i went to belmont early (left around 10am) so my mother and i can go down to the mt.auburn cemetery to do some birdwatching. i had some soy milk and a piece of youtiao before we left before 11am. i was afraid mt. auburn would be crowded with people because of the nice warm weather and today being easter sunday, but it wasn't that bad, less people than i'd imagined.

we didn't see a whole lot in terms of birds, they were mostly robins and grackles. my mother spotted a great blue heron by halcyon lake. we got close enough to it to get a good look, herons are pretty scary up close. we also saw an occasional cardinal or bluejay, a few juncos, a chickadee. we also spotted a phoebe, though they're not the most exciting bird to spot with their drab grayish brown coloration.

flowering trees were also in short supply. forsythias and a few magnolias. i did find out all those red-colored flower buds i've seen all around town, they're mostly red maples. it makes sense now why they're so common, and why i even saw them at the alewife brook reservation, since red maples love growing near water. while we were leaving we saw some cherry flower buds, "okame" and "yoshino" have yet to open, but there was one "autumnalis" with some flowers. we also saw some witch hazel but it's getting late in the season for those trees.

we returned home by 12:30pm, where my mother went out again, this time with my sister to walk hailey somewhere in waltham. since the temperature was above 60 degrees, my father and i moved outside all the jasmines and gardenia from the basement grow room so i could gave them a neem oil spray. my father also set up the remaining rain barrels while my mother and i were out. i wanted to do some maple tree pruning but we never got around to it. i added more chicken manure to the garlic bed. later i went online and ordered some miracle-gro soluble all-purpose fertilizer as well as special acid-loving fertilizer for the gardenia.

by the time i came inside my mother was already back from her walk, watching some japanese drama on the imac in her bedroom. my barrina grow lights arrived but i didn't want to open the box until i returned to cambridge so none of the pieces would fly out while i transported it back home. around 5pm i moved all the plants back inside the house.

in the evening my sister came back to eat some easter ham. we didn't bake it on the oven this time, just heated up some slices on the toaster oven instead. my sister made an almond-apple cake which was pretty good. i left around 7:30pm.

i immediately set up the new grow lights when i got back home. quality-wise they're okay, maybe a little cheap but about what i paid for ($70). i plugged in one strip just to see how bright it was and it seemed pretty bright. these lights come with deflectors that are basically thin sheets of metal you slide into place. they could've been better designed but they serve their purpose. the lights come with various ways to mount, from screws to double-sided tape to hanging. their hanging solution is to use zip ties, but i need to find something better, more durable and adjustable.

i decided to do 2 strip lights per shelf so i can have 3 shelves of grow space. i'm worried if two strip lights are enough light for the plants. i could always increase the brightness by mounting the lights closer to the seedlings. it came with 3 power cords with toggle switch, although a maximum of 8 2ft lights can be strung together. i have each power cord controlling two strip lights, each cord drawing 38W, which means each strip uses 19W of power. when i had all 6 strip lights on, it used 118W. compare that to the luxauto 1000W equivalent grow light, which used 105W on vegetative mode. there's no veg/flower toggle for these strip lights, but the white color that i got is closer to the blue spectrum, which is better for vegetative growth.