after 9am is the new normal these days for annie to leave for work. i should've shut my mouth when she told me she usually gets up at 7am and goes to work by 8am instead of expressing my shock and disbelief. i just happened to be going out as well, to water my garden after a weekend of neglect. i asked her if she was interested in seeing it, she said yes, if it wasn't too far. we walked a block before i was about to turn, that's when annie decided it was too far, even though i told her it was just around the corner. she said she'd check it out next time. next time never, i thought to myself.
that lemon balm + chive bush, i should've gotten rid of it early in the season. for now it's taken over a large chunk of my plot, and up front too, so it blocks the sunlight of the smaller seedlings growing behind it. fortunately the summer sun is high up in the air, so it's not too bad. a lot of striped mallow seedlings all over my plot. some milkweeds have escaped into the plot next to mine, i want to contact the owner to ask them if they want me to weed it out for them.
back at home i did a water change on my lotus seedlings. last night i set up the action camera so it could take a time lapse video (a frame per minute). in the span of just a few hours, i saw the lotus stalks growing like magic. the longest seedling has already grown up to 3 inches. once they're 6 inches (in a day or two) i'll transplant them outside to the lotus barrel. i set up the action camera again to take another time lapse video of the growing lotuses while i'm gone for the day.
when i bumped into my 2nd uncle saturday night outside of market basket, he asked for my help to fix their cable. for some reason they can only get channel 7. most likely reason i could think of is maybe the wrong video source, on antenna instead of cable. i tried calling my uncle but his phone wasn't working, got a "this subscriber currently can't receive any calls" warning. i called my aunt at work, asking her if i could just stop by. she said yes, and my uncle was in fact waiting for me.
so i left for their place in north cambridge a bit after 11am, getting some gas for the motorcycle along the way. my 2nd uncle buzzed me in and i went upstairs to their apartment. everything was on the floor as they're in the process of moving to a new place (on mass ave closer to porter square). the tv was already opened, turned to channel 7. i noticed right away that it was on the cable channel, not OTA. i mashed the channel buttons but nothing worked. i then swapped out the batteries and was able to switch to channel 5 until it stopped working again. i began to suspect that maybe the remote was broken. i switched back the batteries and the channel buttons were working again. so this was a battery issue. i told my 2nd uncle to get some AA batteries. he gave me a container of scallion pancakes my aunt had made and left for me.
the first thing i did when i arrived in belmont was to get the ladder and climb the roof so i could spray the solar panels. today was a perfect day for solar production, but i noticed the numbers were slightly off-peak, and wondered if it wasn't because of pollen dust on the collectors. there was only a very light layer, and most likely would've washed off on its own from the rain forecasted for tomorrow, but i decided to spray the panels anyway, cleaned off a few bird droppings as well.
i had scallion pancakes and cold green pea soup for lunch. we watched the world cup game between spain and US, rooting against the US. the US won on 2 cheap penalty kicks, the final score was 2-1, the first time an opposing team had scored on them. the US faces france in the next round which is this friday. the other game was sweden vs. canada but we didn't see it until the final few minutes, sweden won 1-0.
since i'd be transplanting my lotus seedlings within the next few days, my father and i started preparing the lotus pots. 6 pots since i have 6 germinating seedlings. each pot contains 2/3 bottom layer of clay and 1/3 top layer of sand. we had dried clay from our neighbor's yard. instead of soaking them and turning the clay into a slurry like last night, my father suggested we fill the pots with crumbled dried clay first, wet it down slightly, before adding the sand, with the thinking that the clay will automatically soak up the water once submerged, so no need to soak them first. dry clay is also easier to work with since it's not as messy. we crumbled the large lumps of dried clay by hand using hammers to break them apart into the pots.
the OSJL wine barrel can fit 7 pots but we decided to split them between the 2 barrels to give them more growing room: 3 pots in the deeper barrel (there was already 2 pots, one with the only surviving lotus plant from the first batch of seeds, we can only fit 3 pots), 4 pots in the wider (OSJL) barrel. we submerged some bricks to put the pots in place and prevent them from tipping over.
