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the moment i stepped outside this morning it began to rain. i weighed the consequences and decided to bike to belmont after all, hoping the rain would stop. though just a sprinkle, it was enough to soak the front of my t-shirt and my shoes.

it rained for much of the day, everything from sprinkles to showers, but no heavy downpours. the first thing i did was to go out back and check on the status of my lotuses. unfortunately - with the overcast weather - the partially opened coin leaf from yesterday still remained partially opened. whenever there was a lull in the precipitation, i'd go outside and do some garden surveying. i particularly wanted to make sure there was no rabbit damage anywhere.

my sister came by around 1pm with persian chelow kababs takeout from sabzi in arlington.

my mother and i watched an episode of extreme hoarder on TLC. this woman lived in a rat-infested house that was foreclosed because she owed too much back taxes. her hoarding has been such a problem that her friends and family have long since abandoned her. the house was purchased at an auction by a flipping company who regrettably bought it without having seen the inside. amazingly enough, they managed to clean the house instead of just razing it to the ground, walking on piles of trash so high they have to climb through doorways and touching the ceiling, everything covered in melted rat droppings, all the while cat-size rats were scurrying about in broad daylight. even more amazing, they decided to sell it back to the original hoarder for the purchase price, though i highly doubt she'll be able to keep it clean, with her deeply-rooted psychological problems and her hoarding deniability. there seemed to be a hoarding marathon but we couldn't stomach another episode, the next one was an old man who lived in a cockroach-infested hoarding house. instead i introduced my mother to tubi, and she started watching the series the firm.

later in the afternoon i moved the lotus barrel to its new location between raised beds 2 and 3. i first put the potted lotuses in the 2nd barrel already filled with treated water from yesterday. this barrel was much deeper, and the 2nd lotus was completely submerged. i then siphoned out as much water from the old barrel with buckets, just to add it back once i moved the barrel.

i learned last night that the reason why willow branches will root naturally is because willows produce their own rooting hormone (indolebutyric acid), which can be extracted by steeping chopped up pieces of willow branches. i changed out the willow water, but instead of just tossing it out, i carefully irrigated some new seedlings with the water in hopes of promoting better root development.

my parents ate dinner early, around 4-5pm, just the leftover kababs from earlier. i was waiting until later to eat it, but when i checked the weather radar, it showed the start of rain around 6:15pm that wouldn't stop until later in the evening, so i packed up my leftovers and quickly biked home, having dinner back in cambridge.

i'd seen these wisterias before but today i actually stopped to take some photos, on the corner of reservoir and huron avenue. most wisterias have already finished flowering so these immediately caught my eyes. i knew they weren't the typical kind, first because the flowers were smaller than normal wisteria, and second they bloomed after the leaves were out. these turned out to be Wisteria frutescens or american wisteria, a less invasive native wisteria.

a few hours of gardening in my parents' backyard was how i spent this saturday. where the lotus barrel is now, behind the garage, it takes about 11:30am before it gets any sun, and lasts until 4:30pm or so. is it getting enough sunshine? none of that will matter since we're planning on relocating it to a spot between raised beds 2 and 3, directly facing south where it can get the maximum amount of daylight. the coin leaves are still closed, but the lotus with the longer stem was finally beginning to open up its leaf, slowly unfurling. hopefully by tomorrow it will be completely open.

i discovered the SZ40 is actually good for macro insect photography, and even better for insect videos. with a lot of flowers out, we got a lot of flying visitors. honeybees were particularly attracted to the scallion flower balls. i also saw some other bees, including metallic green sweat bees, mason bees, carpenter bees, and bumble bees. twice i saved bumblebees drowning in the lotus barrel.

my father and i moved the 8ft long rectangular planting boxes into the backyard. originally they were to sit on either east-west sides of the sunroom, but we figured out they could go on the southern side (on the area where we just added wood mulch this spring) and there'd still be enough room to walk behind the raised beds. we didn't fill them with soil yet because 1) the planters needed to be leveled first (they're elevated on concrete cinder blocks), and 2) additional drainage holes have to made (currently there's just 2).

we also moved the two large potted raspberries to the western side of the sunroom, by the basement entrance. this is actually a much better place for these raspberries since we noticed the leaves on the side facing the house (instead of facing south) were stunted. moving them to a more open spot will give them better sun exposure.

the large rabbit came back to our backyard again. i chased it to the western side of the house, watching to see where it came in, but i managed to trap it in the eastern corner of the western fence (the one covered in honeysuckle). it then ran to the other corner (where the raspberries are) and i lost it, either it found a way out, or ran by me when i wasn't looking (back in the backyard). a single rabbit could easily decimate our vegetable garden by inadvertently nibbling on the tender seedlings. hopefully i scared it off and it won't come back, but i know that's just wishful thinking, as rabbits are stupid, and will find some way to return despite the danger.

