i went to star market this morning to get a few supplies for my mother, including 2 packs of gatorade. i ended up strapping them to the back of my motorcycle before riding to belmont. yesterday's weather was nice, temperature in the 60's. today was in the 70's, and already it feels too warm (but not as bad as the 90's).
i had a bowl of fish nugget soup for lunch while watching the men's singles final of the french open between djokovic and tsitsipas. djokovic is often times portrayed as the villain, and isn't as beloved as nadal or federer, despite winning nearly just about as many grand slams as those other two. but i was rooting for him today, simply because his opponent was a 5th-rank 22-year old greek boy with hadn't won a grand slam yet. i caught the game late, the score indicated that at one point tsitsipas almost won, but experience trumps youth, and djokovic ended up winning.
in the early afternoon we went on a supply run to the waltham costco. there were definitely less people than our everett costco supply run two weeks ago during memorial day weekend. unfortunately the waltham costco is smaller, which meant they weren't as well stocked, and didn't carrying any of the brown sugar boba popsicles or the fish-shaped ice cream sandwiches. so even though we bought $235+ worth of supplies, my moher said we still need to go to the everett costco tomorrow.
we stopped by the cafe to drop off the supplies before finally returning to belmont by 3:40pm. in the time that we had left before dinner, my father and i were out in the front yard pruning our evergreen bushes. other than that, i didn't do any other gardening work today. i did notice rabbits have eaten a few long bean seedlings. these were the ones i planted from seeds directly into the ground. why i didn't protect them i don't know, i only regret not doing so in hindsight. i also spotted a red milkweed beetle hiding in the milkweeds. i'm going to leave it alone for the time being, even though it's going to eat some of the milkweed.
after dinner i stopped by my sister's house to let hailey out into the backyard to pee then back inside for dinner. she should've dropped off her dog at my parents' place before going out, instead of leaving her dog alone at home, with the stereo and air conditioner on.
i came home excited to see the nets-bucks game, until i checked the schedule and realized it was earlier today. i didn't understand what i was seeing at first, series tied 2-2, until i finally realized this meant the bucks won again. it will be so sweet if brooklyn loses the series. i ended up watching the suns-nuggets game. watching the suns play is a thing of beauty. MVP jokic ended up getting ejected due to a flagrant foul but i didn't think it was that bad. would denver have won with him still in the game? hard to say. even without him, the nuggets came within 1 point of phoenix. but the suns was just too dominant and ended up sweeping the series 4-0. are they really that good?
i found a new favorite show last night on amazon prime, massage detective joe (2017). it's the story of a painful shy masseuse who gets sent out to these house calls. for whatever reason, it always ends with murder, and the masseuse solves the case using the magic of massage. it sounds crazy and the show plays up to its campy premise, but i really enjoy it.
measurable amount of rain finally fell overnight, as puddles greeted me when i opened the blinds this morning. i went down to the community garden anyway, not to water, but to spray some diatomaceous earth that had washed off from the rainfall. i was the only person there, other than two muscular men exercising in sacramento field with their shirts off.
when i got to belmont, the first thing i did was to check the rain barrel level, which was nearly full. i gave my father a floating plastic bead i found in my backyard that fits perfectly in the rain gauge rubber tube; he'd been using the end of a plastic toothbrush as an indicator, but it had a tendency to get stuck in the tube; this plastic bead will work better.
i helped my mother make luxurious ramen for lunch. so thought it was a crazy idea adding an egg to the broth that only cooks from the heat of the water used to boil the noodles. but when she finally tasted the luxury ramen, she had no more complaints. one thing that was lacking was not enough garlic; i thought there was a garlic press but we couldn't find it and ended up using a garlic grater to add a small amount of garlic. next time we'll try the buldak ramen.
i then spent the rest of the day outside, only coming back inside around 5pm. the weather was unbearably pleasant compared to the past 2 weekends: first it was rainy, then it was super hot, but this weekend the temperature will be seasonable and dry.
i moved out the gardenia since nearly all the flower buds have either fallen off or blossomed. after my father pruned it down to a small bush, i sprayed it with insecticidal soap to kill the aphids. afterwards i sprayed the gardenia with water to wash off the dead insects. i sprayed the jasmines as well, washing off the accumulation of oils and pollen. i mixed 2 gallon worth of acid-loving soluble fertilizer for the gardenia; whatever i had left over i poured onto the southeastern hydrangea.
while working in the southern bed, i noticed a rustling in the tall grass. then when i saw the baby rabbit. my father and i tried to flush it out, but it was small enough that it could still pass through the gaps underneath the fencing. bunnies i can tolerate; larger size rabbits are a bigger issue, since they're capable of eating whole plants.
the stock flowers growing in the elongated planters have started to blossom. the one that i saw had fuchsia-colored flowers. apparently they're supposed to be very fragrant, but even when i held my nose directly onto the flowers, the most i could detect was a slight clove scent.
some squash flowers have blossomed, all females. the first flowers to appear initially were males, but my father removed them since it was too early for flowers. but now we have female flowers with no males, so these immature fruits will abort. the flowers have yet to attract any cucumber beetles or squash bees. it's just a matter of time. my father has been diligently watching youtube videos of taiwanese squash farmers explaining their techniques.
