i went to my community garden this morning to water my plot. it didn't look too bad since my last visit a week ago. after watering, i harvested some more tomatoes and peppers and did some light weeding. i chatted with a neighboring gardener (lauren) while she was leaving. when she asked me if i'd been in my plot a long time, i told her i used to be in a different plot, underneath the mulberry tree. "you're tony, right?" she said, which surprised me. turns out she had my plot in 2014 when i was still on sabbatical in chongqing. she said she had great success that summer growing zucchinis; now in her new plot (which used to belong to lynn) not so much. i remember a conversation i had with her many weeks ago when she told me she got only male squash flowers. since then she managed to harvest two zucchinis but not much else, although now she's getting a lot of female flowers. alas, it may be too late since she said she noticed damages from squash vine borers. i didn't tell her that i'm the premiere specialist in combatting SVB. i didn't want to scare her with the extent you have to go in order to control the borers (like buying syringes from pharmacies).

as my census supervisor had her office hours today, i texted her that i was running a bit low in my notice-of-visit forms. she asked for a good place we could so she could re-up my supply, i told her i could come to her address and pick them up. she lived on the edge of harvard square, it took me just a few minutes to get there via motorcycle. she gave me 10 packets - more than enough - and said she could get me more if i needed. i asked her a few census questions, including if i could log in the time every morning where i do address research before i head out (answer: yes).

i returned home, grabbed my stuff, and left for belmont. i got there a bit after 12pm. my parents were going to baifu (food-pak express) for a supply run and were waiting to see if i wanted to go. i wasn't very hungry so i skipped lunch as we drove down to south boston. baifu has the misfortune of being located in the heart of boston's methadone mile. today was actually a good day (maybe due to the slight drizzle), not a lot of homeless junkies on the streets, mostly congregating in special fenced off "comfort zone" areas where they can do drugs and not face arrest. i did see a man peeing behind a dumpster while on the other side two junkies were getting a fix.

my father told me that he saw sichuan paocai jars the last time he was at baifu. we went searching from them and asked one of the workers, who didn't know what we were talking about. "glass jars? we have some of those," he said, and pointed us to a shelf that contained the holy grail of sichuan paocai - the classic glass fermentation jar. they just had a single large jar left ($18.85) and half a dozen medium jars ($14.60). these were thick glass, very sturdy, not like the ones i saw for cheap in chongqing. there was also some asian designs on the glass which i could've done without. these are ubiquitous in sichuan and chongqing, and are relatively inexpensive. they have a well along the rim where you fill it with water so gases can escape but no contaminants can get in. i wanted to bring one back when i was in china but trying to carrying a glass jar halfway around the world without it breaking seems very difficult. i periodically check online looking for places that sell them. all the ones i've found are imported from china, the cheapest ones at least $25 for a small jar, and who knows what condition it might arrive at. i grabbed the largest paocai jar but it seemed a bit too big (10L capacity). so i ended up getting one large and one medium. i've had good luck using 5L fido jars but for a purely authentic sichuan experience the fermented vegetables have to be made in a sichuan fermentation jar.

we spent nearly an hour at baifu, finally leaving by 2pm. when we got back to belmont, my mother made some wonton soup for a late lunch. we inspected the fermentation jars and were surprised they're made in taiwan. as such, the jars don't contain any harmful elements, like cadium, lead, arsenic, or antimony.

later my father and i went to home depot to stock up on some garden soil on sale (miracle-gro 0.75 cu.ft $2.50/bag). we ended up getting a dozen bags along with a package of grass seeds. we spent the rest of the afternoon burying new wire barricades underneath our southern fences to prevent woodchucks from getting into the yard. it was tough work, especially when we encountered the tangled roots of the nearby evergreen trees. we had to cut the wire fencing so it could fit around the roots.

as my final act, i mixed up a half gallon solution of serenade biofungicide and sprayed all the backyard plants, including the squashes, tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, and ornamental flowering trees.

i wasn't expecting it but it started to rain a little bit in the evening. had i known i wouldn't have sprayed the fungicide, which will now risk getting washed off. not a heavy rain, just a light misting, not even enough to wet the ground underneath a tree. after dinner, i helped my parents pay their cambridge meal taxes (they haven't paid since march), assisted them in filling out their mail-in primary ballots, and printed out forms so they can get wellness reimbursements from their health insurance for their acupuncture appointments.

i finally left by 7:40pm, my motorcycle seat slick with rain. it wasn't too bad but i rode carefully, trying not to skid on the wet roads. it's street cleaning tomorrow but i managed to find a safe parking spot. i didn't bother covering up the motorcycle as i wasn't expecting much more rain. apparently i was wrong because it continued raining throughout the night, heavy enough that i could hear it beating on my eastern windowpane.

i watched the first episode of HBO's lovecraft country. since i don't have HBO, i was using an illegal stream, but it kept jumping to different HBO shows, like the person with the stream didn't realize he was livestreaming. i finally gave up and downloaded the episode off of torrent (available before the show had even finished airing on the east coast). having read the first part of the book before i got bored, i knew a lot of what was to happen. it was interesting the changes the show made from the book. mystery-car-driving caleb braithwhite is now a woman, as well as george's son is now a daughter. and they fleshed out atticus' stint in korea, apparently he had a girlfriend during the war and he left her?