i turned off the heat this morning. even though it still might get a little cold at nights, the daytime temperature for all next week is 60's and above, with a couple of days in the 70's.

it was a cloudy day so i took my bicycle given that it might threaten to rain at any moment. although it was overcast yesterday as well, at least it was warm; today the temperature was a bit cooler. i'm beginning to appreciate spring a lot more these days. everything seems to be flowering, a kaleidoscope of pinks and yellows and whites and blues and purples. i learn to enjoy them while i can because a sudden rainstorm or a bout of strong winds can quickly clear trees of their colorful petals.

my father was in the backyard putting the small raised bed frame in place. it sits next to some flagstones, which needed to be moved in order to fit the frame. however, once we dug a little deeper, we realized the flagstones are actually sitting on a foundation of concrete that extends a few inches underneath the bed. my father tried to get rid of the concrete protrusion, first with a stone saw (hardly made a dent, did create a lot of smoke and a weird industrial smell), next with a sledgehammer (rocky shrapnel flew around the backyard hitting my sister twice). what we really needed was a jackhammer. finally we decided to live with some concrete underneath, just have the raised bed a little higher than slightly below ground level.

since the small bed is a bit higher up, there was less dirt inside the box. to make up for it, i dumped half a refuse barrel full of compost. it's not the best quality, a bit too chunky still, but it definitely enriches the soil. we also poured in a bag of topsoil.

some of the seedlings have emerged in bed 1, the only working bed thus far. i planted the seeds 6 days ago and already the arugula has sprouted. the columns aren't labeled and my memory isn't that good but i'm pretty sure it's arugula because it's the only one i planted in two separate columns, and both have germinated. the dirt is a bit chunky which isn't the best medium for starting seeds, but hopefully they'll do okay. being inside the box might protect the delicate seedlings from hungry rabbits.

while my father wants to get all the raised beds settled before my parents go on vacation next next week, i'm more concerned about the fruiting trees in the backyard. they need to sprayed with horticultural oil in order to kill off the hard scale infestation. now that they're blooming it's actually a little bit too late but all this past weekend the weather's been rainy and the oil needs a nice dry day to spray. i was hoping we might get it done today, but the intermittent drizzle postponed spraying for another day. i'm scheduled to come back early tomorrow morning so we can get it done. it shouldn't be raining by then.

quince flowers have no fragrance, unlike their eventual fruits. i still have a lot of quince jelly left over. i gave away a bunch but haven't received any feedback so i'm of the opinion they weren't very good, or people just didn't know what to make of the tarty sweetness of the quince jelly. that still won't stop me from making more come autumn.

i'm hoping the peonies i transplanted last year from the shady eastern side of the yard to the sunnier western shade will flower this season. the peony stalks emerge from the ground with a reddish color but turn green when they mature. i've put wire cages over them to keep them from getting trampled.

some of the money plants (lunarias) are flowering, and a bunch of white violets as well. violets supposedly have some kind of fragrance but i've never experienced it before. i also have a plant that i originally thought was a transplanted bleeding heart from my own cambridge backyard, but now i think it may be a wood poppy. either that or a celandine, which i consider a weed. i noticed flower buds today; i guess i'll find out once the flowers come out.

what to do with all our bottle gourds? maybe paint and hang them from trees as decorations; not sure if a bird will actually use it as a home if we drilled a large enough hole (we have plenty of circular drill bits). we still have all the ones from 2 seasons ago, and all the new ones from last season. i don't think i'm growing anymore bottle gourds this season, although i do love their fragrant white night-blooming flowers. i do have a lot of moonflowers, which might be just as good, and i'm not left with a bunch of unwanted gourds at the end of the year.

inside the sunroom we have a few delicate plants growing. besides the seeds my sister planted (a lot of lavender, which are difficult to grow from seeds), there's also a pot of fragrant lilies and a pot of freesia. we also have a small spruce that my father picked up from a camping trip a few years back, hoping to turn it into a bonsai. the small japanese maple sapling my father got is also sprouting its first leaves; he seems to be disappointed that they're not very red, but rather the olive green color variety.

there was some drama in the afternoon, when my father couldn't find his wallet. he was retracing his steps in his head, and even went back to the cafe to look for it, the most likely place he might've dropped it. while contemplating the hassle of canceling credit cards or visiting a few lost & found departments at the stores he visited earlier, he eventually found it: in a pair of pants he tried on but then put away in the dresser.

my parents got a bunch of sample hummus and other greek dips and we've been eating them all weekend. i arrived with an assortment of pita and naan bread on saturday. i never knew hummus makes you gassy until my mother told me it's made from chickpeas. i brought home some tabouli salad a few days ago, but my favorite is the tzatziki, a yogurt dip with cucumbers. i love it when they put that on my gyro. the only time i ever eat hummus is when i have a craving for carrots; i take it with a hummus dip.

i've been sleeping late (close to 4:00) and waking up early the past few days. i'm hoping to get some early sleep tonight, especially with nothing good on tv. the only thing that can stop me is a backlog of shows i downloaded that i've yet to watch (working on season 3 of deadwood and still need to see the doctor who season premiere).