the big backyard project for today was to tie up a bunch of hanging buttercup squashes so their weight doesn't pull down the entire vines. that's one disadvantage of climbing squashes, which makes me think that squashes are supposed to grow on the ground naturally. but they can be trained to climb, and they take up less growing space when they are grown vertically, plus it's easier to inspect for insect damage and disease. it also protects the squash from critters. but another disadvantage is all the nutrients come from the base root, so if the base is damaged, the whole vine suffers, compared to growing on the ground when it can send out new roots.

i first noticed something was off when i saw one of the climbing squash vines had drooping leaves. there's a couple of reasons for that, one of which is squash vine borer, but i checked and there were no borer damage. what was happening was the weight of the squash was pulling down the vine, causing a kink at the base, which was already thin compared to the other vines. not only did we fix that vine, but added supporting to any additional squashes that looked like they might be getting too heavy. for one low hanging squash - instead of using strings to suspend it - i stacked some empty flower pots underneath to form a makeshift stand. squash that grow on the ground have a more compact shape compared to hanging squashes, which occasionally have a teardrop shape due to gravity (but that's not always the case).

as for the squash that developed from the squash plant that's growing on the ground, that one looks to be successful. i noticed it yesterday, the squash was about the same size as the flower, but today - just 24 hours later - the squash portion has already doubled in size. a good sign that a female squash flower has been successfully pollinated is the blossom doesn't fall off while the squash fruit itself grows at a noticeable rate. there's a few other 2nd squash fruits that are developing but currently none of the squash vines have more than one developing squash. my father thinks it's because there's no enough nutrients to sustain additional squash production.

it was a weird day, hot and a little humid when the sun was out, but cool and not so bad when it was cloudy. i had some wonton soup for lunch then spent most of the afternoon until 3pm in the backyard. my sister left hailey in belmont, so her dog was in the backyard until she decided to go back inside the house. i was checking for SVB eggs and destroying any beetles i saw, whether they be cucumber beetles hiding in the squash flowers or chafers eating the sage leaves.

it's nigella blooming season, they're very pretty flowers, they start out as white, and over time while either change into a powdery blue or pink. it's a shame rabbits ate some of them, but i also planted some more seedlings, and hopefully they'll reseed in that area and come back again next season.

in our outside garden the hardy chrysanthemum continues to expand. at this rate it'll eventually outgrow the cage. i still don't know if rabbits will eat chrysanthemums. i read rabbits don't like them (strong scented, even read they're poisonous to rabbits) but we've seen evidence of leaf nibbles early in the season. along with the chrysanthemum is a stand of chinese asters that are doing very well. that whole area will be alive with colors in the fall.

we also added a trellis to the half dozen winter squashes growing along the basement entrance near raised bed 4. instead of climbing across the stairs my father wants them growing onto the trellis in RB4. however, there's a long row of cucumbers currently growing in RB4. so far they've been doing well, there's a few signs of possible blight, but i never see cucumber beetles here, and none of the leaves seemed to have any beetle damage. hopefully the leaves can grow fast enough that it can outgrow the disease. the ground cherries, tomatoes, hot pepper, and eggplants are all doing well in RB4 - all plants from the nightshade family.

bitter melons in RB2 are growing but not producing any melons yet. the first female flower than came out 1-2 weeks ago, the fruit still hasn't grown any bigger, so i'm pretty sure that one's a dud. there are a few other female bitter melon flowers, hopefully they'll pollinate successfully.

those wild tomatoes growing in the western bed are doing well. the fruits are big and surprisingly some of them are oblong instead of round, more like a roma tomato, but they may just grow out of it. they also fertilize well, all flowers become fruits, rarely a single blossom will fail to produce.

elsewhere in the backyard:

the eufy smart scale C1 ($18) i bought arrived today. not only is it supposed smart in that it can sync weight data to the phone app (eufylife) via bluetooth, but it can also calculate body fat and other fancy data like bone mass and muscle mass. it can also automatically detect different users and sort the weights accordingly. it has these 4 metal sensors that supposedly sends a small electric pulse through the soles of the feet. when we tried it didn't really work and kept telling us that either we didn't step on the sensors or our feet was too dry to conduct the electricity. how it remembers individual users is you have to match the weight to the user profile. once it has that initial weight, it then learns to recognize that user by the weight. if the weight difference is too great, it will ask whether you want to keep the new weight or continue to add it to the data. i really only got it because it was an easy way to log weights. all the other data are extra, and honestly, i question how accurate they are. the scale can also log in the data when the phone is just nearby, and add the correct weight to the right user. i did notice a slight precision issue, the weight shifted by 0.3 lbs. even though i made the measurements minutes apart. another cool thing is the weight data are stored on the clouds, so as long as i log in with the same username, i can see the data remotely, see my parents' weight results.

it got progressively darker later in the afternoon. i checked the doppler radar map which showed a large swath of rain approaching the boston area. i didn't think it'd rain today, otherwise i would've taken the bike instead. but early evening it already started to drizzle. after dinner i returned home, riding in a wet seat. it wasn't too bad as far as rain goes, not even enough to soak my t-shirt or jeans. when i got back to cambridge, i came back out with a towel to dry up my motorcycle before putting the cover over it. it's expected to rain from now until all of tomorrow.

game 3 between the suns-bucks was tonight. they were playing in milwaukee, it was a proverbial must-win game for the bucks, otherwise they'd be down a 0-3 hole. the suns had the lead after the 1st quarter, but the bucks scored 35 to the suns 17 in the 2nd quarter, with the game at 60-45 going into halftime. phoenix seemed a little lackluster, they couldn't chip into that milwaukee lead, and by the end of the third quarter the bucks were up 98-76. bucks ended up winning, game 4 will be on wednesday. elsewhere, in tennis news, this morning djokovic won wimbledon, tying him with federer and nadal with each winning 20 major titles. the US open is next, if he wins that he'll have won all 4 majors in a single season, achieving the grand slam, which hasn't been done in men's tennis since 1969. not only that, but he'll have beaten both nadal and federer in having the most major titles. plus he'll have a chance to compete in the olympics and possibly win gold for serbia.