some of the milkweed flowers have started to blossom as well. the phlox that i got from the community garden also came with some yellow flowers that look like some kind of primrose. the thai chili pepper plant have also started to form white flowers. orange nasturtiums have bloomed. shasta daisies aren't far behind, they'll also bloom within the coming days. of course there are still plenty of foxgloves, and old peonies. the predominant backyard flower color is some shade of pink.
cypress vine seedlings continue to appear in RB4. early in the season i'd transplant them to pots to plant elsewhere, but we have so many now i don't even bother. i dug up a little bit of the monkshood so i could transplant a gladiola that was growing in the same spot. i thought gladiolas had big bulbs but they from from corms. the lotuses now have 3 floating leaves with the 4th floating leaf sprout emerging underwater. the cactus buds from last week that looked a little yellow and anemic are doing much better. they're still a bit yellow, but they're solid and they're starting to swell, which means they're growing.
i forgot that i have two different varieties of eggplants this season. they're easy to tell part: the japanese variety have black stems, while the taiwanese variety have green stems. the japanese eggplants are also bigger in size apparently.
i mixed two more spray bottles of insecticidal soap, one for home, one for the cafe. i then mixed about a gallon worth of immunox (2tbsp of concentrate) to spray the grapevines.
i'm seeing a lot more predaceous insects. a few weeks ago it was all about the ladybugs. we still see them, but now i also see long-legged flies, drone flies, and robber flies. not to mention the occasionally jumping spider. aphids and mealybugs have no chance when there are so many beneficial predators around. i also noticed a lot of leaf cutter bees visiting the foxgloves, but i haven't seen where they're gathering their leaves.
around 4pm i noticed some dramatic clouds in the sky and took the drone up in the air to get some photos. i was using my asus tablet. it behaved for the most part, but coming back and flying over the nearby park, the app froze. a DJI fly app crash on the asus tablet is a much more gentle affair, and i could still access all the system functionality. after about 10 seconds and when i finally regained control of the app, it didn't something weird: everything was working except i wasn't getting a video feed. i ended up guiding the drone back via the map view, which was still tracking the drone. midway on its return trip, the video feed finally came back again.
after dinner my parents both had a brown sugar boba popsicle while i ate the last of the green tea fish ice cream sandwich. i rather have a boba popsicle! i returned to cambridge around 7pm.
as soon as i got home, i walked down to the community garden again to check on my plants. i was imagining there'd be a lot of people there, but once again i was the only one. i saw some flea beetles on bagged eggplant and sprayed some more diatomaceous earth. i also brought home all my empty pots, didn't want it crowding an already crowded garden.
i tried the kettle brand krinkle cut truffle & sea salt potato chips tonight. it's actually very good, a very savory flavor. they used to make an avocado oil himalayan salt chips but i think it's been discontinued. these truffle sea salt chips are a good replacement.
after a matcha latte and a tea egg for lunch, i finally left for boston around 2pm. temperature was only in the 60's but i wasn't expecting how cold it was until i stepped outside. made me want to put some pants on instead of wearing shorts, but i put on a jacket instead, easier to take off if i get hot. the sky was also overcast, like it might rain, but the weather forecast said it wouldn't rain until later in the evening into early saturday morning.
the cooler weather was refreshing, with memories of the recent searing heatwave still fresh in mind. it felt like natural air conditioning. also it's always nice to appreciate some cold weather during the warm season.
i only went to ming's market this time (2:25pm), despite their smaller selection. most of the stuff was for the cafe so i used the company debit card to pay. i almost bought a ladle strainer - for the next time i need to empty my paocai jar - but i didn't like the size (7.5cm), i wanted a larger one, so didn't buy it. i also discovered they sell kohlrabi, i didn't realize it was used in asian cookie. they called it "菜果" (caiguo) but when i looked it up on wikipedia yesterday, they called it "苤蓝" (pielan).
by 3pm i'd cut across downtown crossing and was in haymarket. all the clementines and tangerines were gone. instead i bought some tiny plums ($2 for 10), papaya ($5 for 3), strawberries (2 boxes $3), baby cucumbers ($2 for 2), baby sweet peppers ($1 a bag) and asparagus ($1 for 2). i left by 3:30pm.
instead of going home first, i rode the nearly 5 miles to the cafe to drop off the supplies. my 2nd aunt was there as well as my sister's godmother. my mother was giving them some of my yangbaechu kimchi and each of them took something from my haymarket haul.
even though it looked like it might rain, i continued on my way to the fresh pond reservation. this time i bought my panasonic lumix camera and my fuji 3D camera. i found a couple looking at something in the lupine field. at first i thought they were checking out the beekeeper in his white spaceman outfit, but they were actually looking at the deer hiding in the tall grass. i found the lupines, i'm a little bit late in the season (they typically bloom in may). i might come back another time to maybe collect some seeds for the backyard garden. i haven't been to fresh pond in a long time, it's completely changed since my last full visit. this used to be a field of blue corn flowers back in 2008. who knows, maybe in a few more weeks they might reemerge.
