Although my friend assured me that the swing set in her back yard was totally worth the price, our family was living as frugally as we could, in order to save up for our first adoption. I figured I could do things the old-fashioned way, make use of something that would otherwise end up in a landfill, and make our own swing without spending an arm and a leg. So, one bright sunny day last spring, I set to work.
First, we drove to the local tire center where the many white-shirted guys happily dug a worn-out tire from their bin and loaded it into my van. From there it was on to the hardware store where 75′ of stout rope only cost about $15.
The trickiest part of this project, and the one that kept me thinking hard for several days beforehand, was how to get the rope over the branch, which rose about 30′ above the ground. Hubby assumed he would climb the tree. But there were two problems with this idea. First of all, he was at work the day I wanted to make the swing. Secondly, the branch I wanted stuck out in a particularly inaccessible place and I doubted he would easily or safely be able to climb up there. Nor would I. This called for brains over brawn, and I had been trying to figure a way to do it for a week.
Finally, in true adventurous Swiss Family Robinson style, I found my solution. I pulled an old re-curve bow out of the rafters of the garage and hunted up one of my old target arrows. The bow had long since lost its string so I had to improvise.
With some twine tied to the end of one of my old arrows, I shot toward the branch, much to the amusement of my children, and the neighbor, who came out to watch. It took about three tries before the arrow flew into the tree exactly where I wanted it. Unlike the quick, happy results that the father in the book received, my arrow got stuck up in the branches. Such is reality over fiction! I pulled it down and tried again. This time, with a little careful wiggling, I got it to fall back down on the opposite side of the branch, and I was in business.
I tied my heavy orange rope to the twine and it easily went over my 30′ tall branch and down the other side. A bowline knot (courtesy of my Navy grandpa) and a loop around the other end and it slid right up and held fast around the branch. A few more knots around the tire, and our new swing was done.
My daughter, Natalie, was thrilled to jump on and swing. All of the kids have used the tire swing at one time or another, and they particularly enjoy the swirling, spinning way that the tire goes around! I enjoyed finding a good use for a worn-out tire, and spending so little for a toy that has gotten a lot of use over the past year.
About the Author: Erin Jepsen