Archive for Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gunny sack memories

October 27, 2011

This is such a busy time of year. It’s time to take a look at our yards and do some clean up and pick up to get ready for winter. Yesterday I cut up the peony plants and a few of the leaves that had been blown up into piles around the yard.

When we were kids the yards were not as neat and well trimmed as they are now, and the grass and weeds just grew sometimes as tall as six feet.

In the fall, we would burn off the back yards, naturally with adult supervision. There would always be smoke in the air because of that as every one in Lansing had the same problem.

There was a time when my brother Art and I decided that we were big enough to do it by ourselves. We didn’t follow dad’s instructions about having a wet gunny sack handy. The fire got away from us and luckily dad saw what was happening and came running with a wet gunny sack for each of us. We used the sacks to beat out the fire before it made its way to the neighbor’s back yard.

What a learning experience that was. Dad was angry with us but after all the work of putting the fire out, he figured we had learned our lesson.

Back then, everyone had gunny sacks in their garage or barn and they were used for many things. The gunny sack is an inexpensive bag made of burlap. They are used to transport agricultural products such as grains and potatoes, also coffee, corn, wheat, and probably many other commodities.

A gunny sack holds approximately 100 pounds of potatoes, and the farmers today still use that unit of measure for a sack of potatoes.

Gunny sacks are made of natural fibers that are environmentally friendly.They are noncarcinogenic and nontoxic. They are made of jute and hemp fibers and they have a high tensile strength. The breath ability allows air to pass through them, which helps commodities stay fresh. You can stack sacks of potatoes several layers high and the fibers are not distorted. Now it is very common to see them used for erosion control in building projects.

Sack races are popular and the sacks not tear under all that stress. You can buy new gunny sacks or used gunny sacks at many places. Even some interior decorators are using them to decorate rustic homes.

Some gunny sacks that have an imprint on them are now collectibles so check out your garage or barn to see what you have.

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