The Baler Man

| July/August 1995

6000 Quail Lane Enid, Oklahoma 73703

My parents were always farmers and I was born and raised on a 160 acre farm near Breckinridge, Oklahoma. I learned from my dad its many operations and became very familiar with his methods of making a farm work. At the early age of 10 years, I was old enough to help with the straw baling, Dad said. So, I was given the job of sitting beside the baler, poking wires, putting the divider block in the baler, and pulling the bales away from the back of the baler.

In those days if you were baling a straw pile, you had to drop and stack the bales away from the equipment to a safe place just in case an overheated bearing or gasoline engine set fire to the dry straw. At least that was the story told to me, but it sure made it very handy for the old trucks and wagons to load up to put the hay in the barn.

This was no small task for a small boy of 10, and it made the days very long as by noon I was tired enough to call it a day. However with something in my stomach and a little rest, I somehow got a new surge of energy and somehow managed to make it through the afternoon. It was always hot and dirty, and quite often, when helping a friend or neighbor, stopping for a drink was unheard of. Not until a block was 'accidentally on purpose' tied to a bale did you get time to visit the water jug.

This method was used by most farmers in our area and Dad used this method until the baler was later built on wheels with a pickup attachment that picked the hay up in the field or several farmers would pitch the hay away from the stack as the tractor driver drove around in circles and baled the hay.

By the time I had graduated from high school the self-tying baler was available, but I migrated to the big city and two years later married. Dad continued to use the square baler, hiring local help for hauling the bales into the shed. I still was fascinated with this method of baling whenever we would visit the farm or help him whenever time permitted.