Sunday, September 8, 2013

Epilogue - Yellow Jackets and "Drunken" Lamp Pole

As much as I wanted to go play this weekend - get out early in the morning and take a motorcycle ride before the heat of the day - responsibility called.

Yellow Jacket Update:
The Bee-man showed up Saturday morning as promised, and his crew made quick work of eliminating the yellow jacket nest in my potted yucca plant.  He said the best way to deal with this was to block the opening to the nest, block any possible "back door" openings, and then suffocate it with a blanket of insulation.  Activity around the nest had been calm that morning, just the few workers coming and going, in stark contrast to how it was the other day when I "disturbed" it.  This will make work a little easier and safer for the Bee-man and his crew.

They suited up, blocked the tunnel with fiberglass insulation, then carried the pot to the back corner of my yard.   A thick layer of insulation was crammed into the top of the pot, on top of the soil, and more insulation was stuffed in around the bottom of the pot within the drain saucer.  He said to leave it alone out there for a couple of weeks and they'll be gone.   

His parting words to me, after I'd paid him, were "You don't have a yellow jacket problem anymore."
Good to know!

Yucca plant banished to the back corner
of the yard for time-out


While I was out of town running a half marathon in upstate New York, a very strong storm blew in on the leading edge of a cold front speeding down from the north.  I learned about it when I received an email from our neighborhood watch group regarding extensive tree damage, so called my neighbor to check on her and to check on my house.   She said she'd taken a quick walk around my house and everything seemed okay, no trees down, no house damage.

I received an email from her the next day, letting me know that she took a closer look at everything and that a lamp post had blown down onto my patio.  That particular post had been getting a little "tipsy," despite being sunk in concrete, but I didn't realize that it was slowly rusting away, the victim of the too-near sprinkler head.  Being constantly in contact with water will do that to a metal pole. 

When I got home, I cut away the jasmine that grows so lushly at the light pole's base, and inspected the damage.  The pole had rusted completely through just below ground level, leaving behind the remainder of the pole still firmly encased in concrete.

I gave this some thought and finally decided that the best route to take would be to remove the pole altogether and get the wiring spliced together to maintain continuity to the next pole in sequence.  I flipped off the circuit breaker dedicated to these lights and removed the light fixture from the top of the pole.  I cut the wires that connected it to the power source line and then threw the pole and light fixture away.

Then I contacted my late husband's son who is an electrical designer and asked for his help.  I described the set-up and told him I wanted to get the wires spliced together in some elegant way that would both meet code but also allow someone to tap into it in the future.

He has been my savior all these years since his dad died.  He has been a blessing and so generous of his time for me!

He came over this morning, bringing everything he needed to get the job done.  And in 45 minutes it was done!   We rerouted the wires a bit and then he ran them into opposing ends of a junction box suitable for outdoor underground use.  Screw-in clamps hold the wires and keep them from getting pulled back out.  He spliced the wires and then sealed the box with silicone.  A threaded cap on the top of the box will permit access to the wires to tap into them at a later time.   Well done, and very professional. 

I still have the major disruption of a new floor in the kitchen and breakfast room to look forward to.  That's coming up on the 26th of this month.  And I have a call in to a tree service that I regularly use, to get some limbs removed from trees in my backyard.  Then - hopefully - this will be it for a while! 

1 comment:

  1. Glad there will be no more issues with the yellow jackets. for some reason I thought they'd un-pot the plant and remove the yellow jackets. I wouldn't have thought of them just plugging the holes to suffocate them. No more stinging now.

    So nice you had help with the electrical issue too. What will you do when all of your projects are done? Oh wait - home ownership = never done with projects.