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Manual labor is somewhat the name of the game these days. I think it must have rained about a month ago, while I was out of town, because when I returned a whole bunch of plants were starting to sprout in the driveway. It took me a while to ponder whether I should do anything about them (we don't have a formal agreement with the landlord for front yard landscaping). But eventually I decided I should, ideally before the plants all set seed and produced the next generation of driveway plants.

There were enough plants that I didn't feel like pulling them all by hand, so on Saturday I asked [personal profile] scrottie to pick up a "hula hoe" from the hardware store. Back during that one summer between undergrad and grad school, when I worked as a landscaper, my boss had one and it seemed like the right tool for the job. I have a memory of her using it to get out some aggression on some weeds at one particular property, hacking away and yelling, "Die, weeds!"

It has been very satisfying to use.

The other recent manual labor task is preparing new plaster nests in the hope that we'll manage to get more leafcutter queens this summer. All signs are suggesting a very early start to the monsoon season here, with chances of rain towards the end of this week. It has been a very dry winter, overall, so I don't know how the combination of the dry winter plus the early monsoon rains will affect our prospects. Nest preparation has been a nice break from constant computer time, although at the same time it has made me a little sad, because the space that I used to use for chemistry assays has gotten very dirty and abused for projects that shouldn't have been conducted in that space. Ah well.

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