Thanks, Mr. Ratchetstrap!

//Thanks, Mr. Ratchetstrap!

Thanks, Mr. Ratchetstrap!

900 pounds of organic goodness that didn't end up on the highway.

I like to think of the inventor of the ratchet strap as a man named Henry… Henry Ratchetstrap.  As I travelled down the interstate a few weeks ago, my load suddenly shifted, and this enormous round bale nearly fell off.  These simple ratchet straps kept a half ton of beautiful July hay off Rt. 7.  I will admit, seeing a round bale at this angle in my rearview mirror did a great job of clearing the sinuses.

Well done, Mr. Ratchetstrap.  Well done indeed.

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By | 2012-07-16T10:19:52+00:00 July 16th, 2012|Farm|6 Comments

About the Author:

Forrest Pritchard is a full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding a BA in English and a BS in Geology from William & Mary. Smith Meadows, his farm, was one of the first “grass finished” operations in the country, and has sold at leading farmers’ markets in Washington DC for nearly two decades. Pritchard's first two books received starred reviews from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and NPR, and his latest book is set to debut in 2018.


  1. fiona July 16, 2012 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Crisis narrowly averted! Gotta love those ratchet straps!

    • Forrest Pritchard July 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Exactly… like that old Bob Weir introduction to Monkey & the Engineer… “from tragedy impending to tragedy narrowly averted,” ha.

  2. Sandra July 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    You were, indeed, lucky. Several years ago not far from my farm, someone lost a big square bale of lovely alfalfa along the road. You could see where they had just pushed it to the side of the ditch since the strings had all broken. Not wanting to see such beautiful hay go to waste, I fired up the truck and told the kiddo to go fetch us a pair of pitchforks.
    “Oh my god, what if someone sees me? I’m going to be so embarrassed.”
    “That’s at least $75 of hay. How much was that dress at Polly Sue’s I bought for you on Sunday?”
    She shoveled every stem into the back of the truck before I crept home so as not to lose too much.
    I would later find out from the farmer who lost the bale (and three others that didn’t break open) when navigating the curve too fast without his ratchet straps that those bales weighed 800 pounds!
    “Can I pay you for the bale?” I asked.
    “No ma’am. I drove past when you were loading it up. You gals earned every bit of it.”

    • Forrest Pritchard July 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Sandy, that’s a great story! I’m relieved to know that I wouldn’t be the only one to load up that ‘free’ hay 🙂

  3. Scott Smith February 2, 2016 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Really want to know the name of the inventor? CMSgt. James W. Smith. He was a Loadmaster in the USAF and came up with the design out of necessity after using logging chain tie downs in aircraft to secure loads. Chains were heavy and did not have the adjustments the ratchet strap did.
    I discovered this one day while cursing like a sailor trying to get one to cooperate with me. I was a young teenager at the time and the ratchet strap was much smarter than me at the time. I mumbled something like “I’d like to get ahold of the SOB that invented this crap!” Dad then spoke up and said he was standing right in front of me! Yes, to my amazement I discovered something new that day about my Dad. He received a $900 bonus check from the Military for this design. Today someone is getting rich off these things, but it sure isn’t the Smith family!

    • Forrest Pritchard February 2, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Awesome story. Thanks for sharing this!

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