i woke up early and rode the motorcycle around 9am to the medford harbor freight to pick up a new garden sprayer. i actually didn't think they'd be opened today, but never underestimate the power of retail to make their employees work on holidays in order to make more money for the company. traffic was light that early on a holiday morning, and i made it there in record time, just 12 minutes. i had a 20% off coupon and just paid $12 for the 2-gallon sprayer. harbor freight also makes a 1-1/4 gallon sprayer - which would be better suited since i've never sprayed more than a gallon - but i didn't see any on sale. i also got a pair of long nose pliers ($1.99, i gave mine to my mother for her crochet flower projects) and a stubby claw hammer ($2.99, for some reason i can't seem to find my regular hammer).
the trip back was just as quick, even with the school street bridge detour (that bridge should've been finished last spring, they're already more than a year beyond their scheduled closure, and i can't seem to find any updates online and when they plan on finally reopening that bridge). instead of going home, i made a stop at market basket. there was hardly anybody there and plenty of parking. i wasn't sure what to do with the sprayer, but i decided to just leave it tied up to the bike, figured nobody would steal it.
i grabbed a bunch of cafe supplies: linguine noodles, charsiu powder, and a gallon of milk. i was also told to pick up some bean sprouts, but the ones they had were old packages and the sprouts looked rotten.
i got back home before 10am. i hadn't been to the community garden all this weekend, and figured i was due for a visit. while walking there i bunched into victor, and we started chatting about politics - ukraine-russia, taiwan-china. he went with me to the garden. he told me he recently bought 6 acres of land in maine, and was just up there recently for a week. the police paid him a visit on a welfare check when he hadn't contacted his daughter or mother because his cell phone rain out of juice.
coming home, i found a 32 oz. brita insulated water bottle. it has a cylindrical carbon filter and a silicone pop-up straw. the bottle itself looks well-made - stainless steel and heavy - but the lid assembly doesn't look like it can be taken apart and when i searched online for replacement parts, i couldn't find anything (other than replacement filters).
i went across the street to star market to pick up some more porterhouse steaks (today was the last day for $5.97/lbs. sale). i bumped into victor again, getting some flowers to the hostess of a 4th of july barbecue he was going to. he told me about a sale on lamb steaks but when we went to go check it out, the price had already gone up.
i came home, used the bathroom, then took a shower. i finally left by noontime. i stopped at the cafe to drop off the food supplies. i watered the potted plants outside then continued to belmont.
for lunch i had some pork floss on white toast bread. there was also some rose berries and yellow dragon fruits. these were over-ripen fruits, but still very sweet. dragon fruits are delicious but they have no natural flavor of their own, just a nondescript sweetness and crispy texture.
my mother got me to update the cafe prices. due to the rise in ingredient and material prices, my parents are forced to raise the price on most of their items. the last time there was a price increase was a few years back, the first year of the pandemic and people were starting to venture out again but with social distancing and mask wearing. that time they also trimmed down their menus, got rid of stuff that rarely sold, put a focus on bento boxes. anyway, i updated both the website and the square up database (for the register and online order). i still need to change the prices on the menus at the cafe and my sister needs to update the grubhub prices.
i flew my drone briefly, just so i can get an aerial view of our gardens: the raised beds, the rudbeckia patch, and the circle of plant stands with various potted plants (jasmines, ground cherries, peppers). the rudbeckia looks most impressive, seeing it from the ground doesn't do it justice.
there wasn't too much gardening to do. i was waiting until the end of the day so i could spray the grapes with the newly purchased sprayer. in the meantime my father and i pruned the quince, as it was growing a bit unruly. we pruned last season as well - as soon as it stopped flowering - but this year we hardly got any flowers. despite not having a lot of flowers, i still saw some fruits near the crown of the bush. quince pruning is a dangerous activity, as their branches can have inch-long spikes (though not as bad as hawthorns, which have even more spikes).
while surveying the garden, i noticed the doors on our live-animal trap had sprung. there didn't seem to be anything inside but when i took a closer look, there was a very large rabbit. at first i thought it was dead, but i could see it was still breathing. must've been trapped overnight or just today, as i remember looking at the trap yesterday and the doors were still open. the rabbit was so big it didn't even look like it could turn around inside the cage, about the size of a housecat minus the tail. lifting up the cage, that's when the rabbit started to move around, and it was very much alive, as it squirmed inside the cage. the thing was heavy too, several pounds at least. my father and i released it out in the front yard; i was going to use a stick to open the trap door, but my father opened it with his hands and the rabbit shot out then ran underneath the bushes in front of the house. chances are it'll be back in the backyard by tonight. next time if we watch a rabbit, we should release it somewhere farther, like in the park.
