my roommate had already left by the time i woke up at 9:00. i ran a few desktop errands: made sure my previous motorcycle insurance was cancelled (they carelessly sent me a bill this past weekend); checked on the status of my health insurance switch (2nd switch in 2 months); and received word from client E that i will get paid but may have to wait 2-3 weeks (what's the rush? i've been waiting since january).
i went down to the community garden to do some work. someone from the Use it or Loose Committee (UIOLC: it's cambridge, there's a committee for that!) contacted me yesterday to let me know my plot needed some attention, particularly the mint and raspberry close to the border. if you'll recall, i was reprimanded last season for not doing enough weeding. this year, under the UIOLC bylaws (yeah, the garden has bylaws), plots that aren't properly taken care of can be confiscated and given to somebody on the long wait list. this is garden fascism!
i had no qualms about chopping down the mint; i inherited it from the previous plot owner. i'm not sure what variety it is, but it's the kind with very tough leaves (compare that to the mint growing in belmont which have soft leaves). i grabbed the pair of hedge shears from the tool shed and went to work. just chopping it down is only a temporarily solution, since the mint will grow back from the underground roots; but with my garden already in place, i can't just dig up my plot. the roots will have to be dug out in late fall.
the raspberries i left untouched. there the only thing of value in the garden. in another week or so i should be able to have some ripen raspberries. i did try to scale back the encroachment but they just seemed to get a lot bigger once they leafed out.
all 3 plants i started from seed on the southern end of my plot have sprouted (radish, basil, cilantro). the radishes have grown the best, and i managed to harvest a lot today, about a third of my radishes. there were some big bulbs, although a few of them had cracked open from waiting too long. of the remaining radishes, i don't think i'm going to be getting anymore big ones. those that are left have stunted bulbs. at least there's plenty of edible leaves still.
the UIOLC may have noticed my invasive mint and raspberry, but what they didn't recognize was my patch of chinese lantern plants, which are just as intrusion. they tend to attract potato beetles, which nibble on their soft leaves. the white flowers will eventually turn into the characteristic orange lanterns.
i'm hoping my single summer squash plant (protected by a tomato cage) can get big enough so that once the mulberries start falling, it won't affect it too much. i also planted some cosmos, which are hardy and don't require any special care. here are there wild sunflowers dot my garden. if i can't think of anything good to grow for next season, i can just sow a field of sunflowers and harvest them for cuttings.
some of the hot peppers leaves have chew marks. slugs? beetles? it's not too bad so i'm leaning towards beetles. as long as they don't defoliate the plants, i will tolerate some leaf damage. my handful of thai basil are doing surprisingly well, although they're still very short. i'm wondering if i should cover them up or risk being bombarded by falling mulberries.
i don't want to brag, but i believe i have the tallest tomatoes in all of the community garden. they're almost starting to become too big for the tomato cages. they're big because i started them indoors and transplanted them early, before they were even selling tomatoes in the garden shops.
i left the garden with a armful of mint (8" diameter) and a bundle of radishes. i'm definitely allergic to something because i noticed a few circular welts (the size of paper punch holes) on my left forearm. it didn't itch and disappeared after a few hours. fortunately i was smart enough to wear gloves today so i didn't get anything on my hands.
i ran into bruce, we told me that they were demolishing the condemned former VFW hall on beacon street. pushing a shopping cart, i returned it to the star market parking lot on our way to check out the demolition. for some reason they were digging up the sidewalk first. bruce thought maybe they had to get access to underground pipes first. they also only had a small excavator, not big enough to tear down the building without getting buried underneath the rubble. the demolition is supposed to last until the end of the month, so there's still plenty of time for some serious destruction. i just hope the empty lot won't go to waste, and will still continue to be a commercial space.
i biked to the cafe to drop off the radishes. i was also there to fix my 2nd aunt's internet connection problems, but she told my mother this morning that it was working again. so instead i fixed the computer in the back office, which hasn't been able to go online since friday. the problem was a loose ethernet card. i had some lunch there (rice and leftovers) before returning home (with some more rice and leftovers for dinner).
i went to park sales bike shop again to get some shifter cable. one of the guys working there asked what kind of bike i had. when he heard it was an older bike, he brought out a different strand of cable. it came with the housing (which i didn't need) but he let me have it anyway for free, $3 for the cable.1
i was finally able to come home and take a relaxing shower. for some reason i felt very warm and opened a window even though it was kind of chilly outside; i think it must've been all the gardening and bike riding i was doing earlier. bram came home around 6:30. he was making dinner in the kitchen, then closed the door to his room. an hour later he left the house again,2 i'm assuming to diesel,3 his favorite haunt. he came back at 10:30.
because bram is such a quiet and private roommate, his habits have affected my own routines. for one thing, i've scaled back my television watching. i never asked him, but i feel like maybe the television noises might disturb whatever silent thing he's doing in his room.4 and when i do watch tv, i turn the volume as low as possible, to the point where i have trouble hearing it myself. we almost never speak to each other now, besides the few times we're forced to interact when he leaves and comes into the house. it's starting to inch towards the awkward territory that i'm starting to think maybe i should keep to my own bedroom as well, so that way we never have to see each other. a few mornings i've purposely stayed in bed until he left before coming out of my bedroom. i wonder if he's like this because i didn't friend him on facebook? a roommate that i almost never see would seem ideal, but with nearly zero interaction, it feels more like a stranger is living here rather than a houseguest.
1 here's the tally so far: tire $13, inner tube $5, rim strip $5, shifter cable $3. a total of $26 (not including taxes), so already costing more to repair than what i actually paid for the bike.
2 whenever i go out, i leave a courtesy note to let him know where i am and when i'd be back. bram doesn't have the same habit though. even we i do see him, he just leaves without saying anything. is this unusual? not like i'm his mother and he needs to tell me where he's going, but it'd be nice to know, or at least know when he'll be back. it's little things like this that shouldn't bother me but does.
3 although i showed him the bike 2 weekends ago, i don't think he's used it yet. even when it makes more sense (like going to diesel which is a 25 minute walk to davis square, but just a few minutes via bike), he prefers to walk. the first few days he was here, when we still actually talked, i found out in atlanta he walks 2 miles to get to work (a total of 4 miles round trip). so walking a mile to davis square is probably not a big deal for him.
4 most likely he's reading in his room. in the walk-in closet is a bookcase full of surplus books from my own collection. old science text, novels, dictionaries, etc. he's the first roommate to make use of this personal library because when he's not home, i see stacks of my books piled on the floor (along with papers and clothes, he's kind of messy).