Category Archives: Gardening


The other day, I lost a horseshoe over the fence and could not find it. First, I thought not to replace it at all, then I thought to by another pair. Then I thought, “why should I buy another pair, when I only need one?”

But who sells just one horseshoe?

The current set of (previously 4) Horseshoes was made in USA in Worcester, MA, by St. Pierre Manufacturing . Quite simply, they were the cheapest that I saw on Amazon. (Yes, I buy from Amazon. Admittedly, It has become sort of a bad habit and I’m trying to quit. Sorry, all you Union organizers.) I also bought the previous set from St. Pierre but presumably they were crushed along with the remains of my previous vehicle (my mother’s old car) which was wrecked in an accident in the summer of 2019 on the CT turnpike.

I was able to find single horseshoes on ebay, but they seemed very overpriced. So, the search for a single horseshoe continues. If you have an inside track to this, let me know.

As a reminder, Horseshoes in Ft. Tryon park is on Thursdays from 7 pm or so. (If you show up early, call me if I’m not there yet.) Also note that Dean Heagle will be holding general office hours on Monday evenings at Manolas Tapas bar at 177thand Broadway in Manhattan from 6:30-8:00.

Return of friendly faces

Rebooting the horseshoe pit at Ft. Tryon happily included the reappearance of some familiar faces. And one day I was happy to see and enlist the help of an old friend to the pits, Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson

About Vinland

It may be noted that I that I suffer minor hearing loss, making it harder to hear certain consonants and understand some speakers who mumble or have a heavy accent. It is also sometimes hard for me to determine the origin of a speaker’s accent. Much the same thing happened when I first met Ron Jacobson when I mistakenly ascribed his accent and native tongue as Norwegian. As it turns out Ron is really from Vinland, (not to be confused with Finland), which is actually a country of unknown origins and no longer exists even as a land mass or sovereign body. And as it turns out Ron’s native tongue is Vinish which for many years has been a dead language forcing Ron to adopt and speak Norwegian. But make no mistake this is not to say that Ron is Norwegian as I had earlier believed. In fact Ron will insist that this is a stupid but common mistake claiming with pride that he is 100% Vinish. In Ron’s own words. “Fool, I am Vinish get it?, not Norwegian, not Swedish and not Finish, but Vinish, is that too much for your stupidhead to understand?”

“Idiot, jeg er Vinish få det?, ikke norsk, ikke svensk og ikke Ferdig, men Vinish er det for mye for din dumhet å forstå?”

“Of course, I’m Vinish,” Ron insisted. “You think I show up just for the Horseshoes, it’s the Vines stupidhead. The place is overgrown vines. And it’s in my blood to try to help.” “Vines can be very tricky,” Ron continued. “I show up here. Because I see you have a vine problem and I want to help. If managed correctly, the vines shouldn’t interfere too much with your horseshoe play.” “ But still don’t underestimate the power of the vines. According to ancient lore, regarding the story of Vinland it is said that the whole country was eventually swallowed by an overgrowth of vines. Which leads me to ask. What in the world are you thinking by trying to clear both sides of the pit? Do you think that you can play on both sides? You fool. I say,” Ron continued, “Just clear one side as you play, and tramp down any extra growth as you walk back and forth between the pits. What kind of a stupidhead are you anyway? If someone wants to clean up the other side, I say take the Capitalist way out and let them do it themselves. Maybe they will form a rival horseshoe team and soon you will be competing for big money.”

Bare rydd den ene siden mens du spiller, og tramp ned eventuell ekstra vekst når du går frem og tilbake mellom gropene.Hva slags idiot er du egentlig?

So it is almost like Ron said it and this just automatically made it so. In other words, for the foreseeable future the plan will be to clear and use just one side of the pit while making the other side at least manageable by weeding as needed while most of the work will be done by tramping the borders while walking from pit to pit. This will result in more focus on the game and less on the work of weeding, perhaps making this sport more appealing to the masses. Did I already mention that Ron is employed as an efficiency expert by NASA and has already been able to shorten the expected launch of the manned Mars mission from 2032 to only a few years from now.? Good on you Ron Jacobson!, I’ve heard a lot about Mars and I can hardly wait to go there.

To avoid confusion over dates and times. There will be regular games every Thursday starting at 7:00 from now until September. Also note that Dean Heagle will be holding general office hours on Monday evenings at Manolas Tapas bar at 177thand Broadway in Manhattan from 6:30-8:00.

