i left my house around 11:45am, biking to belmont. i made it to about 2 blocks before i realized there was something funny with my bike, and by that i meant the front brake didn't work anymore. i stopped flintstone-style and pulled over to the curb to inspect the brakes. the left caliper arm was stuck, lost its springiness. it wasn't something i could just power through so i turned back around and returned home to fix the problem. i ended up adjusting the tension on the brake cable, tightening the tension on the left brake caliper, and realigning the front wheel. while i was at it, i also adjusted the tilt on the bike seat. it took half an hour but i was finally finished by 12:20pm and continued on my way.
for lunch i had some lotus starch soup along with some vegetable buns my 2nd aunt had made. the lotus starch reminded me a lot of the glutinous rice flour broth i make for my korean kimchi, the one where i add brown sugar. it has a mild sweet flavor with a nice fragrance, like flowers. later i snacked on some leftover chicken feet. my father told me when we made it last time, we fried it first puff up the chicken feet, then we combined it with the spicy sauce and steamed them instead of boiling. the problem with boiling is the collagen from the feet gets dissolved in the water and you're left with gelatin. also, leftover boiled chicken feet get hard after they cold, unlike fried-steamed chicken feet.
i assembled the ikea utility cart in the living room while watching escape from new york on tv. ikea furnitures are like the adult version of a lego kit. they're so fun to assemble and come with clear-cut instructions, i'm surprised there are people out there who find it difficult. afterwards i brought it down in the basement grow room.
i made my weekly inspection of the basement houseplants. there was some more mealybugs on the potted jasmine closest to the fan. i dabbed all that i could find with 90% alcohol then sprayed the whole plant with neem oil extract. aphids tend to congregate on the emerging gardenia flower buds, but through judicial neem oil spraying, we've kept the aphids mostly in check, there were just a few. i move the gardenia to the spray box and sprayed all the flower buds with neem oil. i also found a few spray mealybugs that i sprayed with neem oil as well. the hot peppers plants seem to be aphid free, what little i found seemed to be dried aphid husks. nevertheless, i sprayed them with neem oil in the basement utility sink. i watered the gardenia and the terracotta pot jasmine because their soil seemed dry, but didn't water any of the other plants. i inspected the terracotta jasmine and the 4 wire rack jasmines, i didn't see any mealybugs. i added more water to the reed plant. finally i sprayed the cactus tips with neem oil to control the aphids. something i noticed is ever since we switched to vegetative growth only for our jasmine LED grow lights, there hasn't been any flowers. this is ideal, since it means the plants aren't using resources to make flowers. it could also be a result of having less light. we don't need them to flower during the winter, we just want to keep them alive. plus using only vegetative light means less wattage which means less electricity consumption.
after dinner i biked home. temperature by then had dropped down to 25 degrees. i changed into my mittens to keep my fingers warm. it wasn't too bad, but like this morning, i felt a little winded because i haven't biked in a while.