at one point i was in my own backyard, storing one of my bicycles in the basement. that's when i noticed something: all the dead elm leaves on the ground. it's only the first day of july and the elm tree is already losing leaves? this can't be a good sign. maybe the arborist was right, perhaps that tree will succumb to dutch elm disease by the end of the summer (the dutch: known for their clogs, tulips, amsterdam, and elm disease).
not my problem though, i'll keep my observations to myself, least renee gets ahold of this new information. last week she wrote my neighbor steve and i to let us know she was going to send a certified mail to our neighbors franz and jen, telling them about the elm tree issue (which they already know), and wanted us to sign the letter. she even came knocking on my door (again), which was the last straw. i wrote her back, telling her in no uncertain terms i wouldn't sign her letter because i didn't want to get involved in her legal fight with neighbors whom i consider friends. i also told her to restrict all future communications on the matter to e-mails, which was my subtle way of telling her not to knock on my door again. i saw renee a few days later, waved to her twice, but she ignored me. if i'd known this what all it'd take for her to leave me alone, i would've written an e-mail years ago.
in the late morning my mother, sister, dog, and i went down to the belmont community garden. i told my sister to take school street then concord avenue because it was the shortest route, but my sister always thinks she's right even when she's clearly wrong, and wanted to go down pleasant street. even after i explained to her why that's the longer way (2.9 miles on residential roads with 1 traffic light versus 3.4 miles on commercial streets with 3-4 traffic lights), she obviously didn't care what i was saying because at the last minute she took a detour onto pleasant street. for some reason that made me lose my shit. i snapped, told her to pull over and drop me off because i wasn't going to ride in the car with her anymore, the whole time the dog cowering in fear in the backseat with me. eventually she did turn back, but only because i nearly stroked out from being so angry.
while my mother and i worked in our garden plot, my sister took hailey on a walk onto the forest trail of rock meadow. i'd never been to the garden around noontime, so was dismayed to find so much of our plot eclipsed by the shadow of the black cherry tree. basically the entire western half of the plot was in shadows. the only good thing was it provided some good shade on this hot day and felt pretty nice. the bit of garden on the southern side was the only part that gets sun the entire day.
my mother figured we'd be planting today but i was more realistic. my father asked me to swap out all the aluminum stakes with wooden ones (moving the metal stakes to the outer edges) as a safety precaution. after i did that, i began tilling the soil, which my mother was already doing, pulling up rocks as big as oranges. those we piled along the sloping southwestern corner, or lined them up against the outer borders of the plot (where there are still some gaps).
i was hot, dehydrated, exhausted, tired. at one point i felt like collapsing, my t-shirt sweat-soaked, my face covered in dirt. my mother kept on asking when we'd be planting the melon seeds. the soil still needed to be properly tilled, and then mixed with manure, which would take another day. in the end i managed to plant a tomato seedling i purchased a few weeks ago, in the southwest corner by the pile of rocks. i gave it a choice location with maximum sun exposure; hopefully it takes advantage and produce a lot of tomatoes.
we saw the couple who got the no.2 pick with their awesome plot. although i envy their sun exposure, the one downside is they have zero shade cover. they actually ate lunch a few plots away, standing underneath the canopy of some pine trees. i bet they wish they had a black cherry tree growing in the center of their plot like we do!
we finished around 1:00 although it felt a lot longer. the one thing i noticed was now the shadow was on the eastern side of the plot, leaving the western side sunny once more. the shadow actually moves pretty fast, and other than the hour or two around noontime, the plot gets maximum sun all other times. contrary to conventional wisdom, noontime is also the best time to come work in the garden apparently, because of shade cover in our plot.
back in belmont, i watered the garden. yesterday i added some salt marsh grass mulch around the cucumber plants growing in RB1. i thought they were a bush variety but now i'm so sure. the information on the packet didn't say anything, just said to plant them flat on the ground, 3-6 seeds. the plants are still early enough that we can train them to grow in whichever direction we want. there's plenty more space in the rest of the raised bed. elsewhere, the garlic flower buds - which were formerly drooping - have now all straightened out. i don't think i've ever seen this kind of garlic flower before since i usually harvest them for the scapes during the spring.
my father biked home in the early evening. by then i'd already finished watching the euro 2012 final match between spain and italy. having had both spanish and italian roommates, i was torn as to which team to root for, but i picked italy only because they seemed the underdog. spain scored twice in the first half, which pretty much sealed the deal. in the second half they added 2 more goals, taking the game to 4-0. italy had a few opportunities, with several hard on-target strikes, but the spanish goalie was just too good, stopping every attempt.
back in cambridge (via motorcycle) i was getting ready to take a shower when i noticed the globs of sticky residue all over the bathroom floor, the foyer, and the kitchen. LJ - who wears plastic flip flops inside the house - must've stepped on some soap and then tracked it everywhere in the house. "i think you stepped in something," i told her. she came out of her room and showed me the bottom of her shoes which were clean. i spent the next 15 minutes on my hands and knees, cleaning up the sticky mess. LJ continued to play innocent, and even stopped at one point to watch me clean. "it was something blue," i told her. she thought for a second, and told me earlier in the day she was hand washing a few garments in the bathroom sink. "did you drip any detergent on the floor?" i asked her, sweat running down my face. "maybe," she said. i was waiting for her to ask if she could help with the clean up, but i received no such offer. finally i left her off the hook, "i'll just clean up, it's no big deal." with that she returned to her room where she was watching some sitcom with a loud laugh track.
although LJ is not the worst roommate i've ever had, she's certainly up there. who knows, she still had one more month left, there's still plenty of time for her to win that honor.