i finally signed my weatherization contract today. in about 4 weeks, next step living contractors will come to my house and pump insulation into the exterior walls. i really could've used it during this recent winter, but my contract seemed to have been passed around and now i'm on my 4th agent. i still need to call them back and schedule a day for them to come. and before they do, i have to clean out the basement because they also need access to the rim joists to put in fiberglass batting (i don't even know what that is but if it helps to keep my house insulated, i'm all for it).

i also made public to members of the committee the updated AFBHS website i'm been working on for the past month. i got a few bug reports, some edits, and some feature requests. hopefully i can get those done this week so i can have time to work on my own things.

i spent the early afternoon planting some more seeds, 2 types of tomatoes (best boy and cherry sweet 100), 8 each. i prepared some soil pots more than a week ago. i did want the dirt to dry so i covered them up with some newspapers, but apparently that wasn't enough. when i went to go water them by reversing soaking in a pail of water, the soil had a hard time retaining the water. the outside was all wet, but the inside was still dry. i ended up having to stir the dirt while i soaked to mix the wet and dry soil together. i also planted 18 small containers of columbine in the self-contained plastic greenhouse. i left it outside to cold stratify.

it looked like it might rain so my parents came by to pick me up after work in the afternoon. i brought along a pickle jar of fermented paocai, unopened since i bottled it up more than a month ago. we tried it when we got back to belmont: sour, spicy, salty, crunchy, perfectly blended, but not a lot of carbonation since the jar wasn't airtight. my mother said it was bitter but i didn't taste any of that; bitterness means too much baijiu alcohol, which will disappear eventually while the baijiu breaks down.

it never did rain and by the late afternoon the sun was beginning to peak out intermittently. i wanted to plant some snow peas and got ready to dig in the raised beds until the wooden posts caught my attention. i knew a few of them rotten away, figured that was just because of the weather. although we treated the planks that form the walls of the raised bed (with linseed oil), the corner posts were just untreated wood, hence the fast deterioration. but just the way they crumbled made me suspect insect damage. and what sort of insect could damage wood like this? termites. but we weren't supposed to have any termites, not after hiring an exterminator back in the spring of 2012 to get rid of them with thermidor.

but out of curiosity, i pulled out one of the wooden spikes surrounding the southern facing sun room. they were put there back in 2012 by the exterminator, as a test to see if there were still termites in the ground. they were supposed to come by and check the following year but they never did. anyway, i pulled up the wooden spike and out spilled out a colony of white termites. not good. i snapped a few photos (termites quickly burrow back into the soil after they're exposed) and went inside to tell my father, who came out to see.

i then called up ultra safe pest management. we were still under the 5 year warranty period, so they were responsible for taking care of the problem. they were also supposed to come back and check on the wooden stakes back in 2013 but never did, so they're more than responsible if there's another termite infestation. i personally think the problem can be solved using some poisonous bait. that was originally what i thought they'd be using before they decided to go with thermidor, a more thorough solution but albeit not as ecologically sound since it involves injecting pesticide into the soil. the whole area around the house has been thermidor treated, so termites can't possibly get in - with the except of the southern side, where because of the raised beds, the exterminators didn't want to apply thermidor, but instead used the wooden stakes to keep in eye out for termites. long story short, they're sending out somebody late thursday afternoon to check out the problem.

my mother made a duck broth using leftover peking duck parts from the restaurant. simmering on the stove, the whole house had a savory duck aroma. she and i had some rice noodles with the broth while my father ate some leftover rice.

back in cambridge after getting a ride home, i started lowering one of the shelves in the steel racks of the hallway closet, so i could have a third shelf to grow my plants because i've discovered i'm pretty much out of space at this point with just 2 shelves. of course this means having to buy another 4 feet shop light. i used a plank of wood and a hammer to knock the shelf off its plastic securing braces. after i lowered it sufficiently, i retaped the mylar fabric (used to reflect the light back inside the grow closet). while i was doing this, dancing with the stars was on tv. why am i not watching this show? maybe i'm too much of a reality tv snob. but snobbery aside, what's not to like about a show featuring scantily-clad women (and men) shaking it to music? unfortunately the only contestant that was remotely interested (buxom model charlotte mckinney) got voted off the show.