annie texted me early this morning, confirming that it was okay for her to move in on june 1st. so it looks like she's going to be here for two months, instead of splitting an apartment with her friends for the first month then moving into my place the second month. her friends haven't contacted me again, and i'm hoping they decided to live elsewhere, so i don't have to break the news to them that they can't live at my grand uncle's place.
my plan today was to hit haymarket in the morning and do some gardening in the afternoon. the weather forecast said there might some intermittent showers throughout the day but most of the rain won't get here until evening. i had the last of my blueberry muffin for breakfast and was ready to go when i noticed my toilet was leaking. i actually noticed it last night when i was brushing my teeth. i've known about this problem for a while, but the leak is so minuscule, sometimes i see it, sometimes i don't. but the glare of the bathroom light caught the trickle in such a way that it was obviously leaking. i tested it by putting a square of toilet paper against the side of the bowl. minutes later the tissue was wet. i was hoping the leak would stop by this morning, but it was still happening.
it wasn't a fill valve issue because 1) i just replaced the fill valve last august, and 2) typically a leaking toilet means it's a flapper problem. i happened to have a spare (relatively new, taken from my parents' toilet which was fixed just last year) but when i installed it, the leak was still happening. that could be a flush valve seat issue. but i tried something where i emptied the toilet tank so there was just a half centimeter of water left; not high enough to reach the overflow, so any leaks would mean the whole flush valve assembly itself was bad. sure enough, the toilet was still leaking. i decided to wait and see. i shut off the water valve and marked the water height in the bowl; a leak would lower the water level.
i went to haymarket at 11:30am. the cargo bike was much better behaved this time around. the chain still occasionally skipped, but typically happened when i start from a full stop. but as long as i was moving, the chain wouldn't skip, meaning i could climb hills (something i was barely able to do last week). i also kept an eye on the front wheel. somewhere there's a small leak in the inner tube. like my toilet, the leak is just a trickle, and i can ride around just fine, but i need to inflate the tire every so often otherwise it will go completely flat over time. once the new wheel arrives next week i'll take a closer look at the tube, mend it if i can, otherwise just use a new tube.
like last time, i felt a few drops of rain, but otherwise there were no showers or drizzles and i remained dry for the most part. today marks the 9th consecutive friday where we had rain. there was much new stuff at haymarket, there weren't even any ugli fruit this time around. i ended up getting: 15 navel oranges ($3), a bag of small potatoes ($1), 2 asparagus ($2), a fyffes pineapple ($2), and 6 red pears ($2).
i returned home by 12:50pm. despite the leak, the toilet tank water level hadn't changed at all. either that meant the shutoff valve wasn't closed tightly enough, or that the trickle is tiny, even after more than an hour it barely makes an impact. i then flushed the toilet again with the shutoff valve turned off, left a bit of water in the tank, and watched for leaks. the trickle running into the toilet bowl was still there, it's definitely a busted flush valve assembly.
because it was so early i had time to run to home depot to get a replacement flush valve. i decided to go to the one in watertown so i could drop off some of my haymarket produce in belmont. before i left, i checked online just to make sure they had what i wanted. the flush valve on my toilet is an old 2" and apparently it's uncommon enough that home depot didn't even carry it, i had to order it online and have them ship to the store. they had 2" toilet repair kit that included the fill valve as well, but i only needed the flush valve. it got to the point where i was going to buy the kit just for the flush valve, saving the fill valve as a backup. curious, i went onto amazon to see what they carried. they had the exact same one i needed with the same price, but free delivery by tomorrow. it was a no-brainer: i ordered it off of amazon, saving me a trip to home depot.
i went down to the community garden by 1:30pm with a bunch of empty containers for the plants i would dig up from my plot. most of them would be for the milkweeds that was spreading everywhere. about that same time it started to drizzle but that didn't stop me from working. but the combination of light rain plus dirt made a real mess of my clothes, but it'd be a good oxiclean test when i got back home.
