The weather was abnormally warm and dry in early March this year. As I found the garden thawed and dry, I thought that I would be able to get a jump on the spring garden. So I tilled the soil and sowed lettuce, spinach and sweet peas.

Unfortunately, the following weeks were abnormally cold and the garden repeatedly froze and thawed, retarding the germination of the seeds.

Yet by the beginning of April, the weather warmed enough to sprout 9' rows of Musclun mix, Simson Elite Lettuce,Burpee Bibb Lettuce, Harmony Hybrid Spinach,Avon Hybrid Spinach,and Bloomsdale Long-Standing Spinach.

The Burpeeana Early Sweet Peas, however, only have started to sprout in the past week. The germination rate is not so good either.

It is recommended to sow peas in a double row, with the second sown up to 2 weeks after the first to stagger and extend the harvest. I believe that I will germinate the remaining peas indoors, which is what I do for sweet corn, to ensure that I have an evenly spaced crop. I these peas will soak for 24 hours and then I shall keep them fresh and moist by rinsing and draining them twice a day until they sprout. Then they will go into the garden.

Last week my onion sets came in the mail from Territorial Seed Co. with a pamphlet called "4 Easy Steps To Growing Big, Sweet Onions." Here are excepts from the pamphlet about planting onions.

"While the enclosed plants appear dry, don't be alarmed: they're simply dormant. Don't worry if you can't plant them immediately, even if the roots and tips begin to dry out. The onions can live off the bulb for up to three months."
"Do remove the plants from the box immediately. Keep them in a well ventilated, cool area until you can plant them. Do not put them in water."
"Plant your onions 4 to 6 weeks before the last estimated spring freeze."
"For the best growth and yield, onions need fertilizer right from the start. Use a 10-20-10 fertilizer. Plant the onions 4" apart and 1" deep, no deeper, as this will inhibit their ability to bulb. When planting several rows of onions, leave 16" between rows."

My onion sets made three double 9' rows.

I planted another double 9' row of garlic using immature bulbs that grew last year.

That afternoon I also sowed Zamboni Broccoli Raab seed in a pair of 9' rows. The seed is tiny and needs to be planted only 1/4" deep, covered and firmed with fine soil. I was pleasantly surprised when the seed sprouted within a week.

I also prepared a couple of rows very deeply to sow Nantes Half Long Carrot seed. These carrots will grow to 9" long and if the soil is not cultivated very well and very deeply the roots may fork or grow crooked. I sowed one row and will sow the second at the end of the month. The seed is also very small and must be sown no deeper than 1/4". The row has not yet sprouted.

I likewise prepared a pair of rows for Detroit Dark Red Beets. I bought these in seed tape which simplifies the sowing. The tape requires only to make a shallow 1/2" deep furrow and to cover the tape with fine soil. Like the carrots, I sowed one row, which also has not yet sprouted, and will sow the second at the end of the month.

For weeks now I have anticipated the season's opening of Klein's Garden Market on April 16th. The opening came on a cold blustery day with spitting rain. Klein's always has cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli, among other things, on opening day. Because they start in greenhouses, Klein’s plants are always farther along than mine. For $1.50 for three plants, it is also very economical.

This afternoon I planted my plants in 9' rows 18" apart. and now I have two rows of broccoli, a row of red cabbage, a row of early green cabbage, and a row of "Snow Queen" cauliflower.

So now my spring garden is coming along and I am pleased.

As soon as the soil warms to at least an average of 50 degrees, I will be able to plant the seed potatoes that have been "chiting" under a grow lamp for some weeks now. This will stimulate the potatoes into growing strong eyes.

But it remains colder than average. The weather has been somewhat volitile. Warm fronts surge up from the gulf for a day or two before clashing into storms with a cold front. It is supposed to snow tonight..

Sometimes I love life.

Stuff that happened this week in no particular order, The seven days of Zeph.

1. History midterm Tuesday.

Two in class essays, as per the usual.

Side note: I adore my history teacher. I want to give him hugs. He's funny, he's awesome, and he's funny. I actually pay attention in that class, and my A- shows it. Aww right.

2. English midterms. Two of them, different teachers.

A. The English Lit. one I'm not too worried about. I didn't study at all, but it was all on stuff I actually learned out of class. (Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Tennyson's Lady of Shallot, etc.)

B.The AMERICAN lit one is the one that freaked me the hell out.

See, that midterm is us writing four essays from a choice of a dozen questions. The essays are supposed to be two/three pages, double-spaced (but I never double space or else I'd be turning in eight or nine pages instead of just the four pages I usually turn in. Since my printer is defunct, that means I'd have to pay the library extra money for every page.)

So I wrote everything out the night before as per the usual, and- since there is no real class, just us waltzing in anytime before class ends and dropping the papers off- I figure the next morning 'Hey! I have an extra hour or so before I actually have to leave! Sweet!'

Cue me dicking around on E2 for the next hour.

Then, my brother so helpfully points out that I've missed the bus.

Me: It's okay, I've got another half hour before I have to turn it in.

Zephbro: But you missed the first bus.

Me: So? I've got plenty of time.