i checked out the fresh pond community garden before i left. it's a nice setup, but hard to get to if you don't live nearby unless you park at the water treatment plant. it's all raised beds and the garden looked very sparse because they're not allowed to grow perennials, so mainly vegetables.
i finally got home by 5pm. since i barely broke a sweat in this cool dry weather, i didn't bother taking a shower. instead i reheated the leftover whopper from yesterday and ate it as a late lunch.
all that biking must've tired me out because i feel asleep on the couch around 6pm and didn't wake up until almost 9pm. i finished the last of my leftover pasta salad for dinner. it's going to be a while before i can eat pasta salad again. i ate while watching 76ers vs. hawks game (philly won, now lead series 2-1) followed by the suns vs. nuggets game. i haven't been paying much attention to phoenix, they're pretty amazing. i know very little about chris paul's game and i mostly recognize him from those really weird state farm commercials, but he has legit skills and is a clutch player. i also recognize devin booker and i know jae crowder from his celtics days. suns won, now leads the series 3-0 against nikola jokic (this year's MVP) and the nuggets. suns were also the team that ended lebron's lakers playoff run in 6 games. a suns-nets finals would be something to watch.
the temperature today dropped into the 70's, a full 20 degrees cooler than the past 5 days, as the heatwave siege finally comes to a close. it actually got too cold, and i briefly worried i lost all that precious trapped heat by leaving so many windows opened. but thanks to the insulation in the walls, it usually takes about 3 days for the room temperature to become the same as the outdoor temperature. i ended up running the oscillating fan a little bit for relief after i took it apart and gave it a good cleaning. i promised myself the next heatwave we face, i'm installing the AC, so the days of the fans are numbered.
i woke up relatively early, by 9am. i paid a visit to my garden, figured it'd be nice for a change not to water my plot in the middle of the day when it's the hottest. i took a photo of my neighbor's fragrant bush. later after some research, i believe it's a variety of mock orange, i'm almost positive. it's different than the mock orange i saw at the arnold arboretum back in may 2018, but this one has the slightly toothed oval leaves.
lynn's friend was in the garden, helping her tend to her plants. anne marie was also there, busy doing some common garden work. after giving my plot a thorough watering, i dusted some pest-attracting plants (eggplants, bokchoi, ground cherries) with diatomaceous earth.
back at home, i finally pruned my overgrown umbrella plant and managed to get two cuttings out of it, hopefully to become additional plants. i ended up having to strip off about 50% of the leaves, but hopefully the new cuttings can quickly grow new ones. i also threw out all my overwintering lotus rhizomes. they've been soaking for over a month now, i haven't seen any activity to indicate they're still alive.
for lunch i had a matcha latte and a tea egg. the tea eggs have been soaking in their brine for so long, the eggs have expanded. when i took one out it didn't even look like i cracked it. i emptied the brine for the 3 remaining tea eggs.
with the weather so nice outside, i couldn't bear to be inside all day. around 3pm i biked down to market basket to return some cans and get some chinese red pork powder for my parents. i then went to the cafe to drop them off. my godmother was there, my mother gave her a container of yangbaechu kimchi and a container of sichuan paocai.
i left by 4pm, going to the real reason why i came out in the first place: the concord avenue burger king to try the new BK fried chicken sandwich, the ch'king. i was going to make my order in the store but they didn't have the special deal on my BK app (buy a ch'king, get a whopper for free) so i ordered and paid ($4.99) from my phone and just waited there to pick up my order. it was a very antisocial way of ordering fast food.
biking back, i cut across fresh pond. it was surreal to be suddenly in a forest canopy, next to a pond, rhododendrons blooming everywhere. at one point i came across a field and spotted a bunch of purple lupines. even though i had my panasonic camera, i forgot about it and only managed to take a far away snapshot with my phone. i'll try coming back tomorrow if i have the time.
the first thing i noticed about the ch'king is the very large piece of fried chicken in the sandwich. my first bite didn't go very well, very dry and hard, because i only bit into the crust. successive bites fared much better as i bit into the tender chicken. it was actually pretty good, but for my money, the wendy's spicy chicken is still no chicken sandwich of choice. but the ch'king isn't bad for a second place finish. i need to try the mcdonald's fried chicken sandwich one of these days.
i had more leftover pasta salad for dinner, around 9:30pm. i ate while watching game between between the nets an the bucks. milwaukee pulled ahead early, but brooklyn is like the terminator, it doesn't stop, it keeps on coming, and eventually they came back to tie and even took the lead on a few occasion. but the bucks played a near perfect game, and it ended down to the wire, on a missed 3-point from kevin durant that could've tied the game and go into overtime. bucks win, now the series is 1-2. can they win another game? or have they peaked?
it rained a little bit last night because i could hear the patter of raindrops beating against the trash cans in renee's alleyway. it was too late to do anything about it, i just had to power through the noises. to make matters worse, i had the window open because it was finally too hot inside the house. when i woke up this morning, i could see that the pavement were still a little damp.
