weekends are too precious to be spent sleeping, even though during the rest of the week all i can do is daydream about all the quality and quantity sleep i'll be getting once the weekend was here. the fact is i'm sleep deprived. despite the fact that i went to bed last night at 4am,

i willed myself awake at 10am so i could start my day. i didn't know what i would be doing, all i knew is it'd involve motorcycles and nature. i had some cereal and took a shower. i moved outside all the plants i bought yesterday since the weather was so warm and nice, hovering somewhere in the 80's. i hung up the helichrysum (just to see what it'd look like), cutting a strip of rubber mousepad for the suspension wire to sit on so it wouldn't dig into the wooden beam of the house. the perennial garden continues to churn out different flowers, currently showcasing the checkerboard-patterned fritillarias (usually purple, but there seems to be a white one as well), with white bleeding hearts soon to bloom as well, and solomon's seals after that.


tomato, habanero,



it took a long time to determine which wildlife sanctuary i wanted to go. it would have to be accessible by motorcycle, which ruled out any place that could only be reached via a large highway (although my motorcycle will do 85mph, i don't think my body could handle such naked velocity). i wanted to visit someplace new, but all the spots i picked were too far away. in the end i settled for broadmoor, which i've been to many times, and has a fair share of wildlife. it'd also be an easy ride down route 16 west, through such scenic towns as newton and wellesley.

i made a quick stop at my parents' place in belmont. they weren't home, so i called them at work to let them know where i was going since i forgot to bring my cellphone with me (left recharging on a table back in cambridge). i made a quick look in the backyard. the lawn needs some serious work, an uneven surface ravaged by many years of unchecked weed growth. the white petals of plum flowers blew off the trees like snow. the dandelions were out in full force, and would need to be dealt with otherwise there'd be serious repurcussions during the summer season. one of our backyard neighbors continue to build new additions to their home, erecting a new fence for some privacy against their next door neighbors, even though from our house we can still easily see them, and come summer, when the leaves come out, they won't have any sun thanks to the trees growing in our backyard. i saw the purple tulip which was advertised as blue when i first bought it many years ago. however, there were no signs of the blue anemones, but i think they're may blooming flowers.

the ride to natick was uneventful if you don't count the fact that i got lost trying to get onto 16 west from watertown (i was going in the direction of newton center, which is the wrong direction), and when two scantily clad teenage girls were crossing the street, a strong gust of wind blew one of their skirts up. when i got to broadmoor however many minutes later (30 minutes?), i showed the woman at the office my mass audubon membership card, used the bathroom (the clivus multrum composting toilet, yum yum), and then read the list of recent sightings posted on a white board. i was excited to see that there'd been reports of banded watersnakes spotted from the boardwalk, as well as nesting bluebirds and wild turkeys. right besides the headquarter building, goldfinches congregated on a thistle filled birdfeeder.

the first thing you see when you visit broadmoor is the boardwalk path that snakes through a marsh heavy with bird activities. the predominant species are the red-wing blackbirds, they're common enough that i don't even give them a second glance. in the murky water occasionally i could spot a painted turtle swimming gracefully, and on outlying logs, they'd climb out of the water to sun themselves. turtles are also common enough that they didn't peak my interest. what i really wanted to see was a watersnake, and i kept on eyes glued to the surface of the water, looking for any signs sof movement. i was talking with some people on the boardwalk, and one of them told me if i had seen the snakes, which apparently he had, and he said it in such a way that it seemed like a common sighting, even though i had no luck in finding any of them. there were some insect activity, besides the annoying swarm of gnats that sometimes flew in my direction, there were wasps landing on the boardwalk, chewing off the wood to make their nests. i saw a large dragonfly go by, but i didn't get a good look to identify what it was. something in the sky casted a familiar shadow and when i looked up, it was a beautiful yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly fluttering away. there was a group of people on the boardwalk seemingly captivated by something in the middle of the marsh, all cameras and binoculars pointing in that direction. it was a great blue heron hiding in the tall grass. something was swimming in the water. i got excited, hoping it was a snake, but it turned out to be a muskrat.