digging out milkweeds reminded me a lot of digging out bamboo rhizomes, in that the plants growing through underground roots that run in a straight line. but unlike bamboos, milkweed roots are delicate and prone to breaking. the actual milkweed stalks also break off quite easily, so i had to uproot carefully if i wanted to keep them for planting elsewhere. i grew these milkweeds from seed back in 2012. they required a period of cold stratification so i kept the seeds in the fridge for a while before planting them. they originally grew in my old plot, before i moved them to my new plot. how that they've gotten very invasive, i've decided to stop growing them directly in my garden plot, but still want to keep them in case i want to grow them in pots. some of the underground milkweed rhizomes were quite long, which made sense, because they had escape one corner of the garden and almost reached the opposite corner. i ended up trimming the roots so there was at least a few viable shoots before planting them in containers. i took so much soil there's now a depression in one corner of my garden.
a line of milkweed ran underneath the monkshood, and i accidentally uprooted some of them when i pulled out a milkweed rhizome. i gathered up the uprooted monkshood and planted them back. but sure if it was my imagination but minutes later my fingertips felt a little numb even though i was wearing gloves. could it be some of that monkshood poison (most concentrated in the roots) getting into my system? also while i was digging i noticed a lot of striped mallow seedlings. i tried not to disturb them but sometimes it couldn't be helped. i also noticed a few lupine seedlings; the few lupines i had growing last year are all gone.
the other garden project was to clear the patch of perennials in the northeastern corner of my plot, where they are thick mats of ornamental grass and sensitive fern. originally i wanted to get rid of all of that, but there was just too much, so i decided to only remove half, saving the rest for next season. digging them up wasn't that hard; it was finding a way to transplant them that was more difficult. i ended up making 3 trips back and forth from my house, moving the uprooted plants in batches.
while going around checking out what other people were growing, i saw a chunky black and white bird pecking the ground. when i saw the red chevron on its chest, i knew right away it was a rose-breasted grosbeak. i'd never seen one of these before but knew about them because of their distinctive colors. it didn't seem to be afraid, but when i got closer to get a better photo with my phone (if i only had my dSLR!), it flew up into some trees.
for my final trip back to the community garden, i brought my 55 quart of potting soil and a grow bag. steve and paul came home right when i was coming out of the backyard. i was struggling to keep my bike from tipping over from the heavy weight on the back. they sat in their car and waited until i was gone before they got out. i think it was because so they wouldn't have to fake volunteer to help me. with their fleet of twin SUV's, transporting a bag of soil would be nothing for them. even though these were 10 gallon grow bags, they seemed so much smaller in the garden. i thought the 55 quart of soil would fill the whole bag, but i only needed half that amount, which means i can have a second grow bag.
i was finally done by 3:30pm. i came home, stripped off my jeans and shirt, and left them to presoak in some oxiclean. later in the evening, around 9pm, i did a load of laundry. the presoak water had a dark blue hue, which makes me think oxiclean and jeans aren't a good mix. after they came out of the dryer, the pair of jeans did look a bit faded, but they were faded to begin with, and i didn't really notice any difference. but definitely next time i won't oxiclean presoak any denim.
the hdmi angle port adapter arrived today. i attached it to the hdmi-dvi adapter i got last week. the adapter-adapter configuration looks a bit ugly, but it works, giving me enough clearance to connect the hdmi cable. i was then able to run the external LCD monitor off of my macbook pro. this means i can finally work with two monitors from the dining table.
my honing steel also arrived. i was originally going to get it off of ebay, but some of them looked kind of flimsy. i found one on amazon that was pretty inexpensive ($6.99) yet still seemed legit, and i didn't want to pay too much for my new knife sharpening hobby. i bought the 10" rod but they actually sent me a 12" which is fine by me. it was actually delivered earlier but to the wrong address (my neighbor margot). only when i looked online an saw that it had already been delivered did i go outside and see the package on my neighbor's doorstep. not only did i hone my normal kitchen knife, but also some dull pocket knives as well. i don't know if i noticed any difference, the knives were already sharp after i ran them through the knife sharpener. but i feel better now that i have a honing steel in my kitchen gadget collection.
in the late afternoon i finished a whole carton of tabouli salad with melba toast, so i wasn't very hungry. i didn't have dinner until 9pm, just some canned clam and corn chowder. i also tried some of the navel oranges i bought today. though sweet, they're not the same as the ones i got last friday; these were just orange, not the reddish orange from before.
(oh no it's already 2:30am! so much for trying to sleep early)