my father came to give me a ride to belmont after first going to the bank to get a paper statement. we were also originally supposed to bring my sister to get her car at alewife station but with yet another snowstorm coming tuesday, she decided to leave her car there for the time being. we did stop by the cafe so my father could get a company check, but later i realized there was already a copy of a check in the statement (i just needed the routing number).
we arrived in belmont by 11am. the first thing my father and i did was to go out into the backyard and clear the snow off of our solar panels. this was a wasted effort since there's a forecast for another 3-6" of snow tomorrow. but my thinking is it's still better to clear the panels and generate half a day's worth of solar electricity. besides, it's a lot easier removing 5" of snow versus 10" of snow.
two people working a pair of foam rakes made for a faster cleanup. my father was already pull snow off the roof before i even had a chance to take a photo with the drone and set up the time lapse action camera. i did the ladder work, first on the western side of the house, before cleaning the panels above the sunroom. there was probably about half a foot of snow. it was the powdery kind which was lighter snow, but so much of it still made it hard to push and pull the snow off the roof. cleaning the sunroom panels was exhausting, plus the sun was shining right in my face (thankfully i had transition lenses) and i had to change gloves because the ones i had before were soaked and despite the sun temperature was still in the 20's which meant my wet hands were freezing. once i finished the sunroom, the eastern side of the roof was a piece of cake. i sent the drone up in the air for another photo before finally going back inside.
my mother made some fried rice for lunch. i helped my parents submit online confirmation paper work for their pandemic business grant. an hour later i went back outside to inspect the panels. i didn't clear the panels entirely, but the black solar panels warmed up enough such that what little snow remained soon melted in the sun. when the day was over, we still made 6kWh of electricity, about half of what we'd normally made on a sunny winter day. what made me feel good about our efforts was that many of our solar neighbors still had many of their panels covered by snow.
in the late afternoon my father and i went down to the basement to inspect our plants for mealybugs and aphids. we rubbed off any mealybugs we found with alcohol-soaked cotton swabs, while the aphids i treated with neem oil spray. i also sprayed some mealybug affected portions of the jasmines and gardenia with neem oil, but i still prefer the alcohol-method, more immediate. for the neem oil to really work, the plants need to be completely soaked, and there's nowhere in the house i can do that besides the bathtub. maybe next weekend i'll do that, but it's back breaking work carrying all those heavy potted plants upstairs and back downstairs. i also made another bottle of neem oil spray. when i opened the concentrated neem oil, it looked like everything had frozen on the inside. i put the bottle in some warm hotter to heat it up and it went back to a liquid.
my aunt called my father in the early evening. today was both their birthdays, and in lieu of a dinner at somebody home, my aunt dropped off some blue ribbon barbecue a short time later.
blue ribbon can be hit or miss. tonight was more on the miss side. the ribs and burnt ends seemed charred, and the meats were a little lacking in flavor, even though everything was cooked to falling off the bone tender. even the sausages were missing that smoky grilled goodness. thankfully there were 3 containers of different flavored barbecue sauce, without it the meats would've tasted very bland. i did like the homemade pickles though, super sour. my mother packed a doggie bag for my sister and gave the remaining barbecue to me.
when my father gave me a ride home, we stopped off at my sister's place so i could drop off her portions.
back at home, i made another batch of jiu niang. i decided to go for a slow ferment this time (outside of the instant pot), it makes for an exceptionally sweet jiu niang. it takes 3 days to finish, it'll be ready by friday.