i wasn't hungry so by the time i showed up in belmont in the late morning, i went off with my parents on a chinatown supply run. we went to ming's market, where my mother was hoping to score more napa cabbage (currently on a price low) and i wanted to take measurements of the wash basins i saw on friday. both my parents said the wash basins were bathtubs for babies, as they were too large to be actually useful for anything else. for the most part, their actual diameter closely matched their description (20, 22, 24 inches), although the largest 24in. basin actually measured a bit over 25in. none of them could fit inside my current lotus barrel. even the smallest basin - 20in. - would only leave a small gap in the 21in. diameter barrel, that is if it doesn't get stuck on the sides. better option would be to grow the lotuses in this basins alone and not bother trying to submerge them into a large barrel. the basins are certainly deep enough, especially the largest 24in. container which has a 9in. depth. i ended up not getting any basins, not something i need to worry about until late next spring when i replant the lotuses back outside.
they sell a lot of strange things in the seafood department of a typical asian supermarket, but i don't think i've ever seen horseshoe crabs before. i think they were endangered, or at least vulnerable? maybe they're farm raised. but horseshoe crabs seem so bony and alien, is there really anything edible?
i planted two new garlic patches on either side of the lotus barrel. these are the small garlic cloves grown just for the garlic sprouts.
i brought my small oscillating fan with me today and installed it in the basement grow room. we currently use a large freestanding oscillating fan, but it takes up too much space. with the smaller fan, we were able to tie it upside down from one of the steel shelves, clearing up more room to walk around in.
my father's new obsession is portable outdoor wood stoves (育空爐). he found a taiwanese model for NT$4050 (US$133) and wanted to bring one back with him when my parents go to taiwan in january to vote in the general election. besides providing heat, these stoves can also be used for cooking. he's watched the youtube video a bunch of times, getting my mother to watch as well that she now knows all the features. the stove is similar to the norwegian gstove, which i only found out about today. made from stainless steel, the gstove is a thing of beauty, the gold standard when it comes to portable wood stoves. gstove sells them directly from norway for US$316 (the large model, currently back-ordered, there's also a small and XL) plus an additional US$44 for international shipping. gstoves can be found in the US, but sold as an import with significant markup. a little bit of searching revealed the winnerwell nomad medium tent stove, which sells for $349, about the same price as the gstove. looking similar to the gstove, the nomad has a stainless steel rectangular shape compared to the gstove semi-circle. but after watching some youtube videos, the nomad seems to be the better alternative. i decided to dig a little deeper into the company, find out its history, but came up empty, which made me suspicious. originally we thought it was a german company, but it had websites in the UK as well as NL. some more digging revealed that winnerwell is actually a trademark owned by a chinese individual, so suddenly it made sense why i couldn't find any company history: winnerwell is in fact a chinese company that first started in 2015. the main company website was registered through alibaba (beijing) in hong kong. it doesn't mean their products are bad, but they're not entirely truthful about their company history, which is a shame, because the nomad stove - from what i've seen - actually looks pretty good (although most definitely a knockoff of the gstove, but with valuable improvements). at least with a gstove you know it's made by real norwegians. as for the taiwanese wood stove, it supposedly has a feature not found in other stoves: it's double-walled and recirculates hot air back into the stove for extra heating. but finding information about this feature is hard to come by.
my mother had been complaining about how cold it was in the house all day. the living room space heater had been on for much of the day but she finally turned it off after dinner, but then it started getting cold again (although it was still 65°F according to the indoor kitchen thermometer). my father finally decided to turn on the heat, which involves turning on the basement furnace then turning on the nest thermostat.
i returned home by 9pm. i settled in to watch the cowboys-giants game, heating up some water in the electric kettle to make some hot tea as well as a cup of chicory coffee. i don't know what percentage of cafe du monde is chicory, but it doesn't make me jittery like regular coffee, so i'd imagine a good amount. at one point while i was in the kitchen i noticed the motion detection light in the alley way had gone off. usually it's because the wind had rustled something outside, but i peered through the venetian blinds anyway out of habit. i saw nothing at first, but then i looked down and noticed a fat rat frozen in its tracks. i opened the window to shoo it away but it had already ran off by that time.
i plugged in the space heater and left it running in the living room for an hour, raising the ambient room temperature by a few degrees. during half time i decided to go take a shower, but the thought of being naked and wet in a house that was in the 50's was just too much and i finally turned on the heat. it also helped that earlier my parents had turned on their heat, i couldn't have mine on before them. for me it's an easy step, just turn it on through the nest thermostat, no need to go downstairs. there was a faint odor of burning, which made me nervous, and i kept listening for the sound of the basement smoke detector in case something was actually on fire. but the smell soon went away as hot air began flowing from the floor grates.
last year i turned the heat on october 18th, so i've already outlasted more than 2-1/2 weeks compared to 2018. of course from what i can remember, last year was also much colder, as i began planting my garlics mid-october, while this year i waited until late october. regardless, i wasn't going to hold out much longer: the temperature on friday will be 38°F daytime, while 26°F at night. why delay the inevitable? but turning on the heat marks the official start of autumn-winter. time to put away all my summer clothes and dig out my winter wardrobe. i also mentally i have to switch gear and go into winter mode, get used to feeling cold. sometimes i wonder what it'd be like if i invested in a warm winter parka and not have to worry about staying warm whenever i go outside. but i believe cold temperature builds character, if nothing else, makes us better appreciate the warm weather when it returns.