i continued walking, leaving the boardwalk, taking the marsh trail, following a little stream that came out from the forest. hoping to get a better look, i strayed off the path and went through some thorn bushes. coming out, the back of one of my legs was caught on a thorn and i could feel it digging into flesh through my jeans as i tore myself free. it was painful, but i didn't think very much of it. only later in the evening, when i was home taking a shower, did i see the wound, a red zigzag several inches long on my calf.

eventually i reached this area in broadmoor where a boardwalk path comes out into the center of either a small pond or a vernal pool. it was very peaceful, there was nobody around, it'd be a nice place to just sit and relax and enjoy the sun, but i was hoping to see some snakes,

green frog,

green frog,

green frog,
so i stared intently into the water, looking for snake signs. when i didn't find any, i started walking away, disappointed. i was casually looking around when i saw frogs just sitting half submerged in a pile of dead leaves, sunning themselves. i couldn't believe my luck! i slowly took out the camera and began taking photos. from past experiences, i know frogs are very twitchy, and one false move could send them jumping back into the water. however, for some reason, these frogs didn't seem scared, or the act of sunning themselves overrided any instinct to flee just yet. i got closer and closer, lying on my stomach, getting close-ups of these frogs. i held on to my camera tightly, anticipating the moment when one of them would jump away, hoping the shock won't scare me too much that i end up dropping the camera into the water. in the end one of them did jump away (i got a little bit too close), and i didn't freak out a little bit, but not too much. frogs scare me. i'm not phobic, but there's something about frogs, or cold-blooded animals in general, that doesn't sit well with me. frogs more so than others. the fact that they'll eat anything, and they have this expressionless look on their amphibian faces, you don't know what they're thinking, but it's probably evil. and those evils, huge eyes that seem to be staring you constantly, like its waiting for you to let down your guard and then...the horror! these are green frogs instead of bullfrogs because they have a pair of ridges that goes from their eyes down their back, and their hind legs are striped. males have a yellow throat and big "eardrums" while females have a white throat with smaller "eardrums". green frogs are also less timid than bullfrogs, which explains why i was able to get so close to them.

nearby i spotted a caterpillar tent and decided to get a closer look. for some reason there was no caterpillars to be seen, which i thought was kind of odd. that's before i looked overhead and saw hundreds of tiny tent caterpillars defoliating the tree they were born on. it was seriously gross. i started touching my hair to make sure i didn't come in contact with any of the caterpillars by accident. i brushed my neck and felt something, and when i looked in my hand, it was the crushed remains of a caterpillar. i quickly got the hell out of there, taking it as a cue to finally go home.

i got back to belmont just when my parents were getting home as well. my father was going out to some sort of political dinner, my sister was at some nanny gig, so it was just my mother and i. we watched the red sox game while we ate, the sox ended up losing that game, the first game of a doubleheader.

fried fish


szechuan style
beef tendon

after dinner, we went to kitchen etc. where they were having a special 20% sale on everything in the store (we had a 20% coupon, but apparently you didn't need it). i bought some glass preparation bowls and a drainage spoon, my mother got a blender. i got dropped off back in cambridge (i left the motorcycle in belmont, i think it's responsible for my recent cough increase). i knew my roommate had been home because his mail was on the shoe rack while mine were on the floor, and the basement light was open. he came back later, only to leave soon afterwards. i brought in all my plants, fearful that the temperature would be too cold for them on their first night out. the red sox ended up losing the second game of the doubleheader as well, behind pedro's ineffective pitching. this on a day when pedro made it be known to the public his decision to seek free agency and not negotiate a contract before the season is over. i don't really care what he does, but if he ends up playing for the yankees next year, you might as well stick the knife into my heart now.