by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Burlap sacks, also called Hessian sacks, are to fabric as what pallets are to wood. Projects abound to the creative mind. Homesteaders are filled with creative ways to recycle things and our ancestors, whether on the homestead or even town know how to make use of all of those kind of resources, including tin cans, wire, glass jars, etc.
Small rucksack made from burlap sack and some waste rope
The Internet abounds with ideas of how to reuse, recycle and upcycle pallet wood and there are also instructions to be found on the use and reuse and the recycling and upcycling of burlap (Hessian) sacks. In addition to that books with the old skills of the homesteaders and the Australian Bushmen also have ideas and instructions for reworking such material in them.
The first mountaineer rucksacks of the Alps were nothing but sacks, more often than not potato sacks, that were “fitted” with some rope for straps. Both ends are tied to the bottom corner of the sack and the too pf the sack is closed by forming a “cow hitch” with the rope, which is them put over the top of the sack gathered together and pulled tight and – voila – one old-timer rucksack. Even during World War Two many Soviet soldiers used rucksacks like this, simply made from a sack and rope. (see picture)
Floor covering and throw rugs were made from burlap sacks on the homestead, as were even bed coverings and burlap and other sacking in those old days was even used to make clothes.
Flour came in nice material which, in fact was canvas rather than burlap, and many a child had bib overalls or dresses that Mom made from flour sacks.
Of course now flour comes in a paper sack, and that even from the mill to the baker, and farm feed comes in plastic lined paper sacks, if it does not come in plastic sacks altogether. That's progress for you.
Where, in those days of old, which are not all that long past since, most packaging, bar glass containers, was made from natural materials, and much came in sacks, from flour, over potatoes, to nuts, pulses and rice, and much else besides, today this is all being packaged, in the main, in man-made materials, predominately plastic bags, the latter which may not actually be all that good for us either.
As said, I do not think that we have progressed much at all. In fact it would appear that we have gone mad.