basil seeds have a high germination rate, despite being smaller than a grain of sand. all of my basil seeds sprouted, so much so that i had to thin some out this morning. i also made the round of watering all my remaining seedlings, both indoors and outdoors. i'll probably give my cherry tomatoes another week or so before starting to move them outside.

my parents came to pick me up around 10am for a supply run. first stop was costco, where i got another bag of potting soil. we were primarily there to stock up on eggs (which we found out was located in the walk-in freezer). they had 5 dozen package (60 eggs), we got 3 packages, but when we went to pay we discovered there was a 2 package limit. i also think i found the most expensive food they sell at costco: boxes of frozen king crab legs at $400 a pop.

next we went to malden 88, to get a box of frozen dumplings and a head of napa cabbage for making vegetarian buns. that was followed by a short stop at bianco & sons to get chinese sausages.

our final stop was at ocean state job lot, where i picked up 2 double-side shepherd's hooks ($15 each). they had plenty in stock, unlike the waltham OSJL.

we returned to the cafe by 12:20pm to unload the supplies. there we waited for my mother's 1:20pm annual physical appointment. we left at 12:40pm so my parents could check out my community garden before heading to the cambridge practice office. i stayed behind to water my plot before walking home. i gathered my things and left for belmont, where i spent the rest of the day doing yardwork.

today was about 20 degrees cooler than yesterday. it was actually pretty pleasant, but once the sun started to set, it got a bit cold (having lived through 90's degrees temperature, 60 degrees seems downright cold now).

i started first by plugging the two holes rabbits dug in the front lawn with leftover soil from the bamboo moat. last year i thought maybe rabbits did this when they were afraid (trying hide), but i now realize they dig holes in the middle of the lawn to start nests, that's their survival strategy, hiding out in the open.

after that i mowed the lawn, starting from the front and working my way to the back. these are the final days for the gas-powered craftsman mower. not sure how old it is, it probably predates the blog. before that we used to have a plug in mower that i remember using, the cord running across my shoulder so i don't accidentally mow over it. we went from electric to gas and now back to electricity. i've been doing a lot of research on EGO and ryobi electric cordless mowers. i've narrowed down my selection to either the EGO power+ 21" mower (LM2101, $340) or the ryobi 20" mower (RY401110-Y, $250). there's are pros and cons to each, but i'm leaning towards EGO. hopefully by the next time we mow it'll be under electric power.

to do the tall grasses along the edges, i pressed them down with a 2ft long wooden plank before mowing them over. i also mowed under the 3-tiered wooden plant stand: grass will continue to grow underneath, as long as it's mowed it won't go to seed and die (which was our mistake last year).

i also did other stuff in the backyard:

  • watered all the plants. it's been weeks since we had a drenching rain, our rain barrel level is getting pretty low. the next potential forecast for rain is for friday-saturday. the only upside to all this dry weather is good solar production. we're on schedule to hit 1200kWh for the month of may, our second highest production for this month.
  • i put chickenwire cages on top of the emerging long bean seeds, to protect them from rabbits. this is only a temporary fix, as i won't be able to do they once they grow tall enough to poke through the wires. i could use plastic cup collars, but those blow away in the mind and there are just too many bean sprouts. maybe i just cross my fingers and hope there's enough to eat elsewhere in the garden that most of the bean sprouts will avoid getting eaten.
  • speaking of rabbits, i found another rabbit nest in the backyard, behind the garage, underneath a foxglove plant. i dug it out to check nothing was inside then filled it up with soil. i can't tell if it's a new nest or an old one. i saw it when i was watering, noticed a clump of dead grass where there shouldn't have been any. it was filled with grass not fur, unlike the western perennial bed rabbit nest that actually had bunnies.
  • i brought out the gardenia from the basement grow room and sprayed it with neem oil. there are just 2 flowerbuds. if we can get just one of them to bloom, it'll be a victory. the reason why we don't have more flowerbuds is my father cut off all the branches after watching a youtube video, not realizing that flowerbuds only grow on old branches. i also sprayed some of the jasmines, but for the most part, ever since i moved them outside, they've been pretty mealybug-free.
  • i wrapped some newly-emerged hop bines onto the twines. new bines continue to emerge, i don't know if we should let them continue to grow or cut them so plant can focus all its energy on the existing bines.
  • i brought back the cafe pilea on saturday and had a chance to divide out the babies. from that one mother plant i managed to get 10 pilea babies.

my parents didn't return home from my mother's doctor's appointment until 2 hours later. i was starting to get worried. my mother said there was just a lot of waiting at the doctor's office. my father returned to the car and had a nap, and visited the pharmacy to get some free covid home tests; they only managed to give him 3 boxes due to supply issues.

my sister dropped off hailey at the house and disappeared, didn't say where she was going, basically expected us to dogsit for her without asking first. when hailey wasn't out in the backyard enjoying the weather, she was inside the house sleeping. when it came to dinnertime, i gave her 1-1/2 cups of dog food - apparently i was only supposed to give her 1/2 cup. when i dogsit, i spoil the dog.

for dinner my mother made some stirfry: asparagus with smoked kielbasa sausages, hot long horn peppers with tofu. those long horn peppers can be hit or miss, usually they're pretty mild, but we managed to get one tonight that was super spicy, so my mother picked most of them out of the tofu dish.

i was all set to ask my father to get the EGO power+ 21" mower but i took a look at the battery and discovered it didn't have the fuel gauge indicator. so i postponed the purchase until i can get more info. later i learned that only the latest 3rd generation version of the EGO battery has a fuel gauge, all previous versions just has a light that's usually green but turns red when there's just 15% battery left. i also learned last night that batteries are a kind of scam for power tool companies. they purposely sell the batteries at very high prices, with the hopes that you'll buy a tool instead that comes with a battery that's significantly cheaper. so how you acquire more batteries is not by buying them, but by collecting tools that come with various sizes of batteries.

i rode home by 8:15pm. i took a quick shower before settling in for some NBA action, game 4 between the heat and celtics. this was a must-win game for boston, since they didn't want to down a 1-3 hole to miami. the game was pretty much decided in the first quarter, when the celtics came out firing on all cylinders. this was without marcus smart, who was nursing a sprained ankle. the heat was missing tyler herro due to injury. boston wasn't shooting well, but had more opportunities than miami, which made up for the poor shooting (quantity, not quality). the heat also couldn't score at all, and there was a chance they finish the first quarter with single digit points (they ended up with 11). the final score was 102-82, boston victory, series tied 2-2. next game is wednesday night in miami. blowout games (in the home team's favor) are great because it's not stressful to watch, but they're boring because they lack that excitement (that also makes it stressful).