the results of my cholesterol test came back last week, i forgot to mention it:

current june last year
HDL (good cholesterol) 44 48 47
LDL (bad cholesterol) 139 178 146
cholesterol 203 238 216
triglycerides 99 62 114

it'd only been 6 weeks since my last test and already my numbers have improved. they're more similar to last year's results, with a slight dip in all my numbers. i like to think i'm eating healthier but nutrition is the last thing i think about when i eat. i like to increase my HDL, lower my LDL, and get my total cholesterol below 200 (don't we all).

i switched to my default grocery getter bike and went to the super market. i bought some yogurt and granola mix (had some over the weekend, never ate it before, was pretty good), as well as ingredients for making thai red curry, including some chicken breast tenders and the smallest eggplant i could find (even then it seemed too big). the rest of the ingredients either i already have (curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce) or could harvest from my garden (spearmint, thai basil).

i dusted off my motorcycle (haven't ridden since last thursday) and went to the cafe to drop off a few things (dual docking station, a microSDHC card for my father to test, and a thumb drive with the remaining breaking bad episodes for my mother).

parents' backyard garden:

the raised beds in my parents' backyard have gone crazy. partially out of neglect, partially from overgrowth. it's mid-summer and the springtime arugula and radishes should be pulled out to make way for other plants, like the korean melons which are being eclipsed by these older plants. the cucumbers have succumbed to some sort of disease; i pruned off the affected leaves, but i don't know if they can produce any fruits before all the plants die. at least the bottle gourd doesn't seem to be affected; hopefully we'll get some new gourds this season. the 2 zucchini squashes are doing well, no SVB invaders yet, although i saw a few leaves that might be suspect and could need to be pruned off before the borers can eat their way to the trunk.

the lawn could use some work too. there hasn't been a lot of rain so there isn't that much growth. what growth is there are mostly weeds, including things like crabgrass, which have taken advantage of the situation by forming dense carpets. patches of grass have dried up from lack of water and general foot traffic, and yellow spots pepper the entire lawn, courtesy of the dog.

belmont victory garden:

the last time i was here was monday of last week. what a difference 9 days can make! last time they were still seedlings, but now they're individual clumps of leaves. all this hot sunny weather we've been having isn't so good for human comfort but the plants love it. i was there around 2:50, and the shadow of the tree was just moving to the eastern half of the plot. i wasn't the only one affected, as all nearby gardens were similarly eclipsed by the shadow.

there hasn't been any animal damage since we reinforced the fencing and the seedlings have grown bigger. there was still animal activity however: on the ground was a corn stripped to the core, husks and silks scattered about. there was also a fermented apple; it's almost like some critter was having a picnic in our plot. as long as they don't damage our plants, i don't mind.

besides watering (which wasn't all that necessary, given that it rained yesterday, and the forecast is for rain both tomorrow and friday), i also did some weeding. bare soil between and around the landscape fabrics, as well as some strong weeds that managed to poke through the layer of wood chip mulch in the paths. also the areas immediately surrounding the plants. just how much weed seeds are in the soil? i know there are things you can do that will sterilize the ground, things like covering it up with a clear plastic sheet during the summer and letting the sun bake the soil of everything that's living.

the landscape fabric prevents weeds from poking through, but that doesn't mean they're not growing underneath. these wild weeds are strong, and i could see places where they're struggling to break through the plastic fabric to no avail. eventually, starved of sunlight, they'll just die.

wandering around, i noticed there was a new delivery of manure, a huge pile of rich organic matter. i picked up a piece and crumbled it in my hand but there was no smell. all this manure looks so tempting, i'd love to pull up the landscape fabric and add an additional inch or 2 of the good stuff.

the one zucchini plant is doing the best despite being in the shade more than the other plants. there's also a fairly large cocozelle plant (it's similar to zucchini, but i recognize it from the deeply lobed leaves). cucumbers as a group did the best; none of the seedlings were fed upon, almost all of the seeds germinated, and they grow pretty vigorously (although no match to squashes). the korean melons aren't as big and tall like the cucumbers, but they're holding their own. the melons are situated in the southern edge of the plot, which is the only area that gets sunlight all day with no shade. maybe it's too sunny? but whenever my father or i come to water, we soak deeply, so i've never seen any of the plants display any signs of heat-related wilting.

i met the garden coordinator while i was there. "looks great," she said of the garden. "i'm growing some melons, cucumbers, squashes," i told her. "a little late for melons," she said very matter-of-factly; thanks for shooting down my dream! the only reason we're late is because unlike the other gardeners, we got our crap plot a week before the start of summer. given the amount of progress we made in only about a month's time (tilled the soil, put up raised beds, nailed down landscape fabric, germinated seeds), i say we're doing very well.

i also took some infrared photos of the garden. the plants really pop out (shown as white) on the black landscape fabric.

leaving the garden and returning to the parking lot, i noticed my saddlebags were slightly lopsided. turns out the right side bag was a little too close to the hot tail pipe so the bottom of the bag melted a little bit. not a big deal, since there was already some melt damage when i first bought the bike with the bags.

cambridge community garden:

back at home, i went to the community garden around 4:00 to pick some thai basil and a bit of spearmint. i also harvested whatever red cherry tomatoes i saw. while inspecting the squash vine for borer eggs, i came across a fully-developed cocozelle squash that was hidden underneath several layers of leaves. this makes it no.3 for cocozelle. this one had a nice shape, no deformity.

i realized i didn't have any jasmine rice in the house (you got to have jasmine rice with thai curry) so i returned to market basket to get some, stopping along rite aid to buy some snacks (candy candy candy, fat fat fat).

thai red curry:

i haven't made thai red curry in a while. i was hoping LJ would get home so i could impress her with one of my best dishes, but she didn't get back until 9:30. even though she already ate, she was still cooking, making some vegetable stew for tomorrow's lunch. anyway, i added too much eggplant, which tasted a bit rubbery. the consistency was also a bit mushy, i really should add some cashew nuts next time for some crunch. however, the curry broth itself was perfection, a complex blend of savory (fish sauce), sweet (brown sugar), spicy (red curry paste, thai hot chili peppers) and tangy (lime juice).