despite forecast of possible rain, i went down to the community garden anyway this morning to water my plants. the war of attrition continues, as slugs and snails continue to slowly reduce my seedlings to nothing. i was also shocked to discover that a mound of cucumber seedlings have completely disappeared, apparently the work of rabbits, but happy to report that the zucchini squash has finally germinated. it's pretty discouraging, and i wonder why i even bother spending all that time and energy to grow plants from seeds since they get eaten up by garden critters anyway. maybe the secret is raised beds, but i don't have the resources to add that amount of new dirt to my plot. or maybe i should try hanging planters. i put plastic cups over the remaining cucumber/squash seedlings to protect them from rabbits. before i left i pruned off all the suckers on the tomatoes. at least my tomatoes seem to be okay, critters tend to avoid them. but tomatoes have other problems, like late season blight disease.
i biked to belmont in the late morning, taking the trek utility as i was carrying two pineapples, a box of frozen coconut popsicles (in a thermal insulated tote bag), and 2 packages of italian sausages. it was a warm and humid day, hot enough for shorts. like yesterday, the sky was a mix of light and dark regions, though brighter than friday. when i finally arrived my t-shirt was soaked in sweat. my father had mowed the lawn again, front and back, and was clearing out the clutter on the eastern side of the house: containers of rocks, empty pots, piles of wood, and a cast iron table with a marble slab surface.
i noticed a while back that at least some of the solar panels were covered in pollen. i figured the occasional rain would wash all of it away, but i wanted to check to make sure. i climbed a ladder and saw a layer of yellow pollen dust on the panels above the sunroom. this could've been preventing us from reaching maximum production. the panels on the main roof were in better shape as they have more tilt, but the ones on the sunroom are practically flat so pollen doesn't wash off as easily. i was going to spray clean the panels with the garden hose, but the male connector was broken (plastic part, stripped threads) and the spray nozzle wouldn't stay on anymore. a search for spare parts in the garage came up empty.
my mother called us back inside to have some noodles for lunch. afterwards my father and i went to home depot to get a male hose mender. before we did that, we went to the garden department to haul away 5 bags of cedar mulch and 4 40lbs. bag of top soil. after loading it in the car, we checked out their perennial plants department in the parking lot. they had some flowering cherries but they were all dead. my father got me to ask the return desk what their policy was on tree returns: as long as you have the original receipt, a tree can be returned anytime for up to a year, either for replacement (if they have stock), store credit, or money back. my father was relieved to hear this, as the home depot bought kwanzan cherry in our backyard may possibly be dead as well, or last least unable to be saved. in the garden hose department they only had metal menders which are pricier ($4.97 a piece) but definitely last longer than plastic parts. my father was also there to look for parts for his DIY antenna project, including PCV pipe fittings. we also got a tube of flexible quikrete concrete crack sealant ($6.48).
it was pouring rain by the time we left home depot, but cleared up when we got back home. after repairing the hose end, i climbed on the ladder in front of the sunroom and sprayed off all the pollen from the panels with the nozzle set on jet mode. later i moved the ladder to the side of the house to get a better angle on the panels mounted on the main roof, but those didn't really have any pollen, at most i blasted off a few bird droppings. speaking of which, i found a dead robin on the roof. seemed like natural causes, all its parts were still intact. i tried to spray it off but ended up using a long bamboo pole to remove it.
after cleaning up the eastern side of the house, my father put some marble stepping stones on the southern end of the yard behind the perennial bed. i watered the vegetables despite the earlier rain, and finally stopped when it began raining again.
i watched the documentary "anything is possible," about the celtics 2008 road to the NBA championship. can't believe that was 10 years ago already. too bad they couldn't get an interview with ray allen. a lot of behind the scene stories i've never heard before.
i helped my father order a spool of lead-free solder ($10.89 1.5mm 100g Sn99 Ag0.3 Cu0.7 with rosin core) and a new soldering iron ($17). he used up most of the solder making cable ends for his antennas and soldering together the antenna pieces. the soldering iron we have is a simply 30w unit we purchased from harbor freight for $3.99. it doesn't have a replacement head and my father never cleaned it so it's caked in dried solder. also earlier i ordered a nest thermostat for my father for the cafe. through masssave and eversource, the thermostat only cost $99 (the cheapest i've even seen for a v3 nest) and also comes with a google home mini speaker. their HVAC system has both heating and cooling, so the thermostat is perfect to control both systems. just need to figure out where to install it. i also thought about getting one for my sister's place, but her heating and cooling controls are located at different area of the house.
for dinner my father barbecued the haymarket asparagus (my mother marinated it with some olive oil and sea salt) and market basket italian sausages with fennel. we ate it with rice, along with some of my tongbaechu kimchi.
it was a little chilly riding back to cambridge in just my t-shirt and shorts. i noticed the smart LED bulb in my porch light was a little dim, so i increased the brightness to maximum. there was nothing good on television on a saturday night, so i rewatched an episode of battlestar galactica ("33") streaming from amazon prime. dave and christine weren't home, but when they got back around 10pm, they started watching television and i could hear the thumping bass of their sound system through the walls.