went down to the community garden to water my plants. my northeastern corner hydrangea has been completely defoliated despite the chickenwire fence. whatever was eating the leaves apparently wasn't rabbits but rather snails and slugs. this is one battle i'm not going to win. i'll leave the hydrangea there for the time being, maybe put a clear top container over it for more protection. what i really want to do is cut down all the lemon balm growing in my plot. i didn't plant it, i really don't have any good use for it, and it grows like a weed, taking up prime garden real estate. i just need to think what i want to plant in its place.
rhonda from the waltham census bureau called me. ever since the coronavirus outbreak postponed the april start of the door-to-door census survey, the census calls me every month, checking to see if i'd still be available to work whenever they start operating again. when they called me in may, they told me they were hoping to operate by june/july. now that june is midway done, rhonda told me the tentative schedule is for training at the end of july and operating by august. she asked how many hours i'd be willing to work (up to 40) and whether i'd be willing to work on weekends and nights (yes).
i contacted my doctor with some BP numbers to ask if i could stay on irbesartan for a while longer. he wholeheartedly agreed, but placed a lab work order to check that my potassium levels are okay. i'll pick up my refill prescription tomorrow.
after a sugar free greek yogurt for lunch (even though it says sugar free and no artificial sweetener, that doesn't mean there isn't any zero calorie natural sweeteners; regardless, it tastes awful), i climbed a barstool on my front porch to clean the mildew build-up. i use a solution of oxiclean with water, it probably works, but i didn't have patience and ended up scrubbing off the mildew with a sponge. i then rinsed off the porch, and while i was outside, i watered the front and backyard as well.
next i put all the stovetop grills and burners that i left soaking in ziploc-sealed ammonia bags into a big plastic bin and brought everything inside. even though some ammonia had turned fluorescent yellow-green to dark brown, everything still looked awfully dirty, no improvement. it was smart to double bag them as all the grills in dollar store storage bags had leaked into the outer bags. i opened up the burners first into the sink, dumping out the ammonia, occasionally getting a strong whiff. with a used dish sponge i scrubbed the burners. to my surprise, the black grease stains came off. a little more elbow grease and i managed to remove most of the stain. whatever that didn't come off i used a brillo pad to scrub it off.
then came the grills. i knew there were layers of caked up oil on the corners, but what i didn't realize was just how grease coated they were. a scrub off the sponge was all it took to revert them to like new conditions against. most of the corner caked oil came off, but the more stubborn deposits i used a steak knife to gently chip off before cleaning it off with the sponge. later i started using a stronger scouring sponge (the green type that's not supposed to be used on non-stick pans), which reminded some of the stubborn grease spots even better.
while the grills were left to dry, i cleaned the stainless steel stove surface and covered the burner areas with heavy duty aluminum foil. 6 months of kevin has taken a toll on my stovetop. despite warning him multiple times, he seems incapable of cooking without having everything spill over onto the grills and burners. i also realized something else: he took all my scotch-brite non-scratch sponges! i knew i had at least 2 under the sink, he took those. they're just sponges, but it's a dick move nevertheless. not only does he use up all my sponges while he was here (he goes through a sponge every 3 weeks while i can use one for months), he has the nerve to take the rest with him when he moved out. let's just say i won't be doing him any favors in the foreseeable future.
i finally reassembled my stove, it felt like a new appliance. i tried the burners but only one of them worked, which is normal, they normally don't go back to normal until they're completely dry. now all i have to do is get some new pots and pans to replaced the ones past roommates have all scratched up.
since the rain barrel brass bulkhead fittings had arrived today in belmont, i decided to ride down to my parents' place to take a look at all the newly arrived rain barrel materials. i called my mother who told me earlier my parents went on a supply run in chinatown and baifu (they got individually wrapped bubble ice tea straws for $5 for 100, better than the online prices), and that they were going to make meat buns today. i had the option of either going by motorcycle or bicycle, i decided on the bicycle for the exercise. today was also the last of the nice day before it gets hot and humid for the next few days all throughout the weekend.
