Fast Fix-Its Keep the Farm Going
Our 7-year-old son emerged from his room wearing a “farm play” shirt in preparation for school. I advised that this old Chicago Bears jersey had lost eligibility in the “good” category of clothing when one of its loose-fitting sleeves completely split from elbow to armpit.
A short conversation ensued. I didn’t have time to sew. My husband, who stayed home longer than usual on that soggy spring morning, intervened and stapled the sleeve together. Three “precisely placed” staples from my husband’s college, Swingline stapler fixed the problem.
Call it some fodder for first grade show-and-tell.
For good reason, our family farm shop keeps duct tape on hand in red, black, grey and white colors. And it’s not to make a prom dress, an occasional teen inspiration readily viewed via a Google search. Farmers forever have found novel methods to fix things in enough ways to warrant books on the topic – and sometimes transform the industry.
Even a man named John Deere used a discarded saw blade to make his plow work better in Midwestern soils. His self-scouring plow helped found one of agriculture’s greatest companies and unveil this breadbasket of the world.
An odd fix will work if it safely gets the job done, whether temporarily or permanently. Hog nose rings have held the soles on my dad’s work shoes. A black-handled screwdriver consistently keeps one of the farm’s hydrants from leaking between uses. A motorcycle strap for a time held the tailgate in place on “Green,” a since-retired farm truck.
My husband learned to disassemble a click-top, stick pen and use its hollow, round barrel to stiffen a spring to engage an implement switch. It confused me, too, but the moral of the story is that a 40-cent ink pen ensures $300-per-bag seed corn goes in the ground.
Wire, tape and zip ties rank nearly as handy as pliers and crescent wrenches. Random bolts, nails or pieces of wire sometimes keep equipment going in the field until a replacement pin arrives. Baling twine from open bales deserves keeping, maybe for a make-shift belt or the medium to hang the chicken feeder.
Log chains and chain binders recently helped limp a planter back home for repair. Rubber tarp straps hold implement hoses in place and out of trouble, particularly if a support breaks. J-B Weld makes a reliable mend and WD-40 mums squeaky problems.
Farmers expressed a do-it-yourself mentality long before the DIY acronym moved mainstream. Farm magazines for years have featured tips and innovative ideas from the farm. Although, we have yet to see the pen trick make the news.