On Shoddy Workmanship

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An engraving by William Morris. Note the skunk proofing.

You’re in a hurry. You’re frustrated and impatient. You say to yourself, “I don’t really need to secure this skunk proofing, my vegetables will be fine.” You might call it shoddy workmanship. I call it half-ass-itis. I’d say it’s the number one sin of the DIYer and I always know when I’m doing it.

There are those whose personality tends towards careful and elegant craftsmanship. You’ve probably met such a person. They craft their own musical instruments and win the blue ribbon at the county fair for their perfectly textured quince jam. I’m not that person (I’m more like this NSFW video). But we have freedom of choice. That’s what makes us human. We can change.

I had a rude reminder of my shoddy workmanship the other night when skunks breached poorly secured bird netting that protected a newly planted bed of vegetables. But at least I can do a better job of securing my skunk proofing as a start. Step by step, I vow to pay more attention to details. Otherwise they’ll be no home grown vegetables this winter.

Craftsmanship is not to be confused with perfectionism. A craftsperson is not afraid to make mistakes, to fail and to learn from setbacks. But to cut corners and know you’re taking an easy shortcut is to fall into halfassitis mode.

William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Morris’ craftsmanship was a reaction to the newly industrialized world. I can’t think of a better role model for countering halfassitis thinking.

Do you suffer from halfassitis or are you a detail person? Comments!

Shock the Worm

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From the November 1932 issue of Modern Mechanix, an idea from an era when people were a lot more cavalier about electricity. Personally, I prefer the safer worm grunting method. Via Modern Mechanix.

Update: Reader Don pointed out the similarity of this idea to the plot of a 1970s horror movie in which a downed power line causes a upward migration of killer worms. Here’s the trailer:

Saturday Linkages: Stealth, Mules and Opiates

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Stealth Pickup Camper http://frommoontomoon.blogspot.com/2013/10/stealth-pickup-camper.html …

Rocket Stove Heating http://www.notechmagazine.com/2013/10/rocket-stove-heating-systems.html …

Conservation You Can Taste http://garynabhan.com/i/archives/2327 

The Very Different Nomadic Lifestyle Of John Sears And His Three Mules… http://theflyingtortoise.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-very-different-nomadic-lifestyle-of.html …

Restaurants in China spike meals with opiates to keep diners coming back? http://barfblog.com/2013/10/restaurants-in-china-spike-meals-with-opiates-to-keep-diners-coming-back/ …

Okay, Then, It’s a “War on Cars” http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/okay-fine-its-war/Content?oid=9937449 …

For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:

Dramm’s Breaker Nozzle: My Favorite Watering Implement

Dramm Breaker Nozzle

I can’t count how many cheap watering implements we’ve gone through since we bought this house fifteen years ago. Big box store watering widgets seem to last just a few weeks before heading to the landfill.

I think I’ve found a solution. During the Garden Blogger’s Fling I attended back in June there was a demo by a Dramm Company representative. What impressed me most at the demo was Dramm’s simplest products, the Heavy-Duty Aluminum Water Breaker Nozzle combined with their Aluminum Shut-Off Valve.

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The breaker nozzle provides a gentle shower, much like a Haws Watering Can and would be appropriate to use on seedlings and vegetables. The shut-off valve is extremely durable. Neither item has plastic parts. They are sold separately.

While a lot more expensive than those plastic watering wands at the big box store, I have a feeling that these two high quality Dramm components will last a lot longer.