i ordered a few things from amazon this morning: another replacement chainsaw chain (S50, $10.92, cheaper than last time) and a pair of AMOTAIOS 300 lumens led rechargeable bike front lights ($8.99 each, with additional 10% discount). i was going to just get one light but with the 10% discount if i buy 2 or more, i decided to get one for my mother, if she continues riding later in the year when it gets darker in the mornings and nights. this is the same type of light that the guy who came here a few times to watch game of thrones has. i was always amazed how bright his light was, as i could see the flashing of his headlight from my living room window. the headlight i currently use is a mini usb rechargeable flashlight attached to a velcro rubberflashlight mount. that headlight is only 25 lumens; the AMOTAIOS is 300 lumens, 10x as bright.
late morning seems to be the time where i'm most likely to be found watering in the community garden. i saw dennis outside his house waiting for a contractor and chatted with him. bruce must've of heard us because he came out as well. i saw the 3 monarch caterpillars his raising, one of which has just turned into a chrysalis. he hasn't had any lucky finding caterpillars the past few years but this season he managed to find 3. i took him to the community garden, where i showed him a patch of milkweed still growing from the edge of my old plot, now almost completely paved over with gravel. that milkweed wasn't in very good condition, with diseased leaves infested with aphids. i then showed him my plot, where i had a small stand of milkweeds; when the time comes, when he needs more leaves to feed his caterpillar, he can come and pick them from here. while bruce returned home, i stayed in the garden to water my plants. i didn't think anybody else had milkweeds, but while making a tour of the whole garden i found one plot that also had them, one with seedpods. i picked a few more tomatoes before leaving, as well as a picked cucumber i found leaning in the pathway of my plot (could i have left it accidentally the last time i was here? in any case, i took it).
i packed the tomatoes and cucumber into a small cardboard box stuffed with leftover packing balloons and strapped it to the back seat of my motorcycle with bungie netting to bring to belmont since i'm not a big fan of tomatoes and my mother would find a better use for them.
the mass solar loan technical application was approved this morning, which means my parents can now go shopping for a loan to cover the cost of installing solar panels on their rooftop. however, this comes at a time when my parents are less than 48 hours away from leaving for their bermuda cruise, and my father's latest obsession are portable ham radios, so the loans will have to wait until they come back.
while watering the plants in my parents' backyard, i noticed holes cut out from the edges of large chestnut sapling leaves. there's only one critter in the area that would do that: leafcutter bees! maybe they're using the makeshift solitary bee homes i made a while back with leftover bamboo stalks. i checked the cans but didn't see any activities.
i helped my father put the portable AC back into the living room. at first when we ran it it seemed cooler, but i think that was just our imagination because after a few hours i didn't really notice any additional cooling (though slightly more comfortable as it was less humid since the AC also acts as a dehumidifier). i think cleaning the condenser coils does nothing to enhance the cooling; all it does is it makes the AC more energy efficient, so it uses less power to give us the same amount of cool. to actually improve how cold it gets means either replacing the freon or swap out the condenser if it's gone bad. my money's on the freon but only a licensed HVAC repairman can do the work, and for the price (labor/parts) of fixing a portable AC, it'd be cheaper just to buy a new one.
my parents chopped up the heirloom tomatoes and sprinkled some "plum powder" (酸梅粉) on top of them to be eaten as a dessert. they tasted like regular tomatoes, i couldn't tell the difference between a store bought tomato. for dinner i had some 酸辣粉 my father and i bought yesterday from the malden 88 supermarket. it did remind me a little bit of chongqing, but there it's not as soupy and the spiciness level is even hotter.
i came home and opened up the watermelon that's been sitting in my fridge since sunday. i'm starting to get better at taking apart a watermelon the more i do it. it cut it into quarters then cut the quarter into cubes. at any one time i can only eat about a quarter of a large watermelon.