with my 2nd aunt off in california for the time being, my parents alternate my aunt's shifts: saturday my father is at the cafe, monday it's my mother. so on my father's "day off," he asked for my help so he can take the camry into the shop (TNT auto service) to get the brakes fixed, then give him a ride in the other car so we can take the craftsman snowblower into turf equipment for a tune-up. i took the motorcycle into belmont around 11:30am. my parents' opposite door neighbor is getting some landscaping done on his brand new house, today an army of hispanic landscapers and brazilian lawn sprinkler installers were working there, their cars clogging the street, making it difficult to get out of our driveway.

the auto mechanic asked us to leave the car with him so he could get one of his guys to drive it and figure out what the problem was. he also told my father that the car needed to be inspected (inspection sticker said 6, it's almost 8). at turf equipment, the guy there said a tune-up would probably average around $350, depending on how many parts needed to be replaced. he stuck his hand into the blower chute and tried to move the impeller shaft, which was still solid, meaning the machine was still in good condition (if it was loose, it's probably not worth fixing since it'd be expensive). it's $45 just to examine the machine, but that fee rolls into the total repair cost should you decide to get everything fixed. he started going into his pitch as to why they're more expensive than some other places (because they're more thorough) but it was quite unnecessary as my father had already decided to let them fix it. afterwards we next to hillside garden next door but didn't see anything we wanted, as we were going to home depot next.

we stopped by the house first to see how many cinder blocks we needed to get our rain barrels up and running again. my father counted a dozen. we got the cinder blocks at home depot, as well as some orchid potting bark, a package of lawn seeds, and bag of diatomaceous earth.

i've used a lot of different herbicide and insecticide over the years, but i've never tried diatomaceous earth (DE) even though i've heard a lot of good things about it (although in my blog search i've found a single mention where i've used it but can't find the actual posting of application). i've noticed weeks ago that the eggplants and now some of the tomatoes have been getting flea beetles. DE supposedly works to get rid of them, but one side effect is it can also hurt beneficial insects. DE comes in a powder form and requires using a duster to apply which i don't have. there are plenty of ways to make a DIY duster, but i ended up grabbing one of my seedling growing cups with holes at the bottom and using it as sprinkler. only downside is i couldn't get to the bottom of the leaves, but i'll try to find a better duster this week (dollar store is my friend).

something has been eating some of the squash flowers. we don't think it's the woodchuck because it would've defoliate the whole plant, leaves and all, not just the flowers. we think maybe it's rabbits but not sure how they're getting into the backyard.

with just 2 more days left in july 2019, we need to make 79kWh in order to break last year's july 2018 record which was the single highest month production of all times. my eyes are on the weather forecast: tuesday looks to be a sunny day but wednesday is kind of a toss up. it will be done to the wire. whatever the case may be, july 2019 already holds the record for the second highest monthly production.