i don't like how the older barrel is still cloudy. i want to do a water change but i'm afraid the tap water is too cold and might shock the lotuses. i prepared a tub of water on the side so it can warm up and later i can do a partial water change. i was hoping the 2nd coin leaf would turn green but it was still reddish, though sort of transitioning to a brownish green color. the 2nd coin leaf looks to be in better shape compared to the 1st coin leaf, which had suffered some trauma when it was uprooted and survived. speaking of tubs of water, i also set out a new bird bath, a silver-plated dish i found on the pile of discards from my next door neighbor don. it's actually too fancy to be a bird bath, but we don't have any other uses for it, so a fancy bird bath it shall be.
after dinner my father was thinking about installing a window AC in the basement to use as a dehumidifier. we first made sure we could take out the window panes from the window frame (yes). we then checked one of our spare AC's in the basement, a 5000 BTU daewoo (the same one we were examining yesterday). we plugged it in to see if it could automatically turn on and remember the last settings; it couldn't. the AC would still work, but without the ability to remember the last setting and automatically turn on, we can't pair the AC with a smart plug to control it remotely.
we have another window AC in the sun room, 7600 BTU, but it usually lives in my parents' bedroom during the summer months. that unit will automatically turn on, so it'd be perfect for the basement. but i went online looking for window AC's that have: 1) energy star rating, 2) auto-restart, and 3) dehumidify function. originally we thought all AC's dehumidify naturally as part of their cooling system, but discovered that some AC's have a special "dry" setting that dehumidifies without cooling. we saw an LG unit for $200 that fit our criteria and was seriously thinking about buying it. we could also get a $40 rebate from mass save for buying an energy star appliance.
however just to be sure, we checked out one last AC in the garage, given to us by my aunt when they came to borrow the pressure washer. we didn't want it at the time because we already have too many AC's and it'd cost us money to dispose of it. it was an LG LWHD8000RY6 8000 BTU. it wasn't energy star rated, but when we unplugged and plugged it back in, it restarted automatically, remembering all our settings. originally it had a remote but had since gone missing. but the thing that caught our eye immediately was this: it had a dry mode! this unit could dehumidify, no need to buy another one. at first the mode button wasn't working, but after a few presses and some restarts, we got it working. next weekend we'll install it to test it out. one thing we still don't know is how much electricity it uses, but it's really not the sort of problem we need to worry about these days since my parents basically have free electricity because of the solar panels.
i thought we'd make more electricity today but we barely got over 50kWh with a final production of 50.88kWh (the 8th 50kWh+ this month). the second half of the day it got a bit more cloudy and the sky turned milky at times. so far we've made 927.49kWh this month; june of last year we made 1088.55kWh. we need 161kWh more production within the next 6 days to surpass last year's production, or about 27kWh per day. it's going to be close. tomorrow looks to be rainy, but the rest of the week is a mix of sun and clouds.
i was eager to get home to check out the latest growing lotus time lapse video. annie wasn't home yet, which was a surprise. besides the lotus stems getting longer, i noticed something else in the video: in the backyard is my jar of nonviable seeds, but one of the seeds seemed to be moving around a bit.
the longest lotus seedling was 3" this morning, but had grown to 4" by this evening. at this rate i'll need to plant them either tomorrow or wednesday once they hit the 6" long milestone. there's one seed where the stem is just coming out from a tiny hole, which makes me worried, because all the other germinating seeds had split open. when it doesn't split, there might not be enough of an opening for the other coin leaves and eventual roots to develop. i'm not going to worry about it too much, just let nature takes it course. a lotus seed should better know how to develop than i do.
the tiny 10A solar power controller arrived in the mail today. it's actually robust enough to sustain our 100W flexible solar panel, it'll be good for some future solar projects. instead of a digital display it just has 3 LED's to provide status information, but that's all you really need. the LCD display is only fun when you first get the controller, but once you have everything set up, you rarely ever need to see the LCD.