first thing i did this morning (8:00) was scrub the bathroom floor with bleach. while picking up hairs last night i detected a foul odor. not sure what LJ was doing, maybe it had something to do with the dirty underwear she washing in the sink and hanging in the tub, or just sweaty feet, but the stink was something awful. even after a bleach treatment i swear i could still smell it.
since i was up earlier than usual, i had time to finally clean out the fish tanks. the minibow used to be doing so well with flourishing java ferns but now there's rampant algae bloom and 60% of the ferns have died. is it because of the heat? or maybe i don't have the right light? the light i'm using is a F14T8 hagen aqua-glo, which promotes plant growth (purchased back in march); i don't remember what light i used before that, back when the java ferns were thriving. or maybe i should just do more frequent water chances, don't wait as long.
in the 7 gallon minibow lives one cherry barb and one tetra. in the 10 gallon tank there are 2 old guppies. one of them has gone blind and doesn't come to feed anymore, so i imagine it's days are numbered. i only did a quick water change, scrubbing the algae off the walls/plants/substrate. next time i'll need to clean out the filters and replace the activated carbon.
my father stopped by before lunch. the central air conditioning at my great uncle's place froze up from overheating so it needed to be defrosted for a 24-hour period. since i wasn't using my own window AC unit, i told my father he could borrow it for the time being.
after lunch i went to union square to deposit a check. coming back, i stopped by the dollar store to get some cheap gardening soil (organic 15lbs. $2.50), a 48" tomato cage ($2, i almost bought one yesterday from home depot for $6), and a bottle of drain cleaner ($3.75).
i came home and planted the dozen caladium bulbs i purchased yesterday, half in the front, half in the back. these are 'white queen' variety; i wanted to get a mix, but the bulbs weren't very healthy and they were more expensive. caladiums like full shade and i don't know if they'll do well in front of the house; even though it's facing north, it does get a lot of reflected light.
earlier when i took a shower i noticed the standing water in the tub. since LJ has lived here, this is the 3rd time i've had to unclog the drain. prior to that, i could go years without having to treat the plumbing. fortunately those liquid drain cleaner do a pretty good job (no need to plunge or snake).
with tomato cage strapped to the back of my motorcycle, i left for belmont. first stop was at my parents' place, where i watered the raised beds. then i went to the victory garden (first time via motorcycle) to do some weeding and watering. i hadn't been there since last wednesday. there was a bit of intermittent haze punctuated by strong afternoon sunshine.
there were a few shiny slug trails on the black landscape fabric. slugs don't seem to like the fabric very much because the trails were very short, like they made a wrong turn and just wanted to get out. there were also some bird droppings (noticeable on the fabric), not a surprise since the plot is underneath a cherry tree.
i got a chance to use the new ray padula thumb-operable spray nozzle. the thumb rocker takes some getting used to (compared to trigger switch) but it's definitely less stress on the hand (although i've never gotten a hand cramp from watering the garden). the only thing i wish it had would be more pattern selection. the turning knob on the end basically switches from a wide fan to a concentrated stream. maybe i'll visit k-mart again tomorrow to see if they have anything better (i can also check out the sprinklers).
i really like the efficiency of gardening with landscape fabric. conserves water, heat the soil, and the best part: very little weeding! basically i only need to weed in the spots not covered by the fabric, like around the seedlings and along the edges.
the tomato plant has grown tall enough that it was already leaning; that's why i brought the tomato cage. i also pinched off some elbow branches to promote a stronger plant. the thai basils seem to be doing very well, which is a surprise; all 4 plants barely had any roots. planted out in full sun, i figured they'd have long dried out by now, but they look very healthy.
there doesn't seem to be any additional damage to the seedlings, and most of them have already sprouted their first real leaves. the 2nd round of replacement seeds i planted have sprouted as well, some korean melons and some acorn squashes. these new seedlings are more than week behind the other seedlings, but hopefully they'll catch up.
the seedling that seems to be doing the best are the cucumbers. that's surprisingly, because they don't have the most optimal location, situated on the eastern side of our plot (compared to the southern side which gets full sun from morning until night). this is good news because the same cucumbers growing at my parents' backyard are succumbing to some sort of disease (probably anthracnose).
back in cambridge, there was a very brief shower as soon as i returned home. i didn't have time to put on the rain cover, but afterwards i went outside with a rag and wiped down the bike to a brilliant shine, an impromptu cleaning.
for dinner i made a chicken vindaloo using - gasp! - chicken from a can! i didn't even know such a thing existed, so i was curious to try it out. it very similar to tuna, and used with a curry, it takes on a crumbly pulled-chicken consistency. the recipe called for 4 tbsp of vindaloo paste but i used half a jar instead, so the flavor was very strong, a combination of spicy and tangy, nothing like the vindaloo i'm familiar with. LJ came home around that time and i asked her if she wanted to try some curry.
we ate standing up, she leaning from the doorway of her bedroom eating from her tupperware container, me in the kitchen, half eating, half cleaning. we chatted, and she told me that more and more friends have asked her to bring back items when she returns to china in 3 weeks. afterwards LJ only washed her tupperware; that was telling because there were a few other dirty dishes in the sink but she didn't volunteer to clean them while she was at it.