Zephbro: THE BUS STILL LEAVES AT THE SAME TIME.

Me: Oh. . . SHIT.

Cue me hurriedly packing everything up and running to the stop, hoping desperately to catch the next one.

So I wound up turning my papers in exactly five minutes late. When I got to her office (the designated drop off place), I noticed quite a lot of papers, but not any pile for midterms. I stacked them up, immediately shot her an email saying how I was five minutes late, didn't see any pile, and did she already take them?

I swear to God, I was so close to wetting myself. See, this was that hard to impress teacher who I somehow managed to impress last time. She gave me the email address of a girl who'd gotten scholarships to Mills and told me:

"No pressure, there's no commitment, but get in touch with her and ask about her experience there. Maybe ask about the scholarship opportunities. I think you'd do well."

So of course now I'm thinking 'HOLY HELL SHE'S GONNA FIND OUT THE FIRST TIME WAS A FLUKE AND SHE'S GONNA REGRET EVER SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT FANCY SCHOOLS AND I AM SCUM AND I WILL FAIL AND OH MY GOSH, I TOTALLY HALF-ASSED THAT LAST ESSAY ON THE ATMOSPHERIC QUALITIES OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHERN GOTHIC AAAAUUUGH-"

And so on.

So I spent the next day on the verge of breaking out into tears, wallowing in shame and thinking how much my teacher must hate me- both for the lateness (because that is her biggest pet peeve), and for the half-assery of one of the essays.

Then I finally got an email response telling me she didn't know why the pile wasn't there. She's in New York at the moment, so she can't go and check. We'll figure this out.

And suddenly- WOOMPH! A whole load off my back. I don't know why- nothing's changed. But I guess the acknowledgment of 'Oh, yes. You turned them in? They're probably around somewhere" just makes me think, 'woo! She doesn't hate me! . . . .Yet. Woo!'

3. This snippet from Brooke in my History Class.
(The best coming out response I've ever heard)

My cousin came out to my grandmother last week. She was all like "Oh. I am so surprised."

He's all, "You knew?!"

"Oh Sweetie, everyone knew. You walk into Wal-Mart and the employees know."

4. This in my American Lit class (before spring break/the midterm ordeal)

Me: Hey, Wes? How many esses in your name?
Wes: Wes has one, but it's actually short for Wesley.
Me: *Thinking of the annoying kid from Startrek* Hehehe. Wesley.
Neal: Wait, like-
Wes: Yeah. The guy in princess bride. My mother's basis of naming her kids is: does it look good in cursive? And are there any swears that rhyme with it? Wesley made it through.
Me: Breastly
*beat*
Neal: You just made that up.
Wes: Ask Mrs. TEACHER'S NAME if it's real.
Me: You don't think I will, do you?
Wes: Oh I know you will.
Neal: You have to now. Your reputation depends on it.

*TEACHER enters*

Me: Mrs. TEACHER, is breastly a word?
TEACHER: Beg pardon?
Me *Trying SO hard not to laugh* Is breastly a word?
TEACHER: No, I don't think so. 'I'm feeling awfully breastly today.' No, sorry.
Wes, Neal, and everyone who'd been listening to us: *Trying desperately to stifle giggling*

*Later on*
Neal: That totally justifies me actually going to class today.

5. My BFF's birthday was yesterday.

We're finally the same age- hooray! I got her Pokemon White Version because lately she's regressed back into a ten year old and has become obsessed with the Pokemon games.

Now, I've never been much of a gamer. When I was a kid, yeah, I liked the games, but I haven't played any DS games in a while (save for super Super Scribblenauts and DQ9- both games she gave me). She IS. She's constantly trying to get me to play games with her, and she talks about the games constantly. It was hilarious.

She: *Opens the bag, pulls out he game. Says in a slightly pleased but still very 'meh' way* Oh, yay. Pokemon white.
Me: *Pulls out her own DS* I got Black version so we can play together.

She screamed. She honest to God squealed. She immediately looked all embarrassed, but then she dancing around her living room.

After we went bowling and had cake and stuff, it was nothing but DSing and Rifftrax for the next few hours.

6. Easter rush at work.

See, I work in a church coffee shop. I volunteer in the kids ministry right next door to it in the mornings. I start work at twelve after the 11:45 rush and work until closing- which is actually my biggest job. I clean up everything after: wash out the espresso machine, empty the trash bins, restock/clean the display cases, and sweeping/mop the floors..

Now that they're having service every day for Easter, there's more work slots open. I'm just going to do both services Friday and let everyone else get their hours in. Starting May, though, my boss wants me to start working nine-closing rather than twelve-closing This is troublesome because it means I'm leaving Tanya and Delia to check in the more hectic services all on their own. I'll still be able to type up the precheck lists, but that won't help much when fifty oddly aggressive parents want to fit their four year olds into a classroom that already has twelve kids and only one teacher.

7. We're FINALLY building the aviary for the lovebirds.

It's going to be eight feet by eight feet by ten feet. The frame's all set up, and we've managed a way to make it attached to the inside-cage through the garage window, meaning they'll be able to go in and out whenever they like. It's going to be awesome.

/end Zeph's life.

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