i went down to the community garden in the late morning. as proof how little rain fell overnight, most of my plants still had their diatomaceous earth dusting on their leaves. i forgot to bring my DE spray bottle, i'll bring it tomorrow. after i gave the garden a deep watering, i went about inspecting the plants. i pruned some of the tomatoes, removing suckers developing in the branch crooks. the bitter melons are doing well, the leaves finally unfurling and finding purchase on the trellis. my nigella seedlings are growing fine, nothing seems to be eating them even them, maybe slugs/bugs don't like the feathery leaves. i found two sets of potato beetle eggs on the grow bag ground cherry, and one adult potato beetle. my eggplants are not as large as david's, but they hold their own, and i grew mine from seeds. i also have two different varieties, shikou (all black) and pingtung (taiwanese long purple). the striped mallows growing in front of the grow bags are doing very well, almost like bushes how large they are, and two different types of flowers, white and magenta. i helped the hyacinth beans to find some purchase on their trellis; they grow slow, but once they find something to climb, they start growing fast. i'm probably the only gardener with hyacinth beans. my chinese aster seedlings also seem to be doing okay, nothing have eaten them so far; the bigger they get, the less vulnerable they are to critters.
i didn't get back home until 12:30pm. for some reason i had a craving for spicy buldak ramen despite the hot weather. so i poached an egg and cooked the noodles from a package. portion-wise, the package version seems to be about the same as a the instant-cup version. i emptied the flavor packets into a bowl before adding and mixing in the noodles then adding the egg and some chopped scallions. second time around the buldak noodles wasn't as crazy spicy only because i knew what was coming. i also discovered the quicker you finish the noodles, the less chance of the spiciness building up in between bites. afterwards my mouth was coated in red buldak sauce, like i was in some kissing contest.
i spent the rest of the day indoors. today was supposed to be the last day of the 5-day heatwave. already the inside of my house was 85 degrees. i busted out the found oscillating fan from my bedroom and put it to use for the first time this season. even though it was just recirculating the hot air inside the house, that little bit of breeze was quite comforting. nevertheless, about every 1-1/2 hours i'd jump in the shower and take a quick rinse to cool down.
if there was any work to do down i couldn't do it just because of how hot it was inside the house. instead i downloaded and watched loki, the new marvel mini-series from disney+. 10 minutes into the first episode, i was already fully committed. this is going to be a fun show, i thought to myself.
when evening finally came, i was comforted by the knowledge that my dinner was already prepared, some leftover pasta salad from yesterday. i ate relatively early, around 7:45pm. it was pretty good, but i kept thinking what else i could add to make it even better. what about some corn to give it some sweetness? pinenuts would also be good. afterwards i had some sliced cara cara oranges. they were supposed to be juiced, but they've been in my fridge for nearly 3 weeks and were a little dry and expired, so i ate them as-is.
my 2nd aunt called me, said youtube wasn't working on her TCL roku smart tv. in fact, she somehow managed to erase the youtube channel altogether. so i talked her on the phone on how to set youtube back up again, and then it became a line video chat because she needed to use her phone to verify her youtube account. the whole thing ended up taking an hour. it would've been faster if i biked over to her place and set it up for her. adding the channel was the easy part; signing into her youtube account took much longer. first we tried the easy way, doing it by phone, but for some reason it didn't work. we then did it the hard way by manually entering her username and password. after waiting for her to enter all the characters and numbers, we finally got it working.
around 10:30pm i left the house to leave a pokemon in a nearby gym. the temperature outside had dropped to a refreshing 79 degrees and the humidity was gone. when i came back inside the house it was like walking into a furnace. i opened as many windows as i could and ran all three of my fans (window, box, oscillating). by the time i went to bed i'd only lowered the indoor temperature by 2 degrees but it's a start.
the plan today was to go to belmont in the early afternoon and mow the lawn before the forecast of showers were due to arrive around 2-3pm. but i should've known: when we wait for rain, the rain never comes.
first i went to market basket in the late morning to get some groceries. i decided to make pasta salad for dinner the rest of the week, and needed to pick up some ingredients (only thing i had at home was a box of multi-colored barilla rotini). it was my first time going to market basket maskless since the pandemic started more than a year ago. it felt strange, especially since most people still had their masks on, but 10% of the customers and employees were maskless. i read online that market basket had did away with the mask-rule since the end of may, when MA allows people to be maskless in indoor spaces and no more occupancy limits.
coming back, somebody had thrown out a bunch of plastic pots in a recycle bin and i grabbed them all, carefully placing them on top of my rear baskets so they don't fall out. i made a cup of matcha latte for lunch and left for belmont around 12:45pm. i tied the plastic pots down with a bungie cord and in my bag i carried the long stalks of hostas. the plants stuck out far enough that i was worried a passing car might snap the stems so i rode carefully, frequently looking back to check the oncoming traffic situation. did i also mention it was hot? temperature around 95 degrees, probably felt even hotter with the humidity. i basically panted the whole trip, in hindsight maybe i should've worn a hat.
one of the first things i did when i got to my parents' place was to plant the hostas. i had two bunches, i planted one underneath the eastern cypress, while the other in the shady hosta/fern garden by the eastern backyard entrance. this particular variety of hosta is of the enormous kind, the stalks themselves are nearly 3ft tall. it'll take a few years for them to grow out into their full potential, but a nice addition to the shady garden beds.
