Essentials farmers can’t live without


I have a big question for all farmers out there.
Who among you could possibly farm without the following agricultural essentials: baler twine, duct tape and a tarp strap or two.
If you are one of the rare breed of pup who believe you could get the job done without any of them, you deserve to be featured in some odd movie of the week!
Twine. I remember a fellow, so incredibly robust that I honestly think he could have been cast as Paul Bunyan without a single bit of cinematic trickery.
He was memorable in more ways than one, but one thing that stands out in my memory of this big guy is that he quite often showed up for important meetings with baler twine sticking out of his pockets.
“You never know when you’re gonna need it,” was his simple response.
He had baler twine in green, black and the good old, natural straw-colored stuff.
I remember for farmer fun day back in high school, I used a bit of black twine to tie a necklace together, using my favorite heifer’s number as the pendant on the twine chain.
We four girls would have been lost without that twine – a hot day in the hay mow would find us searching for a quick way to pull our long hair into a pony tail.
Twine could do the job every single time.
Between twine and tarp straps, a muffler trying to run astray can be secured. A loose dog can be corralled and tied. A shaky board fence can be temporarily fixed until there is more time to do the job right.
A calf can be brought in to the world with a little bit of twine to help a difficult delivery. A horse stable can be secured with a couple of fancy knots of twine.
The list is honestly endless.
Duct tape. Duct tape is the preferred emergency kit essential for many farmers.
“Man, I couldn’t farm without it,” one guy once told me. He had it in several colors, just like the one farmer with the twine.
Duct tape, this man told me, comes in gray, clear and even camouflage. He said he was pretty sure his old farm pick-up truck would fall apart without a steady stream of duct tape.
He jokingly said he had the patent pending on a duct-tape-mobile!
Tarp straps. Tarp straps or bungee cords are strong enough to be called on for just about any farm job. The down side to these things is that they can hurt you.
My dad was constantly reminding us of the dangerous side of these essential items on the farm. He knew a man who had lost the vision in one eye because a tarp strap had let loose and snapped him square in the eye.
That story came back to me when, about a year ago, I met a man who needed emergency dental care after a tarp strap snapped off his two front teeth, splitting his lip wide open in the process.
I think I’ll stick with baler twine.
Along the way, I’ve learned all sorts of fancy knots and some pretty good tricks of the twine trade.
And on a rainy day, if you’re looking for something to do, my sister can even show you a jump rope game, designed for twine.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.