i stopped by the community garden on my way to market basket. more spots of color as the zinnias have bloomed. for now just a single flower per plant, but more blossoms over time. that one dry zinnia flower i saw 5 days ago? just haven't fully bloomed yet. i noticed the delphiniums have formed seedpods; i was tempted to snip them off, but decided to keep them, figuring they might self-sow and i could get more delphiniums next year. besides, it seems like new flower buds were forming underneath the seed pods, so it'd be hard to snip off without snipping those as well. there were also many ripe golden raspberries, i'll have to come by with a container and pick them before they fall off.

in the early afternoon i went to my parents' house to begin sanding the outside shingles. i was the one who originally did the research for orbital sanders, but never got a chance to really use it, other than to do some test sanding when we first got it back in the summer of 2012. it's quite the spectacle, running a long extension cord halfway around the house, and making a lot of noise when the sander is operated in tandem with the shopvac. the western side of the house gets a lot of sun in the afternoon and gets pretty hot. i was sweating something fierce inside my dust mask. i had on a pair of earmuffs to drown out the noise.

i managed to sand about a 3x3ft square area of shingles in about an hour, taking a few breaks in between. i'm not planning on sanding off all the paint, just enough so it's smooth to the touch. it's a little tedious, the sander starts feeling heavy after a while (plus it's vibrating the whole time), and there was also the afternoon sun. i noticed that if i hold orbiting sander at it edge, it seems a lot better, essentially stripping off the paint (and the wood if you're not careful). i didn't put down any tarps and there wasn't all that much dust but there was still a little bit that clung to the sander and to my arms. when the paint did come off, it was more likely in the form of dried chips. at this rate, if we get a couple days of good weather, i might be able to get the sanding done in 2 weeks. about half the house still requires sanding, but we're fortunate that my parents live in a one story structure. the hardest part is the western side, but once that's done, the front of the house will be pretty easy (shady at least, won't have to deal with the blistering sun).

earlier i fertilized the front lawn with some organic fertilizer. i already fertilized the front lawn at the end of april but it was due for another feeding. it was the perfect day to fertilize since we're expecting a rainstorm tomorrow morning.

when i went back inside, i could feel my forearms (particular the left arm, the one holding the sander) were a little sore.

my mother started making dinner sometime after 4:30 and by 5:00 we were already eating. i was planning on sticking around until it got dark (8:30-9:00) so i could see the conjunction of jupiter and venus. where i live in cambridge, it's hard to get a good view of the sky, much less the horizon. we ended up watching the US-germany women's world cup semifinal match. around halftime my father came home and it seemed dark enough to possibly see something so we walked out to the nearby playground field. looking west, we saw a bright star - venus. a little bit above it, much fainter, was another star - jupiter - easily missed if you didn't know where to look. my mother went back home to get her binoculars. through the telephoto lens i could see i could clearly see the 2 planets, with venus in a partial phase. there was enough shaking from hand-holding the binoculars that you couldn't see any details other than the fact that there were 2 stars.

returning home it got dark enough that now both planets were very much visible. i saw people gawking at it on the streets, taking photos with their phones. after parking my motorcycle, i went onto mass avenue to get a better look at the conjunction.