the plan today was to go to belmont in the early afternoon and mow the lawn before the forecast of showers were due to arrive around 2-3pm. but i should've known: when we wait for rain, the rain never comes.

first i went to market basket in the late morning to get some groceries. i decided to make pasta salad for dinner the rest of the week, and needed to pick up some ingredients (only thing i had at home was a box of multi-colored barilla rotini). it was my first time going to market basket maskless since the pandemic started more than a year ago. it felt strange, especially since most people still had their masks on, but 10% of the customers and employees were maskless. i read online that market basket had did away with the mask-rule since the end of may, when MA allows people to be maskless in indoor spaces and no more occupancy limits.

coming back, somebody had thrown out a bunch of plastic pots in a recycle bin and i grabbed them all, carefully placing them on top of my rear baskets so they don't fall out. i made a cup of matcha latte for lunch and left for belmont around 12:45pm. i tied the plastic pots down with a bungie cord and in my bag i carried the long stalks of hostas. the plants stuck out far enough that i was worried a passing car might snap the stems so i rode carefully, frequently looking back to check the oncoming traffic situation. did i also mention it was hot? temperature around 95 degrees, probably felt even hotter with the humidity. i basically panted the whole trip, in hindsight maybe i should've worn a hat.

one of the first things i did when i got to my parents' place was to plant the hostas. i had two bunches, i planted one underneath the eastern cypress, while the other in the shady hosta/fern garden by the eastern backyard entrance. this particular variety of hosta is of the enormous kind, the stalks themselves are nearly 3ft tall. it'll take a few years for them to grow out into their full potential, but a nice addition to the shady garden beds.

next i flew the drone up in the air. it was a simple flight, straight up to 400ft, within eyesight, just to take some cloud photos. it also gave me the opportunity to test my google pixel 3XL using the native google pixel launcher instead of the nova launcher. i restarted the phone just to clear the memory cache. all seemed fine until the fly app froze up on an image. i couldn't regain control of the app or the phone, but i was able to manually fly the drone back to the launchpad. that was enough drone flying for today, i still had a lawn to mow!

my father warned me to raise the wheel height of the mower, which is what i did before i began mowing the front lawn. the mower kicked up a lot of pollen and i could feel my sinuses getting congested. we're still mowing in mulch mode, so the grass clippings go back onto the lawn. not sure when we'll start collecting clippings again, but we need the clippings for our compost bin, which is mostly dead leaves from the fall. one reason why we haven't been collecting is because we applied fertilizer and crabgrass herbicide back in late march, and i don't want any of those chemicals getting into the compost. next time we mow we may start bagging again.

after the front lawn was mowed, i worked on the back lawn. whenever i needed a break, i took a long sip of ice water in a nalgene bottle, one of the best feelings in the world. i took off my t-shirt because it was so hot, also gave me a chance to work on my tan. i moved the 3-tiered DIY plant stand so i could mow the grass underneath. i was kind of surprised by how good looking the grass was, i would've assumed they'd be dead from the shade (although it's only been 2-1/2 weeks, not that long ago).

when the mowing was done, i went around the backyard inspecting the garden. i did a bit of watering (the newly planted hostas) and some weeding. i also put some salt marsh grass around the monkshood, but i'll need to dig it up this weekend because i noticed the gladiolas are grow in the same spot, why may be the reason why the monkshood never seen to do very well (overcrowding).

the clouds were becoming thicker. i figured i could do another quick flight, just straight up in the air to take some cloud photos like before. this time i used my ASUS tablet. from the sky i could see big columns of cumulous clouds. beneath some of them were bands of rain. the ASUS tablet also got stuck, so i brought it back down manually.

i quickly packed up my gear and left belmont by 3pm, with my eyes on the large looming clouds on the horizon. i noticed the temperature seemed to be cooler, but maybe because there was just more clouds to block the sun. i got back my 3:30pm and kept checking the doppler radar the rest of the day, waiting for the rain to come.

i've come to the conclusion that weather.com's futurecast doppler radar is highly inaccurate when it comes to storm prediction. more accurate radars are the television weather broadcasts, and none of them seemed overly concerned about rain reaching the boston area. at most a quick shower, but nothing torrential.

pasta salad italian dressing

1-1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dry oregano
2 tsp dry basil

mix all ingredients in food processor.

pasta salad
4-6 servings

1 lbs. tri-color rotini

2 large tomatoes, chopped
6 oz. feta cheese
8 oz. ham steak, cubed

1 cup olives, chopped
1 cup fresh arugula
1 cup pepperoncini, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup cilantro, chopped

cook pasta. rinse in cold water to cool. mix with remaining ingredients including dressing. refrigerate. serve cold.

i remember pasta salad tastes best when cold and after it's been refrigerated for a while, so i started making my salad a little before 6pm. it's a tried and true recipe, and i managed to get everything assembled in under an hour. last time i made it i had cherry tomatoes and shishito peppers from my garden (but not this time). instead of letting the pasta cool naturally, i rinsed it under cold water. even though the recipe only asks for 1 cup of arugula, i added 2 cups because i like arugula and i had a lot of it. i used an old package of vacuum-sealed ham, but i wonder if it'd taste better if i used chopped prosciutto instead. i used my plastic punch bowl because it was the largest container i had that could still fit inside the fridge and would allow me to toss the ingredients without having the pieces spilling everywhere. i had the salad in the fridge by 6:45pm.

by night time there was still no rain. at most a sprinkle, barely enough to wet the pavement. i gave up by that time. i ate a large bowl of pasta salad around 8pm. it'll taste better tomorrow after it has more time in the refrigerator. later in the evening i threw out the trash, including my collection of empty plastic milk cartons that i was going to use as temporary greenhouses for delicate seedlings, but all our plants have been transplanted. one annoying thing about my upstairs neighbor david - and it's kind of nitpicking at that - is he has a habit of throwing out his trash every night, while i do it just once a week. by the time i go to throw out my trash, but trash cans are already full.