the rain seemed to have stopped and even the sun managed to peek out behind the clouds. this was a good opportunity for me to air out the motorcycle by taking it for a ride. destination: crafts stores! first stop was michael's in search of some sugar'n cream cotton scrubby yarn, so new in fact that it's not even mentioned on their website. they didn't have any. not wanting to leave empty-handed, i got a pair of size 7 16" circular needles for my mother (she lent it to someone who never returned them).

ac moore at the assembly square mall didn't have any scrubby yarn either. i went to tj maxx to look for some ceramic frying pans but they only had the smaller 6" sizes. final stop was k-mart where i got some plastic garden hose y-connectors ($1.99 each, for the rain barrels) and 4 more 54" galvanized tomato cages ($3.69 each).

i stopped by my place briefly to pick up the box of blackberries my roommate left behind and went to the cafe. i then went to belmont briefly to check the garden (wasn't i just there yesterday?) before returning home.

the peonies are almost ready! one of them is even partially opened. i did a quick count and there are about 2 dozen flower buds. i'm hoping for a good show.

the peonies are growing a good spot (for the time being), with a japanese maple on one end and a quince bush on the other, with a carpet of wild strawberries (a few new domesticated ones).

it wasn't my intention to be the first person on the block with tomatoes and peppers, but looks like that might be me. it's only new getting warm enough for these hot weather plants; i hope the premature start didn't stunt their growth and they'll be able to bulk up during the summer.

my original crop of sugar snap peas have begun to flower. yesterday and today i was cutting strands of hemp rope for the newer pea plants to climb. we used to have more russian silverberries seedlings but some of them succumbed to a combination of heat, flood, and squirrels. we recently repotted the ones that managed to survive. in the southwestern states they're considered invasive, and their amazing ability to survive is a testament to their potential to become a weed. even the plants that look dead have begun to sprout new fuzzy leaves.

back at home, i switched motorcycle for bicycle and went to rite aid to get some bug repellent then market basket for a bit of groceries. the sky looked like it might rain but it never did. even so, i covered up my motorcycle anyway just in case. i traded my bicycle for walking shoes and went to the dollar store to get some household cleaning supplies (sponges).

with no roommate for the time being and the weather warming up, it's the perfect occasion for making artisanal beef jerky. my mother has been hounding me about it since the last time i made in the fall. i purchased a 3.85 lbs. beef round roast (bottom round, $2.99/lbs., $11.51) and cut it into rectangular planks, about 4x4" and less than an inch thick. i then put them on a cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer. my father said tomorrow he'd help me cut them into smaller pieces with the meat slicer, saving me the trouble of having to do it myself.

i watched game 6 between the 76ers and the celtics. boston really disappointed me tonight when they lost. game 7 is on saturday, but win or lose, i have no confidence that they'll be able to beat the miami heat when they can hardly beat lowly philadelphia. of course i'll still watch the game but i'm not that invested in the outcome anymore.