by Ned Stoller Ned Stoller

Mother, the Necessity of Invention…An All-American Farm Story


Greg loved round-baling hay more than anything.  Every year he schemed and connived how to pick up more hay ground so he could make more round bales.  Greg’s kids hated hauling round bales worse than anything.  They worked from a 1968 loader tractor with steps as high as their waist.  The kids were constantly climbing on and off the tractor to hitch hay racks, stack bales and unload hay into the hay shed.  The only luxury afforded was a twine string to pull the hitch pin and unhook wagons.

Eventually, the last kid graduated from high school and left home, vowing to never set foot on that farm again.  Now it was Greg’s wife Cindy’s turn to haul hay.  First cutting was ready to roll, so she went right to work.  Cindy was quickly exhausted from climbing up and down that huge step all day long.  “There must be a better way of hitching that wagon”, Cindy thought.  “If I can pull a string to unhook, how can I line up the wagon tongue so I can drop the pin in place with the same string?  Then I won’t have to climb off at all!”

The next morning as she prepared for a long day in the field, she noticed how the funnel guided the coffee into her thermos.  That gave her an idea. Cindy asked Greg to weld a steel funnel on the tractor to line up the wagon tongue and tractor drawbar as she backed up.  Greg didn’t think he had time.  He hurried on his way baling hay until early afternoon when he noticed that the loader tractor stopped moving for half an hour.  He investigated and, to his horror, found Cindy lying on the ground with a broken leg. She had slipped off the high step while climbing down to hitch the 27th wagon that day.  When Cindy was properly cared for, Greg had to haul his own bales home for the first time.

That evening, weary from an afternoon of climbing and saddened by Cindy’s pain, Greg started welding.  He fabricated a square funnel for the tractor drawbar and a brace to hold up the wagon tongues.  As he backed the tractor up to the wagon, the funnel guided the wagon tongue in place and he carefully lowered the hitch pin into the hole using the twine string.  Cindy, watching from her wheelchair, glowed with pride at his accomplishment.  With a little more tinkering, he attached a spring onto a hitch pin.  When Greg was finished, he could back the tractor up to the wagon tongue, and ‘ka-CHUNK’ the pin hitched itself.  The same old twine string lifted the hitch pin when the wagon needed unhooked.

In the morning, Greg baled AND hauled the rest of the first cutting by himself.  He quickly hitched and unhitched his bale wagon all afternoon.  “You could sell this thing!” exclaimed Cindy.  Greg named it the StaFast Hitch, (search item # fs-stafaststd) and perfected the design in time for second cutting.  Now that Greg loves hauling round bales almost as well as baling them, his children will even come home to visit!