Yet more ways to become more manly

Increase your manliness

I just got a book about testosterone loss in men after age 50. It says right there that weeding a garden or just plain weeding is a sure way to make some gains in the testosterone department, (actually I am making this up and none of this is true). However, it is true that intensive weeding can really get your heart pumping and it’s possible that it will help you to produce magnificent muscles, helping to create taunt men all over the world. And while I have not been at it long enough to personally show any of these gains, I can personally attest to the fact that the practice does wonders for one’s focus, if not one’s overall perspective on life.

Weeding at the pits has been rather constant but not overly time consuming. A few weeks ago, there was a certain omnipresent weed which was about to go to seed. And most of them were cut down in their prime before they could do so.

This weed was omnipresent, cut down in its prime, before it could go to seed.

The vines are almost impossible to get rid of and these vine runners average over 5 feet long. This is war!

Another constant battle is undertaken with the dominant vines. They are literally everywhere and have deep roots which seem to go on forever making them hard to control. Each strand stretches about 5 feet before it becomes a runner, burrows itself into the ground and extends the root system anew. These vines are hardy and tenacious and represent one of the most difficult aspects of clearing the pits. And this battle is far from over.










A side benefit of weeding the vines is that the roots may perhaps (although still completely unknown) just might be of some medicinal value. They also might be poison, so it’s strongly suggested that you don’t try to consume them at home until the safety aspect can be verified. That aside, from their appearance, the roots bear a strong resemblance to ginseng root which has been used for centuries for it’s medicinal properties. They also strongly resemble mandrake which is often associated with the occult and is known to have hallucinogenic properties.

Highly valued on the black market?

How manly can you get?

If this won’t make a man outa ya, then nothing will!










It is possible that the eating of these vine roots or drinking them as tea, may in fact cause an increase in your manhood. Or else this theory should be simply disregarded as a foolish rumor which you should not follow, because in addition to the possibility of these roots increasing your manhood, they may also cause you to hallucinate and die or even worse, just die without the hallucinations.

So proceed with caution. The exact species of this vine is not even currently known. It may be that even touching it may cause one to be delusional. It is possible that this is what’s happening as I write this post. At the very least, more information on this matter is highly desirable before actual benefits or side effects can be know.


––Dean Heagle: President,  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League

Other ways to be a man

Increase your manliness

If you can’t muster carrying big bags of sand, there are many other ways to increase your manliness. I’ve discovered that an effective method is by planting flowers which inevitably necessitates some type of eco-terrorism.

These are not the actual Dahlias at the horseshoe pit but instead represent wishful thinking.

This year it was decided to plant Dahlias mostly because the bulbs were half price when I was arranging the purchase of sand at the home center in the Bronx. Going to the home center is also a good way to increase your manliness. And going to the home center in the Bronx, has been shown to be even more effective.

The cheap price of the Dahlia bulbs was the plus side, but the down side, that I only learned later, was that Dahlias are a bit fussy and will likely not get sufficient attention at the horseshoe pits. Also, they should have been planted 2 months earlier, hence I suppose, the half off sale. So, fingers crossed about the Dahlias.

At the home center, I was also able to acquire a 40lb. bag of potting soil and a really huge bag of wildflower seeds, enough to plant a large field. Last week, all of the above were planted, sown and/or scattered. The planting area was dug up, aerated and weeded. Even with the additional quality soil I brought in, the overall solid quality is quite poor. And I also imagine that no one will be showing up to water anything which is a problem since NYC summers can be very hot and not very wet. So let’s see what happens.

Eco-terrorism? Adding new soil and plants may be good, but inevitably the immediate existing ecosystem suffers.

I have done so much weeding in the horseshoe pits that I’m considering updating my resume to include a section on “eco-terrorism.” We still somewhat practice the “live and let live policy”, but really every week, just in the interests of keeping the playing field clear, we have been responsible for the death of dozens, if not hundreds of plants. And getting ready for planting has certainly wiped out whole eco-systems. And yet I don’t really feel that guilty about any of this. I am not killing or weeding without purpose. After all, I am a man. And every time I cut something down it’s just a re-affirmation of my manhood. So, you could argue that I just can’t help it. Or alternatively, that the Dahlias and wildflowers will be worth it and preferable to what was already there. Even if the former explanation tends to hold true, I still prefer the latter explanation.


––Dean Heagle: President,  Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League