when i arrived in belmont with my supply of spray paint, my father couldn't wait to paint the aluminum stakes he'd prepared. they're actually metal braces for track lighting but my father thought they'd make great garden stakes. i was against the idea at first, figuring they'd look ugly (i don't want to be the owner of a plot fashioned out of discarded commercial waste), but my father yanked out the wired guts, cut them down to smaller sizes, and said we could paint them to better match the garden decor. so while i was inside eating a sweet zongzi, he was outside spraying the stakes.

i'd get my chance to spray paint soon enough. when my parents left for a cafe supply run, i went outside to work on the lawn chairs. it was the perfect day for spray painting, hot (temperature approaching 90°) and dry (humidity around 40%). i gathered 3 chairs and washed them one more time with a scouring sponge and a garden hose. even then, they still looked dirty - but wasn't that the reason why i wanted to paint them in the first place? the one worrying thing was after they'd dried, they still left a white powdery residue to the touch. hopefully that won't matter to the spray paint.

i started with yellow because it was my least favorite color, so i figured even if i screwed up, it could be like a test run. i sprayed on a piece of cardboard on top of the lawn. i got some paint on the grass but that'll go away on the next mowing. it took a while to figure out where the wind was blowing, so there was a lot of dodging of floating clouds of yellow paint. one thing i realized was the paint didn't cover up the scratches, unlike certain latex house paints. all it did was add a layer of color but that was enough to hide any stains.

after i finished spraying (i wouldn't call it the first coat, since i went over areas i already sprayed multiple times to build up the color so i couldn't see the white underneath anymore), i waited for about half an hour before coming back out again, tipping the chair over (now dry to the touch), and spraying the bottom. i wasn't too concerned about the bottom, just a quick pass was enough. i then turned the chair upright again and applied a final coat on the sitting areas. the can sputtered and no more paint came out. basically one lawn chair uses up a single can of paint.

i waited for the yellow chair to dry (about another half hour) before painting the next chair since i didn't have anymore cardboard. this time i went with red, my favorite color out of the 3 i picked for the chairs. the 2nd chair was much easier to paint since i knew what to expect. my parents returned home right when i finished the first coat of red. i quickly moved onto green, using the cardboard from the aluminum stakes job.

the final result - red, yellow, green - looked pretty good. unfortunately plastics need more time to cure (about a week) so i won't be able to sit in them until next weekend. not too shabby for old plastic lawn chairs that somebody had thrown out! if they could see how great their old chairs look now, maybe they wouldn't have been so quick to toss them.

spray painting chairs was just one of many saturday activities. i'm also an amateur snapdragon scientist and today i witnessed for the first time how bees get inside the flowers. i've seen them buzzing the snapdragons ever since they first bloomed, and occasionally i see them landing, but nothing ever happened. it didn't seem weird to me that snapdragon flowers seem to be lacking in normal flower sex organs. but apparently they're just hidden on the inside of the flower, and it takes a certain resourceful type of bee (i've only seen solitary bees do this) to push herself into a snapdragon flower to get to the precious nectar and pollen.

more snapdragon photos!

i figured it was too hot to visit the belmont community garden but my father didn't forget. besides, it was a change to use his precious aluminum stakes. so we ate dinner early (around 4:30) and left for rock meadow around 5:00.

we still had all the inner walls of the raised beds to finish. our greatest challenge isn't the tree that's growing in the center of our garden; no, the greatest challenge is trying to design for a plot that we recently discovered isn't perfectly rectangular. i found out that particular shape has a name: right trapezoid. we ended up half throwing out the blueprint, adjusting our layout to fit the shape of the land.

my father also wanted a northeastern corner entrance while i preferred one that opened in the middle of the northern side. i think a central entrance appealed to my sense of symmetry, but since our plot is asymmetrical, i figured anything goes. that meant losing about a 3'x3' growing area but it makes the garden less congested, more walking space.

my father was ambitious and thought we'd be planting today, but it took us 2 hours just to finish the raised beds. the growing areas still need tilling (there are a lot of big rocks buried underground, this plot hasn't really been tilled before apparently) before we can plant anything. i did however relocated the tansies to the northwestern corner. while my father was test watering the plot, he cut his leg on one of the exposed ends of an aluminum stake. apparently they're not that good! at least not inside the garden (maybe around the border is better).

there were a few other gardeners when we arrived, but we were definitely the last to leave around 7:30.

i returned to cambridge shortly after getting back to my parents' place. i was happy i took the motorcycle today, because i was too tired to be in the mood for bicycling. my roommate wasn't home when i got back. she came back around 9:30, clutching a large pink garment district bag. she seemed excited about 2nd hang clothes, and showed me a blouse she purchased, which i really had no interest in seeing. "do you think this is new? it looks new. what a bargain!" she seemed genuinely impressed with something american for once. apparently she's a shopaholic but judging from the things she wear, i would've never guessed that. she also went to market basket, where i told her she could find cheap lobsters (she's been talking about lobsters all week, whenever she does talk to me about anything), but she didn't find any. she did however come back with "pig hands" (pig feet) which she cooked over the stove well past midnight. at one point i went into the kitchen to ask what was going on because i kept on hearing cooking sounds for the past few hours. i didn't want to tell her that when it gets this hot outside, the last thing you want to do is cook something for hours and hours in the kitchen, because it heats up the house.