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Started: 2008-05-01 19:29:56

Submitted: 2008-05-01 20:15:15

Visibility: World-readable

I spent much of last weekend working in my yard. My projects included booting my sprinkler system, fertilizing my shrubs, and digging fifty feet of trench to bring irrigation from the north-east corner of my house to the lilacs I planted last summer along the north-west side of my house.

While fertilizing my shrubs, I discovered that the most obvious organic fertilizers are animal byproducts. This means one's garden can be organic but not vegan. (This seems like an easier case to make than my assertion that almonds aren't vegan, since commercial almond farms -- along with most fruit grown on trees -- rely on hives of bees carted across the country on flat-bed trucks.) It turns out I'm not the only person talking about vegan organic fertilizer, though I haven't yet seen a "vegan organic" sticker on tomatoes at grocery stores.

I spent most of Sunday digging a fifty-foot trench across the edge of my lawn, extending my irrigation system most of the way towards my lilacs. (These lilacs have budded and seem poised to flower in the immediate future. The Internet told me to feed them with a high-phosphorus fertilizer to promote blooming. My shrub roses have leafed out but haven't yet started flowering. My front-yard maple tree budded before anything else on the block and is now leafing out. The unidentified tree in my back yard has fuzzed, which apparently is its first stage of spring growth and should allow me to identify it if I were sufficiently ambitious. The catalpa in the common area behind my house hasn't budded yet but left its litter of seed ponds across my lawn all winter long until I cleaned them up a month ago.) Instead of going all the way to my lilacs, I stopped on the western side of my deck, where I brought the drip zone up to the surface and onto the edge of my deck for container gardening and brought up the shrub zone to a riser to water the shrub I haven't planted yet. (My two-year-old master plan calls for conical junipers or something similar in a few strategic points on corners around my house; I may plant them next weekend if I can find suitable plants. (The corners in the front of my house are full-sun corners; the corners in the back of my house are partial-sun corners, and there's one spot where a small shrub would look nice that's full-shade. I don't expect to find one variety that will fit all five spots; finding several different plants that work well together would be nice.)

(This summer, most of our gardening needs will be satisfied by Kiesa's community garden plot, which she hasn't blogged about in favor of waiting to see how it all turns out to decide whether to write publicly about it.)

I dug most of the trench across my lawn, which I hope will be able to recover from being dug up and reburied. (Instead of spending too much time getting each chunk of lawn back in exactly the right place, I figured I could probably get away with putting the dirt and grass back in the trench with the grass pointing up, raking the extra dirt into the holes and over top, and hoping for the best. I can always reseed it later if nothing else works.) When all was said and done, I had only the faintest indications of a sunburn to show for my hours in the sun.

On the first day of May today, it snowed. For an hour in the morning, the snow looked pretty impressive, but it wasn't quite cold enough to actually stick in the flat lands. By lunch, when the clouds cleared, I could see a thin sprinkling of snow on the Flatirons, which was enough to make me wish for my camera.

The first day of May is also auspicious because today (or tomorrow, or next week, or something) my employer plans to go to limited external private beta for our super-secret set-top box. This involves hunting down local people with shiny high-definition televisions and convincing them to plug our little box into their televisions and see if the whole thing works at all. (It's easy to pronounce today as "mayday" when one considers how scary external code releases are. The thing is, software isn't really "released"; rather, it escapes. I've appointed myself build-master and tagged our third release candidate.) The next few weeks are guaranteed to be interesting as we figure out all the things we hadn't previously considered.