6 more people contacted me about the GMC denali. only 2 wrote back after i responded. i'm meeting evan from wilmington tomorrow late afternoon. my experience selling the HDTV has made me so paranoid now that i'm suspicious of everyone, even those who write back. i'm hoping evan is legit and he won't try to renegotiate the price when he gets here.

at the same time i'm trying to sell something on craig's list, i'm also actively buying: last night i made an offer for a 5 gallon plastic water jug. i asked for $10 after seeing something similar on amazon for $25. it's the type with a handle for easy pouring. i'll use it to ferment my moonshine mash. i didn't think i'd get it, but this morning the seller replied back and said she was willing to sell for my asking price. i guess i could also just use a 5 gallon bucket, but a clear jug will allow me to see the fermentation at work.

i also ordered some red star champagne yeast (10 packs, $6.73) and a pair of twin bubble airlocks with carboy stoppers ($7.23). i also wanted to get a proof & tralle hydrometer ($12.45) for testing the alcohol content, but i also need a graduated cylinder test jar. the cheapest ones are plastic, but some of reviewers said the strong alcohol content of the moonshine should only be tested in glassware. i may stop by the local beer brewing store (there's one on mass ave in cambridge) to see if they carry any tall glass testing jars.

one thing i discovered last night was how difficult it was to buy the actual raw material for fermentation. i want all grain animal feed with no additives, but apparently that's hard to order online. is it because people normally buy in bulk locally? i've got my eyes on producer's pride all grain feed which sells for $14.49 for a 50 lb. bag, but i can't seem to buy it online and the closest tractor supply store doesn't carry it. even if i could find it locally, what should i say if they ask what i'm using it for? oh, just making moonshine with it. another option would be to use cracked corn, which is much easier to find since people use it in bird feeders. it's not as economical though, with a 10 lb. bag selling for $10.

i went to belmont in the early afternoon to do some yard work. temperature was in the 70's, so warm in fact that i hesitated to bring a jacket, figuring i wouldn't need one. i rode with my panasonic ZS20 camera attached to my handlebar mount, trying to get some pretty spring footage. the mount has a tendency to slide plus with no dampening the video can get awfully shaky even with the built-in image-stabilizing. i feel like my old camera mount (with the rubber feet and velcro straps) gave a steadier image.

the only seeds i've planted in the raised beds so far are some kale, peas, and fennel (yet to emerge, i just plant those on monday). there are some self-sown seedlings though: cilantro in RB1, radishes in RB3 (and maybe some snapdragons and cucumbers), and dill in RB4.

i did some weeding around the lawn. the onslaught of emerging dandelions is relentless. even the smallest plant will flower and produce a hundred seeds.

when my parents came back from work, my father mowed the backyard lawn, dumping the season's first collection of grass clippings into the nearly-exhausted compost heap. to that i added a bag of shredded paper my sister had saved up. there's something inorganic about seeing paper in the compost, but paper is essentially wood pulp anyway, and it's not like i haven't used shredded paper before (2 summers ago).

i also dug up 15 money plants and put them into containers for the mid-cambridge plant swap that's happening on saturday. i almost don't want to go after the poor treatment i received last year when i showed up with bamboo rhizomes, but you can't beat free plants.

there are even more money plant seedlings on the lawn. i tried to save as many as i could, replanting them elsewhere in the yard. we also dug up some escaped raspberry canes, maybe transplant them to my grand uncle's backyard.

my favorite plant in the garden are the peonies. it took several years to get them to flower, first relocating them (2009) from the shady side of the yard to the sunnier side. they didn't flower in the first year after transplant (2010), nor did they flower in the second year (2011) (there were buds but none reached maturity). it wasn't until year 3 (2012) did they finally flower, putting on a dazzling show late last spring. it was a lot of work and patience, but 4 years later (3 springs) they finally flowered. i can't wait to see how many flowers bloom this year.

my father and i were finally done with yard work around 4:00. my mother then asked us to go up to rock meadow. she wanted to go to see the birds, my father wanted to go to tend to the victory garden plot. so off we went. while my father was working in the garden (he planted one of his winter-sprouted gingers), my mother and i took the dog into rock meadow. i'd never been to this part of the area before, always just keeping to the garden. i'd seen it on maps before, but was surprised by how big it was. the weather was already changing by that point, the sun and warmth of earlier transforming to the overcast and cold of the late afternoon. i just had on my shorts and t-shirt and standing out in the field with no windbreak was pretty frigid. just like that, the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. my mother wanted to see birds so i pointed out the red-winged blackbirds hiding in some of the trees. observation was made a little difficult by some grackles which were also mixed in with the group. she still couldn't see the blackbirds until we almost left the meadow, then it was like she saw the most amazing thing in the world. later she described the bird she saw on her last visit, which i recognized as bluebirds (using the birdhouses dotting the meadow).

i stayed for dinner, just a simple dish of noodles. i wasn't looking forward to the ride back, but thankful i brought my jacket after all. it was cold at first, but i warmed up after a few minutes of pedaling. earlier i was charging the battery of my motorcycle, which i'm finally taking out this weekend (saturday).

my HDTV antenna arrived. i tested it out, i seem to be getting a worse signal than when i simply used a length of cable with the bare matching transformer attached to the end. the signal is strong enough to watch, but the videos will pixelate when i record off-the-air. i'll have to test it out some more, try different positions.

also in the mail: my bill from comcast. talk about sticker shock! the latest bill was for $252.27, twice the amount i was paying before ($126.81). livid, i called them up demanding an explanation. what i would pay normally is around $137, but on top of that they tacked a bunch of installation fees: $10 for service activation (huh?), $50 for voice install fee, and another $50 for wireless setup fee, for an additional $110. all that for the cable guy to basically come to my house and replace my cable box and modem - something a child could've done. he didn't even have to do any rewiring (since i was already wired).

on top of that, there are some additional taxes and surcharge for the phone which i don't even use: $2.30/month for sales tax, $1.50 for 911 service. my salesman had told me i'd be getting a discount but that wasn't reflected on my bill, so the representative i talked to said she could give me the $25 on my next bill. i asked if i could switch back to my old cablemodem and not have to pay $7/month to rent a comcast wireless gateway device. she said i could only do it only if i had a cablemodem that could also do phone as well. i figured i could just lie and say i did, how would they know? but that still wouldn't release me from the monthly $3.80 telephone fees.

another thing i discovered: that 3 months free HBO/cinemax/showtime/sports package? i was told those premium channels would expire automatically, but the saleswoman i spoke with tonight told me i have to cancel them manually (before 7/4), otherwise i'd be charged an additional $42/month. i don't have the energy now, but looks like i'll need to call comcast and recheck to see how much it'd cost me to just have cablemodem and internet. the salesman i talked to originally totally lied to me, or didn't tell me the whole truth regarding the additional cost in unnecessary installation fees. who knows what else he didn't tell me? but comcast is like a drug dealer; now that they gave me a taste of HD cable, i'm totally addicted and don't know if i could really downgrade to just antenna reception.

if only there was some cable competition in cambridge! comcast is the only game in town, and verizon doesn't want to roll their FIOS service into cambridge/boston because the infrastructure cost would be cost-prohibitive and they make enough money from the suburbs (where it's easier to put down new wires) that they don't need to expand into the city.