we did it: we made 52.84kWh of electricity today, which put us at 657kWh so far for the month of june 2019, beating the total production of 656kWh for the entire month of february 2019. all of this accomplished in just 15 days, with 16 more to go this month, so who knows how much we'll finally make. all of last year, the most number of 50kWh+ production days in a single month was 4 (june and july); compare that to this month, where we already had 6 50kWh+ days. all thanks to the new 10kW inverter, june is the first full month where we have it in action with zero clipping.

after i returned home, i went back outside, this time biking to market basket to get some plantain chips and häagen-dazs ice cream, this being the last night of the sale. the häagen-dazs section was almost cleared out, just a dozen cartons left. i left with some green tea and bourbon vanilla bean truffle.

annie was already home when i got back to cambridge, i could see the light from her bedroom window when i rode past the house to a parking spot on a private road. i chatted with her later, found out when i saw her this morning leaving the house at 10am all covered up so she wouldn't get a tan, that she was actually going to the harvard library to study. unfortunately the library didn't open until 12pm, so she hung out at the smith campus center until the library opened.

this morning i went to the newly opened citizens bank in porter square to deposit the rent money annie gave me last night. i only just noticed this branch a few days ago. normally i go to the one in union square, but i try avoiding that area ever since the MBTA green extension construction started. like a lot of these new banks, they did away with traditional teller counters and replaced it instead with tables and chairs, so when you go to the bank it's more like visiting a financial consultant. but where do they keep the money, and aren't they afraid of robbers? i spoke with a young albanian woman who told me they've been opened since april. after receiving my money and giving me a balance statement, she told me that i was pre-qualified for a citizens credit card with a $15K credit line. i wasn't interested at first, but decided to get it as a backup card, in case i ever needed emergency funds.

as it was a sunny day, i moved my lotus seeds out to my back porch to get a bit of sun. i had two jars, one with floating seeds, the other with sinking seeds. i ended up tossing a few floating seeds, they seemed too far rotten to ever germinate.

i took down my grow closet setup today, packed up all the fluorescent light banks, scooped out the dried gravel into buckets, and washed the plastic trays. after moving all that equipment to the basement, i moved back all the storage boxes that'd been taking up my bedroom back into the closet where they belonged. though i was disappointed with this season's failed seedlings, i think i'll try again next spring, i'm not entirely discouraged from indoor gardening. the key is to use better soil next time.

annie came home early, a bit after 5pm, while i was making edamame beans in the kitchen. she retreated to her bedroom, only coming out briefly to get something to eat in the kitchen or to use the bathroom, i never saw her again for the rest of the evening. i love edamame beans, i feel like they're a good example of healthy snacks, but i have no portion control when it comes to these beans and i'll eat the whole bag in one sitting.

it was a sunny day with plenty of puffy clouds, the sort of day that might've been bad for production, but we made out okay in the end, with 47.23kWh. anytime during the summer season when we can hover around 50kWh is a good day. we made enough electricity today that should we be able to make 52kWh+ tomorrow, we will have exceded all the production for february - in just under 15 days. long range forecast looks like a cloudy and rainy next week though. i have no doubt we will reach 1MWh+ this month, just wondering if we can set a new single month production record (the most we ever made in a month is 1.29MWh back in july 2018).

for dinner i made some ramen. this concludes my week long menu of semi-processed dinners. i'm hoping to eat better next week. i ate while watching the red sox orioles game. the final score was 13-2, at one point in the game it felt like a homerun derby, when the red sox scored 6 homeruns. not sure what happened but baltimore just totally collapsed. best part is yankees lost tonight, so the sox are just 5.5 games behind new york, and 6 games behind the rays, who took the AL east lead when they won tonight as well.

after the latest evening water change of my lotus seeds, i've now come to the conclusion that of the remaining seeds that i have, none of them will germinate. all of the ones that have a tiny sprout also show signs of decomposition and they have a faint rotten smell as well, like a festering wound. i washed them out a bit, but i'm not hopeful. i did read that Nelumbo nucifera (pink) germinate twice as fast as Nelumbo lutea (north american yellow) seeds. maybe these remaining pods are lutea and they might eventually germinate after all but i doubt it. what i'm guessing happened is i exposed too much of the white interior when i cut an opening in the seeds. the first two seeds sprouted because i was lucky. also it didn't help that i added a heater: it increased the germination rate but it also increased the rate of bacteria growth that would eventually rot all the remaining seeds.

