i noticed something continues to eat away at my eggplant leaves. it could be slugs, snails, or beetles. i need to come back at some point and re-apply the diatomaceous earth powder. likewise, my bitter melons are starting to suffer from critter bites. on the other hand, nothing seems to be eating my nigellas so far. if only my plants can grow fast enough to outlast the pests!
i left the garden and biked to the porter square michael's, to look for thin green yarn for my mother's crochet flower projects. she has some green yarn but they're all unnatural greens, none of them look the green of leaves. for some reason there was a lack of green colored yarn at the store (my personal theory is celtics related); the only one that i found that came close to a leafy green was far too thick. i sent my mother some photos and i ended up getting some fine yarn of different colors, and some other yarns on sale. i had a 20% off everything full price coupon.
when i arrived in belmont, i had a leftover piece of barbecued drumstick for lunch. my mother said she was going out for a walk so i went with her, just so we could revisit all the middle eastern grocery stores along mt.auburn street in coolidge square. that was our destination but the journey was more interesting, as we stopped to admire all the watertown flowers. right now seems to be peak rose and peony season, and it seems like every house either had one or the other, or sometimes both, and in multiples. we stopped to take photos and sniff the flowers. roses by in large are always fragrant, but peonies sometimes. they both share the same smell though, which is rose-like. the most fragrant peony we encountered was a large white peony with yellow center, and we came across some amazingly fragrant yellow roses which smelled like a perfumed peach. my also figured out the difference between russian sage (which people love to grow) and true lavender. we also came across a house that had a collection of bonsai plants right outside.
my mother was thirsty when we finally arrived at mt.auburn street that we went inside a dunkin' donuts and ordered one of their new mango pineapple refresher. it was nice and air-conditioned inside, we didn't bother wearing our masks; i figured my mother's already been exposed to covid after living with my covid-positive 2nd aunt, and chances are i probably already got it before (though no symptoms). anyway, the mango pineapple refresher wasn't anything special, just some artificial fruit-flavored ice-cold sugar water. my mother didn't like it at all, and i made her get the medium even though she just wanted the small.
there was a customers eating outside the deluxe town diner. when we came last time, the place was empty, or possibly too cold for people to be eating outside. my mother vowed to come back and try the place one of these days, especially after seeing the large portions the patrons (many whom were senior citizens) were having.
the first grocery store we visited was sevan bakery. this was one my father and i had been to but that time my mother and i came was on a sunday and they were closed. this place leans more towards greek-turkish, with a very clean and air-conditioned store with fresh cheese and pastries and desserts, as was a salad bar featuring a dizzying array of olive selection. i got a box of turkish delight, my mother some double roasted chick peas.
next we visited arax market, one of the original middle eastern grocery stores in the area, with an awning sign that said established in 1974. we've been here before, there were a lot of interesting things, but we only left with some pita bread ($2). they did have double roasted chick peas at a cheaper price.
our final stop was massis bakery, another place my mother hadn't been to (because they're closed on sundays). this place features a deli that sells fresh american pastries, bread, and sandwiches. the pita bread here was even cheaper than at arax market. my mother bought some pitted olives and ordered the beef kabob sandwich. we waited as they made our food, admiring the wall photos of the owners throughout the years, from when they first started the store back in 1977. my mother didn't wait to get home to eat the kabob, feasting on it right away, still hot in the aluminum foil. it tasted like a falafel wrap, with distinctive middle-eastern flavors. we saved the rest for my father for when we got back home.
we walked back a different way, admiring more flowers. my mother - who always seems to forget to recharge her phone - lost power on my samsung so couldn't take anymore photos, so i had to help her take them.
we made it back home by 2:30pm. my father was in bed phone surfing on his phone and came out to eat the goodies we'd brought back. a trip to coolidge square feels like traveling to a different country. we tried the double roasted chick peas, they were a little bland, they need some spices to make it taste better. the turkish delight was better, i got the mix variety, i tasted, lemon, mint, rose, and pistachio. honestly, i could eat a whole box of turkish delight every day.
