Country Lore: Hay Bale Strings and Horseshoes

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You can use horseshoes and hay bale strings for projects around the house.

Living on a farm and feeding hay to many animals, we always have lots of hay bale strings around the barn. Over the years, some of the uses we have found for the strings are: trimming out the knots and braiding the strings into light ropes; tying the strings into plant hangers, and braiding a short piece to gates and barn doors for a better grip.

There also seems to be an accumulation of horseshoes. We shape some in the shop after heating them, but most can be bent “cold” with a large vice and a hammer. A stout piece of pipe fitted over the leg or arm of the horseshoe while it is in the vise really makes shaping them easy. All of the bends we use are about a 45-degree angle. Some of the uses are handles for boxes, door handles, hooks (for hanging used hay bale stings or ropes!), boot scrapers (nailing one to the edge of the porch), and for just plain “good luck” over a door or window.

Earl “Red” Coakley
Summersville, West Virginia