i started my day early with a trip to the community garden. it was a work day for plots 1-20, but they were also collecting money and samples for soil testing. i also planted my tomatoes (2 cherries, 3 best boys). they've hardened enough in my backyard but the lack of sun (not entirely my fault, it had been a grey week) has made then spindly. the weather for next week is a pattern of 60's during the day and 40-50's at nights; not ideal, but good enough for tomatoes.
i left the garden a quarter after 10:00. after cleaning up, i headed back out, this time all the way down to fenway to buy a used electric kettle ($10) for my 2nd aunt. i'd never been to the fenway area via bicycle so this was something new for me. it was raining earlier this morning but had since stopped so i could've also taken my motorcycle, but since there was a 1:00 red sox game, i didn't want to run the risk of getting stuck in traffic, so i opted for the bicycle, even though it'd take longer.
i've been through the fenway area many times via motorcycle (it's how i go if i want to get to jamaica plain) so at least i was somewhat familiar with the area. the bicycle route was also pretty much the same until i passed boston university's south campus. from there it was a series of small side streets and alley ways (aberdeen, miner, fullerton, kilmarnock, queensberry) until i finally arrived at 111 jersey street.
my seller was a french girl named sandie, getting rid of all her stuff before moving back home. communication was complicated by the fact that she canceled her cell phone so there was no way to reach her except via e-mail. she wrote me late last night (5:00 in the morning late) to let me know that her intercom is tied to her phone, but since she no longer has a phone, i won't be able to buzz her, so she'll wait for me downstairs at the appointed time (11:00). i actually arrived 5 minutes early, and saw an old woman in the apartment foyer. we made eye contact and she waved to get my attention. turns out this was sandie's mother, who explained to me in her broken english that sandie was sleeping so she asked her mother to take care of the transaction.
i noticed the kettle was still a little warm, like maybe sandie's mother used it before finally selling it to me. it was a little too big to fit inside one of my rear baskets. fortunately i had my bungie netting, and strapped the kettle to the rear rack, wrapped in a towel inside of a canvas grocery bag.
the ride back home was uneventful, basically retracing my steps. having done it once in one direction made it a lot easier. saturday morning the charles river is busy with joggers. i cut directly through harvard square to get back home instead of taking my usual more circuitous route.
the electric kettle i got was a chef's choice 677 cordless tea kettle, which sells for $50 on amazon.com. it's more expensive than my aroma kettle, which currently sells for about $30 on amazon.com. at 1.7 liters the chef's choice has a larger capacity than my 1.5 liter aroma. i like the button-activated lid of the 677, as well as the on-off lever that glows red when activated. i don't like how there's an awful lot of plastic parts for the lid, or how the spout is rounded instead of pointed, and i also don't like the matte finish (compare that to the mirror-like stainless steel finish of my aroma). there's also a long metal tube inside that's not the heating element but perhaps something to do with the auto-open lid. that goes to show you that just because something is more expensive doesn't necessarily mean it's better. functionality-wise, it takes about the same amount of time to boil water.
with the temperature near optimal for next week, i decided to finally shut down my grow closet and move all my plants outside. whether or not i plant them right away is a different story, but they'll be living outside now, getting there free nourishment from the sun. i kept a few plants for myself but packed the rest in boxes to be taken to belmont to be sorted.
since i still had a bicycle (fuji) in belmont, i asked for a ride from my parents while they were enroute on a supply run. we first made a quick stop at the assembly square ac moore where my mother once again enlisted our help to cash in on some 50%-off-one-item coupons. we were picking up replacement circular needles, since she gave some away to one of my aunts while on vacation when they discovered circular needles are hard to fun in taiwan.
from there we got onto route 93 south, cutting across boston to southampton street to get some supplies from asian wholesale food vendor baifu AKA food-pak express.
after dropping off my mother and me in belmont, my father went to the cafe with the supplies. my mother made a late lunch of bacon and youtiao. when my father finally returned home, we did some garden work in the backyard.
whoever said "cooking compost" was right because our pile of organic matter is hot (temperature-wise). from the outside it looks pretty tame, but turn a layer with a pitchfork and you can see it steaming. it also doesn't smell anymore not since i've been turning it as often as possible. it's still a bit clump, not sure if that's normal (maybe the compost is too wet, since it isn't covered and just exposed to the elements).
we also did some work in the southwestern corner garden. a long time ago there used to be an old apple tree here but we chopped it down after it died. last year we had tremendous success growing squash here (at least for a few weeks before vine borers killed our plants). although it doesn't like it, this corner gets a good amount of sun. we wanted to relocate the edible plants from the southeastern corner of the house (where termidor was applied) to the southwestern corner of the yard. moving the half dozen lovage was easy; relocating the carpet of chinese chives was more difficult. first we had to clear away a triangle patch of violets, moving these flowers (who some would consider a type of weed) underneath the maple tree. once that was done, we dug up the chinese chives. that was harder than we realized and we didn't have time to plant them in the southwestern corner before it was time for dinner.
even though my sister isn't home this weekend, she was insistent on getting one of her friends to take hailey out for a walk around fresh pond. this friend was supposed to come pick up our dog at 3:00, but changed it to 5:00, then moved it back again to 5:30, and finally showed up at 6:30. i thought it was a very bad idea because it might traumatize hailey since she's never been walked by a stranger before. sure enough, she was scared to go and had to be coaxed with treats. when she returned home an hour later, she seemed sapped of energy. i don't think we'll be letting strangers walk her anytime soon.
i couldn't wait for it to get dark so i could ride my newly-suped-up fuji bike. earlier i taped the 10ft length of electroluminescent wire to the frame. i had enough wire to cover both seat stays and chain stays, the seat tube, and the down tube. unfortunately there wasn't enough to cover the top tube nor the front forks. the tape is only a temporary measure: if i like the look, i'll use plastic ties to make it more permanent.
i put extra tape near the bottom bracket because i didn't want the wire to come loose and grind up in the gears. matched with my flashing rear blinker and front head light, it's pretty eye-catching. the wire itself has 3 modes: constant on, quick flashing, or slow flashing. at one point some teenage girl stuck out half her body from a moving car window and screamed something in my direction. with my poor hearing i couldn't catch what she was saying.
riding down linnaean street was where the power pack for the EL light broke free, spraying batteries onto the road (it had been clipped to a piece of cardboard help in place by a length of bungie cord). fortunately there was no car behind me at the time and i was able to go back and pick up the pieces. the battery compartment is poorly designed, barely enough space for both batteries. on mass avenue it happened again (power pack flipped off, no breakage), so i ended up just detaching the power pack completely until i can figure out a more secure away of attaching it to the bike.