today was the best day of the week weatherwise and i was planning on taking a trip to the arnold arboretum. but first i went down to the cafe to drop off the star market chicken thighs i bought last night.

there was street cleaning this morning on my side of the street. glad i don't have a car because i completely forgot about it, i hope none of my neighbors got towed. i noticed many of the flowering cherries were shedding their petals. something fell off my bike while i was riding and i turned around to pick it up: my bike bell had fallen apart. not a big deal, i get them off of ebay for $1 a piece and i still had a few spares at home.

closing in to the cafe, i rode by what looked to be a large flower pot out on the sidewalk along with some trash. it took me a second to realize what it was: a korean onggi, for fermenting kimchi! from the brief glance, i noticed a section of the lid was missing, but otherwise everything seemed intact. after dropping off the chicken, i walked back to where i saw the onggi (2 blocks away) and brought it back.

it was lighter than i expected. the lid was missing a section and was also cracked, held together with flimsy packaging tape. it was a large onggi, big enough to have handles, i'm guessing anywhere between 5-7 gallons capacity. inside was an empty korean brown rice bag and a pair of cotton work gloves. there was no smell, which meant they either cleaned it very well or was last used a long time ago.

i returned home shortly afterwards. my right arm hurt enough last night that i couldn't sleep on it, but the pain was already subsiding. however, that was another reason to forgo the arboretum trip, besides things looking to be off-peak; it was better to stay home and get some more rest instead of pushing myself and taking the 50 minute ride to get down to jamaica plain.

i went to star market to get some milk. they were all out of half gallons, so i got a full gallon of whole milk instead. i made my matcha latte for lunch. temperature continued to climb into the mid-70's. it was warm enough that i changed into a pair of shorts. i used up all my potting soil to fill 7 pots and planted some long beans.

i called comcast/xfinity to try once again to sign up my sister's godmother for internet service. once again i was unsuccessful, but i have a better idea of what's happening. apparently her address is not in the comcast database (not so much the building, just the apartment number) so even though her application has been approved, they can't create an account with a confirmed address. and without an account, she can't get her equipment. the woman i spoke with issued a trouble ticket and gave me a ticket number. apparently they're going to send someone to the building to confirm the address. it's stupid because if they just sent a technician, i can take them to the apartment to show them it exists, but without a confirmed address first, an account can't even be created to assign a technician. it's all very kafkaesque. the operator told me it'd take 7-10 business days for an answer.

i couldn't stand being at home on such a nice day so i decided to ride down to belmont to spray some copper solution on the flowering cherry and plum (to prevent black knots from forming, since there was a serious outbreak previously). i could also use up more of the water from the rain barrels. i had some leftover copper solution that i made last season that i never used and i poured it into the sprayer. i used ladders to spray the tops of the trees, but it was so windy i kept spraying myself. afterwards i watered the garden, but i don't think i used very much water. i left by 4pm, taking the leftover bag of potting soil with me. even though it was sunny when i first arrived, by the time i left the sky had turned overcast and i even felt some raindrops.

when i got back home i finally replaced the bike bell. this one was black. the reason why my bike bells get damaged so frequently is because when i park my bike at home i lean it against the wall, so the bell is always scraping against the wall. i tried to angle the newly-installed bell to keep it away from touching the wall.

i spent the next 1-1/2 hours planting more seeds and watering my grow closet. it was time to plant the squash and melon seeds so they'll be ready to transplant into the garden by late may when hopefully the weather becomes warmer. i brought back some buttercup squash seeds from belmont, and i had a bunch of bitter melon seeds from maureen. originally i was going to plant an equal amount, but nobody in my family really likes bitter melon, we much rather have sweet buttercup squash instead. so i decided to only plant 4 bitter melons, 10 buttercup squashes, and the rest all long beans because my father said we need 20 plants to produce enough beans to eat. i ended up planting 12 more long beans on top of the 7 i planted this morning. as for the melons and squashes, i'm soaking the seeds overnight before planting them.

in the grow closet, i watered the gravel tray along with the seedlings. all my stock seeds have germinated in the muffin tray, but i'm going to run into problems because there's no drainage. how well can they grow if their roots are wet? at the very least i could try cutting some slits underneath the tray. the first batch of long beans and hyacinth beans have outgrown the grow closet. they'll need to be moved to belmont this weekend and planted, despite the temperature being still a bit too cold. we've had days were it's 60-70's, but the night temperatures are only 30-40's. i have no choice but to move them out, they don't fit in the closet anymore. i could raise the grow lights a bit to buy myself another week of indoor growing. the tomatoes on the other hand are very well behaved, keeping to a compact size.

the chauvin verdict was announced by the time i watched the evening news: guilty on all three counts. benjamin crump, the lawyer for the floyd family was having a press conference, and for some reason al sharpton was there too, and in the background was jesse jackson looking dazed. lawyers like crump, like sharpton, whenever there's civil unrest in the black community i see them, the 21st century version of the ambulance chaser.

instant pot century egg
& pork congee
(3-6 serving)

2 lbs. bone-in spare ribs

3/4 cup short-grain rice
6 1/2 cups water
ginger, julienned

1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

1 century egg, chopped
3.5 oz. package pickled radish
scallions, chopped

blanch pork in boiling pot of water for 3 minutes. add rice, water, ginger, salt, sesame oil, ground white pepper, and pork to instant pot and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. let cool (natural release) for 20 minutes before venting remaining pressure. remove pork, discard bone, shred meat, return to instant pot. add chopped century egg, medium sauté to thicken congee. once desired consistency reached, serve with pickled radish and scallions.

around 7pm i started making my instant pot century egg and pork bone congee. i did a few things differently. instead of flavoring the pork after they finish cooking, i just added all the flavors (salt, sesame oil, ground white pepper) into the instant pot as it pressure cooked everything. original recipe called for 1/2 tsp of salt but i upped the amount to 1 tsp of salt. one century egg is enough flavoring. instead of adding the pickled radish and chopped scallions into the cooking congee, i added them during serving, so these ingredients remain crisp and fresh.

instant pots are supposed to speed up cooking but in my experience they take just as long. the only convenience is i'm not actively cooking, most of that time is just waiting around. i didn't eat until 9:30pm, which gave me plenty of time to use the bathroom and take a shower beforehand. i needed a good rinsing because i seemed to be covered in pollen, sneezing throughout the evening, runny nose, and itchy eyes. i felt a bit better after the shower.