i was able to drive myself to belmont for a change. the big event was going to my sister's godmother's apartment later in the evening to watch the 4th of july fireworks. unfortunately it wasn't launching from the charles river (it's typical location, a mile away from the apartment), but rather just from downtown crossing (2 miles away), so the fireworks wouldn't be as spectacular. there was also a forecast of intermittent rain in the evening, so a lot of variables were at play.

i had some lunch when i got to my parents' place: fried egg, radish cakes, fried sweet potato slices, and kielbasa sausages. after i was done eating in went outside to check on the backyard. we had even more rain last night. combined with the amount that fell the night before, there was about 5 inches of rainwater in the open buckets. i mixed a solution of miracle-gro fertilizer and did a foliar spray on all the vegetables, especially the squash vines. we had a few hours of dry weather before it started raining intermittently. i could only watch as the rain washed off the fertilizer i'd just sprayed.

elsewhere in the backyard, while rummaging around the southeastern hydrangea bush, i spotted a small rabbit. then i realized it'd been eating the nigellas, which at this point i thought rabbits didn't eat because they'd survived unprotected for all these months - not only here but in my community garden as well. but alas i was wrong about that, and we quickly put up some chickenwire barriers, but not before the rabbit had already beheaded a few flower buds. in the western perennial bed, the phlox have begun to bloom. these are white phlox. they have a slight fragrance but i wouldn't call them fragrant. all in all, they're kind of boring flowers, and i might decide to throw them out if something better comes along. the leafcutter bees seem to like them though, evidence of circular cuttings on the leaves (this year there has been no leafcutter damage on the redbuds, roses, or walnuts).

i inspected the grapes. so far this season i haven't seen any signs of blackrot spots on the leaves, but the bigger test is to see whether the grape fruits will begin rotting. i noticed some very minute black dots on the concord grapes, not sure if that's natural or a sign of disease. the reliance grapes have more possible signs of some kind of disease: very small leaf spots and black stains on the canes. it doesn't look like black rot, my guess is phomopsis.

in the late afternoon/early evening, my mother made some wonton soup. it was sort of a pre-dinner, since my sister's godmother said she'd also have food at her house. after we finished eating, we went to go pick up my 2nd aunt at 7pm before heading down to central square. because it was a sunday and also a holiday, parking was free.

up in the apartment (16th floor), we found my sister already there helping out her godmother preparing the food. i wasn't in the mood to eat, i just wanted it to get dark so the firework can begin. unfortunately that wouldn't be until 10:30pm, nearly 3 hours away. this wasn't the first time we watched fireworks from this apartment building. nearly 2 decades ago we were here as well, but on the 15th floor, and watched from a balcony because the apartment didn't have a view of boston.

my sister baked a few things in the oven. later i also had a xiaomei-brand brown sugar boba popsicle. it wasn't as sweet and the flavor wasn't as rich as the imei brand popsicles.

the annual pops concert by the charles river was moved to tanglewoods this year due to the pandemic. the only channel covering it was WHDH 7, and i'm not even sure if the cable networks still carry the channel after they lost their NBC affiliation years ago. the even organizers could've probably held it at the hatchshell with our high vaccination rates and covid-19 case numbers dropping, but when they made the decision months ago, the pandemic was still very much raging. likewise not only was the fireworks moved to the boston common, but there was zero 4th of july events along the charles: no food trucks, no portable speakers, none of that. 4th of july celebration in boston was a mere afterthought this year.

as soon as it got dark though, we saw the illegal fireworks around the neighborhood. there was one spot in cambridge just a few blocks away that seemed to be shooting off fireworks for hours and hours. we heard the police at one point, but they were heading elsewhere, seemingly turning a blind eye to the illegal light show. there were also plenty of fireworks on the southern horizon, in the direction of boston harbor. some of it could've been the quincy fireworks show, but i also wonder if there were also people on boats shooting off fireworks into the ocean? north of boston, in charlestown and revere, there were also a lot of fireworks happening. from so high up, it's incredible to see the amount of pyrotechnics being set off on the 4th of july.

when the official boston fireworks finally started, they were a bit disappointing. for one thing, they were farther away. i predicted they'd be behind the MIT earth science building, and sure enough, the building eclipsed most of the fireworks. not that they were anything to write home about. they were smaller because they were farther away, and smaller because they weren't the spectacular explosions of years past. on top of that, it'd been raining for nearly an hour, and there was so much fog the boston skyline basically disappeared.

in the end, the illegal fireworks that were happening in cambridge were the better show compared to the boston main event. honestly, i've seen fireworks before. what i really want to see is a drone show, and i hope boston will do one of those in the coming years. in hindsight, i should've brought my tripod, since most of my photos turned out to be too blurry. maybe next year!

we finally left by 11pm. at one point we were at a central square intersection as people swarmed out of the subway entrances. had this been a year where they launched the fireworks from the charles, the whole place would be mobbed with people and you wouldn't be able to drive your car through central square at all. i was the first to be dropped off, finally getting home by 11:30pm.