my plan for today was to pick up my prescriptions at walgreens, get some groceries from market basket (i'm making italian sub for the week), then drive to belmont to swap out the car (honda for toyota) and do some yard work. the weather today wasn't as nice as yesterday, mostly overcast that looked like it might rain. the forecast was in fact for showers beginning as early as late afternoon, becoming steady overnight, about half an inch of rain when it all ends tomorrow morning.

coming back from market basket, i saw what looked to be an old oscilloscope somebody had tossed out onto the curb. i cleared my rear bike basket to take the equipment but when i tried to lift it i discovered it was incredibly heavy. i decided to abandon it, but then opted to bring the car and get it that way. not sure why it was so heavy, easily 40 lbs. at least.

i got $20 worth of gas from speedway before heading to belmont. i took a detour and went to hillside garden & true value off of brighton street to see if they had any salt marsh grass (to cover up my garlic bed). they did, $13 for a bundle. i bought one and brought it to my parents' place.

my sister had dropped off hailey at the house before she went to her cooking job. hailey came out to greet me but only because she wanted someone to let her out into the backyard so she could play with the water fountain. ever since she destroyed the fountain tray, the solar fountain has been inactive. i had some leaf raking to do in the front yard so i left her in the backyard for the time being, where she was preoccupied with a squirrel up in a tree. i raked 2 barrels, combined with the 3 barrels i collected yesterday, all to be put along the curb for yard waste collection tomorrow. afterwards i connected the hoses and watered the front lawn.

after watering the grass patches in the backyard, only then did i have time to connect the spinning sprinkler to the hose for hailey to pay with for a few minutes before she got too hyper and started barking, forcing me to turn it off. i manage to coax her inside. after drying her off, she disappeared to one of the bedroom. i continued working outside, emptying out raised bed 4 (rb4) and converting it to a garlic bed. there was a small section at the end that had some chives and cilantro growing in it that i kept; everything else i dug up. the tomato plants i tossed, collecting all the green tomatoes to ripen off the vine. there were also a trio of pepper plants that were remarkably resilient and didn't show any sign of cold weather damage. i didn't have the heart to simply toss them, so i ended up repotting one of the jalapeños, and throwing out the other jalapeño along with a small salsa pepper plant. if we're to salvage any pepper plants, it'd be better to keep the thai red hots and the achole apache peppers (in rb2). i also relocated a money plant: there was no space in the backyard, so i buried it in the front yard by the honeysuckle fence.

i sifted the soil in rb4 which miraculously fluffed up the dirt. rb4 is traditionally our worst performing raised bed. not for lack of sun, which it gets plenty of during the summer. i think the problem has to do with underground maple roots, which i still occasionally find when digging in the bed. i want to amend the soil and thought about going to home depot to buy a bag of manure or compost, but i think i will just use the compost we already have in our compost bins. by then it was starting to get late (3:30pm) and i wanted to get home before it rained (old biking habit) and early enough to find a good parking spot. i'll come back tomorrow afternoon and continue working on rb4, finally plant some garlic bulbs.

i took some measurements so i could figure out the maximum number of garlic i could plant in the raised bed. the box itself measures 96x45", but because of the cilantro/chive herb garden, it's actually 80x45". if i were to space each garlic bulb 6" aparts, i could fit 91 garlic bulbs. i thought i might be able to fit more if i stagger the columns, but it'd be the same amount, no change. better just to do it in a traditional grid pattern, makes no difference, easier to keep track.

the patched areas of grass that i thought weren't going to grow? well, the grass seeds have finally germinated. looks like that old bag of grass seeds wasn't bad after all, just took 2 weeks to finally sprout. hopefully we get a few more weeks of frost free days for the grass to develop some roots so it can survive the winter.

also on the lawn: a stinkhorn mushroom in the backyard. Mutinus elegans to be exact, the elegant stinkhorn. i got on my hands and knees and put my nose to the mushroom to pick up any foul smell. there was a faint odor, indescribable, but i wouldn't categorize it as stinky. maybe it needs more time to mature and develop its characteristic unpleasant odor.

before i left, i checked out the oscilloscope, which turned out wasn't that. instead it was a tektronix 576 curve tracer. a curve tracer is used to test electronic parts like diodes and transistors, beyond the ken of a normal lay person. we don't have any use for it, other than a novelty item. maybe we can give it to our family friend xiaoxu, who collects old electronic devices. we gave him the signal sweep generator that i found last year (that time we were to meet at a new hampshire antique radio auction and he got into a highway car accident). on ebay the 576 can sell as high as $3000, but also for parts for just $300. nowadays you can buy an oscilloscope/multimeter for $80.

i got home a bit before 4pm. a package was waiting for me when i got back, a pair of 12-24VDC motion sensor switches. these just have a terminal block for securing bare wires. they're just IR motion sensor, no light sensor. they have an output current of 8A, we can use them for our illuminated staircase project.

i didn't have dinner until almost 9pm. making an italian sub sandwich was like revisiting an old friend. a part of me thinks it's kind of wasteful to stack 3 different types of deli meats on top of each other. i can't really taste the difference, i wonder if it's the best way to honor deli meats.