victor had already left for work by the time i woke up, allowing me to enjoy the illusion that i didn't have a roommate. after fixing myself an egg and turkey sandwich and washing it down with some milk, i got ready to go out.

a nearby condo was having an open house so out of curiosity i went to check it out. turns out it was a special opening for realtors, but the real estate agent let me look around anyway. it was a pretty posh place, recently built in 2003 (i know this because i saw them build it). top floor unit, about 950 square feet (arranged in a long configuration), with two underground parking spots, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, $200 condo fee, all for the asking price of $450k. the building straddles the cambridge-somerville border; though the address is cambridge, most of the house is in somerville (straddle? more like built in somerville with a toe in cambridge), so the owner pays taxes to somerville (and perhaps a little bit to cambridge through the condo fee). it's been on the market for a while now, and whoever's trying to sell it must be pretty desperate because i've also seen "apartment for rent" and "parking spaces for rent" signs. the place seems to attract a specific clientele, and the folks who live there aren't very friendly because nobody in the neighborhood has ever met them before. unfortunately developers are planning on constructing a similar building nearby. before i left the pretty real estate agent gave me her business card.

i stopped by the cafe first. my parents are leaving on a 2 week western china trip tomorrow morning with my aunt and uncle, so this would probably be the last time i'd see them until they get back. my mother handed me a container of food to save until dinner.

it's springtime and all i can think about is gardening. i made my usual garden inspect in belmont. something fragrant was in the air; it took me a while to notice it was from the blooming lilacs. the lawn had a softness to it from yesterday's rain. all the barrels were full except for the black one; my father shut it down when he saw that it was leaking water from the spigot base.

i tipped the black rain barrel slightly over to pour out as much water as possible. tomorrow i'll come back (when it's dried) to add more silicone caulk. if that still doesn't work we might remove the brass spigot and turn this barrel into a DIY compost tumbler.

RB4 - the raised bed my father and i set up on monday - is still waiting to be planted. that will happen either tomorrow or saturday. plants are still hardening in RB3. i put a cage over it and these past few days my father has covered it with a tarp at nights to protect them from the cold. not sure if that's necessary, because some of the plants i set outside the staging area - cucumbers and basils - haven't shown any cold weather damage.

the only bad thing that's happened to the tomatoes and the peppers is they seem to have weak stems and instead of growing up some of them have been growing sideways. it's nice a big deal, i can just straighten them out when i plant them. the thai basil have some strange white spots on some of the leaves. it doesn't look like cold damage. is it some kind of mildew? hopefully they'll grow out of it, but i have plenty more seeds should these basils perish.

know your seedlings! there are no less than 10 different things growing in RB1. it will be quite a scene once everything grows out.

some observations: i wonder if arugula and radishes are somehow related? their seedlings look so much alike (although on closer inspection, radish leaves have veins; arugula does not). i still regret not staggering the seeds in RB1: now everything will be mature at the same time so suddenly we'll have so much leafy greens we won't know what to do with them. the beet seedlings are new; they do look beety, with a magenta color around the leaf margins. there are also a lot of weeds that are now also poking up from RB1 soil. that is what happens when you don't roll your own sterile growth medium and just reuse the dirt that's already there. i think a great deal of the weeds are purslane seedlings, which are actually edible but i've never tried it. i'm hoping the vegetable stuff will grow fast enough that i can begin mulching with the marsh grass, thereby covering up a lot of the prospective weeds.

RB2 has already been laid out with vegetables that just need to be planted once they hardened up. i took a few of the droopy tomatoes and propped them up onto the wooden divider sticks.

while weeding out dandelions around the lawn, i came around some more morels in the same place i saw them last year. this time i found enough for a single serving.

the peony flower buds don't seem to be getting any bigger. i still have no doubt there will be peony flowers this year, but they might be tiny flowers. i noticed behind some of the buds are smaller secondary flower buds. i wonder if i should pinch those off to divert more plant energy to the main flowers? or just let nature take its course?

back in cambridge i took a shower and did a load of laundry. victor came home relatively early at 5:30. we didn't speech much, he asked if i'd been outside today, i told him if he noticed i shaved off my beard.