some might look down on the common working man, he is actually an ingenious person.
If you don't believe me search the U.S. Patent office files and find millions
of tools, most invented by a working man to make his work easier or faster. In
fact, realistically, the progress of the world is paced by the development of
I firmly believe the two most important things to aid most
manual labor is understanding gravity and leverage. Almost everything a rural
worker does in a day involves these items.
For a cowboy
understanding gravity is easy. If you get bucked off your horse gravity puts you
down hard on the ground. For the farmer or construction worker, when you find
something too heavy to lift, go find a jack or a crowbar to attain a little more
Since I am known as a "junker" who can eventually find a use
for almost anything, people give me things for my personal use or to use down
at one of the museums. When it comes to gifts, I tell prospective donors, "I can
lift anything that is free." Nothing increases my adrenaline quite like being
offered something I can see a use for.
As far as I am concerned the greatest
invention of all time is the winch. This geared contrivance is thousands of years
old, made in any size from ounces to tons, can move any object no matter how large
and is so simple and cheap everyone should have one or two to meet their needs.
My work on the ranch would simply come to a halt without the use of my winches.
watch the spelling. I don't mean wench, I mean winch. I knew of a cattle buyer
who always took his wench along on buying trips. He is now 2 inches taller after
his wife used a winch to cure his wench problems.
I guess I have at least
a dozen sizes of winches from a truck mounted winch with gin poles, walking boomers
which are actually small winches and wide nylon belts with small winches built
on them. All of these belts were picked up along Interstate 40 where they fell
off the big trucks.
My most used winch is a small hand tool I call a "come-along."
To the uninitiated, the come-along is simply a small winch using a steel cable
and frame. When anchored to a firm base, merely jack the handle back and forth
and whatever is attached to the other end usually "comes along."
about versatile, I use my come-along for pulling everything from barbed wire,
a balky cow or animal, a stuck vehicle, a piece of junk, loading equipment, holding
down loads, pulling up posts and lifting anything heavy.
If it can be moved, a little ingenuity can utilize a come-along and do whatever
needs to be done. Sometimes a larger come-along may be needed.
advice to all, no matter your destination, the reason, the job, the gain or loss,
or whether you are weak or strong, you can't go wrong taking your come-along along.
"It's All Trew" January
4 , 2011 column
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He
can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail
at firstname.lastname@example.org. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears