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Posted 4/07/10 (Wed)


I’ve been there. I’ve seen it. And I have the pictures to prove it.
I know most of you probably haven’t had a lot of experience with twine. It’s kind of like the shrimp in “Forrest Gump.” You know, the scene where Forrest’s friend is telling him all the different meals of shrimp.
Well, it’s not as sexy as shrimp cocktails or shrimp alfredo. But there is sisal twine, plastic twine, biodegradable twine, solar degradable twine…
See what I mean.
And over the years, twine has become a staple of putting up hay.
Years ago, most hay was stacked in loose haystacks. You would drive up next to the stack and your wife would dig the hay from the entangled mass with a  pitchfork. However, as we began to coddle (coddle, not cuddle) our wives more, we went to wire-tied bales.
With wire-tied bales, ranches that were known as kind of a rawhide outfit became known as a baling-wire outfit. Meaning that things were patched up and tied together with baling wire. Oh, it was wonderful stuff. Soft and malleable. You could tie up a gate with baling wire. You could wrap it around the bit on the mule’s bridle, and give them a little better whoa. You could wire up a fender on the pickup or tie the spare tire to the stock rack.
But, as ranch women became more elegant and feeble, and could no longer throw those hundred-pound wire-tied bales around, the wire faded into history and sisal twine came onto the scene.
Now, sisal twine is made from hemp. Not the kind of hemp that is used for recreation and medicinal purposes. This is different. Sisal twine lacks that sweet aroma and makes your throat sore. Or so I’ve heard.
And sisal twine is tricky. It lies in wait in the spring in sloppy pens. It makes little loops into traps during the night. And then when your wife is wading through some cow slop carrying a newborn calf and a flashlight, it will grab her by the foot and deposit her in knee-deep manure.
Sisal twine is rumored to be degradable. It supposedly disintegrates over time. How much time we don’t know. Mummies are wrapped in sisal twine. If you spread it in a field with manure in the spring, it wraps around the axles and ruins the bearings on farm equipment. Plain and simple, it is evil.
Well anyway, back to my story.
A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to Houston. Which is south of here. In Kansas, there is a small town that has a large tourist attraction. It is a ball of twine. THE LARGEST BALL OF SISAL TWINE IN THE WORLD!
I’m not lying! Their tourist attraction is a big ball of twine! I stopped in the middle of the night and admired it. It’s like forty feet around. And weight tens of thousands of pounds. It has a roof over it and park benches around it. You can sit and look at this big ball of twine. Why? I have no idea in the world.
So, the next time someone pokes fun at North Dakota about our big Holstein cow on the hill. Or the big buffalo at Jamestown. Take heart young reader. We don’t have to look at a ball of twine.