i've all but given up on my community garden plot. i was pretty optimistic during the spring but once the mulberry tree started to drop berries all over my garden, i just gave up. the carpet of mulberries end up rotting and smelling and then attracting pests and diseases. every time i visit the garden, the bottom of my shoes get coated in mulberry jam which i either have to wash off when i get back home or risk tracking mulberry pulp into the house. the berries also shift the chemistry of the soil, making it more acidic. that's why i've devoted more attention to the belmont garden, where the vegetables get plenty of sunlight and i've yet to see a single pest, not even a slug. i'm seriously re-evaluating what to grow in the community garden for next year. maybe just a perennial flower garden that i never have to take care of and one that i won't mind getting stained with mulberry juice for a few weeks at the start of the summer. a plot for experimenting but not a plot for growing vegetables.

with my father slightly incapacitated due to his hand injury, i took it upon myself to help him mow the lawn back at my parents' place. lawn care is not something i'm a stranger to, as i did my fair share of mowing growing up. back then we had an electric mower that required a long extension cord. i didn't mind, and i learned to mow with the cord draped over my shoulder it wouldn't accidently get severed. after that my father got a gas-powered mulching mower. i never used it but he thought it was a great invention because no longer would we need to bag the cut grass, since it'd recirculate back into the lawn. after a few years he realized a mulching mower is the worst thing for a lawn because a thick layer of thatch had accumulated, preventing new grass from emerging. finally my father got a normal mower with a bag, which was the mower i'd be using for today. i've never used a gas-powered mower before. although a bit smelly (from the gasoline engine), a gas-powered mower allows a certain freedom of mobility i've never experienced before back in the days when i was using an electric mower. back then i had to be fairly strategic, mowing in slightly overlapping rows moving away from the cord. with this gas mower, i was doing concentric circles on the lawn, doubling back on myself if i missed a spot, something i couldn't do before.

there wasn't a lot to mow (a front lawn and a larger backyard) but it still took an hour and a half, which i remembered was the case as well with the electric mower. apart from the mowing, there's the periodic emptying of the collection bag, and then moving objects out of the way so i wouldn't have to mow around them. and every once in a while i'd spot some dog poo or a large stick and would need to pick it up. it was actually sunny for a brief moment when i started mowing, but then the weather clouded up again and started to rain. i was almost done so i kept mowing despite the precipitation. i should've brought a change of clothes knowing i'd be doing some manual labor because i was all sweaty afterwards. i took a shower and borrowed some of my father's clothes. despite the work, lawn mowing is actually pretty relaxing. you can essentially just space out, but the end result is a nicely mowed lawn. my secret dream is to one day have a large enough property that i can buy a riding mower.

after my shower i ate a barbecued corn and some buffalo wings. i spent the rest of the day watching the band of brothers marathon on the history channel. it's one of my favorite series and i can't resist whenever it's on. in the evening we had sushi along with the leftover barbecue from yesterday. my father and sister went out to buy some bandages. when they came back, i helped my father light his collection of coleman lanterns in the garage with the replacement mantles he'd just bought. of the three, we already tested one last weekend so we knew that one worked. the second one worked as well, but the third wouldn't even draw any fuel through the generator, so we ended up ruining a pair of mantles. of the two that worked, the one from last week seemed sort of dim, but after a few minutes, it got really bright (a white glow), much brighter than the second lantern (a yellow glow).

it wasn't raining when i left for cambridge (unlike last night), although my motorcycle seat was still wet from an earlier shower. it was actually warm enough that i came back in just short-sleeves and i could see a hazy fog permeating through the landscape. it made me remember an opossum sighting i had last night on madison street. opossums are creepy but pretty much harmless. about the size of a cat but looks like a giant rat that walks with all four legs extended. this one froze in the middle of the road, which is fairly typical opossum behavior, and can explain why they're often roadkill. i slowed down and high-beamed the critter. after a few seconds, it regained its senses and scurried back into the bushes.