next i flew the drone up in the air. it was a simple flight, straight up to 400ft, within eyesight, just to take some cloud photos. it also gave me the opportunity to test my google pixel 3XL using the native google pixel launcher instead of the nova launcher. i restarted the phone just to clear the memory cache. all seemed fine until the fly app froze up on an image. i couldn't regain control of the app or the phone, but i was able to manually fly the drone back to the launchpad. that was enough drone flying for today, i still had a lawn to mow!
my father warned me to raise the wheel height of the mower, which is what i did before i began mowing the front lawn. the mower kicked up a lot of pollen and i could feel my sinuses getting congested. we're still mowing in mulch mode, so the grass clippings go back onto the lawn. not sure when we'll start collecting clippings again, but we need the clippings for our compost bin, which is mostly dead leaves from the fall. one reason why we haven't been collecting is because we applied fertilizer and crabgrass herbicide back in late march, and i don't want any of those chemicals getting into the compost. next time we mow we may start bagging again.
after the front lawn was mowed, i worked on the back lawn. whenever i needed a break, i took a long sip of ice water in a nalgene bottle, one of the best feelings in the world. i took off my t-shirt because it was so hot, also gave me a chance to work on my tan. i moved the 3-tiered DIY plant stand so i could mow the grass underneath. i was kind of surprised by how good looking the grass was, i would've assumed they'd be dead from the shade (although it's only been 2-1/2 weeks, not that long ago).
when the mowing was done, i went around the backyard inspecting the garden. i did a bit of watering (the newly planted hostas) and some weeding. i also put some salt marsh grass around the monkshood, but i'll need to dig it up this weekend because i noticed the gladiolas are grow in the same spot, why may be the reason why the monkshood never seen to do very well (overcrowding).
the clouds were becoming thicker. i figured i could do another quick flight, just straight up in the air to take some cloud photos like before. this time i used my ASUS tablet. from the sky i could see big columns of cumulous clouds. beneath some of them were bands of rain. the ASUS tablet also got stuck, so i brought it back down manually.
i quickly packed up my gear and left belmont by 3pm, with my eyes on the large looming clouds on the horizon. i noticed the temperature seemed to be cooler, but maybe because there was just more clouds to block the sun. i got back my 3:30pm and kept checking the doppler radar the rest of the day, waiting for the rain to come.
i've come to the conclusion that weather.com's futurecast doppler radar is highly inaccurate when it comes to storm prediction. more accurate radars are the television weather broadcasts, and none of them seemed overly concerned about rain reaching the boston area. at most a quick shower, but nothing torrential.
|pasta salad italian dressing|
1-1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dry oregano
2 tsp dry basil
mix all ingredients in food processor.|
1 lbs. tri-color rotini
2 large tomatoes, chopped
6 oz. feta cheese
8 oz. ham steak, cubed
1 cup olives, chopped
1 cup fresh arugula
1 cup pepperoncini, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
cook pasta. rinse in cold water to cool. mix with remaining ingredients including dressing. refrigerate. serve cold.|
i remember pasta salad tastes best when cold and after it's been refrigerated for a while, so i started making my salad a little before 6pm. it's a tried and true recipe, and i managed to get everything assembled in under an hour. last time i made it i had cherry tomatoes and shishito peppers from my garden (but not this time). instead of letting the pasta cool naturally, i rinsed it under cold water. even though the recipe only asks for 1 cup of arugula, i added 2 cups because i like arugula and i had a lot of it. i used an old package of vacuum-sealed ham, but i wonder if it'd taste better if i used chopped prosciutto instead. i used my plastic punch bowl because it was the largest container i had that could still fit inside the fridge and would allow me to toss the ingredients without having the pieces spilling everywhere. i had the salad in the fridge by 6:45pm.
by night time there was still no rain. at most a sprinkle, barely enough to wet the pavement. i gave up by that time. i ate a large bowl of pasta salad around 8pm. it'll taste better tomorrow after it has more time in the refrigerator. later in the evening i threw out the trash, including my collection of empty plastic milk cartons that i was going to use as temporary greenhouses for delicate seedlings, but all our plants have been transplanted. one annoying thing about my upstairs neighbor david - and it's kind of nitpicking at that - is he has a habit of throwing out his trash every night, while i do it just once a week. by the time i go to throw out my trash, but trash cans are already full.
i walked down to the community garden before 11am this morning to meet up with anne marie, who was going to give me some wood hyacinths. along the way, i saw a recycle bin with water filled with large hosta plants. didn't want to be greedy, i took half.
since anne marie wasn't there yet, i started my gardening activities with some watering. as promised, anne left me some straw which she put in a plastic pot. i layered some straw around my baby bokchoi.
