i went to star market this morning and they restocked their supply of boneless chicken thighs. i got two more packages for my parents and cashed out at the self checkout aisle. for some reason i always have terrible luck at the self checkout. because i use my own grocery bag, it confuses the hell out of the machine, which thinks i'm trying to steal something because it can't sense the items on the checked table. the attendant had to come and punch in the exit code so i could pay for my stuff.

the temperature was already in the 50's when i biked to belmont. i wore my layered jacket because it was so warm, but i knew it'd get colder coming back. my mother cooked up some pan-fried dumplings for lunch.

i went outside to refill the birdfeeder, which was already down 1/3 of seeds even though i'd just filled it up on saturday. i also removed one of the old suet cake and put it in the square feeder for the squirrels, after my mother suggested it, since we have so leftover cakes, and at this rate they won't get finished before the cold season is over. in its place i put in a fresh suet cake. finally, i scattered some peanuts around the backyard.

now that the snow have all melted, it was easier to take a tour of the backyard. one thing i noticed was the abundance of rabbit droppings. the amount that's in the backyard, you'd think there'd be rabbits everywhere, but other than the only time my mother saw a rabbit from the window, neither my father and i have seen rabbits in the backyard this winter besides the occasional rabbit tracks in the snow. the good news is rabbit droppings make good fertilizer, and they won't burn the plants like raw cow or chicken manure since the droppings are very dry.

on the western side of the yard, perennial bulbs are starting to push out of the ground. the daffodils we divided and replanted in a long row are emerging. i saw saw some crocus leaves (though those need to be protected, rabbits love eating them). surprisingly, the daikons are still alive. they're totally not edible now, but even if i wanted to dig them up i can't as the ground is still frozen.

since it was so warm outside, i brought out some potted houseplants so i could spray them better with neem oil. the mealybug affected jasmine, and a floor jasmine that i noticed also had some mealybugs. i sprayed the hell out of both of them, let them drip dry briefly outside, before bringing them inside. our fudingzhu osmanthus continue to lose leaves, at this rate it will be completely defoliated once winter is over. but good news is the plant itself is not dead, and no buds continue to appear on the stems, could either by leaves or flowers (hard to tell), but those are promising signs. finally i watered the plants, another mosquito bit soil drench.

because of the nice weather, i knew my mother would go out for a walk so i went with her in the afternoon. she always take the same route but i'm more adventurous, and decided to go up to watertown hill to see some of the fancy houses. walking may be the slowest form of transportation, but it's the best for exploration. even though temperature was still only in the 50's, i went out in just a t-shirt. it was warm in the sun, but a bit chilly in the shade, though thankfully we were in the sunlight for most of the time. we went up to flint-gay-sunnybake, followed by shattuck-adams, coming back along mt.auburn-school street. originally we thought we might try walking down to watertown mall target but figured it was too far away, even though by that point we were already 2/3 of the way there.

coming back we decided to check out some stores along belmont street, and came across a persian convenience store (super vanak). we'd actually seen it months ago when we went walking, but that time we forgot our masks so didn't go inside. this time around we did bring our masks and paid the place a visit. they'd just opened back in october, so just 4 months ago. it wasn't just a convenience store, more like a mini supermarket, with some fresh produce, dried goods, and frozen foods. it was a lot bigger inside than what we saw from the outside. probably about a good 90% of the stuff there we'd never seen before. my mother bought a box of do ghazal ceylon tea (100 teabags) for $10. neither of us had any cash (just credit cards) but i remember i always carry an emergency $20 in my cards so she was able to pay with that.

walking outside, that's when we discovered there was a persian cafe right next to super vanak. just like the mini super market next door, this place also had good business. peering through the window, we saw a family eating what looked to be delicious lamb ribs. now that sazbi in arlington has recently closed, we may be coming here for our persian food now.

back at home, i tried the ceylon tea. it has a distinctive flavor that's hard to describe, but also very bitter, not a steeping tea, and would probably need some milk and sugar to make it more appetizing.

i went back down to the basement to water the orchids which i didn't do earlier. i made sue to put them back in their original spots, so the flower buds will all grow facing the same way. the one smaller orchid has been growing a flower spike for over a month now, while a larger plant is just now putting out a flower spike. the other 3 remaining orchids don't have flower spikes yet. i also inspected the gardenia, there was a few spots that were possibly mealybugs which i treated with alcohol-soaked q-tips. the mealybugs seemed a little dead though, i wonder if the systemic pesticide is actually working? or maybe they were old bugs that succumbed to spot neem oil spraying.

there was a myriad of birds visiting the feeder today: mourning doves, juncos, chickadees, house finches, song sparrows, bluejays. i didn't see any white-throated sparrows but there's definitely a few that lives in the neighborhood. i haven't seen nuthatches in while either, maybe once or twice all winter, i wonder if they moved elsewhere, or found better things to eat. i saw a chickadee go into the double caged suet feeder, but it was just investigating, i think they prefer the sunflower seeds more (grabbing one and flying away) because they like to eat privately, not out in the open. i thought there was only a single pair of house finches in the neighborhood, but i saw two pairs today.

my parents had been slow cooking some pork hocks on the stove all day, its fragrance permeating the house. we had that for dinner along with a sweet pepper stirfry. my mother ran out of onions since tonight's stirfry wasn't as good as last night's.

i returned home after dinner. the temperature had dropped down to 38 degrees. i brought back some ceylon teabags. the evening felt a little empty without any olympic coverage. i ended up watching the alpinist (2020) on netflix, about marc-andré leclerc, whom alex honnold himself has said is the most impressive solo climber he knows. there was a good amount of drone filming, which i think is probably the future of mountain climbing documentaries, getting footage that would be impossible and/or expensive to film otherwise.