you could tell it was going to rain from the giant cloud formations amassing over the landscape. i was in belmont this morning because i heard my parents were going to baifu in boston (asian commercial wholesale supermarket) and might make a stop at haymarket, my usual weekend haunt for cheap produce. even though the two places are separated by more than 3 miles and a snarl of boston traffic, i'd google mapped it last night and found some shortcuts.
a glimpse of another squash vine borer (SVB) hanging out in the garden drove me to action. instead of hovering by the squashes, it was hiding amongst the cucumbers when i finally caught it in a jar. if i wasn't growing squashes i would normally leave the SVB's alone because they're just the prettiest looking moths: metallic greenish blue body, clear wings, with hairy orange legs and orange banded abdomen with black spots. i found a few more eggs which i knocked off with a knife, but it may already be too late, since i found 3 infected leaves. the sign is so subtle normally you might not even notice, but i spotted small holes on the stems at the base of the squash leaves. slicing open the crunchy hollow stems revealed small borer worms inside. i'm still not quite sure about their life cycle. some sources online saying they bore into the base of the plants themselves, but all the ones i've found have been on leaf stems, which are easier to take care of because i can just prune off the leaves. if they actually did get to the base of the plants, that'd be more serious.
so the whole family packed inside my sister's car while my father drove into boston. i was reluctant to go at first because i thought there was too many people, but the temptation of cheap produce was too great to resist. we went to haymarket first, just because it was along the way. my father circled around in the car (no place to park) while the rest of us went shopping. there was a good crowd today, with more young adults than i normally see. maybe kids are finally getting wise to the sort of deals you can score here. when we finally made it back to the call, each of us was carrying bags heavy with produce.
next was baifu, which had the rustic charm of a large warehouse. there was nothing i really needed here, while my parents made a quick collection of cafe supplies.
all was going well until we made our way home. that's when the crazy hit the fan. my sister, who always has to be right, thinks she knows more than anybody else, and can't take any kind of criticism, went apeshit when my father didn't follow her direction back out of boston. after a series of wrong turns, we ended up taking the slowest route, which was a straight shot down mass ave back to cambridge/belmont. despite the fact that there was no way to change our route after the fact, my sister wouldn't stop berating my father from the backseat. i almost pushed her out of the car just to make her shut up.
the drive back through mass ave wasn't that bad. for some reason there were motorcycle police officers standing at each street corner. when we approached berklee, there were lines of young people crowding both sides of the street, trying to find some awning space to dodge the rain that was slowly starting to fall. by the time we made it to storrow drive, it started to pour, to the point where visibility was almost nil. i was afraid the underpasses would be flooded but things were dry - for now. after my father dropped us off in belmont, he left for the cafe to unload the supplies. the rain came down even more at home, and i could see pockets of flooding on the lawn.
then my sister was screaming from the basement, something about a flood. some water was getting it, both from the rear staircase and from underneath the basement bedroom. by now it was pretty routine for us, but even then we could only find a single pump (when we should have 2 more). i dried out the stairwell first (the drainage was blocked by leaves, which i cleaned out). next came the pool of water on the basement floor (not too much, maybe a few gallons). the hose wasn't attached properly, so when my mother went to plug it in, a geyser shot out from the floor to the ceiling, and i took a mouthful of dirty basement water in the process. with the help of the pump, the basement was back to normal. the rain had started to let up by then as well.
the problem seemed to be the few weeks of relative drought we've been experiencing. great if you don't like the rain, but bad for lawns. all that dryness actually made the ground less absorbent when it finally did start to rain. maybe if it was a normal shower, but 4" of rain fell in an hour, and the ground just couldn't soak in all that water, hence the minor flood in the basement. later on the news we saw the storrow drive underpasses had flooded and cars were stranded (lucky for us we made it back when we did).