EJ came to water her garden too. i hadn't seen her in a while, she told me the reason was because they'd moved. and not just recently, but nearly a year ago, back in september, to huron village. it took them a while to sell their old place, which finally sold in december. they tried buying a house on crescent street, but there were 13 other bidders and the winner was someone who was able to pay in cash. so that was the reason why i haven't seen her in nearly a year. the garden is actually far from their new house, but EJ said she didn't want to give it up, having gardened there for 8 years after being a long time on the wait list. their new house is a double decker, they live on one floor while renting out the other.
after EJ left, that's when anne marie showed up. the wood hyacinths she gave me were not whole plants but just the seed pods. she gave me a bunch, but in hindsight, the seed pods looked a bit green and i don't think they're rip yet. i'll still plant them regardless, but i doubt they're going to germinate.
after i dusted my plants i returned home by noontime. i filled a bucket with water and soaked the hostas, planting one of them in an empty corner of the backyard near the basement entrance. i still have two more bunches to plant; if i can't find any place in the backyard, i'll take them to belmont and plant them there. i also watered the front and back yard while i was out there.
i got to my parents' place by 12:30pm. my mother was supposed to have an afternoon eye appointment but discovered it was actually for this morning so she'd already come back from the ophthalmologist. she was wearing sunglasses inside the house because her pupils were dilated. even though she couldn't see very well, she still made some wonton soup for lunch.
i showed my mother the new (and final) season of kim's convenience on netflix; she ended up spending the rest of the afternoon watching it in the living room, even though she had air conditioning in her bedroom (my father installed one of the window AC units today).
my father and i were back outside doing yard work on anoher 90+ degrees day. it really wasn't all that bad, hot yes, but it wasn't very humid, a dry heat. maybe my humidity tolerance is much higher having spent time in areas of the world where it gets even more humid. definitely an AC indoor room is more comfortable, but it wasn't impossible to work outside.
my father said he saw a medium rabbit and a bunny this morning while he was watering. not sure how they're getting in! we restacked the long wooden logs in the southeastern corner of the yard, elevated them slightly so critters would be less likely to hide underneath. we pulled down all the climbing ivy on the wooden fence and i inspected the fence perimeter along the eastern wall. i didn't see any place where rabbits could've dug into the backyard, but i shored up the defenses anyway, cut back some ivy, added more soil, then made a short wall using bricks. i planted a winter squash seed mix along the western side of the basement entrance. if they sprout we'll get some bonus winter squash, if they don't it wouldn't be a big deal. i scooped some compost into this new winter squash bed. i found an extremely large grub, nearly the size of my pinky finger. i ended up reburying it in a leaf pile near the quince and rose bush. in hindsight, i wonder if i should've kept it in a container, so when it does pupate, i can see what kind of beetle it is. given the size, i wonder if it's a rhinoceros beetle? i planted 3 zucchini seeds in RB3, and my father sprinkled some cilantro seeds around the perimeter. finally, we expanded the fencing around the outside chrysanthemum, as we noticed some leaves close to the fencing have been nibbled on.
around 4pm i decided to take the drone out for a flight. even though it was sunny, it wasn't ideal. the warm temperature might overheat the drone, and it was also surprisingly windy, that i got high wind warnings a few times. this was only my second time using the ASUS tablet. when i tried it out last wednesday, the app did crash on me a few times. the video would get stuck, but i was still able to use the tablet, it didn't completely freeze everything. this time around i flew it around the house, and i noticed some video freezing issue. it was long enough that i backed out of the DJI fly app, then came back in. that results in the total loss of the video feed, and luckily i was within eyesight of the drone and manually brought it back to the landing site.
with a fresh battery, i tried my mother samsung S9+. that phone works like a champ, never once had a freeze, though because of signal loss, occasionally the video quality would drop, or the image would freeze altogether if i completely lose RC connection (only for a split second). the S9+ is a great DJI drone phone. the only thing i noticed was when i went to go take photos, it was much slower than the ASUS or my pixel 3XL.
finally with 10 minutes left of battery life, i tried using my father's moto G7. that also worked very well, though i did notice when i first connected the phone to the drone there ws a split second before the video feed came in. i flew it around a bit above the house, actually decided to see how high i could reach before the 5-minute battery life warning beeps starting and i was forced to land. all was right until suddenly the fly app crashed on me. it was just a few seconds, but with the battery nearly drained and i had no idea where the drone was in the sky, i was a little harrowing. finally i had video again, and was able to guide it down to the landing pad.
so it looks like the ASUS tablet isn't a great fit for the DJI mini 2? i'm going to have to test some more. another thing i wanted to try is going back to the native pixel launcher on my pixel 3XL phone (i normally use nova launcher), with hopes of using less system resources, thereby allowing the fly app to perform better. another thing some people do is turn off video caching, or record on-screen video using a third party app, not through the DJI fly app.
for dinner we just had leftover barbecue from yesterday. i left around 7:45pm, got back home by 8pm. there's a good chance i may come back tomorrow around noontime to mow the lawn before the possibility of spot showers later in the afternoon (around 2pm) extending into tomorrow night. tomorrow's another 90+ degrees day, but it seems to be the last one, as more moderate weather is moving into the area come wednesday.
i got my new screen protector for my ASUS zenpad Z8s on thursday. it didn't take long for me to crack it. i accidentally dropped my macbook pro on top of my tablet. the screen protector probably saved me from having a cracked screen, but i managed to chip the bottom edge of the tempered glass and there's also a micro-crack that will eventually turn into a macro-crack. i thought about replacing it (i do have a spare protector) but figured i could live with it for the time being. it doesn't affect the screen at all, just when i press the home button i can feel the rough broken edges of the protector.
