• Granny Knot or Square Knot?

    Our Icelandic sheep can untie Square knots.  Really.  Debbi and I have seen it happen.  Short ropes we use to secure temporary fence panels sometimes become mysteriously and inconveniently untied.

    Flock members  mouth  the ends of our sweaty-hand-tasty Square-knotted ropes on fence posts…then pull hard.  The knot quickly slips apart.  Square knots are great in first aid and back packing, yet they’re not so fine when you need other secure fastenings.

    But Granny knots?

    As an Eagle Scout in a family of Eagle Scouts, I learned from my parents and youth leaders to always tie Square knots.   The Best knot…    I was taught.

    Later, in my intense rock climbing,caving, and National Ski Patrol adventures, I found that Square knots can be dangerous.  They may work well in many tasks, but can also pull out, untie, and let go of a load if you use them to join ropes.

    It turns out that Granny knots –those dreaded errors of attempted Square-knot tying for which Scouts, skiers, and climbers receive reprimand– can be more secure, even safer in some applications.

    And our sheep can’t unite them.

    A well-tied Granny knot will hold more reliably than a Square knot in certain situations.  The knot user must be alert and aware.  Flexible thinking is good.

    Square knots –doing things the  right  way– can sometimes get you into deep trouble. Knowing when to use Granny knots –when to safely bend the usual rules– may work better.  That knowledge could save your life.

    So, Granny knot or Square knot?   Best way  or another more flexible, perhaps better way?

    Knotty issues to ponder for our daily sheep-engineering decisions.

    And for all the other things of life.

    Adapted from Tales from the Red Pump, volume 2, book manuscript in preparation. Copyright 2014  Thomas Wayne King.   All Rights Reserved.
    Thomas and Debra tend their fiber flock of ten registered Icelandic sheep at their remote, primitive Sunny Cove farm.  In far northwestern Wisconsin, they overlook harbors and bays of Lake Superior.  Sheepdogs Scotty and Sonja help haul water and supplies on sleds, year-round.


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