i thought i was alone in the house this morning until i heard noises coming from annie's bedroom around 10:30am. turns out her mother was home, but getting ready to leave by 11am. she was going museuming, visiting the isabella stewart gardner museum, saving the MFA for tomorrow.

after i had a bagel for lunch i motorcycled to belmont. first thing i did was to ask my father if the critter had tried digging underneath the fence again. sure enough, it tried, but it was no match for the buried steel fencing. whatever that tried to dig through was so desperate it chewed through more of the wooden fencing and pulled the wire fence outwards, but it just couldn't get through. so it worked! now we just have to do it for the rest of the backyard perimeter to prevent critters from getting into the backyard. these are just digging critters like woodchucks, rabbits, and probably skunks. it's no match for animals that can climb like raccoons. afterwards we pushed the dirt back underneath the fencing, looking to see if the critter we come back again tomorrow.

my father was busy leveling the ground to the western side of the sun room to make room for rain barrels. the last time we used them was 2011. they're good in theory, bad in practice. the problem was we could never get enough pressure to really make use of the rain water. but now that we have a 100W solar panel that can fully charge a large battery and run an external pump, we have a solution to the pressure issue. rain water is also better for watering sensitive plants (as tap water contains chlorine and chloramine), including the water lotuses. in the past we had 3 barrels at this location, but now my father wants to fit in a 4th.

yesterday i sprayed the vegetables, flowering cherries, and grapes with a gallon mixture of serenade fungicide; today i dusted the tomatoes and eggplants with diatomaceous earth powder. there are still flea beetles on the tomato leaves, only repeated application of DE can eventually get rid of them.

i noticed some squash leaves have started to develop what looks to be powdery mildew, so i mixed up a quart of serenade and sprayed all the buttercup squash plants.

the bottle gourds are growing steadily. they don't put out the big leaves like the squash, but they do make a lot of climbing vines. already one female flower seemed to have been pollinated. i check these gourds whenever i check the squashes, so far i haven't seen any vine borer eggs on these. since they're climbing they're especially prone to SVB attacks; one worm infiltrating the base can kill the entire plant since that's where all the nutrients come from. i noticed that the bottom stems seem to be hardening, becoming woody, never noticed that before. hopefully that will afford it some level of protection. it's not that it can't grow on the ground like the buttercup squashes; in fact, in the beginning it sent out aerial roots, but those have all shriveled up. not sure if those were natural or because i was watering them with willow growth hormone water.

i pruned off a few long stems from the early wisteria plant. the late wisteria hasn't really made any tendrils. in order to induce them to produce flower buds, i added some bone meal fertilizer to both wisterias. i also added bone meal to the backyard dahlias.

the patch of bare lawn i seeded with grass on thursday have started to germinate (monday), in just 4 days. the hard part is making sure it doesn't dry up, keeping them wet all the time. it doesn't help that we haven't received any rain over the weekend. i also went around the lawn digging up any crabgrass i could find. there are some spots where there are just too much, and it'd be easier just to dig up those areas and reseed with fresh grass.

my mother biked to the cafe this morning but my father went to go pick her up in the early evening.

i found annie's mother home alone when i got back. i asked her about the ISG museum, which she seemed to like. she was really impressed with the cultural preservation aspect of the museum, something that's lacking in china (mostly because of the all historical wars and revolutions tend to destroy cultural artifacts). in talking with her i learned that she actually went to the aquarium yesterday when she met up with annie in the north end for dinner. i jokingly told her in the week that she's been here, she's seen more stuff than annie has in an entire year.