i have a confession: last night i did buy more lotus seeds, but from china, though only $1.40 for 30 seeds. they won't arrive until after a few weeks so it'd be too late to germinate them. not satisfied with just two lotus seedlings, i ended up going to the same US dealer and ordering 10 more seeds for $7. they should arrive next week. the latest time to start growing lotus seeds here in the northeast is mid-june, so i will barely make the cutoff when the seeds finally arrive. learning my lesson, i'm going to just barely cut into the seeds. and i won't use the heater until the seeds have sprouted an inch or two.

every went back to normal as i woke up this morning to find annie had already left for work despite the rain. she's no sandy, who will balk at going to the office if there's even a whiff of bad weather.

it's been 6 days since the 2nd batch of lotus seeds had cracked open revealing tiny sprouts on the inside and they still haven't emerged yet. i'm starting to get worried. 4 seeds were floating on the surface of the lotus jar this morning. i don't think any of the floaters are viable because they feel squishy. i performed a water change because it was cloudy.

for lunch i had a greek yogurt followed by a salad, so healthy it's sickening. i had some sweet mini peppers that i chopped up and added to the salad for some additional color and flavor. i typically alternate between thousand island and italian dressing: today was a sour italian dressing sort of day.

today we had the worst production for this month. the numbers barely broke 2kW. the final tally was 9.88kWh, not even double digits. but production overall for june has been very good, we were due for an off day. the total for this month has already beat all the production for january (550kWh versus 557kWh) and we're not even at the halfway mark yet. we keep this up, we should be able to break 1000kWh this month for the first time this year.

instead of tortellinis i heated up some frozen raviolis for dinner tonight. i watched an exciting red sox game against the texas rangers. red sox were down 6-1, but slowly crawled back to take a one point lead and finally win the game. i hadn't planned on watching the whole game because i wanted to see the NBA finals, but i didn't switch channels until after 11pm, though i monitored the score.

annie came home late, after 10pm. she was in the kitchen, spooning fermented glutinous rice from a jar to get at the sweet liquid. she went to harvard square earlier today and finally got money from the bank for the rent, which she then paid me.

i watched the final quarter of game 6 of the NBA finals between the raptors and the warriors in oakland. i was surprised golden state had the lead despite missing kevin durant and klay thompson, but maybe i shouldn't be that surprise, even with a few players gone, the warriors are still a dominant team. the game was close though, and soon toronto got the lead, and it was an intense final few minutes. but the raptors ended up winning, and i don't think kawhi smiled but he did raise his hands and shouted to celebrate. i kept thinking about jeremy lin who only played a few seconds in the finals, that he's going to be getting a championship ring as well for his part in the road to ultimate victory.

in the evening i performed another water change on the lotus jar. i decided to move the 4 floating seeds to a different jar, as i believe they're already rotten. the remaining 5 seeds are still viable, 3 of them with sprouts that don't seem to be germinating, a 4th seed that could germinate, and a 5th seed that feels squishy and is probably rotten as well. one of the semi-germinated seeds has started to get a little soft on the top, which could be a sign of rotting. i'm not sure what i'm doing wrong. maybe they don't need the aquarium heater to make them so warm. i was able to germinate the last 2 seeds just fine with 70+ degrees room temperature water. maybe too much bubbling is a bad thing, sign of decomposition. a part of me kind of wants to get more seeds, but all the ones from US sellers are too expensive, while the ones from china are cheaper but by the time the seeds arrive it'll be july and there won't be enough growing days for the seeds to mature and form a viable rhizome to overwinter.

annie was still home when i woke up this morning at 9am, which was new since she's always gone by the time i get up. she was in her pink pajamas reading her GRE book at her desk. it wasn't too big a deal because i planned on spending most of today doing garden work at my parents' place anyway.

one of the lotus seeds looks like it might be ready to grow out its stalk, but for the most part it's still slow going for some reason. i wonder if it isn't because these 2nd batch of germinating seeds are from a different kind of lotus (there are only just two true lotus species). i'm also starting to wonder if bubbling might not be a bad thing. it bubbles not because the seed is alive but because its dead and it's gone rotten and gas is being released from the decomposition. this would also explain why some seeds are floating, because decomposition gas has built up inside.

as today was a nice day, i went out to run some errands. first to the dollar store to pick up some safety pins for my mother. next to porter square, to see if the charlie card my mother found more than a week ago has any money on it. when i tapped it to the machine, it said the card was invalid. i'm guessing it was a monthly pass and the card owner had it cancelled somehow after losing it. you couldn't even add money to the card if you wanted to, so i'm just going to throw it away.

