Thursday, January 24, 2013

Prepareness - Knots

You may not have tied a knot all year but it doesn't mean it is not an essential need. Hence, our daughter and I are learning knots this year as part of our preparedness goals. After all cordage is one of the top five basics on a survival list.  And Cordage doesn't do any good if you can't tie knots. 

I assume all of you can tie your shoes but then again there are those with Velcro, so maybe not. I'm not dissing those who don't as I still tie mine with two bows looped over each other. Tying shoes being one of the common handicaps of a Autistic mind. I've moved on from that though and can tie shoes now in several ways. My son being the instigator of that. But my feet are Houdinis and can untie almost any knot if left to walk a quarter of a mile or more without my hands ever having touched them. 

 There are a few knots I use frequently but I also frequently am in position where I need a better knot and don't have one. I tie up livestock to fences when in a halter, I tie down tarps over hay and equipment. I tie open the tractor shed doors before I drive it out. And I have to tighten the clothes line every summer with a double half hitch to take out the sag. Maybe another knot would do a better job, I don't know because I know so very few. So when I was begged to take over cubscouts for a while on the contingency that if family needs consume more of my time than presently, I'm released from duty.  I began to teach knots and a few other things but what does one expect with a ADH mind. 

But earning badges is not going to be our main goal, instead learning will be. I want them to use the things they learn and teach them how it can enrich their lives.The boys won't remember the knots if they don't use them in practical ways. It is why so many knots have more than one name. For instance, a square knot is also a reef knot.

A square knot was the first knot I taught last night. Growing up I used this knot on the gate since for quite a period of time it had no latch. It is fast to tie and fast to untie. It is used to lash to ends or two ropes together. It is what they call a temporary knot. One meant to hold something for a short period of time, hence, fast to tie and fast to untie.
Two different colored ropes works best as you can see the path of each rope. A square knot is left over right and right over left. Or right over left and left over right.

 It doesn't matter but the rope that lays on top first and goes under is the say rope that lays on top once more and goes through the hole. So the first pass is just like when you are tying your shoes or a granny knot.
 Then voila - the knot is two loops and two tails. The next step for the boys was to take just the yellow or just the white rope and pull it around a pretend post. The tails of these two ends are tied in a square knot. Since only one colored rope is used, it tested the boys and they made a mistake their first round. Having succeeded before, they were quick to try again and some again, but success was the end result. I have to say out loud, left over right and right over left commanding my hands lest they wonder off in the wrong direction.  That is the way I latched the gate as a child and a good method to master a task.
 But I have another way of tying a square knot. It is the way I tie the large doors back on the tractor shed. I use old baling twine. This is two short pieces of cordage and not strong enough on their own with the wind trying to use the large doors as sails. So I fold the length of twine in  half creating a loop on one end. I do the same thing with another twine. I lay one over the other.
 Then I pull the tails of the loop on top through the loop on bottom. 
The same knot with another method of tying it. This gives me a longer rope and one that is two twine pieces thick giving it strength that is sufficient to tie back the doors in a high wind - for a short time. Left, it would not hold but it doesn't have to work for longer than a few hours. I then use a triple half hitch to tie the ends to the side of the building or the fence. Is there such a thing as a triple half hitch. Hmmm.... don't know. It is a half hitch, a half hitch, and one more half hitch.

This method does not work so well if you are joining two fifty foot long pieces of rope. Too much tail to drag through the loop. And a double thick rope is not always necessary. It might just use up too much rope leaving you short. 

Of course I would not have to tie the twine in this manner, I could just take two pieces of twine, tie them in a square knot and loop them back on each other creating a double thick rope. Choices, that is what I like about knowledge. It creates possibilities.

So if you want to learn to tie knots with me, I'd suggest buying some inexpensive rope in two different colors. Girls are not exempt from needing to tie knots for prepareness. Don't count on a guy being around to bale you out. He might be injured, he might be off on a work crew, one might not be around. Hence, the word self in self-sufficiency.

 Unless you live in the city and have others servicing most of your needs, you are going to need to know how to tie knots. Any ranch or farm girl has to know a few.  In a disaster or bug out situation, they become life saving. I realize that the few I know aren't going to be sufficient in an emergency. Tying a Bowline is definitely one I need to know. It is a standard basic. My dad has taught me how to tie one almost every year and every year I promtly forget it. This year I'm practicing off and on, using it in tasks around the place so it becomes ingrained in my mind like the square knot that latched the gate.

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