last night i noticed that my tomato seedlings had started to germinate. when i woke up this morning i removed all the plastic boxes from my closet so i could convert it into a grow closet. initially i had the seedlings too close to the grow light, just 10 inches. i then lowered it, but it was still 18 inches. i ended up moving the plants to a lower shelf entirely, finally allowing 24 inches of distance. this setup is only temporarily, until my barrina led strip lights arrive, whenever that may be.

after an almond milk matcha latte for lunch, i biked to market basket to get some ingredients for making risotto for dinner tonight. it was yet another 60's degrees day, warm enough that i only had to wear a t-shirt.

after dropping off the ingredients at home, i went out again, this time to magazine beach down by cambridgeport, to do some drone flying. i had my eyes set on this location for a while: lots of open space but within close proximity to boston across the charles river. i found a secluded patch of field to launch from. my original idea was to get some photos of boston looking through the BU bridge, since that's one of the better views of boston. however when i have the vantage point of a flying drone, i can get much better photos, don't have to rely standing on a bridge.

after i took my obligatory 360° panorama, i decided to see how far i can fly towards boston. up until that point the drone was working fine, but before i could do a distance test, it suddenly froze for more than 2 minutes. i'm sort of used to it by now, nothing i can do but wait for the app to unfreeze so i can log back in and reconnect. the thing i needed to keep in mind was even though the app was frozen, i could still control the drone, but the best thing to do is to just let it hover for the time being.

once i regained control, i started flying towards the mass ave bridge. i almost made it to briggs field before my RC signal status dropped down to 2 bars and i was afraid of losing the drone entirely so i turned around and flew back. it was about a straight line distance of 950m, i could've flown farther but i think MIT's westgate building and tang hall blocked my reception. if i want to fly to those areas, it would be a lot easier if i launched from one of the many grassy areas or islands along memorial drive. which is what i plan on doing maybe thursday. the goal is to fly as close to boston as possible within entering restricted air space.

flying so close to boston makes me nervous. towards the end of my flight, i could hear helicopters. i don't want to hit one of them and make the news. at the same time, i feel helicopters are skirting the rules by flying below 500ft, which i didn't think was allowed unless they were landing or special operations.

i left magazine beach by 2:45pm, made my way to the allston trader joe's via western avenue. that whole area is new harvard development, all these fancy new empty buildings. it well developed, with good bike paths, just a bit desolate since there's nothing really there. at trader joe's i was there to get some white wine for the risotto, as well as any snacks i encountered. i was happy to see they had inca corn again.

cutting through harvard square, i got back home by 3:30pm. after cleaning up, i settled in for a zoom harvard lecture about pandas at 4pm.

italian sausage & broccoli risotto
(2-4 servings)

32 oz. carton chicken broth
(equivalent of 2 cans)

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 italian sausages

1 cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
fresh ground pepper

bowl frozen broccoli, steamed
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

warm up chicken broth in separate pot, turn off heat and cover. in large pot cook onion and garlic in butter. add sausages by squeezing out of casing and forming small meatballs. toss in leftover casings. once sausages cooked, add rice, coating in juices. add wine and spices, simmer until most of liquids gone. began adding chicken broth in 1/2 cup increments, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, add more broth when most of liquids absorbed. separately thaw frozen broccoli in microwave or steamer, 2 minutes. when risotto nearly done, mix in broccoli. add parmesan cheese, mix until melted.

i didn't start making my risotto until 8:30pm, which meant i didn't eat until 9:30pm. part of the delay was discovering pantry moth larvae eating my risotto rice. i ended up picking out the few worms i found and rinsing off the larvae poop and silk from the rice. i haven't seen pantry moths in months but it makes me nervous to find some live larvae. i think they were just trapped in the rice. in any case, i still have my pantry moth trap, which hopefully is still working.

i made the risotto the old-fashion way (by hand) instead of using the instant pot, because i think hand-stirred tastes better, and its a labor of love. it also gave me a chance to use my largest t-fal pan. it worked very well, the wider surface area meant a bigger cooking surface. the risotto was pretty good, i was so hungry i could've easily ate the whole thing.