finally, i went to the community garden. since it rain yesterday and will rain again tomorrow, i really didn't need to be there, but i just wanted to check up on my plants. they're fine, but every time i go to the garden i get so angry because i see dave's plot next door, which is not only bigger (by 1.5x), not only gets more sun, but his vegetables are also so much larger than mine. gardening is not a competition but it makes me so jealous that i secretly wish tragedy will somehow befall his plants.

when i returned home by 11am, i caught annie right when she was about to leave the house. i'd completely forgotten that she was still home. she was wearing a pink sweatshirt jacket and a wide brim pink hat to keep out the sun. the only thing she was carrying was a drinking glass, not even her backpack. i assumed she was going to the office, but i didn't ask.

after i had two packets of instant oatmeal for lunch, i was out again, this time taking the motorcycle to belmont. i strapped a 12-pack box of seltzer to the back of the bike, and in my bag i had a container of häagen-dazs ice cream for my parents in an insulated tote.

even though it's only been monday since i planted the lotuses, i was still curious to see how they were doing. sitting out in the bright sun submerged in warm water, the two lotus stalks seemed to be fine. both had their tips out of the water, ready to open up their first floating coin leaves. the water was clear, with meant none of the clay mud had seeped out from the containers. through its depths, i could see the emerging sprouts of the 2nd coin leaves ready to grow out from the sand substrate.

i'd forgotten i had a soil test kit (luster leaf rapitest soil test kit) until i rediscovered it a few days ago stashed away in a sunroom shelf. i purchased it back in june 2012 and only used it once to test some lawn soil (pH 6). i took a reading of one of the potted jasmine soil. the pH was 6.5 - in the immortal words of anatoly dyatlov, "not great, not terrible." jasmines prefer acidic soil, and can go as low as pH 5. but the slightly acidic pH might be preventing the plants from absorbing the iron that it needs. the leaf yellowing could very well be chlorosis. that meant i could try some iron foliage spray first to see if i can bring the green back. an earlier search for "liquid iron" on the home depot website showed they didn't carry it. but i figured hillside garden supply on blanchard road might have what i was looking for.

so i took the motorcycle and headed down to hillside. before i went i, i first visited the nearby turf equipment and asked them about snowblower tune-ups. labor is a flat $289 not including parts. usually, for a well maintained machine the final price comes out to $350, but it could run as high as $500+ for a snowblower that needs a lot of work. at hillside one of the employees helped me look for chelated iron. they didn't have any chelated iron on its own, but they did have miracle-gro miracid ($5), a fertilizer for acid-loving plants, and that had 0.325% chelated iron. they also had bonide liquid iron ($14), which contained 5% of iron (in sulfate form). i ended up getting the liquid iron simply because it had more iron. since i still had so much iron foliage spray left, i decided to spray the ring of violets underneath the maple tree. i noticed many of the violet leaves have started turning yellow as well. they may also be lacking enough iron, hoping the spray will green then back up.

back at home i prepared the iron foliage spray. first i poured out the copper solution that was previously in our sprayer tank. i then mixed 1 gallon of water with 1 ounce of liquid iron (instruction said 1-1/4 ounces, i figured it wouldn't make that much difference). the liquid iron was brownish black and had a surprisingly nice smell. maybe not "nice" but in my mind i was expecting it to smell like blood for some reason, or more metallic, of which it was neither. i sloshed the tank to thoroughly mix the solution before i started spraying. i only selected 2 of the 4 potted jasmines (not including the new belle of india jasmines, which show no signs of chlorosis). this would allow me to do a comparison but would also have some additional plants in case the liquid iron ended up hurting instead of helping. the guy at the garden store reminded me not to expose the newly sprayed plants to direct sunlight, so i moved them into the shade of the grapevines for the time being.

since it was such a nice day out, i ended up doing some more gardening work. i weeded the raised beds. cleaned up all the pruned quince and lilac branches my father had made. watered the plants. turned the compost. put plastic collars around the newly sprouted bottle gourd seedlings. pruned off all the spent iris flower stalks. pulled up some invasive black swallow-worts. admired the handywork of a solitary bee making a nest in one of the old wooden boards (i saw it repeatedly flying back with pieces of cut leaves). our next door neighbor was having some sort of birthday party and i kept hearing sounds of children playing.

i finally left by 3:30pm. annie was already home when i got back. she was making food in the kitchen, some kind of burrito wrap, chopping up a mess of broccoli, mixing it with some ground beef which she added some barbecue sauce. i left her to improvise her meal while i took the bicycle to market basket. i needed a jar of pasta sauce and while i was added i also got a few cartons of häagen-dazs ice cream.

