i make pulled pork at least once a year (2010 2011 2012). my parents got me a 6 lb. pork shoulder when they went to costco yesterday. unlike the last 2 times where i used picnic roasts (essentially the same pork shoulder region), this particular cut was boneless and skinless, which made for easier cooking. i quickly cut up the shoulder into large chunks just barely big enough to fit inside the crockpot. 6 lb. of meat is the maximum amount my crockpot can handle. the pork was interspersed with 3 layers of chopped onions, garlic, and ginger, to that i then added a cup of rice wine and enough boiling water to almost cover everything. i set the crockpot on high and left it alone. it was right around noontime.

i helped my mother order a plane ticket for my grandmother in california, who suddenly decided this week that she wanted to come visit boston, after first deciding last month that she didn't want to come after all because she had a doctor's appointment. my grandmother arrives next week and will still in town for a month.

may is traditionally graduation month here in boston. likewise, it's also the time when my indoor plants graduate to their outdoor location. i had so many different seedlings on my porch that it felt like i was at the garden store. i ended up picking 2 of each: best boy tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, and kung-pao hot peppers. i never spilled my plants once until today, when the box fell out of my hands and crashed to the floor. fortunately none of the plants were damaged.

i dug up the daisies, separated them out, then planted them in a row in front of my plot (south side), where there's already a preexisting row of garlic chives. i planted 2 rows of tomatoes, one on each side of my plot. each row contains 3 tomatoes: best boy (facing the aisle), roma, and cherry. they're a little close to one another, but i don't have a lot of room. i also buried them a little deeper than normal, only because they've grown leggy in my sunlight-deprived backyard, so the lower i plant them the less likely they'll topple over. on the eastern side of my plot i planted a row of hot peppers (2). at one point my father stopped by and checked out my garden progress.

with that i officially kicked off the 2013 gardening season. i didn't check, but i'm probably the first person in the community garden to have planted tomatoes. these plants have been slowly hardened in my backyard for more than a week, so i think they're ready for the big league.

returning home, i saw that the crockpot had overflowed while i was away. it wasn't too bad, and nothing spilled onto the floor, just some liquids on the countertop. i moved some of the pork pieces so those on top (which seemed a little dry) could spend some time on the bottom.

who knew ordering a pair of binoculars would be so difficult? i called focus camera this morning, through a customer service number in the paypal notice where i discovered my payment was reversed. the woman i spoke with said it was a paypal issue (the address they received was blank), so i called paypal. the person i spoke to there said the transaction was basically cancelled once the payment was reversed. how do i fix it then? that led me to a transfer to another department, where i got tired of holding and hung up. i called back focus camera, told them what paypal told me, and then was redirected to sales, where nobody was there and all i could do was leave a message. i called them back again in the late afternoon and finally got somebody. ken didn't know what was going on either, but ended up processing my order through a credit card (instead of paypal). later when i checked my credit card account i noticed a pending charge of 2x of what i thought i'd pay for the binoculars. i called ken back, who told me it was a mistake, and should be fixed by tomorrow afternoon. so at this point i'm still not sure if everything is fixed. i was supposed to get a confirmation e-mail but that never arrived. i may have to call them back again tomorrow.

i was in the backyard organizing my plants. taking out the trash bins, i bumped into bruce. we went to go check out the neverending condo. i then bumped into renee, who sucked me into her chatty blackhole. finally i spoke to dennis, who invited bruce and i to east boston for a free lunch.

an hour later i was back inside the house, which was enough time for the crockpot to overflow for the second time. this time it was more serious, and liquid did drip onto the floor. this isn't just any liquid, but rendered fat, and need to be cleaned properly, otherwise it leaves a greasy mess. i ended up having to wash the trash can because it leaked all down its side.

i forgot i didn't have any pickles, so i rode down to market basket close to 8:00 (right around sunset) and picked up 2 jars (one for myself, one for my parents). i brought bike lights but forgot to use them when i peddled home. i also bought a case of chelmsford golden ginger ale, figured i might as well indulge if i'm going to be eating some pulled pork sandwiches.

i finally stopped cooking the pork shoulder by 8:00, a total of 8 hours in the crockpot. i scooped out the pork chunks, which were already crumbling. i threw out the ginger pieces, and any onion or garlic that i scooped up with the meat i kept, but i didn't make any special effort. normally i pour out the leftover liquid into a bag and toss it out, but i decided to keep it since my parents might want to use it.

after pouring out the leftover liquids (and bits of onion and garlic) into a large pyrex bowl, i put back the pork shoulder into the crockpot and turned it on again. after pouring in the first jar of stubb's spicy hot sauce, i began to shred the pork with 2 forks. it was easy work since the meat was already falling apart. once everything was properly shredded, i added the second jar of barbecue sauce. spicy stubb's is good because it sweet and spicy and sour, exactly what i like. the last 2 times i sort of made my own through a combination of KC masterpiece, hot sauce, and cider vinegar.

after letting everything cook in the crockpot for another half hour, the pulled pork was finally ready (9:00). i ate it with 2 onion rolls and some sliced pickles as well a nathan's half-and-half sour pickle on the side. i ate dinner while watching a pre-release of hansel & gretel: which hunters. it got horrible reviews, but i actually liked it, sort of reminds me of the black humor of evil dead mixed with a little hyperkinetic chinese martial arts movie. the movie is also 3D, although not the version i watched. i think it'd be a fun film to see in 3D, i'd love to get a better copy once the official dvd/blu-ray comes out next month.

later in the evening i took out the trash, and then put the cover over my motorcycle because it's going to rain for the next 2 days. long overdue, i planted some more thai basil seeds in containers (6). i also planted 6 containers of snapdragons. snapdragon seeds are amazingly small, almost like dust. but i recall they have an amazing germination rate. i may look to transplant extra seedlings when they emerge. these are seeds i collected from last year's snapdragons. in grow closet news, many of the korean melons have sprouted. i'm still waiting on the cucamelons. makes me a little nervous they haven't emerged yet, but i only planted them a bit over a week ago, so there's still time.