i woke up at 10am and left for belmont by 11:30am. i haven't done very much biking for most of the week so i was out of bike shape, huffing and puffing the whole way, felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. weather-wise it wasn't bad, temperature in the upper 40's, with plenty of sun but also plenty of puffy cumulous clouds. i figured today we'd pay visits to either mahoney and/or home depot, but discovered that mahoney had since closed its stores to the public, and the only open for curbside pickup or home delivery.
so we ended up not leaving the house. instead my father made scallion pancakes with a supply of fat scallions the chinese restaurant gave my sister when they were emptying out their inventory (since the restaurant is currently closed). we also ate the easter ham i bought a day ahead of schedule, found out it was pre-cooked so my mother removed a few slices and heated it up in the toaster oven. we didn't use the sugar glaze, which allowed us to better taste the ham. it wasn't bad, reminded me of chongqing 腊肉 but with a milder smoky flavor and juicer.
i spent some time surveying the backyard and doing a bit of yard maintenance including raking some dead branches and weeding (creeping bellfowers, escaping lawn grass, and dandelions). more plum flowers have blossomed, but it's not quite a show yet as the plum tree still looks sparse. the kwanzan cherry buds have really started to swell up, they'll put on quite a show once they begin to blossom.
i adjusted the squirrel buster feeder. in 2 days i observed a swarm of grackles empty the feeder of seeds. when grackles perch on the feeder with one claw in the seed window, it distributes their weight, preventing it from dropping. if it was just one or two i can tolerate it, but they usually arrive in a flock, and can quickly empty the feeder with their voracious appetite. i also noticed the mini carabiner clip holding the fishing weights was caught in one of the bottom legs of the central tube, further preventing it from springing the outer shroud. i noticed since the fish weights weren't centrally hanging that the shroud came down differently depending on where the bird landed; so i tried a new strand of fishing cable so the weights (about 3oz.) would hang straight from the center. despite all these adjustments, i still saw grackles successfully eat from the feeder. i made one last adjustment, went back to a more sensitive spring setting; then meant the shroud would always be partially collapsed, with a smaller feeding window. hopefully this makes it harder for the grackles. if that still doesn't work, i will remove some of the perches.
before dinner i paid a quick visit to the grow room. my father had been monitoring my seedlings, uncovering the ones that've germinated, which up to this point have all been tomatoes; i still haven't seen any signs of eggplants or hot peppers. the tomato germination rate is pretty good, although i haven't checked whether it was the ones i brought fresh this season or some old tomato seeds, but the ones that've sprouted have all germinated, i'll need to do some thinning out at some point. i have 2 concerns: will fungus gnats infest the soil, thereby harming the seedlings; and how far exactly do i need to suspend the grow light? i also spotted the resident ladybug hanging out on the gardenia. how long do they live anyway? because this ladybug has been around for weeks now. is it the same one, or a different generation? but i haven't seen any signs of alligator-shaped larvae, so i don't think they're reproducing. it's still a mystery how they got inside. i think a few must've hitchhiked a ride on one of the plants during the few times we've set the plants outside to get some fresh air and real sun.
we had more scallion pancakes and baked ham for dinner, along with some rice porridge.
production today was okay - shy of the 50kWh mark by 3kWh - but the graph was strange. when it comes to solar production, clouds can be your friend and also your enemy. clouds can amplify the sun but it can also eclipse it. today we saw both. we had amplification during peak midday production, and the panels were delivering incredible numbers - sustained 8.4kW+ - higher than our theoretical ceiling. yet at the same time around 1:45pm all that production came crashing down when it dropped into the 2kW range. we are still off our yearly total compared to 2019, march hasn't been that good production-wise, too many rainy and cloudy days to start. i'm not seeing any signs of letting up in the long range forecast, and i'm starting to fear march 2020 won't break march 2019's record.
kevin went to bed late, around 1:30am. fortunately i didn't need to use the bathroom and i already took a shower when i got back home earlier. but he's off his schedule, usually i can look forward to him being in bed by midnight. then around 2am he came back out of his bedroom to use the bathroom one final time. i stayed up late enough to make sure he was asleep but i went to go brush my teeth then to bed. as the king of staying up late, i'll be damned if i let a rookie challenge my crown.