i'm sensitive to caffeine so i was afraid i'd have trouble falling asleep after drinking a container of black tea. but i went to sleep like normal, although i didn't go to bed until almost 3:00 (blog writing takes time, especially after an evening of television). i like the flavor of regular black tea, there's a simplicity about it, and it makes me think this is how people hundreds of years ago drank their tea. also when i drank some leftover black tea from last night, it was still pretty mellow, which is good, because i like to steep my tea for a long time, and i don't like teas that get bitter with oversteeping.

monthly street cleaning was happening on the opposite side of the street this morning. i almost didn't think it was going to take place because i didn't hear them announcing it on the bullhorn earlier and there were still plenty of cars parked across the street. all those car owners are going to have a bad day when they return home and discover their vehicle had been towed. street cleaning is a municipal scam, pure and simple. actually cleaning the street is secondary; their primary goal is to ticket cars (money for the cops), tow cars (money for the tow companies), and store cars (money for the storage lot). the racket continues tomorrow when they clean my side of the street. why can't they just ticket only like somerville? but there they clean the streets twice a month, so i don't know which is the lesser evil. more the reason to just own a bicycle.

my father dropped by this morning to deliver the kombucha scoby and a jar of kombucha juice undergoing a 2nd fermentation. after washing and drying my hands, i removed the scoby from the jar and dropped it into the jar of sweet tea. the scoby is actually a mother and baby, but because they were both stuck together, i didn't bother separating them. also they're a little bigger than the diameter of the jar, but they're soft so they fold up. the new scoby baby that will be created will be jar diameter.

i then poured the leftover juices (about 2 cups) into the sweet tea jar. it was a little full, so we scooped out more than a cup's worth with a clean plastic ladle, a drank the leftover. it was sweet with a little tartiness from the added kombucha juice. my father seems to really love kombucha, telling me how he could feel the bacteria working in his gut but in a good way. he felt a little gassy, but not bloated, but that's how he knows the probiotics is working its magic. and over time, the more his body gets used to it, the less gassy he becomes. i told him about the continuous brew method to making kombucha, he seemed intrigued, but that requires a large glass fermentation jar with a spigot.

i may have said this before, but kombucha has similar taste to switchel, the vinegary sweet drink i experimented with a few times end of last summer. that was artificially concocted; kombucha is made naturally, and it includes healthy probiotics, which switchel doesn't have (you're basically drink straight vinegar and molasses).

maybe it has something to do with being in a smaller container compared to the larger container, or maybe a byproduct of the fermentation process (whether through the initial fermentation or second fermentation), but the jar of finished kombucha is much lighter in color than the sweet tea i brewed last night. also the finished sealed kombucha was hissing from the escaping carbon dioxide. that may be due to the shaking from the transport, because an hour later it stopped hissing.

my father also brought over 2 large stock pot from the cafe: one of them is the 20qt aluminum pot with heavy stains on the inside, the other a 16qt stainless steel (but too small for what i want to do with it). after seeing the one i bought last week, he said it was better to keep it because i can do other things with a large stainless steel stockpot, like making my korean kimchee.

in the early afternoon i returned to the liquor store to redeem my power ball ticket. "cash?" the clerk asked me, after feeding the ticket into some machine. "yeah," i said as he handed me $4. "i'll try again next time." being in the house all day, i was blissfully unaware how humid it was outside. this is the first time this year where i've felt this kind of summer-like humidity, where for a split second i thought about installing the air conditioner (this is a lie, even in the dog days of summer i rarely think about the AC). this is one of the times where i'm glad it's so cool and dry inside my house (for the time being).

after watering the plants in belmont, i planted some more seedlings: 4 mixed hot peppers into RB2, and 2 of each sweet basil in RB4 and RB2, in between the tomatoes. i'm getting impatient to see the peonies bloom. the newly-transplanted peony behind the garage produced a single flower bud but being a first-year transplant it's not going to flower and i can already see the bud shriveling up. better luck next year. the peonies on the western side of the yard are producing a lot of flower buds. buds also show up laterally, but those shrivel up naturally so the terminal buds become even bigger.

when my parents came back from the cafe, i went with my father to my aunt/uncle's place in arlington to plant some more of our surplus seedlings: 4 roma tomatoes, 2 cherry tomatoes, 3 sweet basil, and 1 kung-pao pepper. the garden bed seems to have a lot of peat moss, some compost or manure will need to be added soon to give the plants something to feed on. so counting arlington, we now have 5 different gardens: my own community garden, my parents' backyard, my grand uncle's backyard, and the belmont victory garden plot. none of these gardens are perfect, sunlight is always at a premium. for once i'd like to have a garden that gets sun all day long, instead of only certain hours of the day due to blockage from nearby trees/houses.

when we left for arlington we saw the breaking news about an impending tornado due to touch down near oklahoma city. when we got back we saw the aftermath. i haven't seen destruction like that since the japanese tsunami, with cars stacked on top of each other and whole neighborhoods just flattened.

temperature was in the 80's with high humidity. nothing was on the radar but suddenly a cluster formed over the city and there was a sudden burst of hard rain. after dinner i hurried home during a lull in the showers.

there was a letter from the massachusetts IRS department waiting for me when i got home. at first i thought it was my refund check, but the envelope felt thick so i had a feeling it was something else. most of the time when you get a letter from the IRS it's not a good thing. turns out i must've left out a 1099-MISC form, and they won't process my returns until they receive a copy. they didn't say which one, just that some pertinent documents were missing. it's funny, when i pay taxes they never say anything, but when it comes time for them to pay me, they drag their feet. i scanned my 1099-MISC's from last year and will send it out tomorrow morning.