Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bailing twine can have many uses

As featured Saturday, October 13, 2012, at

Ingenuity and creativity surfaced in those times when it was boring inside on long summer days, yet if you made the mistake of getting caught underfoot you were sure to be given a chore.
Out of sight, however, a kid could often stay out of mind as well.
Ropes, halters, plant hangers, you name it, they were born of such out-of-sight times, left over bailing twine and countless such hours of sitting in the barn – hours spent braiding and tying.
While braiding lengths of bailing twine together to hang a swing from the door of the barn for kids to use, that familiar feeling surfaced with memories of those hours of the past.
Of course, rather than in days gone by, when the natural fibers of the twine left splinters and tore at the skin, this twine was bright pink and yellow and made of plastic strands.
And braiding 20-feet of rope didn't hurt and lock-up the fingers back then, but otherwise it was a surprising realization to discover not much had changed, including the calming comfort that came with sitting in the quiet and crossing strand-over-strand, over and over again.
Bailing twine is one of those nifty little collateral items that just become part of the scenery in a barn.
With two or three strands wrapped around each bale of hay, they start to add up over time and if allowed, can even cause quite a mess.
But when you see them hung neatly over a nail or railing, you know you are in the barn of someone who treasures the value and versatility of bailing twine, or "hay string" as some call it.
Proportionately, barn work often seems to outsize the time one gets to spend with their horses, so it seems fitting that their food comes with such a one-size-fits-all tool.
And in a functional and pragmatic barn, the pink ropes can often be spotted holding railings together, serving as door pulls, bucket handles, netting, or hangers for tools, picks and brushes.
One might assume a farmers' young daughter has run rampant trying to "pretty" up the barn, but though the colors are catchy these days – with hues of mostly pink, but also orange, yellow, red green and sometimes black or white – those bright strands are simply a solution to just about any fix-it dilemma.
Recently a friend shared a photo of a young boy at her barn with pink twine looped and tied to his jeans because he was getting ready to ride, but had forgotten his belt and couldn't keep his pants up.
The image got the wheels turning about all the different ways the stuff has come in handy over the years.
Tie a circle at the end of a piece of twine, slip it over the nose of a horse, bring the loose end around behind the ears, tie it off, and you have an ultra-quick catch halter that fits in a pocket.
Braided into long ropes and tied to those metal clips that always seem to turn up around a barn, they make for strong leashes and lead ropes.
Strands tied to rails and twisted together in a grid pattern can create a temporary fence.
Tightly wrapped around a hose, twine can seal off a leak long enough to finish filling a tank, and tied from one corner to another, it makes a great place to hang spray bottles, blankets and more.
Some people out there get really creative with their bailing twine, weaving it into hammocks, rugs and bags, and one website even suggests strands of it tied to a horses tail as a makeshift fly swatter/hair extension for those whose tails have met unfortunate ends.
But perhaps best of all, a pile of twine, out-of-sight times, the idle hands of a child, and a quiet spot in the barn can weave incredible memories.

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