i left by 10:30am, told kevin i was going to my parents again, said i wouldn't be back until evening. i don't think he realizes the favor i'm doing him when i go out, giving him some privacy, so we're not forced to be together all the time. but i always imagine him going about all sorts of wickedness when i'm not around, like leaving the lights on, opening his bedroom window to let all the heat escape, or letting the dishes and pans pile up in the sink.
i armed myself with the dSLR so i can take some better photos of the cherry blossoms i see on my ride (mainly for the optical zoom capability). to be honest, even after spending so much of last spring studying cherry blossoms, i'm still not quite sure on my identification. the only ones i can make out for sure are okame because they're early season flowering and distinctive petal shape and color, and kwanzan later in the season. i can also pick out yoshino, but as for the others i sometimes still get them confused with pears (if they have white flowers) or simply just don't know what variety they are, other than the fact that it's a cherry.
after a chicken salad bagel sandwich for breakfast-lunch, i started moving out all the grow room plants so they can get some fresh air and sunshine. this would also allow me to do another round of Bti soil drench, inspect the plants for pests, and spray with insecticidal soap. plus, there was the added benefit of conserving some electricity by not having to run all the grow lights the rest of the day. temperature outside was only in the upper 50's but climbed to the lower 60's by afternoon, though it felt much warmer in the sun.
taking a photo of the solar panels (as today looked to be a good production day with just wispy clouds in the sky) revealed the stark landscape change now that the two large trees that used to be in front of the house have both been chopped down: the neighbor's tree was removed last year for no good reason other than because he wanted to relocate his driveway, and our own maple finally taken down because of disease. of course none of that affects us solar production wise since neither of those trees could block our panels. but how many more years must pass before we see another large tree in its place?
i called belmont department of public work to get some info on the chopped tree. the guy told me within the coming weeks they'll send someone over to grind the stump. as for repairing the buckling sidewalk, it's a case by case basis, and even if they do decide to fix it, due to the coronavirus pandemic and lack of budget, chances are it won't get repaired until next year. likewise, the decision to plant a new tree is up to the tree warden. it can't be planted in the same spot (as there are still underground roots, making for a poor location) but could be moved elsewhere along the sidewalk (underground cabling and piping permitting). regardless of decision, the guy told me for certain there was no budget for trees this year, and the earliest one would be planted wouldn't be until 2021.
i didn't ask about the smashed mailbox which the tree removal crew told me father they'd replace without offering any details. however, it seemed to be relatively unscathed after being smashed off its pedestal. the only thing broken was the adjustable flag. i managed to glue it back together with some superglue gel. i then put the mailbox back on its pedestal, securing it with 2 screws. i also noticed that even though the branch seemed to be have missed the house, it did hit the house after all, there was some scratches on the column detail next to the door.
* some of the dragon fruit cactuses have grown very tall, more than a foot in length. they'll need to be repotted soon. my father thought of a central stake using a 5-way pvc pipe fitting at the base, and later we bought a 10-pack off of ebay for $25 (they're kind of expensive for some reason, not really used for actual piping, they were listed as furniture grade). they seem to defy logic, as they barely have any roots yet can grow to such lengths.
* there appears to be 3 more gardenia flower buds. hopefully they'll open within the next few weeks. last spring when my sister gave us her gardenia, there were a lot of flower buds. but something happened - maybe temperature shock, maybe not enough water - but all the buds failed to open and the plant itself lost all of its leaves that i thought it was dead. but it came back during the summer, as good as new.
* there was a busy ladybug hiding in the upper section of the ficus topiary. when i sprayed insecticidal soap i made sure not to hit it. there used to be another ladybug but we didn't see it. it seems to be surviving pretty well in the basement grow room, which means it's definitely finding things to eat.
* flower buds on our flowering trees are progressing. a few buds on the krauter vesuvius (kv) plum look to be ready to blossom. after that will be the red buds, a lot of tiny flower buds everywhere. finally it will be the kwanzan cherry.
* 3 peonies have emerged in the southeastern perennial bed, though there should be more. the one that's missing is the deep pink we bought from home depot back in 2018. it didn't emerge last year, i figured i'd wait a year and see what happens. now it's 2020 and i still haven't seen any signs of that peony. i'm going to try digging underground to see if the tubers are still intact or is it simply dead. peonies are pretty hardy, and can go dormant for years, only to reemerge once conditions are right.
* i thought hydrangea flower buds only form on the terminal ends of each branch, but in our case a lot of the terminal buds have suffered frost damage and look dried and dead. however, after doing some research, this may not be the case. bigleaf hydrangea - the kind that we have - form their flowers on old branches from the previous year. so long as the old branches are still alive (which is very much the case), we will still have flowers. this is only really the second year we've had a flowering hydrangea. it flowered last summer, but just a single flower, and it was in the back of the bush so not very visible. i'm hoping this year we'll get some more flowers. it's grown rather big, and after the flowers have appeared, we'll need to trim it back a bit to keep it from taking over. if we did it again, we'd move the hydrangea to the back of the perennial bed instead of in the center.
* we had a few digging projects: redig a moat around the bamboo and put some wiring barrier underneath a stretch of backyard fence. while digging the bamboo moat we found a few escaping rhizomes, but not too bad. the moat can always be deeper, which makes it easier to see the rhizomes.
a bunch of cherry tomato seedlings have germinated, so i put the pots up on the table to get some grow light. we can do this now because we've moved the garlic chives and regular chives outside, since they're cold hardy. i also have another grow light, but we'd only use if we really need it, since that would be 4 led grow lights, and that would use up a lot of electricity. or maybe make some more room around the jasmines and put a pan of seedlings there.
just like that, we set a new 2020 production record of 50.36kWh. a lot of that will go back to the grid as energy credit since we saved some electricity by not running the grow lights for most of the day. it's also the first time this year we managed to break the 50kWh+ milestone. last year, due to clipping, we didn't break 50kWh until may 21st.
ever since this weekend i've been on a moonlighting kick after discovering a cache of episodes on dailymotion. the show ran from 1985 to 1989. i might've watched an episode or two as a kid, but the story and humor was above my level of comprehension even though i was already in middle school at the time. but now after so many years i can rewatch the show and understand everything. it's also kind of like a time capsule, with things like retro car design and lost technology like rotary dial pay phones. how did we ever live back then without the internet and cell phones? seeing bruce willis with hair is a trip, but you can already spot the advancing male pattern baldness. even the humor is retro, with a lot of 80's pop references like phil donahue and judge wapner (haven't heard that name in ages).