the clouds always take a turn for the dramatic whenever we're about to get a big storm. even if you didn't watch the weather forecast on the news, you could still figure out something major was about to happen just by looking at the clouds. i took the bicycle to belmont because i already got a good parking spot for my motorcycle i didn't want to give up and there was a chance it'd be raining in the evening by the time i came home and i didn't want to ride the motorcycle in the rain.

when i arrived at my parents' place they made some tomato and egg scramble for lunch. my 16-oz. luminarc cocoon cooler glasses also came, a set of 4. i bought these during the final minutes of tax free shopping for $7.27. they were marked as used but in like new condition, most likely a returned item. my parents have one in their house and i searched for a long time trying to find some more until the day i finally found them. luminarc is apparently a famous french brand of glassware. i like these cocoon style because they're heavy (not easily tipped over) and i like the round lip, makes them easier to grip when holding hot drinks. i thought the ones i got were slightly smaller than the one at my parents' house but turns out they're the exact same size. the new version seems to have an even thicker glass base. i can't wait for the cold weather to arrive so i can drink my hot teas in these new glassware.

when i went into the backyard, i saw another burst bitter melon, bright orange with red seeds. once more my parents failed to spot it.

today was a harvest day. my mother had the honor of collecting all the mature bitter melons, while my father and i went around removing a few ripened buttercup squashes after they found one today that had burst open on its own from being on the vine for too long. this also gave us a change to lessen the load on some of the squash vines, so if we do get tropical force winds tomorrow, the hanging squashes won't damage the rest of the plants.

i took out my 1020 garden trays and used them to line the bottom of our indoor houseplants. they're actually a bit flimsy. like if i were to lift up the trays, they'd twist and buckle and the potted houseplants would fall out. maybe slightly stronger than the typical cheaper plastic trays that might come with garden plants, but not by much. if we're careful they could last for a few years, but i'm still looking for better trays. these are definitely not the kind of trays that could hold a cinder block or lift up a standing adult, according to their ads. but using the trays definitely makes for cleaner watering instead of the baking trays we were using before.

up until now all the chinese asters have been deep pink, but some white ones have started to blossom as well. i'm still waiting for some purples and blues.

i have bad news about our concord grapes: they're not going to make it. i first started seeing signs of possible disease a few weeks ago, but i was hoping it was nothing. now but the signs are unmistakeable: grape fruits that look like they're rotting and shriveling up, as well as various leaf spots. is this blackrot or some other disease? that i don't know. if there's any good news, at least we delayed the disease onset by a month. next season, we'll prune back the vines in early spring and i'll spray with two different types of fungicide.

while hanging around the trellis i noticed a patch of small bamboos growing near the grapes. the thing with bamboo is if you see it growing out of place, you have to dig it out immediately, because they grow fast. i ended up pulling a bamboo rhizome out of the ground that was nearly 10ft in length. i also managed to snap the handle of a shovel trying to dig out the root. fortunately we have a spare handle.

in taiwan there's something called aiyu jelly, which is this semi-transparent flavorless gelatin. i learned today that it's actually a naturally forming jelly, made from the seeds of a particular fig that's high in pectin. the traditional method to make this jelly is to pack a cheesecloth with the seeds then wash the packet repeatedly to release all the natural pectin.

after dinner i returned home first. my father followed behind me, going to the cafe to take down the outdoor umbrella before the storm arrives later tonight, then stopping by my place to drop off the coolers so i can empty out my refrigerator. afterwards i went to star market to pick up a few things. the bread aisle was surprisingly not as empty as i thought it'd be but still pretty empty, which always happens before a big storm.