i wasn't expecting much in terms of solar production today but it surprised me by scoring another 50kWh+ day with a final production of 52.91kWh, the 5th 50kWh+ day of this month so far. even though we're able to make 50kWh+, the numbers seem to be steadily going down each and every time. i'm guessing it has something to do with the sun angle: when the sun gets higher in the sky, it's better for the panels on the sunroom (11) but less so for the main roof panels (13).

it rained last night and much of this morning, though the forecast called for increasing sun after noontime. in the early afternoon i did a water change on my lotus jar after it started getting cloudy. on friday night it looked like 3 more seeds were ready to germinate. to that select group i can add a possible 4 candidate, as it also looked like a little green sprout is about to emerge.

as it was still raining, there was nothing to do but housework. i washed two loads of laundry (regular clothes then sheets and towels). i cleaned out the cupboard, making more room for annie, who has put some of her food in there. sandy never made use of the cupboard space, electing to either leave her condiments in a neat pile on the kitchen counter or store in her room instead. i've been noticing a foul smell which i thought was the compost refuse bin, but turned out it was a bag of potatoes i had in the cupboard that had gone rotten and liquified. for some reason i decided i needed a closer whiff of the potatoes and accidentally put one too close to my face and got potato slime on the tip of my nose which i had a hard time washing off.

by the afternoon the rain had stopped and the sun came out. there were still some clouds, but they were of the wispy kind that all disappeared by the late afternoon. that's when i took the utility bike to market basket to get some groceries. lacking any food imagination, i decided this week would be nothing but processed foods. i bought a bag of healthy snacks which i munched into the evening. annie came home around 5:40pm.

today's production was half peak, which isn't too bad considering how cloudy and rainy it was this morning. the afternoon sun really saved the day, and this time of the year, with the height of the sun in the sky, any cloud breaks has the potential the generate a lot of electricity.

for dinner i first ate a salad (thousand island dressing) before making some ready-made white cheddar cheese shells later in the evening. for dessert i tried the new häagen-dazs rum tres leches. it was weird, had chunks of cake embedded in the ice cream, but there was a strong rum flavor and it wasn't too bad.

i finally finished watching a movie i discovered, such good friends (1971). it stars dyan cannon, whom i only know as a celebrity but had never seen any of her works. the movie is firmly planted in the 70's, and i watched it more for the fashion than anything else. it's about a wife who discovers her recently comatose husband had been unfaithful to her. it takes place in new york city, and paints a picture of manhattan populated seemingly only by whites, with the occasional minority help. the film also features jennifer o'neill, in one of her early movie roles. there's also a bizarre cameo by burgess meredith, who appears in a fantasy vision dancing nude in a manhattan rooftop party sporting just a book jacket.

this second batch of germinating lotus seeds seems to be much slower than the first batch. of the three that are definitely sprouting, one of them floated to the surface tonight, along with two others. i read that floating seeds are no longer viable, but if i squeeze the seeds a few times to release trap air, they sink back down again.

if it weren't for the fact that i was busy preparing for the pride parade, i would've mailed out my broken canon camera and lens saturday morning. but i woke up early (8am) this monday to finally ship it out after i packaged everything up last night in a small box padded with bubble wrap. i got the monotone bearded clerk at the porter square post office. though he's high on efficiency, he's low on people skills, and i wonder now if he's on the spectrum. he always says the same thing, like from a script, and says them so fast it's sometimes hard to understand. the shipping itself wasn't too expensive (for a 3-1/2 lbs. box), just $11.10 for 2-day delivery to canon factory service center in virginia. however, i added $780 worth of insurance (which was the price i found for a used 60D and a used EF-S 18-200mm lens) which cost $12.05, for a total of $23.15. afterwards i biked home, passing by the torrent of commuting cyclists and pedestrians.

i went to the community garden to water my plants since i neglected them over the weekend and it was very hot and dry. since i just set everything up on thursday, i'm still in that honeymoon phase of a new garden where i'm very diligent about plant care; ask me again in august when i'm more negligent. i'm never in the garden that early and the morning sun was just starting to hit my plot. i'm happy to report that all my plants look fine and healthy, no critter damage, no wilting. the showcase tomato and eggplant in their individual grow bags seem to be doing the best. with the rain scheduled for later tonight, i actually could've skipped watering today. i watered EJ's plot as well, i mistakenly watered it all last week, only to discover that they're actually on vacation this week. in the back of the garden are a collection of surplus plants; i managed to haul away a large pot of lily-of-the-valleys and a zucchini seedling. because i was riding my fuji bike, there was no place to put the places, so i balanced everything on my handlebar and carefully pushed the bike home instead.

