Thursday, April 25, 2013

Double Toothpicks

We have a lot of ratchet straps here. If you have the right number and the right kind of ratchet straps you can tie anything down. Really anything. A barn or a tugboat or anything. There is a certain kind of person who really likes to tie things down. This includes a lot of farmers.

This type of person will have a process for tying things down and probably a set of homemade load binders and if you stand too close to this type of person during certain times of the year - hay season, usually - the person may just spontaneously start describing how they tie things down. You will have to move a safe distance away to avoid this. Pretend you have seen a flock of hummingbirds in the distance and just move discreetly out of range, with your eyes fixed on the horizon.

During the hay season our farmer always surveys the other trucks in the field to make sure that none of them are getting more bales on their truck than we are. If one of them is, the farmer will mutter, "well, that is a flatbed," or, "they won't get home with that load."  By way of introduction the farmer may walk up to newcomers in the hay field and ask innocently, "how many bales can you get on your truck?"

Once the answer came back, "65," and the whole day was ruined because it is a known fact that Brownie's world record is 63 bales of hay. That is if we have good hay monkeys - teenage boys, usually - and the right kind of ratchet straps. If the farmer is loading alone that number drops in half.

On the other hand once there was a man with a shiny new truck that looked like it cost about $50,000 and he told the farmer proudly that he was able to get 16 bales of hay on his truck and the farmer spent the rest of the day chuckling fondly.

Wendell chuckled too, he is a yes man, every time the farmer said, "Sixteen bales!"

Anyway I am only thinking about tying down because yesterday there was an unexpected bonanza. When the farmer went to the feed mill a shipment of peas had come in out of season.

We did not know there were going to be peas. When the peas came out to the feeders, all hell broke loose. Usually we are supposed to keep the Hell tied down, double toothpicks and all, with the twin ratchet straps of a tough herdqueen and a predictable routine. Or at least part of the way tied down. But there is no herdqueen who can hold the herd when unexpected peas arrive.

And the ratchet strap has not been made.

So it broke loose. Way loose. Completely loose. All of it.