my roommate was already gone by the time i woke up this morning. she told me she was taking the commuter rail to lowell to visit a friend. with the house all to myself, i showered and had a yogurt for breakfast, before getting ready to leave. into the honda element went the 2 large boxes of polo clothes my norwegian friend frances ordered (to be shipped off to oslo tomorrow), a box of flavored ice pops (purchased yesterday from the super market), as well as my bicycle (which i'll ride home with).
my sister was filling in at the cafe so only hailey the dog was home in belmont. i let her outside in the backyard where she went to the bathroom then went back inside the house.
there's been red cherry tomatoes since june, since they take much less time to mature. the bigger prize are the larger normal tomatoes, which are now finally turning red. not a deep red, but some should be fully ripe in a week or so. the problem with these larger tomatoes is they get so heavy they sometimes break the branches without the proper support. that's happening to some of the tomatoes in the garden. i really ought to invest in some bigger cages next season.
the handful of fancy gourds are pretty boring, egg-shaped and monochromatic. the was that one warty gourd, but i really want to see are the gourds with the fancy stripes or the half patterns. they also seem to develop slowly, but that may be due to the recent squash vine borer attacks, weakening all the squash (fancy gourd) plants.
random insect observation: i noticed all the honeybees seem to congregate around the mint flowers, but all the bumblebees prefer the raspberry flowers. i wonder if this is actually true or just an interesting coincidence. bumblebees are cooler anyway, our native wild bees. the honeybees probably belong to some farmer somewhere making honey for the man.
the hot peppers are reddening too. the cayenne peppers have produced a whole new set of white flowers. could there be a second crop of hotness? no one's tried any of them yet so nobody knows if they're really hot or not. elsewhere, korean cucumbers are going strong, so many that every once in a while we find a monster-sized cucumber that had escaped detection. and because these cucumbers turn yellow when they mature, they're more like oversized bananas.
not everything in the garden is good news. i noticed a particularly beat-up squash vine. most of its leaves had already shriveled up and it didn't seem to be harboring any gourds so i decided to uproot it and inspect it for SVB's. the first one i found scared me because i wasn't expecting the grub to be so big. having eaten all sorts of insect in my lifetime, the thought did enter my mind however briefly: i wonder if they're good to eat? they must taste like gourd. i ended up finding 4 juicy grubs in total. it's weird that they would all be feeding on this one vine, which makes me think that SVB's have preferences when it comes to squash plants.
squash plant leaves are shriveling up because of the SVB attacks, but the bottle gourds? the same thing is happening to them, but i don't know the cause. what used to be a nice wall of leaves is now a wire cage of shriveled leaves. is it just an end of season thing? but we're still only in august, nowhere near autumn yet. maybe the leaves are just old, and its natural for them to die off. or maybe it's a residual effect of the powdery mildew infection. despite stopping the mildew from spreading, once a leaf is infected, it soon shrivels up.
the compost bin seems to be cooking this season. in years' past, my father would just dump in grass clippings after mowing the lawn. all that grass would stink up in the summer heat despite being covered. the problem was we never bothered to add any dry materials to the heap. so now everything my father adds the clippings, i also toss in a bag of shredded newspapers and some peat moss. then i mix everything together. result? there's no smell whatsoever, which surprised me, because i was used to having a smelly compost pile. the heap has also reduced in size, which i take to be a very good sign of decomposition in action.
since i only had a yogurt for breakfast, i ended up having some instant bowl of pho bo for lunch. in the early evening when my sister got off from work, she came home and made some ground beef macaroni for dinner.
my parents weren't supposed to return until tomorrow, but my mother called me in the late afternoon to let me know they were already on a bus back to boston. reason for their early departure: too tired, better to come back early and have a day to rest at home. they called again at 8:00 to let me know they were in boston. an hour later they called from alewife asking me to pick them up. they brought back all sorts of food from the new york chinatown (they basically went down there to eat).
my roommate was already back when i got home, doing laundry. as a principle i don't like anyone doing laundry late at night. not like i'm going to bed around that time, but it's a noisy process, first the washing machine, then the dryer. it's like vacuuming in the middle of the night, just something one shouldn't do. later i smelled this horrible cabbage odor coming from the kitchen. my roommate was boiling a pot of broccoli and cauliflower. "you didn't eat dinner yet," i asked her. she said she was just preparing tomorrow's lunch. i predict she's going to be a big hit with her coworkers.