i didn't think annie was home but when i left the house earlier i saw that her shoes were still in the foyer and when i got back i noticed her thermos was on the kitchen counter. her bedroom door was opened but that didn't mean she was gone, because the same thing happened saturday morning and she was still home. i didn't want to pry, but i finally took a quick peek in her room and she was definitely not here. but who knows if she only stepped out briefly, and i kept thinking maybe she went out for a run and might come back. so far since she's been here she's been pretty good about her schedule, leaving very early and returning somewhat late.

after using the bathroom and taking a shower, there was nothing left to do but go to belmont were my parents were planning another supply run. i left by 9:50am, arrived 10:10am. i took the bicycle because i checked the weather and they said the rain might start as early as 6pm. i covered up the motorcycle before i left.

i brought the zucchini seedling which i planted as soon as i arrived in belmont. the seedling gives me a few weeks head start on our squash growing season. i put it in RB3, digging out the zucchini seeds i planted just yesterday and moved them to the western side of the house where there was a sunny open spot between the lilacs and the raspberries. it was the former home of a small dahlia tuber, not even sure if it'll survive; i ended up relocating the tuber to the other side of the lilacs, between the rose bushes (unfortunately it was very rooty, not a good spot for the dahlia). i also checked on my lotus seedlings, one of them was already poking out of the jar. my father told me that the power strip wasn't turned on last night, so the water heater wasn't working, and the temperature in the sunroom probably dropped to 60°F.

my mother made my some chicken noodles but just when i was about to eat, we heard the doorbell. a repairman was standing outside, i thought he must've gone to the wrong house, but when he told me he was here from the water department, i suddenly remembered the 10:30am appointment i made last week to replace the water meter. it didn't take long, about 15 minutes, made easier because our pipes were working and the main shutoff valve shutoff as intended. he said he just came from a house that didn't have a working shutoff so he couldn't replace the meter. the old meter worked via radio signal, and the water department had to drive around the neighborhood to collect the data. these new meters can send their data to a collection site, sparing the need for manual remote visits. the old meter operated on a battery that was designed to last 20 years and they're currently approaching their end-of-life date. these new meters also have a battery, but a fancy lithium ion that will last just as long. the new meter will also allow belmont water department to bill monthly instead of quarterly like they do now.

after the meter man left i was finally able to eat my noodles. as soon as i finished, we headed out on the supply run by 11am. we'd be hitting harbor freight and the medford OSJL first, before heading to the everett gateway center to visit michael's, bath & body works, and finally costco.

at harbor freight my father wanted to buy a new pressure washer, after unsuccessfully trying to unplug the spray nozzle of our broken washer. the washer itself was still relatively new, purchased from harbor freight back in spring 2017 (we even got a price adjustment a few days later, from $100 to just $80), so there was no good reason why it should break. what we were missing was a special wire tool used for poking through the nozzle hole. he tried with various gauges of wires but they were all too soft. finally he decided to just buy a new one, used the provided tool to unclog the old nozzle, and if everything works out, he'd give the new washer to matthew. that was the plan anyway, but when we arrived at the store we discovered they were all sold out of washers because there was a sale this past weekend. the last box went out this morning. so instead we each used a 20% off coupon to get some small parts: my father got some wire leads, i got some wire brushes.

we met my mother at OSJL, where we got another shepherd hook ($11) for creating a makeshift outdoor clothes dryer and a large plastic whiskey barrel ($20) to supplement the one we already have. we were at michael's so my mother could use some 55% off ac moore coupons to score some yarn. i saw some LED neon ornaments on sale that looked really cool, didn't even realize these things existed. now i'm thinking about making my own LED neon signs.

the store i was most looking forward to visiting was bath & body works with their semi-annual sale. i was hoping to stock up on foaming hand soaps but found out that all the good soaps were still $5+, while the unwanted scents were the ones that were $3. my mother still bought $30 worth of soaps while i left empty-handed, biding my time for an even bigger sale (perhaps black friday, i'm a patient person). at costco1 my parents got a few supplies, with my mother getting a few supplements on sale, including megared krill oil, align daily probiotic, and trunature CoQ10. after paying, we got some food at the costco cafeteria before finally leaving.

we went to the cafe to drop off the supplies. my father showed my 2nd aunt how to use the new kyocera S1370 phone for my 2nd uncle. afterwards we returned to belmont.

the first thing my father and i was to grab a bucket and a shovel and go across the street to dig up some clay soil from the neighbor's dirt hill. we started off digging indiscriminately, but that was before my father identified large clumps of tan rocks to be lumps of clay. instead of digging, we simply picked up the dried lumps and put them in the bucket. i hauled the heavy load back across the street into our backyard, perhaps pulling my back in the process.

