went to belmont this morning to take another peek at the squash progress. nobody was home except my sister, who was sleeping on the living room floor like a homeless vagrant, with her pet dog hovering around her. out in the backyard, i wasn't expecting to see what i saw. it'd just been 4 days since my last visit, but the garden was now a jungle. the calabash had climbed up to the roof, the squash nearly completely covering the ground, the tomatoes bursting out of their cages, and the corn stalkers all taller than before.

i made a mistaken identification the last time i was here. what i thought were the future corn silks were actually the male tassels. which makes sense because the tassels emerge on the tip of the stalks. as for the ears, i saw a few forming midway down. i think i was expecting the corn to grow taller but these might be a dwarf variety since they're already mature at about 4 feet tall (either that or very impatient plants). there's also a noticeable gradation in height, with the tallest plants near the end of the small corn field that gets more sun. we knows how tall the corn would've grown if they were planted somewhere that got sun morning until night.

that one female squash flower that i helped pollinate tuesday morning is now already a squash the size of a small light bulb. the flower had fallen off, leaving an octagon-shaped scar. nearby, another female flower that i didn't pollinate ended up falling off with an undeveloped fruit. surely i can't be there to hand-pollinate every flower that blooms. where are the insects? the problem is the overall lack of flowers in the garden. hopefully this will be remedied once the mints and chinese chives start blooming, which should be soon. until that time though, i ended up hand-pollinating another female flower today.

that one calabash gourd continues to grow. it's gotten so large it's starting to buckle the wire trellis and needs to be supported somehow. it's also really dense. occasionally when i'm watering the plants below the trellis i'll knock my head into the gourd and it's like hitting a bowling ball. on a more ominous note, i noticed some of the lower squash and gourd leaves have powdery mildew spots. i cut off what i could, but i'm afraid we may need to spray with some sort of organic fungicide in order to kill all the spores.

i left soon afterwards, making a quick stop at the cafe. the place was much tidier than usual, in preparation for a health inspection. my father even ended up painting the screen door. speaking of which, the painter i tentatively hired to work on my place (sometime in september) was painting the house out back, so i managed to have a quick chat with him. my upstairs neighbor was concerned about possible carpentry fixes, but cleber works with a guy who does wood repairs and gave me his number. before i came home i also went to go visit my godmother at the laundromat where she works to pick up some china books.

i noticed it just today, but the magnificently tall ailanthus tree belonging to a neighbor across the street split apart during yesterday's storm. this after the neighbor spent some serious money having it professionally pruned a few years back, to prevent this exact thing from happening. by some miracle it missed all the nearby houses and came down in an empty backyard, toppling some fences along the way. all that damage would've made one hell of a noise but i didn't hear anything. people must've been noticing the destruction all day long but it wasn't until i passed behind the house that i finally saw half of the tree down on the ground. at this point, i think the neighbor might just decide to remove the entire tree to prevent this sort of thing from happening again in the future. i wonder if tree damage is covered in a homeowner's insurance.

no surprise that i went to haymarket again, the lure of cheap produce an addictive draw. i didn't get too much, just some produce for my parents and a bag of cherries for myself. i went to the dollar store and bought a broom so i could sweep the sidewalk as well as the backyard deck. later i played some wii baseball and golf. there was a rock & roll flea market in union square but i didn't feel like going, advertised as an outdoor venue to buy old records. i had some hot dogs for lunch and more meat buns for dinner washed down with some birch beer.