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If my stars had been aligned such that I lived in a community overseen by an HOA, I suspect my mailbox would be chokestuffed with shouty, all-caps warning letters right about now. Not that I live in a crackhouse or anything. But something is going on with my lawn. Something. Definitely. Going on. What happened, see, was we let our weekly landscaping service lapse for a few months and, seemingly overnight — as though the spirit of Gaia herself detected some promising cosmic portal left ajar through which to vengefully re-establish her verdant dominion over our paved, strip-malled, skyscrapered, suburbanized earth — a goblin freak army of weeds pulled a Red Dawn on our yard.

Total domination. Not just dandelions and foxtails. There are weeds jungling all up in my yard that I don’t even know the words for, weeds that sport xenomorphic blades and leaf-claws, very possibly dripping with molecular acid; weeds in rough hominid shapes, like they’re willing themselves to evolve; weeds with stalks so thick they might be better considered ambitious proto-trunks. The totalized effect of the yard is now one of smug, taunting, self-congratulatory achievement on the part of a sentient biomass. Oh, sure, I’d call the landscaper and order an airstrike if something like momentary admiration tinged with animistic awe didn’t stay my hand. But anyway, yeah, just disclosing up front that I’m not introducing an issue with a feature about home and garden design with a huge amount of banked credibility. But I’ve got tons of cred when it comes to spring. I mean, my yard is (rawr!) spring incarnate.

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Seriously, though: For some truly inspired home and garden designs, turn to p. 57, where we profile the work of designers of both indoor and outdoor spaces who’ve turned several valley homes into restorative places of comfort and style.

The season expresses itself in this issue in other ways: It’s baseball season, and here’s a head-turning fact: Since Major League Baseball began its first-year player draft in 1965, Southern Nevada has provided the organization with more than 300 players. Matt Jacob’s story on p. 44 explores that phenomenon and considers Vegas through the lens of being ... a baseball town? Yes. And what are a few sentences about baseball without their natural complement, a few sentences about hot dogs? On p. 50, Jason Scavone digs into the latest tastes in dogs, whether they’re revived classics or bold new gourmet flavorfurters™. If your tastes run to more sophisticated, less tubular fare, check out our review of Harvest (p. 54), a new restaurant that surely marks a disciplined reinvigoration of farm-to-table fine dining on the Strip.

Finally, let me jump ahead with some breathless hype for our May travel issue. We’re taking the theme literally: We’ll be producing the issue from the road, as staff writer Heidi Kyser, art director Christopher Smith and I spend 10 days looping the state in an RV, sharing stories about the people and places of Nevada and eating lots and lots of beef jerky. But you don’t have to wait until May: Visit desertcompanion.vegas for dispatches from our adventures in the small towns and big wilderness of beautiful rural Nevada. Jerky ho!

If you’ve enjoyed this read, wait until you get your hands on a bunch of these reads from contemporary voices mining the good stuff from Las Vegas — all laid out in a gorgeous design experience. Subscribe. It comes to your house. For real!

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