we put a lump of clay in a plastic basin and wet it down to turn it into clay mud. my father used a steel tamper to break apart the dried clay bits. there were some rocks, some plant roots, some actual soil, but for the most part it was pure clay. we got it to the consistency of lumpy diarrhea before scooping the wet clay into our pots. earlier we taped up the few drainage holes so the clay won't run out and future lotus rhizomes won't try to burrow out of the pots. i thought it was still too lumpy, but my father said the clay would turn soft once it absorbs enough water. my father wanted to put some gravel rocks on top to keep the clay from leeching into the larger water container, but the proper medium was sand, so i volunteered to drive down to home depot and grab a bag.

it was around 4:30pm, beginning the start of peak rush hour, but i made it to and back in pretty good time, about 20 minutes. i got a bag of natural play sand for $5. even though it looked like a small bag, it was actually pretty heavy. returning to the backyard, i put in 1/3 sand for every 2/3 clay. the sand had the consistency of soft brown sugar and it made me hungry scooping the sand into the clay-filled pots. my father had earlier filled 3 pots with clay, though we only needed 2 for the time being because we only have 2 seedlings big enough for planting.

i submerged the sand-clay pots in the large plastic whiskey barrel filled with water that i set out this morning (so it could warm up in the sun and then treated with mosquito bits microbial insecticide and amquel plus2 chlorine remover). we actually switched out whiskey barrels when we discovered that the one we just bought from OSJL is wider, and would fit 6 smaller pots instead of just 3 of the older barrel. once underwater, there was a little bit of clay cloud but the sand kept the clay together and the water cleared up seconds later. i planted the two lotus seedlings, pushing the seeds about a centimeter into the soft sand. it was actually kind of exciting seeing the tips of the lotus stems poking out of the water, ready to open up their first coin leaves. this is my first foray in the exciting world of aquatic gardening!

later my father and i went back to our neighbor's backyard to collect some more dried clay nuggets. sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a piece of clay and a piece of rock; but the clay can be crumbled into smaller bits, while the rock is just a rock. this is actually very good clay and if we filtered out the impurities, it'd be good enough to make pottery with. i suddenly have flashback of elementary art classes where we made ugly mugs and ashtrays out of clay.

while i was busy in the back planting my lotus seedlings, my father was out front trying to fix the pressure washer. using a thin piece of wire, he managed to work its way through the nozzle to unclog it. he tried a few times, whatever the obstruction was kept coming back. eventually he got it work and ended up washing the cars while he was at it. later when i tried the power washer it clogged up again. when my father finally removed the obstruction one last time, he said he noticed a considerable pressure increase, and chances are it'd been partially blocked for a while and we never noticed because it was still working.

after dinner i returned home. reports of the rainstorm beginning around 6pm was grossly inaccurate: the latest forecast said rain not until later in the evening, after 10pm or later. it was still bright enough outside that i didn't turn on my wheel lights even though i just charged up the batteries today. i was transporting back the remaining lotus seeds that haven't germinated yet, figured i had more time to take better care of them than my father (like daily water changes and adding dechlorination drops). i poured out half the water and put the jar on even though i knew it wasn't airtight, the key was keeping the jar upright. by the time i arrived home i felt drops of water on the back of my ankles. that can't be good. turns out there was too much sloshing and most of the water had spilled out, soaking the bottom of my backpack. fortunately my laptop and camera were okay. i stashed the bike in the basement to keep it out of the eventual rain.

annie was already home, studying in her room with the door open. i took the chance to ask her about the rent, that she could give me a check if she wanted instead of cash, which is usually how i take my payment. she said she went to the bank this past weekend and discovered there wasn't enough money. she's since wired a transfer from her parents, but it'll take a few days before it goes through, so she asked if she could pay me this weekend. i said sure, but by this saturday she will have stayed here for more than half the month without paying her rent. i'll ask if she could pay everything in a lump sum if she can, so i won't have to nag her about it come july and august.

today was sunny and hot but also cloudy, though the wispy transparent kind and not the puffy eclipsing kind. under these conditions we managed to make 48.98kWh, the first time since friday where we didn't break 50kWh. i'm not expecting any record production tomorrow, with rain scheduled for much of the day.

my rotary switches arrived in the mail today. not sure what i was expecting, but i didn't imagine them to be this long, since i usually just see the knob dials, and not all the components that go behind it.

there was an exciting red sox game against the texas rangers that went into extra innings. boston was only up 2-0 for much of the game. in the 6th inning texas scored, cutting the lead by half. red sox still had the lead going into the 9th, but the rangers scored 2 runs, making the score 3-2. but boston managed to score 1 run of their own at the bottom of the 9th, taking the game into extra innings. it was a game boston should've won, and they had plenty of chances, but ended up stranding a handful of men. the rangers managed to score in the 11th and that's all they needed to finally win the game, 4-3.

