bruce texted me last night at 3:34am, asking if we could postpone our nature outing today because he hadn't slept yet. that gave me the opportunity to do some more work in my community garden plot. after a salmon bagel sandwich for lunch, i went down to the community garden by around 1pm. i should've gone earlier, as that time of the day it was already very sunny and hot, no one else in the garden except me.
i was hoping to catch another hammerhead flatworm with the expressed desire to drown it in vinegar (which i forgot to bring), but i didn't see any. i did however find many healthy earthworms, so the idea of an earthworm holocaust due to invasive carnivorous flatworms is grossly exaggerated.
i was planning on taking away all the ornamental grasses, but each patch is so large and heavy, i could only move one patch at a time. i wasn't planning on staying long but i ended up working on my plot for 2 hours. this being my second season in this plot, i knew what plants i wanted and what i wanted to get rid of. ornamental grass was one thing, the other being an invasion of creeping buttercups. the yellow flowers are pretty but they just spread too much. while digging out the buttercups (which were confined to the edges of the plot), i also fixed some of the brick borders, and added more bricks to form a pathway from the pile of unwanted bricks by the garden entrance. i also relocated some plants, moving the lovage so it's not next to the similar looking monkshood, and moving some small delphinium and striped mallow seedlings. i also plugged a few nasturtium seeds around the perimeter.
EJ came to the garden briefly to work on her plot. i asked her if she ever makes kimchi, she said yes, usually in the winter, about 5-7 lbs. worth of napa cabbage. she makes the tongbaechu kimchi with cabbage bundles instead of chopping everything up, she says those taste and ferment better. her recipe for the chili paste was very similar to the one i used: green onions, anchovy sauce AKA fish sauce, shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, onion, daikon radish slices, and i assume korean chili powder. she didn't say if she used a glutinous rice porridge, i'll have to ask her next time. i learned that koreans always make their own kimchi chili paste; the carton of chili paste i see selling in grocery stores are not for making kimchi but for other korean recipes.
before i left i said hello to a gardener working on a new skinny plot where my old plot used to be. turns out it was lynn, who used to have a plot diagonally across from me. she moved because she didn't have time to dedicate to her garden, but traded for a smaller plot, hoping to keep it simple by growing mostly flowers. so inspired she was by the field of delphiniums i had prior to getting evicted (apparently it was a hit with a lot of gardeners), she wanted to recreate it with two packets of delphinium seeds. i told her it took me a 1-2 seasons before i had enough delphiniums to put on a show. that's kind of encouraging me to sow some delphiniums again this season as i discovered a fresh packet of seeds. apparently they didn't do very well last season, and i only found 1-2 seedlings.
i finally returned home by 3pm. i brought back some unwanted rhizome irises and planted them underneath the outdoor faucet. i also watered the front garden, planting a few nasturtium seeds as well.
i set out my tomatoes outside these past few days because they were beginning to outgrow the closet. today, i moved out more seedlings. this is to harden them up so they'll be ready for transplanting, but it's really more because it's just much warmer and sunnier outside. later in the evening, when the temperature dipped below 60°F, i moved all the plants back inside. i moved enough plants that i was able to turn off the fluorescent lights on one of the grow house shelves. the only plants still in the closet are numerous thai basils and 2 variety of hot peppers.
the 10cm handlebar extender i ordered off of ebay ($7.98) arrived today. 10cm seems a little short, but 20cm is just too long. it'd be perfect if they had a 15cm version but they don't. i can't wait to use it, i can finally put my night light in the middle of my handlebar instead of obscured by my action camera mount.
from this morning i could already feel we'd set a new production record. but the graph line did something strange: it decreased a little bit both on the front and back ends of the bell curve. it wasn't because of clouds either because the sky was crystal clear today. nevertheless, by the end of the day, we did set a new record with 49.47 kWh, yet somehow i was still disappointed, because i thought for sure we'd break 50kWh. i was surprised when i checked the physical layout map and saw that some of the panels on the sunroom - tilted just 13° - had higher total production today that the panels on the main room - tilted 31°. today's sun angle at its highest was about 65°; it makes me wonder if the optimal production angle for a solar panel isn't directly facing the sun at a perpendicular 90° angle but rather at some other angle. today, the sun was at a 84° to the 31° panels, while it was at 102°F to the 13° panels (i hope my trigonometry is right).
wangyang wechatted with me this morning, said she was planning on a trip to boston and new york city with her son this july. i invited her to stay at my place but told her i will have a roommate during that time. but having a free place to live is such an advantage, i don't think she minded. she was also intrigued by the fact that my roommate (GC) is a chinese astrophysicist. i will of course end up sleeping on the couch, a small sacrifice. it's not set in stone yet, she still needs to get a US visa for her son, and it's a complicated process that involves a lot of paperwork as well as an interview (not sure how it's done with children though). i'm already thinking of places we can go and things we can do. having hung out with frances and her family last month, i think i have a better idea of what children like to do when they're on vacation.
i ate a pair of angus beef hot dogs for dinner along with a glass of chocolate milk. i have a craving for some healthier options (like salads) after i discovered i put back some pounds recently due to careless snacking. speaking of snacks, i tried the norwegian påske eggs. packaged like real eggs in a carton of 4, these chocolate eggs have a creamy filling on the inside. they're a lot like cadbury eggs, except they're designed to be opened up and the creamy interior eaten with a spoon. when i broke apart one of the eggs however, the creamy filling had dried up.
sometimes i'm too lazy to get up and turn on the lights with my remote. but i'm always on my computer, and i've discovered it far easier to open up a terminal, SSH into my raspberry pi3, and remotely trigger the etekcity outlet switch using my 433MHz transmitter setup. that got me thinking: why can't i do that with my tv as well? tv remote operate in infrared, so i needed an infrared receiver (to read the initial remote signals) and more importantly an infrared transmitter. i ended up going online and buying an infrared transceiver board for $1.68 from ebay. later i discovered that the board might not be entirely compatible with the pi as the GPIO uses 3.3V and this board is designed for 5V (i just have to power it separately). i also found out that in my box of electronic parts and sensors, i already have an infrared transmitter and receiver. at the time i didn't think i'd ever need them but now i have some use for them. so while i wait for the transceiver to arrive, i can for the time being begin experimenting with the infrared sensors i do have.