my parents came to pick me up at 10:30am after they already went to the mt.auburn star market to get some boneless chicken thighs on sale. my father loaded the kitchen push cart into the back of the car. we went to market basket for my supplies. while my parents went inside to shop, i was depositing some drink bottles. the machines accepted all the aluminum cans and plastic bottles, but did not like any of the glass bottles (even though these drinks were purchased here). instead of discarding the bottles, i put the bag of recyclables next to the car before going inside the supermarket. my parents needed some ground pork for various recipes; for some reason the meat department took nearly an hour to grind it all up, even making several mistakes like not grinding the pork enough or grinding it too much. by the time we left - 11:45am - it'd already started to rain.

we went to the cafe to drop off the supplies. i also got a chance to see if the kitchen cart could work as shelving unit for the work table. it measured 24x18", which going my numbers alone meant the breville oven should be able to fit underneath no problem. but those numbers are accounting for the legs of the shelf, so the final tolerance is really tight, where the sides of the oven are pressed up against the chrome legs. it wasn't a good fit, and the current DIY shelving unit my father rigged up with the 3ft long adjustable chrome shelves is much better, even though it only has 2 shelves.

that meant the honey-can-do shelving units we bought - 24x14" dimension - would not fit either. just to be sure, we opened one of the boxes to take out a shelf and put it on top of the breville oven, and there just wasn't enough clearance on either side. so we are returning the honey-can-do shelves. as for the kitchen cart i found, either we use it ourselves (as a movable table with wheels in the basement) or my mother suggested giving it to my 2nd aunt for her microwave (i think my aunt needs a taller shelving unit instead).

we arrived at my parents' place by 12:45pm. the rain had picked up to a point where it'd soak your clothes if you stood outside without an umbrella for a few minutes. my sister had dropped off hailey in belmont this morning so her dog greeted us when we came inside the house. my parents cooked up some frozen pan-fried dumplings for lunch.

i went outside to inspect the filling rain barrels. this type of rain is the best - the slow and steady kind - for catching the water off the roof. by the end of the day, the barrels were 6" away from maximum capacity. slow and steady rain is also good for watering the plants and lawn, as the water can slowly soak into the ground instead of just running off. nevertheless, even though the garden soil looked soaked, digging into the dirt less than half a centimeter revealed still-dry soil underneath. it's going to take more than a day of rain to make up for months accumulation of drought.

the rain brings hope that our backyard garden - approaching the end of the summer - can be renewed somehow. the bitter melon trellis looked very sad just a few days ago now looked like it was coming back to life, with plenty of yellow male flowers and a few new tiny bitter melons.

i bought another container for a third hydroponic kratky pot. along with it another rockwool cube, soaked before i dropped a few mustard seeds into the hole. i looked at the two rockwool cubes i prepared yesterday, i think i saw at least one of the mustard seeds had already started to germinate. the faster they grow and begin to form roots, the sooner i can put them in the nutrient bath.

i also soaked more leca. it actually important to wash the leca - the more particles (clay dust) removed, the less it could potentially affect the PPM concentration of the nutrient bath. i also noticed something today: the leca i soaked yesterday, half of them have sunk to the bottom of the container. so leca doesn't always float; they will sink once they absorb enough water. i also read that cleaning leca in the sink is bad because the dissolved clay powder can clog drains. so i'm going to take my remaining leca and rinse them in the backyard in a bucket one of these days.

my mother was looking for more shows to watch (after finishing severance in a single night yesterday), so i streamed apple+'s black bird from my computer. just 6 episodes, she was once again hooked immediately. i only had 3 episodes and had to quickly download the remaining 3. later i copied them onto her imac so she could watch it after i leave.

my sister came to pick up hailey in the late afternoon.

after dinner my father gave me a ride back to cambridge.

my 400GPH vivosun submersible water pump ($16) arrived today. why did i get another pump when i already have a vivosun 480GPH pump? because the 480GPH pump is too powerful, and uses 25W, when the 400GPH only uses 15W. if i need to run it 24/7, i rather have a smaller pump with enough power than an over-sized pump that wastes electricity. not sure what made me get the 480GPH, when everything i read about a low-pressure aeroponics setup uses a 400GPH pump.

i decided to return the studpop magnetic stud finder. it sort of works, but i couldn't get it to work consistently, and finding studs by locating the nails via a strong magnet is pretty labor intensive. there's got to be better stud finders, ones that use more advanced technology than simply a magnet that "pops" when it finds a stud nail. also, the thing costs $10. my father thought i found it, so when he heard how much i paid for it, he also said i should return it.

i started using the 90 degree elbow USB-C charging cable last night. i thought it'd be better than a regular cable, but i'm not used to have the cable coming out from the side, so i'm still on fence on whether it was a good purchase or not. i'll try it again tonight and see how i feel.

after a shower, i settled in to watch black bird as well, eating a container of cut watermelon. i wasn't paying attention when my mother was watching it, but caught enough of it that i was intrigued to finish the series (i did after all download the first few episodes more than a month ago).