with the new motorcycle battery fully charged, i swapped it out with the old one this morning. the new battery came with zinc-plated screws and nuts (to attach to the battery cables) but the screws was a little short so i ended up using the old screws. the motorcycle started without issues. how well this new battery performs can only be quantified by me never noticing it ever again.
heading out, i rode the motorcycle to the community garden for a quick inspection. there is a reason why i have a slightly larger plot compared to some gardeners: it's because i'm underneath the mulberry tree. every spring i forget how utterly terrible it is to garden beneath the tree, and come june-july i'm reminded anew. to have your plot covered in a carpet of rotting mulberry can be demoralizing. i'm not even sure how i've lasted for this long. and then afterwards i think about ways to prevent the annual mulberrying (like putting up a net), but once the berry showers are over, i quickly forget.
i went to belmont early with thoughts of doing some paint preparation work. the exterior painter my parents hired last year to paint the house does pretty good work (especially sanding, got down to the bare wood) except he's completely unreliable. technically he was supposed to have the house painted last year, but he's done even done with sanding yet, and the only reason why the house is partially painted (actually just primed) is because we pushed him not to leave exposed shingles come wintertime. and even then, he was only able to prime key spots because my father and i help him paint. i mean, why pay the guy if we're already doing the job ourselves? then this season, he's yet to do any painting and it's almost july.
anyway, arrived in belmont, but the motorcycle was so dirty (parking under a tree with a lot of birds will do that to a vehicle) i decided to give it a good wash. i made the careless move of using the wrong sponge and marred some of the chrome finish. later i washed the honda element as well, especially the rear undercarriage, caked in layers of dirt and salt leftover from the winter. afterwards i waxed the bike, and after it dried, buffed it to a showroom finish.
the hollyhocks have bloomed, they are a deep maroon color. i can't remember if these hollyhocks are all the same color or maybe a hybridized mix. what's most interesting are the flowerbuds, as the petals appear to be black before they blossom. we used to have a lot of hollyhocks growing along the western wall of the sun room but they disappeared when we converted that area into a vegetable garden. then we transitioned to raised bed gardening. during all that time, some seeds still survived, somehow got into one of the raised beds, and germinated. it was also lucky that i didn't pull out the seedling, thinking it was a weed.
i think the hollyhocks came back around 2013, but i was already away in china so i didn't see it flower. i probably didn't even realize what it was, most likely thought it was an exotic cucumber/gourd because they have similar-looking large leaves. when i came back in the fall of 2014, i was surprised to see a tall hollyhock plant in the raised bed. supposedly they're short-lived perennials, and you're supposed to cut off the flowers to prevent the plant from producing seeds and dying. fortunately they self-sow and i've already transplanted some seedlings to various areas of the backyard as well as a few plants in my own community garden plot.
my father's latest project is a pneumatic sprayer. he wants to use it to weather treat some of the wooden backyard furniture. the adapter he got on saturday turned out to be the wrong size so pressured air leaks out noisily when he connects it to the compressor.
the rabbit-severed sweet potato plant i saw on saturday is still alive, and doesn't seem to be suffering at all. my father told me that sweet potatoes are pretty hard to the point of being a weed: a severed stem can be placed in water and new roots will emerge.
after dinner i went with my father to the watertown home depot. he was there to buy a better pneumatic adapter head, i was there to check out prices on basin wrenches and see their selection of single-handle kitchen faucets with separate sprayers. they had a delta faucet set for $64 which didn't look too bad, more than $20 cheaper than the classic delta faucet i wanted to get on the web. later when i checked the online review, some people said that the faucet made noises and was poorly assembled.
since the clouds looked like there might be a spectacular sunset, after i got home i went back out again with my camera in search of photo opportunities. sunset was 8:24 but it wasn't all that interesting. i got as far as mass ave then back again, taking a parting shot of hollywood videos, the local movie rental store due to close forever at the end of the month.
walking up prentiss street, i came across a torchiere somebody had thrown out onto the curb. i grabbed it and brought it home. just so happened i needed one extra light for the living room, now it's super bright when i have all 4 lamps turned on. it came with a pretty halogen lamp designed into a clear glass tube, but i switched it out with an led bulb i had on hand.
sunmeng told me she received the smoky mountains postcard i sent her a few weeks ago. this is the fastest mail has ever reached china. i mailed out that postcard on the 3rd (into a mailbox no less, not even to the post office) and it arrived less than 3 weeks later.