my sister asked me to stop by her place on my way to belmont because she smelled gas. there was a gassy smell when i entered her place but there was no additional gas smell including the basement. most likely it had something to do with her central air conditioner which she just turned on a day ago.
i had some eggs and a croissant for lunch. afterwards i was out in the backyard for most of the day, until 4pm, despite the heat. they said boston hit the 90's for a second day but in belmont temperature was still in the 80's. hot but not unbearable. indoors we had two fans running.
my father said he saw two bunnies this morning, one on either side of the house. i did another perimeter check and found that on one side of our western street-facing fence, there was a gap big enough for small rabbits to get in. we patched it up using scrap wood. i also pruned back the honeysuckle while we were at it.
earlier my father had added more bamboo poles to the raised beds so now each squash plant has its own pole to climb on. he's also been removing the flower buds, since we think the plants are still too immature to begin making fruits.
elsewhere in the garden: one of my lotus plants have started to unfurl it's first floating leaf. under the water i can see the second stalk emerging for both plants, which is a good sign that they lotus is growing. i redug the bamboo trench. the extra soil i used to block some holes underneath the fences. i did come across another escaped runner which i prompted cut off. our rain barrels are at 2/3 capacity. there's the possibility of rain on wednesday but none of the local meteorologists are willing to make a much-needed rain forecast that many days into the future. i got photos of a metallic green cuckoo wasp visiting some foxglove flowers. it was only on my phone, if only i had my dSLR. my father also pruned the dragonfruit cactuses. too many of them are growing from very slender bases. it doesn't seem to affect them from growing bigger on top, but it looks strange. all that's really important is the central "spine" which channels water and nutrients up to the top of the cactuses.
there was a mavericks-clippers game 7 in the late afternoon. i was rooting for the clippers because rondo's on the team. it'd be awesome for rajon to win another championship with yet another team (last year he won it with lebron james for the lakers). i haven't been following dallas, the only good guys they have on their team is luka doncic, whom i've never seen before, but he seemed to be doing it all for dallas. the mavericks also have porzingis and tim hardaway jr., whom i only know because of his father. clippers ended up winning.
around 5pm my father started barbecuing the drumsticks and some smoked sausages. my godmother stopped by, i thought to chat with my mother, but actually she was here delivering some beijing haw slices. she left when we started dinner. my mother also cooked up another batch of sour plum drink. but because she didn't add enough sugar, it tasted bland. she said it's not healthy to drink something so sweet, but the weird thing about suanmeitang is the sweetness actually brings out the rest of the flavors, just like how adding salt or MSG to a dish enhances the flavor. i can't explain it, but once you start making it sweeter, suddenly the smoked plum savoriness and the hibiscus flower tartness really comes out and the drink reveals its multi-flavors.
i got back home by 7:30pm. gradually it's been getting hotter and hotter inside the house. tonight it was 80 degrees. i cooled off by taking a shower and staying topless. i wrote an e-mail to mr.shield, the manufacturer of my tempered glass screen protector. they said their protectors have a lifetime warranty, and if damaged i can receive a replacement protector. it sounded too good to be true but i contacted them anyway, maybe i'll get lucky.
i watched some red sox baseball tonight, a rarity these days ever since youtube tv stopped carrying NESN. i was only able to see it because it was a red sox-yankees weekend series and they were broadcasting on the local fox 25 channel. red sox ended up winning the game in overtime, and swept the yankees at new york for the first time in something like 10-years.
wanting to have something for a snack, i boiled some water and had a tapatío extra spicy instant noodle soup. i bought this at the dollar store, never seen this brand before, surprised to find mexican ramen of all things. it's advertised as "extra spicy" and "hottest" but no hotter than your normal spicy doritos. it wasn't that good, and the list of artificial ingredients made it even more unappetizing. the maruchan chicken instant noodle soup is much better, and they sell those at the dollar store 3 for a $1.
i went to the garden in the late morning to do some watering and diatomaceous dust spraying. i chatted with lynn and anne. the DE i sprayed last time were still on the plants, which is evidence we haven't gotten any rain since last weekend. i was surprised to see my striped mallow plants near the grow bags already blooming, some white and magenta varieties. i didn't get back home until about noontime.
arriving in belmont, two more gardenia buds have blossomed, while a third blossomed but then later aborted, and my mother was keeping in a shot glass with some water. aphids continue to feed on the tender new leaves even though i sprayed on monday, so i brought the gardenia back outside for another round of handheld spraying. as proof just have temperamental gardenias can be, it dropped a flower bud during the course of the move. i put it on the shady eastern side of the house to dry before moving it back indoors. once all the flower buds have blossomed (or fallen off, as the case may be), we'll grow the gardenia outside the rest of the season, pruning it to a smaller more compact shape.
