

Warning! Bad AND ugly! Next come icky moth photos. They’re the last thing in this post, and they aren’t wool-eating moths, but they are still evil, and disgusting. If you are sensitive about your wool stash, you might want to skip over this!

Still here?

This was a bad year for gypsy moths in central Pennsylvania. The ravenous little beasts were supposedly introduced by someone experimenting with alternative sources of silk, and have been eating trees ever since. I intensely dislike the thought that someone did such a horrible thing in pursuit of string, don’t you?

The caterpillars have been happily chewing the leaves off all the trees in and around town, and everywhere else for that matter. And, er, leaving disgusting digested leaf spooge everywhere as well. We got a brief respite while they pupated, but then they hatched. Hundreds upon hundreds of moths everywhere! I think Morgan may be the only one enjoying the swarms of flying insects, and he can’t catch enough to make a dent in the population. (But it is awfully entertaining to watch him try!) They don’t live very long as moths, just long enough to make lots and lots of eggs so that we can go through this all again next year.

This tree is a couple blocks from my house, and is apparently a favorite. These moths are all busy laying eggs – the yellow masses are moths-to-be. At the upper right you can also see some of the brown pupal skins that they abandoned at metamorphosis, gently swaying in the breeze. (ICK!!!!!)

gypsy moth

Unfortunately, just scraping the egg masses off the tree isn’t a good idea, since the yellow hairs covering the egg masses are skin irritants, and that doesn’t kill the eggs anyway. I’ve heard soaking them in kerosene works, as does scraping them into a jar and microwaving for a couple minutes. Yeeesh. I haven’t been able to bring myself to try it, even though I realize that each of those yellow masses will be hundreds or thousands of wriggly little leaf-eaters next spring.

gypsy moth

4 Comments on “The good, the bad and the ugly”

  1. #1 Tamie - of the (imaginary) cool knitted socks
    on Jul 17th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    well eeeeewwwwwwhhhhhhhh (and kerosene isn’t a skin irritant?)

  2. #2 Laura
    on Jul 17th, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    So are the nasty moths the result of “tent caterpillars?” Or are they something else?

  3. #3 Phiala
    on Jul 17th, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Eastern tent caterpillars are native and not so destructive. Gypsy moths don’t make tents or webs, and eat everything. There’s a brief comparison at if you’re really curious.

  4. #4 Laura
    on Jul 18th, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I was really curious. Thanks!