i ran into my roommate right before he was about to head into boston to do some more sightseeing on columbus day. the weather this morning was nice (clear blue sky) but by the time i left for the supermarket, it was mostly overcast. i went to get some burger ingredients and pick up some drinks. the saddlebags on my motorcycle bulged up from being overburden with sodas. i returned home quickly to grab my stuff then went to belmont.

my mother and sister had just gotten back from taking hailey to the beach (now that it's the offseason, dogs are once again allowed on the seashores). i went with my father to fill the propane tank for the barbecue grill and suggested we should stop by the nearby belmont community garden to get some raised beds construction ideas.


i've only heard about the belmont community garden this year, when i came across a gardening blog that mentioned it. it's officially known as the "belmont victory gardens," and got its start during WWII. the original location is now the site of the high school athletic fields, and was moved next to the rock meadow conservation area in 1969.

we could see the gardens from mill street, but that didn't give us an idea of just how big the place was. an average small plot there was about 4x the size of my cambridge community garden plot. there were even a few super plots (grandfathered in) that was big enough to build a house on. situated next to an open field, the gardens get the maximum amount of sun exposure. every plot was surrounded by chicken wires, most likely to keep out the wild animals that must try to get to the vegetables during the summer. many of them also had self-fashioned doors that can be locked to keep out human garden thieves.

i expected more raised beds but there were just a handful. the few that we saw gave us some more ideas about how to build them for our own backyard. there were a few gardeners there tending to their plots. we made it all the way to the back of the community garden, the only part that wasn't as sunny as the rest of the place. there was an elderly korean couple there, digging out what looked to be white daikon radishes. there was also another plot that seemed to have been swallowed up by squash vines. there was no hint of diseases and the only damage was some leaves that looked to have a touch of the frost. it wasn't exactly squash they were growing though, more like watermelons (my father said it was some kind of fujian squash).

while we were leaving, my father asked me to see if i could put his name on the assumingly-long wait list for available garden plots. next we went to the propane dealer in waltham, in the large parking lot on the corner of route 60 and beaver street ($15/fill). it's impossible for me to see a propane tank and not think of hank hill.

on our way home we drove behind a white motorcycle that looked to be from the future, at least from the rear profile. it had a curvilinear shape and a triangular tail light. the back wheel was thick, almost like a monster truck wheel. it didn't have chains but instead was using a shaft drive. we managed to follow it until i got a close enough look (through my telephoto lens) to see it was a suzuki motorcycle. later i looked it up: a suzuki boulevard M109R limited edition 2009. at almost 1800 cc, it has a suggested retail price of $14k. the front of the bike looks weird though (i know this only from photos, since we never actually saw the front of the bike we were following).


i finally harvested the fancy gourds. only a few were worthy to be photographed, while most of them were of the pale yellow boring variety. those look edible enough, despite their unusual hardness. my father chopped one in half and gave it a taste test. seconds later he was rinsing out the intense bitterness from his mouth. i licked a tiny piece and even that was very bitter. the lesson here is fancy gourds are not edible.

i've noticed it weeks ago but black mold seems to be growing on the new picnic table. only on the top surfaces, not sure where it's from, and why it hasn't affected the wooden swing chair. with a hose and a brush, i managed to remove most of it, but it's hard to reach the crevasses. i think a light wash with bleach would probably take care of it. i'll need to bring my work clothes for next time.


i made some blue cheese burgers for dinner (while my father did the grilling). there's probably a reason why there aren't more nighttime barbecuing: you can't see if the meat is done or not! i had to hold a flashlight in the dark while my father flipped the burgers with two spatulas. i ended up eating 3 burgers and a microwave-cooked sweet corncob.

back at home, pau was home with katarina. turns out they went boston sightseeing together. it wasn't that cold in the house but i turned up the heat anyway, just to be a good host/landlord. katarina left around midnight. everyone goes back to work tomorrow.