while my mother and sister went to the woburn dollar tree this morning, i went to belmont to work in the backyard. temperature this morning was in the 60's but felt a lot warmer in the sun. the lawn needed some mowing but we were out of gas so my father left briefly to refill our plastic gas container.

while my father was mowing the lawn, i was assisting by clearing away obstructions and emptying the mower bag into the compost bin when it got full. i inspected our squash vines for borer eggs, haven't seen them in a while because it's been raining, but now that the weather's cleared up, the vine borers are back. i even managed to swat a vine borer, that's one less moth laying eggs on our squashes. since it rained yesterday, i was afraid it washed off the fertilizer i sprayed on the vegetable leaves, so i mixed up a new batch of miracle-gro (1.5 tbsp to 0.75 gallon of rain water) to spray. i've been reading some stuff that says foliar spray doesn't actually work, but still worth a shot.

when my mother and sister came back around 2pm, they brought back some chick-fil-a (i hadn't eaten anything up to that point). i had the spicy chicken sandwich, it was pretty good. hailey hovered around the table while we ate. after i finished, i went back outside to do more gardening.

i mixed up several gallons of miracle-gro - not to spray - but to water the roots directly. we've been adding fertilizer granules but they work slow; water soluble fertilizer like miracle-gro works faster. my father and i managed to successfully drive out a bunny from the backyard. we tried to chase it out earlier - it seems to have made a home in the cinder blocks underneath the southwestern corner rain barrel - but it hopped away and hid in the raspberry batch. we flushed it out again a second time, but this time i put a wooden plank to block the bunny from heading into the raspberry batch again and managed to heard it outside into the front yard.

we planted the rudbeckia seedlings my father had been growing in a long planter. there's probably too much seedlings all growing together, but i planted them as-is, cut up into smaller rectangular pieces like cake. we planted some in RB3 and some in the front yard garden, adding 2 bags of fresh garden soil to amend the existing soil. later i planted my latest batch of nigella seedlings. we put chicken wire protection for all the seedlings, in case there are more rabbits hiding in the backyard.

we finished our garden work with my father pruning the flowered tips of the jasmines (to promote new growth and more flowers) while i went around inspecting the squash vines for vine borer eggs and cutting off any tattered spent male flowers. tomorrow morning there will be no female flowers. this has been the pattern for several days now. many males, maybe one female or none at all. it's not that female flowers are forming, but they abort before they even flower. at first we thought it was fertilizer reason (not enough), but i did some research, and sometimes stress will make squash plants abort female flowers - whether it's too hot (check) or too rainy (check). hopefully with more normal weather this week we might see some improvement.

there is something definitely off with the raised bed soil though. in a side-by-side comparison between raised bed squash and ground-grown squash, we can see that the leaves of the ground-grown squash are much bigger. this may be a crowding issue since we're growing a lot more in the raised beds, but from our personal experience, vegetables grown outside of the raised beds do much better. my father's been thinking about seriously amending the raised bed soil by season's end, maybe add 3 bags of purchased compost per bed since we don't make enough.

after dinner i rode home. the NBA finals isn't until tomorrow night (will giannis play?). i ended up watching a documentary about the 2008 boston celtics championship.

i started reading colson whitehead's underground railroad about a week ago, about the escape of a black girl slave from her plantation. i don't typically read historical fictions (i'm more of a scifi/fantasy or a non-fiction reader), but i've just been hearing so much about the book recently, especially since it's been adapted into an amazon prime mini-series. the book also won a pulitzer and was an oprah book recommendation, so it can't be all that bad. i figured i'd read the book then watch the show. once i started reading, i couldn't put it down. the writing is almost lyrical in its simplicity but if you read between the lines, a lot more is being said without actually saying it. it's hard to explain, but it reminds me of books i read in high school, stuff like dickens or shakespeare, where there's a lot of hidden details in the writing that you just need to pick out. you know it's a good book when i can't put it down, reading it whenever i can steal some time, whether it's before bed, or the bathroom, or just lounging on the couch. i'm 70% done, and afterwards i can watch the show on amazon prime.

i didn't realize ESPN was broadcasting the red sox-angels game until i came across it while channel surfing. it was a chance to catch shohei ohtani. when he's at the plate, all eyes are trained on him, to see if he'll hit another homerun. red sox ended up winning (game 1). i haven't seen any red sox games this year, not after youtube tv got rid of NESN because of a contract dispute.