my father and i finally moved the the last of our remaining houseplants outside. the 4 potted dragonfruit cactuses have actually been outside since may 17th, in the basement stairwell under the clear plastic tarp. temperatures haven't been hot enough to allow them to be completely exposed to the elements until now. the only thing still growing in our basement grow room was the reed plant, with a single plurple grow light keeping it alive. we yanked it out of the porcelain pot by grabbing handfuls of stalks, then moved the plant and the pot. i scrubbed clean the interior of the pot before returning the reed and filling it up with water. it lives in its usual spot, behind the garage next to the barbecue grill.
my mother called us inside to have some wonton soup for lunch. afterwards i was out in the backyard for the rest of the day, only coming back inside around 5pm. they said the temperature hit the 90's today. it was warm outside, but i didn't feel that hot. this is day 1 of a potential 5-day heatwave, so i have to pace myself.
my father discovered that aphids have been feeding underneath some nasturtium leaves, so i sprayed with a combination of neem oil and insecticidal soap, whatever i had on hand. afterwards i also sprayed the lupines. later i discovered there were some aphids underneath the squash leaves as well. i dusted those with diatomaceous earth, just to try it out, but if they're still around tomorrow, i'll spray them with insecticidal soap, which is a quicker death.
i made another round of the perimeter, checking to see if there were any new rabbit holes. there must be an obvious hole that i seem to be missing. i had the same problem during the winter, rabbits were somehow getting into the backyard, but i couldn't figure out how. it was easier to track them in the snow, now it's impossible. i'm just hoping they'll go elsewhere, finding easier pickings in some other backyard. there's also a neighbor's cat that wanders into our backyard occasionally, maybe it acts as a deterrent to keep the rabbits away.
i layered salt marsh grass around the squash plants (i still have nearly a full trash bin of SMG from whenever the last time i bought them). this is both to keep the weeds down to a minimum and also prevent the soil from drying up after watering. afterwards i mixed up several buckets-full of miracle-gro all purpose water soluble fertilizer and fed all our plants: squashes, tomatoes, eggplants, ground cherries, hot pepper, monkshood, chinese asters. i also fed the hydrangeas and raspberries with an acidic fertilizer.
i noticed it on thursday but really smelled it today: the honeysuckles have blossomed. they perfume the air, especially on the western side of the house.
my father kept two free tomato seedlings to replace the two that were eaten by rabbits. this time we put a plastic cup barrier around them to protect them. it won't stop a hungry rabbit from eating the leaves, but it will keep a rabbit from completely severing the main stem.
my mother marinated some drumsticks but they were still slightly frozen so she said we'll barbecue them tomorrow instead. she whipped up some tofu dish using the leftover spicy chicken feet sauce, and some cauliflower pork dish. we had watermelon afterwards. i left by around 7:30pm.
typically i like to take a shower when i get home, but the bucks-nets game was on so i started watching that instead. i took my shower during halftime, and turned it back on in the fourth quarter, when brooklyn was well ahead and victory ensured. i thought milkwaukee would be the team to beat the nets, but seems like the only good player they have on their team is giannis, i don't know anybody else on the bucks. it's only game 1 though, hopefully milwaukee will make the necessary adjustments. other than brooklyn, i bet a lot of NBA fans are rooting against the nets, just because they seem too dominant.
i woke up last night ar 4am with a grumbling in my stomach and an urge to use the bathroom. i stayed on the toilet for half an hour, groaning and doubled over, a coat sweat covering my body, and a feeling that i also wanted to puke. was it something i ate? could the leftover buffalo chicken from last week be bad? or maybe it was those gold nugget oranges? or was it the sichuan paocai? how about those old celery sticks and chopped carrots with humus? once it was over, i crawled back into bed, my ass hurting so much i had to sleep on my side. the sun was already out.
my usual friday trip to chinatown and haymarket was cancelled because it looked like there might be some severe thunderstorms in the afternoon. in hindsight though, i would've totally been able to go, because even though the sky looked threatening and it darkened on a few occasions, we never got that much rain, a brief drizzle at most, not even enough to completely wet the pavement. but it was probably for the best, i don't think my butt could've taken the bumpy roundtrip to boston and back. it was a good day to just stay home.
my sister dropped by in the morning (after returning from ikea - her third trip - and scoring some outdoor chairs) to pick up the tea eggs, the sichuan paocai, and one last tub of yangbaechu kimchi. i called my mother asking how they tasted. she said the paocai was way too sour, but she would give some to my aunt who was coming to the cafe later today. she said the yangbaechu kimchi was too bland, which is strange because i used all the same portions (maybe it just needs more fermentation). my father tried one of the tea eggs, said they were good.
i saved a few tea eggs for myself, had one for lunch. i drank all my milk yesterday so no more matcha latte. i'm sort of unsatisfied with the latte i've been making. either the whole foods matcha powder is too lumpy, or the matcha simply doesn't dissolve as well in cold milk, so i'm left with a lot of undissolved chunks.
so i didn't do much for most of the day. i was going to do some blog updates, i've got the whole month of may missing photos, but never got around to it. i made a buffalo chicken wrap in the late afternoon as a snack, trying to gauge if it was going to make me sick. watching a movie on the couch (the night we never met 1993), i fell asleep around 5:30pm, didn't wake up until 8pm. since i didn't get sick earlier, i made another buffalo chicken wrap for dinner.