Life on the farm not only takes creativity but also inspires it. You find unique and useful ways to make the most of all that is available to you. This was true of my father who acquired his farm through a rent with option to buy set up. He scrimped and scraped to make the dream of owning his own place a reality. It was also true of us children. We learned to use items in ways that were not always how they were intended to be used in order to keep the place running, as all the latest gizmos and gadgets could not be afforded.
This thinking outside of the box tactic, thankfully, carried over into other parts of our lives, including our play.
While there were many practical uses for baling twine strings after they were discarded from the loosened bale of hay or straw, my sisters and I found playful uses for them too.
My dad used them to tie up his britches when he realized he’d forgotten his belt that morning.
My brothers used them to tie closed a fence when the last person to close it had misplaced the chain and hook that was supposed to fasten it shut.
But my sisters and my uses were much more creative.
Of course we did the usual crafty things like; braid them into jump ropes, and weave them into mats and plant hangers, but then we took it one more imaginative step further.
Mother often kept our hair short for ease of cleaning and so as not to get tangled when we were working. We always wished we had long locks, so we created our own. We tucked many strands under our hats and pranced about like beauty queens. Or on occasion held them at the bands of our pants and pretended that they were horse tails. Our imaginations took us to fancy balls as princesses, or to the highest ridge where all the stallions stood their ground.
My sister was always best at coming up with the imaginative games. But now I’m mining the memories of our youthful experiences and putting them into tales to share with other youngsters, in hopes that they will become creative story tellers too.
I no longer have cast off baling twine at my disposal, but I find many varied trinkets that others have no use for and I give them new life.
It is the joy of being an artist. Go to my site’s page of figures and ornaments to see where I put some of those trinkets to use.
You can also check out some of the uses other artists are still finding for recycled baling twine on Pinterest.
Often I cuss the little bits and strands of string that wrap themselves around the wheels of my sewing chair impeding its motion, but then I remember the line from Mouse Hunt:
“Life without string is chaos.”
And it would have deprived us of so much creative play.