i was greeted with a surprise dusting of snow this morning. a dusting is like nature's reminder, "hey, we're still in winter," as if i could forget with the all this cold temperature we've been having. i woke up late because i slept late last night (4am), watching episodes of naked director on netflix. i rinsed my mung beans, used the bathroom, took a shower, then biked to belmont.

i thought the solar panels would be covered in snow but the roof was completely clear.

for lunch my mother made wonton soup.

i helped my father search for 3.2V lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) 100Ah batteries. scouring ebay, we came across a good deal on 4x3.2V 100Ah BYD-brand LiFePo4 batteries from california for $300 plus another $55 for shipping. that comes out to about $89 per battery (cell). i then checked aliexpress and we found a deal for 8x3.2V 100Ah LiFePo4 batteries for only $254 with free shipping. it's listed as brand new grade A, but there are a few downsides. for one, it's tall instead of short, but LiFePo4 can be mounted in any direction since there's no liquid inside. the brand is AKESHA which i've never heard of before, and the company seemed to have formed fairly recently, since october, with only a handful of feedbacks. finally, since it's shipping from china, the batteries won't get here until end of march, so 2 more months. but at less than $32 per battery, it's a crazy deal if it's true. with 8 batteries, my father can build 2 rechargeable lithium stations for less than the price of one.

we ended up getting it. aliexpress is a little weird with credit cards, i had to jump through a lot of hoops to get mine verified. my father tried his card first but it was denied. i tried mine and it was also denied. seconds later though, i received a text from the credit card company alerting me to a possible fraud charge and asking me to confirm the transaction, otherwise they'd lock the card. i confirmed it and when i tried using the card a second time, this time it went through.

i spent what was left of the daylight hours in the basement grow room, checking for mealybugs then watering the plants. i found 1-2 mealybugs on the gardenia which i tried with alcohol-dipped cotton swabs. the jasmine on the left front side had some mealybugs last time, and they continued to appear; i tried that with both alcohol and neem oil. finally, the jasmines on the second shelf, both the left and rightmost plants, have mealybugs; those i treated with alcohol cotton swabs. the lemon verbanas and the hot pepper upstairs all have aphids; i sprayed them in the bathoom with insecticidal soap then rinse them off with water. when i watered the gardenia i added some acid-loving fertilizer, and when i watered the orchids i added some orchid fertilizer.

i returned home after dinner. temperature was in the 20's, cold but i'm sort of used to it by now, put on my wool mittens to keep my hands warm. the weather forecast said it's going to snow later in the evening, a coating to 2", boston more likely to be on the low end of that range.

the HQST MPPT 20A solar charge controller arrived soon after i left. my father took it out of the box, the thing was a lot bigger than we expected. even though there were dimension measurements, we just assumed it'd be similar in size to our PWM solar charge controllers (SCC). the HQST is definitely an substantial solar charger, and it even has bluetooth for remote monitoring.

nothing good on television tonight, so i continued watching naked director. my upstair neighbors were blaring their television again, so i gave them a taste of their own medicine by putting my mini dodocool speaker on top of my window casing and blasting my "music" into the ceiling, right where their couch would be.