Hay Hooks–The New Hipster Accessory?

With so many city chickens I predict that hay hooks will become just as indispensable to the urban hipster as is the fixed gear bicycle. After years of hauling staw bales up the 30 steps to our house (to use as bedding for the chickens) I just broke down and bought a pair.

A vaquero at the feed store intervened with a neat tip when he saw me struggling to use my new hay hooks to load some bales into a friend’s truck. Here’s what he showed me. Note the red arrow in the photo above. Odds are with new hooks that this distance needs to be shortened a bit. My hay hooks were much easier to use after the feed store guy bent them using one of the anchor points in the truck bed.

In addition to the steps, my other reason for owning hay hooks is that I have to navigate bales down a narrow side yard. Hay hooks make the maneuver above a lot less awkward.

Now when will we see Bianchi come out with the hay hook equivalent of the Pista?

Saturday Linkages: Garden Hoses, Planners and IKEA Hacks . . .

Ikea meets aquaponics.

Finding the Garden Hose of my Dreams Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2013/01/garden-hose-of-my-d1reams.html …

Home Ec
On Planners, Productivity, and Idle Pleasures http://thetanglednest.com/2013/01/on-planners-productivity-and-idle-pleasures/ …

DIY Barn Door Track Tutorail http://shar.es/47h3M 

How Google Earth Revealed Chicago’s Hidden Farms: http://ow.ly/gJRrS

Bad News Department
Florida couple may have to give up their vegetable garden b/c of city ordinance http://ow.ly/gIg4C
Looney Gas and Lead Poisoning: A Short, Sad History | Wired Science | http://Wired.com  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/looney-gas-and-lead-poisoning-a-short-sad-history/ …

Aquaponic hacks
Rooftop aquaponic system: http://www.ampsnola.com

Indoor Micro Aquaponics System (IKEA-hack): http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-and-Cheap-IKEA-Indoor-Aquaponics-System/ …

The Lucien Gaudin Cocktail http://www.cocktailmusings.com/2010/11/lucien-gaudin-cocktail.html …

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Garden Design: Quantity vs. Quality

There’s an old saw, probably apocryphal, about a ceramics teacher who divided her class in two, made one half spin as many pots as possible while the other struggled to create one perfect pot. The students who were graded by quantity rather than quality made the best pots. I’ve noticed, from the years I used to be in the art world, that he most talented creative folks I’ve met crank out lots of material.

So how do we apply the quantity over quality principle to laying out a garden–especially since you often get only one chance a year to get it right? Above you see some of Kelly’s ideas for the parkway garden we planted in the fall. I think it is at this first point in the process–when you’re just sketching out ideas–when it’s best to generate as many drawings a possible, stick them on a wall and see which ones pop out. I think Kelly made more than the three drawings we saved, but we certainly could have done more–I’d say 20 minimum.

Part of what we learn by focusing on quantity is about making mistakes and learning from them. But I think there’s more to it than that. A gifted high school English teacher of mined likened our creativity to a tank of water. Sometimes you have to drain off the not so great ideas at the top in order to get to the good stuff that lies deep in our unconscious. Letting go of stifling perfectionism also forces us to try out ideas that might not have come to us otherwise.

I wish you all a quantitative 2013. Best of luck with your gardens!