since it's going to rain wednesday-thursday (the new forecast calls for 2" of potential rain), my father made an effort to use up as much water from our rain barrels as possible. instead of running a hose to our on-demand pump in the back of the house, my father hooked up the 12v transfer pump to his bench power supply (set to 12v) and ran the sprinkler from the barrels in front of the house. he ran the pump long enough to empty the connected barrel before water can refill from the other connected barrels.
my father also set up the trellis on the western side of the house, putting a layer of my cheap plastic green netting for additional support, and also running twine to the climbing bitter melons and squashes. we even saw 2 new emerging squash seedlings, hopefully chipmunks don't dig them up like they did in RB2. speaking of which, i put out the live animal trap near the faucet, hoping to catch a chipmunk and then release it elsewhere. however, i didn't put any bait, i'll have to add something tomorrow.
as for me, i brought out all the pileas and watered them. i also repacked all the orchids because i made a mistake yesterday of filling the new pots with fresh orchid grow medium but i didn't soak them beforehand, just watered them afterwards, which meant all the wood chips were dried today. i dumped out the wood chips, soaked them in orchid-fertilizer-infused water, before adding them back to the orchid pots. i also tried to bury as many roots as possible instead of leaving them outside, which is what i did yesterday. i discovered one of the hyacinth plants had a black aphid infestation and i blasted it with neem oil spray.
my sister dropped off hailey in the afternoon. she alternated between being outside enjoying the nice warm weather or being inside sleeping on the cool floor.
we now have two different types of scallions growing in the backyard: the one that forms a ball of tiny flowers, and the one that forms wandering scallion bulbets. i also noticed that the only surving verbascum plant i grew from seed last year and transplanted into the western perennial bed has managed to stay alive. it looks remarkably like foxgloves, so maybe that's why i missed it, but the emerging flowers look like a tiny green ear of corn, instead of the taller flower stalks of foxgloves.
my farther harvested a bunch of chinese celery for dinner, which my mother cooked as a stirfry with tofu. all parts of the plant have a strong celery flavor, but the leaves are bitter, so next time we'll only use the stalks. my mother also cooked up a pork and seaweed stew. afterwards she cut up the baby watermelon in half and we ate it scoop-style with a spoon.
after dinner we were back outside for one last check of the yard. i noticed that despite our caging efforts, long bean seedlings continue to disappear from the southern bed. i still have no idea what's eating them. i now think maybe some kind of bugs. i'll have to come back tomorrow and check again, and if seedlings continue to disappear, i'll have to use milk jugs again to protect the remaining few plants.
earlier i saw a large adult rabbit and a bunny nearby eating the grass. i don't mind when they do that, but i still went outside and chase them away, just to let them know they can't have a free run of the backyard. hailey was excitedly sniffing around the bottom of the maple tree. i figured maybe she caught the scent of a squirrel, or possibly a rabbit. when we looked around, that's when we saw the rabbit nest, behind the tree in a hole in the ground covered with grass and fur. the nest seemed to have been abandoned because my father said over the weekend he saw 3 very tiny bunnies running around the yard. hailey continued to sniff around the tree, and that's when we noticed something hopping out from the violets growing underneath the tree. at first we couldn't see what it was because it was so camouflaged, before we realized it was a bunny. a very small bunny, about the size of a toad (egg-size). it didn't seem to know what kind of danger it was in, and i managed to cup it with my hands on the ground, before it hopped away and disappeared into the understory of some daylily plants.
back inside the house, my father and i were looking at DC power connection options for the battery box, from round 2.1mm power jacks, to anderson powerpoles, to SAE plugs. my father prefers the SAE plugs, as we already have a few of these plugs already. given their 12AWG wire size, they're good enough for 20A of current, which is the maximum on our MPPT controller. the only disadvantage is that you can't make your own SAE plugs, but it costs about $2 for a 1ft long SAE cable with bare ends. anderson powerpoles on the other hand, you can make your own plugs, but the cost in material ($15) and equipment ($24 crimper) and finally a compatible SAE mount ($24) make them economically unfeasible.
i finally left by 8:40pm. it was still light out, but dusky. since there was no basketball game tonight (not until wednesday), there wasn't much to watch on television. after a shower, i started watching season 3 of the boys.