around 4:30pm i started preparing the sprayer for the grapevines. i added 0.75 tbsp of captan powder with 1.2 tbsp of immunox (myclobutanil) then filled the bottle with 1/2 gallon of rain water. this was the 5th and final spray of the season, any additional spraying after this won't have anymore effects on the fungus anyway. besides the grapes, i also sprayed the peonies, which have started to get powdery mildew from lack of sunshine. the one peony directly below the grapevine hasn't gotten any mildew so far because 1) it gets more sun, and 2) fungicide spray drips onto it whenever i spray the grapes. i noticed it yesterday, but a few grape leaves already have the tell-tale spots of black rot. also a few grapes are starting to show the beginning stages of black rot, slowly turning into mummy grapes. so cutting back all the new vines so we hardly have any grapes might actually be a good thing, it will curtail the spread of fungus diseases.
while inspecting the squash vines for borer eggs, i can across a few spots that might be borer holes. i got my Btk solution and 1ml syringe and injected a few vines. i was going to use the solution in its concentrate form (since i have so much and if i don't use it up it'll just expire anyway) but decided to dilute it, figuring maybe diluting the concentrate activities the worm-willing bacterias.
at 4:30pm my father started grilling the ribs we bought from costco yesterday, to bring to my sister's godmother's apartment, where we were going to visit at 6pm so we could watch the boston fireworks at 10:30pm. the ribs were probably going to take at least 45-60 minutes to cook properly, but after grilling each sides 15 minutes on high heat (600-700 degrees), my father tried a piece and said the ribs were already good to eat, so it only took about half an hour (not counting the preheat time).
i was in the backyard until 5:40pm, all the way until it was time to go. my sister would meet us there around 7pm, after she fed her dog. we stopped at the cafe briefly to grab some additional foods we were going to bring: cocktail shrimps, caesar salad, tiramisu.
since it was a holiday, all resident permit parking spots were free today. we found a spot about a block away from my sister's godmother's apartment. she'd already prepared more than enough food, not counting all the stuff my parents brought. she made two variety of soup - one with winter melon, one a spicy hot pot style - i ended up having two bowls of the hot soup. she also made chinese oil rice, which i also had some. when my sister arrived, she helped her godmother cook up some trader joe banana fritters in the air fryer. they were okay - crispy, sweet - but also had that banana sour aftertaste (or were they plantains)?
when we came last year, it was not only raining, but the fireworks was being launched from boston common, which was farther away and a smaller venue. the fireworks seemed smaller, obscured by both the foggy weather and the buildings obstructing a clear view. today's weather was different: blue sky with a few clouds that disappeared after the sun went down. the hardest part was just the waiting (4+ hours). we watched the live broadcast of WHDH channel 7, which happened to be the only clear channel my sister's godmother could get with her HDTV antenna. when it got dark, we turned off the lights and occasionally the tv so there wouldn't be a glare on the window when we took photos.
leading up to the spectacle, there were some local fireworks. a bunch were coming from the roosevelt towers housing project, a few in cambridgeport, some in the north in places like chelsea and revere, and a bunch in the some on the horizon, my guess dorchester and roxbury.
when we approached 10:30pm, i livestreamed the radio broadcast of the boston pop orchestra (turned off the tv so there wouldn't be any glare) as we waited for the show to begin. earlier we moved the dining table so there were just seats in front of the windows facing boston. not knowing what to expect, my sister's godmother though the slew of local nearby fireworks was the official show. but when they finally started the fireworks on the charles, it was unmistakable, and we collectively let out a "whoa" of amazement. these fireworks were huge, looked like they could bridge the distance between the hancock and prudential towers from where we were looking. each explosion we could feel the percussion thumping on the glass windows. my mother didn't take any photos with her camera (she couldn't share them with her sisters anyway, she didn't tell my 2nd aunt that we were coming here tonight) and my father forgot his phone in the car. i had my phone camera, my dSLR camera, and my gopro suctioned to the window shooting a slow shutter time lapse for the past few hours.
the fireworks last for about 25 minutes. we knew it'd ended when they fired off a burst of fireworks all at once for the finale. once it was over, we opened the lights and started packing up, as it was almost 11pm.
returning to belmont, we got onto western ave to take us to memorial drive (avoiding central square at all cost, since there'd be a crowd of people leaving the fireworks). along the river on the left and the sidewalk on the right were people biking home after seeing the show, which is probably the quickest way. we got back to my parents' house by 11:22pm. i quickly gathered up my things - my mother gave me a package of leftover ribs - and rode the motorcycle back to cambridge. i got home by 11:40pm.
i used the bathroom and showered, didn't even bother doing a blog write-up as i was pretty tired from waking up early this morning to run errands. i figured this was a good occasion to skip blogging for a night and get a good night's sleep.