Farm Progress

Life is Simple: Baling twine and baling wire are not the same thing — especially when it comes to making repairs in the pouring rain.

Jerry Crownover

June 6, 2017

2 Min Read

I always believed my father could fix absolutely anything — if he only had access to enough baling wire.

Growing up on the farm, I would encounter dozens of baling wire repairs every day. Broken door hinges would become workable once again after Dad’s application of the rusty, old fix-it material. Most all of our gates fastened shut with baling wire. Exhaust pipes on cars, trucks and tractors were attached with baling wire. Machinery gears were held in place with the material, and my first car ran the last 50,000 miles of its life with a front stabilizer bar fastened securely with baling wire.

Dad seemed to have an almost endless supply of the wire, and I thought that was odd since we never (at least in my lifetime) owned a hay baler that used wire. The mystery was solved one day when I accompanied my father to a farm sale and the auctioneer failed to get a $1 bid on a pile of used baling wire big enough to fill the bed of a pickup truck. “I’ll give you 50 cents,” Dad yelled out.

“Sold,” announced the good colonel. That pile lasted Dad the rest of his life.

I did not inherit my dad’s genius at fixing things with what’s lying around, but … I try. A few weeks ago, before the floods began, a strong windstorm blew down one of the downspouts from the corner of our home. The 25-foot piece was bent and twisted beyond eye-pleasing repair, so I had to special-order two pieces to replace it. While we were waiting (it’s been five weeks and we’re still waiting), the flooding rains began and, without a downspout, the runoff from the eave trough poured in behind our siding and began to flood the lower floor of our house. Temporary and emergency action had to be taken.

In the pouring rain, I straightened out the two long sections that were bent, enough so that I deduced they would carry water. I then melded the two together into one long piece with enough duct tape to repair a NASCAR racer. With that accomplished, I jammed it up into the eave trough opening and secured the bottom section to the corner of our wooden deck with baler twine, not wire, and two more rolls of duct tape. It held … for that rainstorm.

In a couple of days, all my handiwork came apart, so I repaired it the same way again to weather even more rain and flooding. When my masterpiece came apart the third time, leading to more wet carpets and a questionable attitude from my wife, she asked, “Why can’t you fix that thing so it will stay put?”

“I could,” I answered calmly, “if I only had a pile of baling wire.”

Crownover writes from Missouri.

About the Author(s)

Jerry Crownover

Jerry Crownover raises beef cattle in Missouri.

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