after the red sox game, i switched over to ABC to watch game 5 of the NBA finals between golden state warriors and toronto raptors. i was rooting for the raptors, nothing would make me happier than seeing the warriors lose. the series was at 3-1 with toronto in the lead, a win tonight would make them champions. when i first saw the score it looked like golden state would win with a lead of about 15 points. but then toronto came back to take the lead with just a few minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. it was so exciting i got goosebumps. i've never really seen the raptors play this season, kawhi leonard was a force of nature, the man seemed unstoppable. but there was simply too much time on the clock, and most of these raptors were young and didn't have much finals experience, and i think all that waiting around during a time out got to them, and after that they became cold, while the warriors showed everyone why they're still the defending champs, and are a fearsome team even without kevin durant, who apparently came back to play tonight but then reinjured himself. golden state warriors ended up winning, the series return to california for game 6 on thursday.

tonight i finally learned the difference between lotus and water lilies. lotuses used to be classified in the same family as water lilies (nymphaeaceae) but now they have their own separate unique family. lotus leaves and flowers actually grow in the air from stalks, while hardy waterlilies have both leaves and flowers floating on the water surface. tropical waterlilies is a bit of both, leaves float on the water but the flowers grow on airborne stalks. tropical waterlilies also have the most colors, including blue.

something i didn't really read about when i was researching growing lotus seeds was just how much they bubble. watching them in the jar, they're constantly releasing tiny streams of bubbles, as if they're breathing, which i guess they are. i suppose that's another way you can tell if your lotus seeds are viable or not.


1 they had large plastic whiskey barrels at costco as well for $15. a good bargain, but these were too narrow and deep and we wanted something that was shorter and wider. the costco barrels are the ones we used for our raspberry canes.

2 i prefer seachem prime over amquel plus. amquel has a stronger sulfury odor which i don't like. amquel also doesn't seem to be as concentrated, requiring 5mL for every 40L of water, compared to prime which is 5mL for every 200L. the reason i switched was because i couldn't find my bottle of amquel when i was setting up this current aquarium with fish 2 years ago. later i found it at my parents' place (they took it when i moved my old aquarium to belmont when i left for china back in 2013-2014).

annie was already up by the time i got out of bed this morning, her bedroom door closed but the light was on. i used the bathroom, gathered up my things, and told her through the door that i was leaving. i took my jar of germinating lotus seeds with me, since the two seeds that've sprouted have grown so long it's time for them to be planted in some soil. i've been raising them in a large (1.2L) glass wire lid jar that i found on the street a week ago, but the lid was damaged and wouldn't close. so i removed the wire jar lid from another jar, but for some reason it wouldn't snap shut tightly. in the end i went back to the old jar lid, poured out half the water, and made sure it didn't tip over in my backpack.

my mother wanted to go to costco today, but when i told her bath & body works was having their semi-annual sale tomorrow, she opted to wait until then to go, since the everett costco is nearby a bath & body works (gateway center). then i thought we could go to OSJL to get another 7 ft double shepherd hook, but we can do that tomorrow as well (the medford OSJL). finally, i needed some topsoil from home depot, but my father said we can take it from the neighbors, who have a small hill of clay foundation soil waiting for disposal.

instead i finally planted all my vegetable seedlings while my father pruned the quince bush, now beginning to collapse from the weight of the additional new leaves on old long branches that should've been pruned ages ago. afterwards when i went to go clean up the pruned branches, i poked myself a few times from the quince thorns.

in the afternoon my father and i went to my aunt's place in arlington because they were having some problems with the pressure washer. after we looked it over, it sounded like the washer itself was broken because it couldn't maintain pressure. i also saw their new bird bath with a solar-powered fountain.

we waited all day for our neighbors to return home so we could catch them and ask if we could take some of their excavation soil. i must've been in the bathroom when my father went out and finally spoke to the neighbor. he was confused why we wanted to take clay soil, told my father there was better soil out front. but we wanted the clay soil for growing lotuses. there wasn't enough time today to collect some so we'll do it tomorrow.

i watched game 6 of the stanley cup. with the bruins down 2-3, tonight was do-or-die, made more difficult by the fact that the game was in st.louis. boston scored first on kind of a cheap shot, with the blues short-handed to just 3 players due to a combination of penalties. but no further goals were scored on either teams until the 3rd period. the B's ended up winning convincingly with a score of 5-1, and might've even shut out the blues were it not for a late st.louis goal with about 8 minutes left in the game (score was 3-0 at the time). game 7 will be on wednesday back in boston.