it was a noisy monday morning but i didn't mind too much because i knew paul and steve were leaving for their summer house on the vineyard today. i watched as paul packed one of their SUV's. when i looked again, both of their cars were gone, apparently 10am was their scheduled departure time. of course i wasn't notified, although paul did tell me verbally on saturday they were leaving. as a rule however, they should've let me know more formally if they're going to be gone the rest of the year while a series of strangers rent out their house for the next 6 months. paul told me they were coming back to meet the tenant, although he didn't specify when that was, but i think by the end of this week.

today wasn't a bad day, cool and overcast, but dry. but don't let that fool you, as torrential rain would arrive by late afternoon into the early evening, raining into tomorrow morning. i took advantage of the dry conditions to run some local errands.

my new motorcycle cover arrived yesterday, a nelson-rigg defender all weather cover in black and size large (Nelson-Rigg DE-400-03-LG). i thought it was going to be made from a soft material but it was more like parachute fabric. unlike my old cover however, this one was supposed to be waterproof instead of just water resistant. the one had i before was an XL and this was a L, so i was a little bit worried about the fit. i'm happy to report it fits perfectly, a little snug but the elastic band provides some leeway, better than having a larger cover drag on the ground. the bottom of the front wheel is slightly exposed, but it was like that when i had the tall windshield with the XL cover. it had two grommet holes like my old cover, and both had bungie hooks to tie the cover down in case of strong winds. unfortunately there was only one hook, as the other one seemed to be missing. not that i really need it since the cover fits so snugly.

i promised bruce i'd give him some milkweed and drop off two pots on my way to the community garden. i saw him reading the newspaper through his study window and waved to him. he came out and i gave him further instructions of milkweed care. i went to the garden primarily to see if my container of milkweed rhizomes were still there. it was right where i left it, but because the roots had been sitting out for so long, most of them looked shriveled so i dumped them in the garden refuse bin. i dumped the half bag of potting soil into another grow bag i bought, so now i have two grow bag planters. i ended up digging a few more milkweeds, saved them for growing elsewhere. i also noticed something today: i no longer have any ornamental grass growing in my plot.

because it was going to be raining later, i didn't take the bike to belmont. instead i walked down to harvard square and grabbed the 73. walking from the bus stop to my parents' place, i passed by a sidewalk tree bursting with large white blossoms. at first i thought they were yoshino cherries but the petals didn't have the telltale cherry notch. they were also fragrant, though only when you got up close. they could be pears but the flowers were too big and it's already post-peak flowering pear season. most likely it was a white blossom variety of crabapple.

my father had lunch ready, some almond pastry, some pan-fried chinese dumplings, and some pineapple slices. it was cold in the house so he had the space heater running.

in the afternoon my father and i went to the backyard and installed some trellises behind the raised beds for the emerging sugar snap peas and hyacinth beans. later i found an unopened packet of pink fragrant peas that i'll plant later this week when i get the chance. typically around this time of year peas don't do very well because the weather gets hotter. but all this cool weather we've been having has extended the pea growing season.

for dinner my father once again made semi-readymade trader joe orange chicken. while tranferring the chicken from the toaster oven, he dropped them and half landed on the ground. we picked them up but a lot of the chicken was covered in dust and hair and other debris. i wanted to toss them out but my father said we could salvage them by carefully cleaning them off. i have a strong stomach when it comes to bizarre foods but i draw the line on food that's picked off off the floor. rest of dinner i was very leary of the chicken, kept looking to find something inedible. we also finished the second bunch of haymarket asparagus.

after dinner my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. the rain that'd started in the late afternoon was now more torrential, crackling against the windshield. i was happy to return home, knowing for the next few days i have the whole house to myself.

first thing i did was to bring in the houseplants that'd been sitting out on the back porch for the past few days. i was hoping the sun would do them some good, but other than saturday, it's been mostly cloudy. it's simply too cold and wet tonight, and colder still tomorrow with temperature in the 40's, which might set a new record low for the day. afterwards i reduced the size of the flush valve by sawing an inch off of the plastic pipe. i had a hacksaw but for some reason i couldn't find any purchase. instead i used a coping saw, which worked much better. later i used some emery sandpaper to smooth down the rough edges. i'll finally replace the flush valve tomorrow morning, look forward to do plumbing, just one of my many handy man activities.