i was going to ride down to market basket this morning to pick up some peanut butter for the electronic mousetrap at my parents' place, but first i needed to fix the rear baskets on the verge of falling off. i was first happy to see the front tire was still properly inflated, so it's a very slow leak, takes about a week before it goes flat. i had replacement long screws (purchased right after the last time the screw sheared off a few years ago, don't remember exactly when), that wasn't the issue; my concern was if i could actually remove the damaged screw. i was lucky in that the washers and nuts were still in place. after removing them with a crescent wrench (actually quite easy), i use a pair of pliers and removed the broken screw (also easier than i expected). installing a new long screw was just a matter of formality. i still need to put in a new screw at the bottom of the left rear basket, currently held in place with some twisted wires.
i removed the sliding screen from my french door, to let in more sunlight. even though my thanksgiving cactus suffered a lot of rot damage from wet soil during the summer, they're still healthy enough to produce some flower buds in anticipation of a late november bloom.
i arrived in belmont a bit before noontime. it was a cold day, temperature in the 50's, i wore my winter jacket (which consists of a black windbreaker over a navy hooded sweatshirt, my winter uniform) for the very first time this season. the motorcycle started without any problems, it's still warm by cold temperature winter standard.
i was in the backyard watering my new grass patches (grasses finally sprouted, but not sure how well they'll survive with our dropping temperatures, it may very well kill all of them before they're mature enough to survive into next spring) when my mother called me inside for lunch. i noticed a bunch of long bean flowers, which i don't often see unless i'm there early in the morning. i think it's not the sunlight that makes them wilt but rather the temperature; current cooler temperatures allow the flowers to keep longer.
i had beef noodles in a clear beef broth (with vietnamese pho spices). i added a small amount of homemade orange habanero sauce to give it a kick. my mother kept warning me that if i didn't eat it quick enough, the noodles with absorb all the soup and stick together. hailey slept underneath the dining table, then later climbed onto the couch and slept there the rest of the day. my mother was looking for something to watch and i recommended upload on amazon prime, because it has chinese subtitles. at first she didn't want to watch it, but ended up liking it and watching all 10 episodes of the first season.
my father and i repotted the orchids because they were all drooping except for the smallest one. they currently live in 5" clay pots with no drainage hole. we've had success with this method for many years, but a better pot would be a clear one with drainage holes to allow air and light to get to the roots and water to drain out. i soaked the orchids in a bucket of room temperature rain water to soften the roots before my trimmed off the dead ones and we repotted back into the clay pots. we almost bought some 6.7 inch clear orchid pots from amazon, but the price went up $1 today which was enough for us to hold off on getting them just yet, as our orchids will still grow without them.
for a while it looked like i might've killed my prayer plants, but they just thrive in our grow room, with diffused lighting and high humidity. they're already growing new leaves shaped like tightly wrapped scrolls. i will have plenty to divide for next season, maybe even put some at the cafe. the rose cuttings also seem to be thriving. they were supposed to go dormant during the winter, but buds on the stems have sprouted. i'll have to research if this a good thing or a bad thing, as we can't allow them to grow, we just need them to survive into next spring when we transplant them into bigger pots outdoor.
i fixed the victor electronic mousetrap so i could put it in our grow room because last week i saw via webcam a mouse climbing on the light cord. i noticed the green "ready" light wouldn't turn on so i figured the batteries were bad but when i measured them they were still 1.5V. i then took apart the mouse trap. electronics on the inside all seemed fine, so i cleaned the battery terminals because i noticed a bit of rust. i put the mousetrap back together and the green light turned on. however i didn't hear the usual buzzing sound, so i took the mousetrap apart once more. i decided to clean all the contact points with 70% alcohol on a paper towel. that seemed to do the trick, because when i turned on the mousetrap i saw the green light and heard it beeping again. i left the mousetrap in the basement, hopefully it catches something.
my father found a small rectangular piece of plywood and cut it to size so it'd fit in our broken garden kneeler seat. the middle piece is a rectangular block of latticed plastic. it's supposed to be strong, but the plastic is brittle and my father managed to crack it when he kneeled on the seat. i bought some epoxy to glue the plastic, but there were too many cracks. my father suggested using a piece of wood instead: it may not be the lightest material, but it'd definitely be strong. anyway, after screwing the wood into the frame, the kneeler seat works better than ever, and we never have to fear it cracking again.
while my father was doing that outside, i was busy digging up some more stray bamboo shoots. at some point we need to redig the bamboo moat. bamboo maintenance is endless, makes me wonder if we'd be better off chopping down all the bamboo and planting a tree there instead. that's probably something that will happen in the future.
my concept 3 skechers hartage sneakers ($25) arrived today. i bought them because they were cheap but they also looked like hiking shoes, even though they're advertised as sneakers. but seeing them up close, they remind me of orthopedic shoes with their thick soles. if they were too large i would've given them to my father, but they fit me just right. they're nothing special, but gives me something else to wear besides my everyday converse, which are starting to fall apart. besides, those converse are terrible winter shoes, might as well be going out barefoot.
for dinner my father made a stirfry using all sorts of random ingredients: hyacinth beans, tofu wedges, leftover smoked pork, garden long beans, spareribs. i think it would've tasted better if we used one of the spicy flavor packet i bought for making spicy chicken feet.
temperature was in the lower 50's when i returned to cambridge around 7:15pm. i was dressed warmly, it didn't affect me too much, although i was jealous of all the people sitting comfortably in their heated cars. it takes a certain person to ride a motorcycle in the colder new england months.