Monday, May 05, 2008

Death By Moth

I have a fear of moths. Irrational though it may be, it is very real. It began with a childhood experience which I will briefly recount and hope that you are not too grossed out. When I was about 8 years old, I was on vacation with my family. I remember that we had stopped at a visitor's center at a western national park. The center was in a small trailer-like structure. While my parents talked to a ranger, I wandered aimlessly around the trailer, and a movement around a light caught my eye. Ironically, I felt drawn to the light bulb, just as the moths who were fluttering around it had been. I got close. Too close. Several of the moths flew up my nose. I have no idea why. I then proceeded to sneezed them out. Ever since then, I've been afraid of the fluttering little bastards. I cover my nose whenever they come close, afraid of a repeat of that traumatic childhood experience.

Now that you know that story, you will understand when I say the following, I say it with horror: My wool has been infested with moths.

Yep, we have an all out moth invasion on our hands. I keep a good bit of my stash downstairs in the living room, and that has survived just fine, thank the gods. But all of the wool I was storing upstairs, well, that's a different matter. You can imagine what it's like for me, going up there and having moths swarm around me. They might as well be bats, though truth be told, I'd love to have a few bats right now as long as they favored a diet heavy in moths. I did have cedar amongst my wool
to ward off the moths, but apparently, it wasn't nearly enough.

Onto the specifics of the loss, as well as the clean up: I was too grossed out and sad to take pictures of the worst of it. In fact, my husband cleaned up a lot of it for me, bless his heart. There were bags and bags of wool batting from our four sheep waiting to be spun or felted. Most of it was filled with eggs and larvae (I shutter just writing that) and most was not salvageable. They even burrowed into the wicker baskets the wool was stored in. Oh, and apparently, moths love alpaca as well. Fortunately only two skeins of my hand-dyed Atacama alpaca yarn were eaten through:
Here's the thing. I can't bring myself to kill them. As a rule, I try not to kill anything. Maybe it's the years of Buddhist practice, I don't know, but I hate to kill anything, including insects. Instead, I let my man incur the karma and kill them for me. Mostly, we brought everything outside and released them to the elements. They few that are lingering inside, get the smack down whenever my husband sees them.

Here are two of our sheep, Bart and Blu, whose wool was (partially) lost to the moths. Thankfully, wool is a renewable resource.

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