A lectern assembled from hay bales for a Nov. 15 press conference at the Belfast Cohousing and Ecovillage development.

Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who spoke at the event, opened his remarks with a joke about the connection between hay and manure and how a politician ought to be wary of being associated with the stuff. By the time Mitchell spoke, television and radio reporters had laid several additional microphones atop the bales.

The shovels at right were used for the groundbreaking ceremony. Cohousing project manager Sanna McKim said the public relations firm that organized the event recommended having at least one gold-painted shovel, but McKim disagreed.

“I don’t think we’re about gold,” she said.