my father and i went to the watertown home depot in the afternoon to buy a piece of fence to replace the old one falling apart in the southwestern corner of the backyard. we searched everywhere but couldn't find the fences (which normally would be outside) so we finally had to ask someone. they told us they don't carry fences at the watertown store, so we'd have to go elsewhere, like somerville. the only problem with that is the longer distance, which might make transporting the fence back to belmont more challenging, with it strapped to the roof of the car. we left the store with a HART mattock1 ($19.97), a wooden mattock handle, and some made keys.

the sky was overcast but it wouldn't rain until later tonight. we wanted to dig up some more bamboo but i was afraid the roundup herbicide might get washed away later in the evening, until i read that after 10 minutes the chemical adheres to the plant and can't be washed off anymore. the mattock came in handy to rip out the rhizomes and the root mass. he managed to dig out one large clump and we took turns working on another clump until we decided it was simply too much work. true, digging out is one of the more certain methods to completely get rid of underground bamboo, but it's too labor intensive. instead, we're hoping to rely on simple pruning back to the ground and spraying with herbicide, the chemical approach.

as we had so much bamboo laying around, i remember seeing a picture of how you can bundle a bunch of small diameter hollow bamboo stalks and turn it into a bee house. not just any bees but mason and leafcutter bees, which are excellent native pollinators (some say better than honeybees), and normally nesting in hollow tubes. the right size bamboo for mason bees has an inner diameter of 1cm and a length of 20cm, open on one end, closed on the other. we ended up cutting the smaller bamboo stalks into workable tubes (my father was going to toss them anyway since they're not strong enough to be usable in the garden). he used a hand-held circular saw, i used a simple pair of pruning shearers. the shearers work fine on fresh green bamboo, but the saw is required for older bamboos which have hardened. instead of bundling them up with some hemp string (which seemed to fall apart), i tried sticking the sticks of bamboo into the opening of a wire fence. hopefully i can see some bee action this summer.

my sister came home to make dinner, but just when we were all about to sit down for a nice family dinner, she suddenly got very angry because we were watching the news, which she says is all about murders and dying and other bad things. she just packed up her things and left with hailey. this has happened so many times we're used to her moods by this point. nobody said anything, we just let her leave, while we ate the dinner that she cooked for us. ironically, her food isn't that great, and i think we would've had a better dinner if my mother cooked instead.

soon after i motorcycled home, i put the cover over my bike in anticipation of the rain that'd arrive later in the evening. there were already some rain drops on the bike seat.

tonight was the annual naked bike ride. i thought about going to see it again (even got my trek bike ready with the new wheel lights), but 2 reasons i decided against it: i didn't want to one of those guys who go there just take photos of naked people, and the weather was really cold. the weather was the deciding factor. temperature was in the lower 60's, more like fall than the middle of the summer. i imagine a lot of people would be cancelling or wearing coats to keep themselves warm.

so instead i took a bath armed with the latest issue of entertainment weekly (suicide squad cover). now that i fixed my hot water faucet, the tub filled up in just 10 minutes. unfortunately the water wasn't very hot, lukewarm at best. i soaked long enough to only get halfway through the magazine before i decided i had enough. when i pulled the plug to drain the tub, the water hardly seemed to be draining at all. when i put my hand over the drain, i didn't feel any suction either. i quickly looked up "how to drain a bathtub" online and found a video instructing me to plug the overflow valve before working the drain with a plunger. i did this expecting to dredge up all sorts of gross blockage material, but hardly anything came up. but soon the drain was gurgling and the bathtub began draining like normal. i fixed my drainage-blocked bathtub! there was a casualty however: i got my flashlight wet (when trying to look down the drain) and that seemed to have killed it. i was sort of expecting it to be water-resistant, but apparently it's not. looks like i'm in the market for another flashlight.

1 mattock? isn't that is another name for a pickaxe? what we really wanted was a cutter mattock, something i only realized existed afterwards when searching online.