the brass bulkhead fittings were the perfect length; from the photo i saw i was worried they might be too long. regardless, these will be returned as i bought a 2-pack of the same bulkhead fittings for $4 less ($12 versus the $8 piece i paid individually for the fittings which priced out to $16). the only thing i don't like about these fittings is the fact that they're 1/2" threaded on the inside, something that's entirely unnecessary for our needs and a waste of diameter. a few days ago i ordered a pair of similar brass bulkhead fittings from ebay (china); they're only $2.25 a piece and they have the better smooth interior. as for the brass rain barrel spigot ($15), it looked awfully small. both my father and i agreed that it's a waste of spigot, and we'd be better served by just installing a bulkhead fitting and directly attaching a Y-splitter, something we would've had to do with the spigot anyway.
so we decided to return the spigot and buy 6 bulkhead fittings for $30 ($5 a piece). after i made the order, i did some math and realized we didn't need the 6-pack; 2-pack was arriving on friday, i only needed to order another 2-pack, and then wait a few weeks for the ebay 2-pack to arrive a well; the final cost would still work out to be the same ($30) but less items to return. fortunately i was able to cancel the order since i acted quickly; unfortunately the bulkhead 2-pack was slightly backordered and wouldn't be available until the middle of next week. but since we already have 2 bulkheads, and 2 more would be arriving on friday, we only needed to return the 2 more arriving next week. it's all very complicated, but in my mind it makes total sense.
i saw the nylon hose adapters that arrived yesterday, perfectly attached to the on-demand pump. my father built a base for it, haven't fired it up yet, he's thinking about installing a lighted switch as well.
i also saw the new outdoor rain barrel spigot he soldered into place. he took a spare brass shutoff valve, soldered to the preexisting outdoor piping, and attached a bend piece of copper on the other end to form the spigot.
the next step for our new rain barrels is drilling the holes for the bulkhead fitting and the overflow valve. the documentation for the bulkheads said the hole needs to 27mm (1-1/16") or 1-1/8". when we measured with the digital calipers, 27mm is the more exact diameter, though 1-1/8" would work as well. harbor freight sells a set of large spade bit that includes a 1-1/8" bit, but if we want a cleaner hole, a wood saw is the way to go. amazon has 1-1/16" dewalt wood saw for $6.87 but that doesn't included the mandrel, which is another $10-15. as for the overflow, we're using a 1-1/4" sump pump hose. from notes when we made the original rain barrels 9 years ago, i know we need to drill a 1-5/8" hole. we had a wood saw of that size but my father searched everywhere and can't find it anymore. amazon sells them for $9-10, without the mandrel. if we end up buying wood saws with a universal mandrel, that'd run us $30, more than the price of a single barrel just for the tools to make the right size holes.
the more advanced lotus plants are already working on their 6th leaf. starting with the 5th leaf, the stem has moved a few inches away from where the seed was initially planted. subsequent leaves seem to be emerging randomly throughout the pot. the water is very warm, which is ideal for lotuses. because it doesn't get replenished, the still water can get a little murky. before the next rain storm, i want to clean the barrels again and do a water change. it's purely cosmetic, lotuses grow in the mud so they used to murky waters.
after waiting a while for the dough to rise (my father though maybe the yeast had gone bad, but after moving it to the warmer sunroom, it started to rise), my parents finally made some meatbuns. my mother was very proud of the buns, said they were one of the best she's ever made, and asked me to hurry into the kitchen to take some photos. i ended up eating 4 meatbuns with a bowl of cold mung bean soup.
taking a tour of the backyard after dinner, i spotted the rabbit. using the pole net, i manage to drive it out of the spiderwort/ornamental grasses and into the bamboo grove. my parents were also out, sticking the ground with bamboo sticks to keep the rabbit from running back onto the other side of the lawn. the side door was already open, i used the net to continue driving it out in that direction. we managed to drive it into the corner. because the way the door swings, the rabbit got caught behind the door, frantically trying to find an escape route. my father closed the door a little bit so the rabbit wasn't stuck in a corner, and it managed to see the opening and finally hop outside. we quickly closed the door behind it. finally, after we managed to drive the rabbit out only to have it return again, we drove it out for the 2nd time.
today's production graph looks like a duplicate of yesterday's graph, except we made 1kWh less. still, we managed to have another 50kWh+ day, the 6th consecutive day of 50kWh+. it doesn't look to be stopping anytime soon, we should be able to have 3 more straight days of high production.
i returned home after 8pm. although it was still light out, i knew sunset would arrive before i got home, and put the lights on my bike. my lantern light had already turned on by the time i got home, i issued a voice command to turn it off when i stepped inside the house, until i could close the blinds. after using the bathroom followed by a shower, i wasn't back out into the living room until 9pm.