i got a ride from my father this morning, so he could pick up the various jars of fermented vegetables i had in my house as well as the tray of experimental coconut flan. we stopped by the cafe to drop off the supplies we bought yesterday from costco, as there was no room in the house refrigerator and we couldn't leave the frozen foods outside as it was getting warmer.
first thing i did when i arrived in belmont was to move my motorcycle out of the garage. it'd been there for nearly 3 weeks, after i temporarily put it away while shuffling around some cars between belmont-burlington-cambridge. it didn't surprise me when the engage failed to start, i've come to expect that during the colder days (temperature below freezing) prior to actual winter storage. i gave it a few more starts, trying various combination of choke and throttle, until i heard the click-click-click of a completely dead battery.
my father helped me push the bike out of the garage (so we could get access inside) so i could charge the battery out on the driveway. before i did that however, i thought it was the perfect opportunity to try my portable jump starter. i first had to disassemble the bike to get to the battery itself, which involves removing the bike seat and the plastic battery cover. then came the part of trying to attach the large jumper alligator clips to the relatively small battery terminals. having done that, i attached the cables to the battery pack. the led went green nearly instantly, meaning i could now start the engine. i clicked the starter button on the handlebar and the engine roared to life for the first time in 20 days.
these portable battery jumpers are amazing, everyone should have one in the car. you never know when you need it, but it's a lifesaver when you have a dead car battery. it can also function as a phone/tablet charger. afterwards i found the battery tender junior and clamped its pair of alligator clips (much smaller, better suited for motorcycle batteries) onto the battery to trickle charge.
my father and i also changed out the screen door with the plexiglass panel.
we went back inside where my mother made some korean glass noodles for lunch. i also brought out my own homemade kimchi, as well as EJ's scallion kimchi. without a doubt, her kimchi is better based on the strength of her kimchi paste, which has a stronger flavor. my kimchi, it was too sweet, not enough salt, which was the thing my mother complained about the most. i think it still has possibilities, but needs to be placed outside so it can ferment some more, bringing out the sour taste. right now it just tastes some sweet cabbage with a spicy aftertaste.
after lunch we were back outside. while my father mowed the lawn for the final time this year (saving the trimmings for our compost bin), i raked the leaves in the front lawn (those on the street we throw away because they're contaminated with road salt and sand). half of the backyard maple leaves have fallen, i raked them into a perimeter while my father went over the leaves with the mower. the combination of pulverized leaves and grass clippings will make for good compost.
we continued draining the rain barrels. my father had already drained two of the barrels last weekend (closest to the dryer exhaust pipe). today he drained the two red barrels on either side of the house. after that we still have 3 more barrels to empty, but we'll make quick work of them because they're connected to the pump so we can quickly empty the barrels by simply pumping the water. it was kind of sad seeing the precious rain water emptying onto the lawn, but there was no way we can keep the barrels full during the winter as the water will freeze so we can't use it anyway. and freeze they will, as the forecasted temperature for tuesday night will be 18°F. we'll hook up the rain barrels again come spring; it'll be interesting to see how much water we can save by capturing and using the rain for the whole season, not just half like we did this year.
i dug up the dahlias. the weekend freeze had completely killed all the dahlia plants above ground, which is usually the time to dig up the tubers for next year's plants. tubers this season weren't as large as last season, but there were more of them. i rinsed them off with some rain water and left them to dry in the basement. after a few days (some suggest a few weeks) they should be ready for more long term storage.
we prepped the lemon grass my father uprooted from my sister's backyard for winter storage. first he trimmed them back to a uniform height before removing them from the tall plastic container. they were two large clumps, but we decided to plant them into a single large pot for convenience. we filled the pot with the moisture control potting soil mix we bought from home depot yesterday before further trimming the lemon grass to about 5-6 inches tall. of the stalks we removed, we saved them for storage. i set the potted lemon grass into our basement grow room, which continues to expand in size.
i uprooted all the dead nasturtiums and tossed them into the garden refuse bin. what i found in the dirt was nasturtium seeds in various stages of ripeness. a few were even beginning to sprout, but those will die come the next frost. my father asked me to sprinkle them throughout the other raised beds. i couldn't tell which ones were viable for long term storage indoors.
we finally finished our yard work by 3pm, which about another hour or so before sundown. we still have some more work tomorrow, like trimming the ornamental grass and cutting back some perennial flower stalks. i also have to remember to dig up the rosemary and move it indoors. in a few more weeks we also need to rake the maple leaves one last time, but it may just be easier to shred the leaves with the lawn mower.
i went out to check on the motorcycle battery charging status and was surprised to see a steady green led on the charger, which meant the battery had finished charging. you'd think this is a good thing because it means i can ride my motorcycle again, but normally a dead battery would take 12-20 hours to trickle charge, and this one did it in 3 hours. that means the battery itself is probably damaged because it has a very small capacity, that's why it charged so quickly. some point next year i'll need to get a new motorcycle battery. in the meantime i'll learn to ride with my battery jumper on standby, for the remaining few weeks of riding before i put the bike away for winter storage.
i rode home after dinner. i was a little nervous, felt like forever since i rode the motorcycle, but all my riding memories came back to me as soon as i took off. it wasn't that cold, temperature in the lower 40's, but my hands felt a little chilly after i made it home. riding in the cold isn't that bad, not with a windshield and my handlebar mitts (which i'll need to dig out of my closet). it's actually kind of fun when it's super cold, my condensing breathes like a car exhaust or a chimney. only after i made it back did i realize we forgot to sample the coconut flan.