20 Things You Learn Growing Up on a Farm… but first…
Growing up during the 1980s, in a rural Pennsylvania farming community, country living was the life for me. From our kitchen window, I could see the farmhouse my father was born and raised in. My backyard view consisted of that farmhouse, acres of fields and trees, a hillside covered with distinctive crop stripes, and the occasional deer or turkey.
Throughout my high school years, when tractors worked the fields adjacent to our home, I hoped the hunky redhead from church might be working for the farmer. I had no idea my then crush, present day husband, was too busy working on his own family’s farm to be helping anyone else. Our little family of seven now operates the sixth generation farm.
Growing up on a farm provides unique experiences. Hopefully, the following list takes former farm kids back to a time when the farm was their home.
20 Things You Learn Growing Up on a Farm
1. Good clothes versus chore clothes.
Farm moms everywhere set strict rules about good clothes and chore clothes. Bless their hearts; they certainly do try. Inevitably, most apparel eventually makes it to the barn and into the everyday clothes drawer.
2. There’s no such thing as 9 to 5.
The work day often resembles something more like this: early to rise and keep going until everything’s done. Even the dark of night sometimes doesn’t stop the work—because lights.
3. Sleeping in… what’s that?
Most farm folks are naturally early risers; it’s genetically ingrained in their DNA. A person who’s in bed at 7:00 a.m. or *gasp* eight o’clock in the morning, will likely be asked, “You gonna sleep all day?”
4. Character building.
Everyday experiences teach responsibility, perseverance, and respect. Farm people are also notoriously stubborn. As a side note, most farmers prefer the term determined.
5. Strong work ethic.
Hard work builds mental qualities necessary to get through difficult times, and muscles no gym workout can provide.
6. Brand loyalty.
Whichever color tractor your dad prefers will likely be your favorite.
7. Aware of where food comes from.
Where does your food come from? Unlike many Americans, farm kids know the answer is not the grocery store.
8. Planting and harvesting seasons dictate your schedule. Seasonal work comes before all other activities. The end.
9. Meals times (and locations) are flexible.
During plant and harvest season, it’s common to eat family meals outside—in a field. After hours of hard work, that sandwich and cold beverage taste delicious.
10. Holidays are on hold.
Farm kids learn patience early. You don’t open Christmas presents, hunt for Easter eggs, or go trick-or-treating until all of the chores are done.
11. Animals always get fed first.
There’s no such thing as rain delays and certainly there are never snow days with livestock. They eat before you do.
12. Facts of life and death.
You’re wise to the birds and bees before most kids. Spring on the farm is a little like a real-life episode of “The Bachelor.” There are obvious signs of numerous animals in heat. Wide-eyed, you’ll observe what cums next with the male of the species. Eventually, you’ll see babies being born. And with all that life, comes the reality of death.
13. Necessity of faith and prayer.
You pray constantly; for the weather to be favorable for crops; for the health and safety of family, friends, and animals. You’re grateful for God’s mercy to help you through rough times and for His many blessings.
14. Never complain you’re bored.
With so much stuff to do every day, boredom is a rarity. And even if you are feeling bored, you don’t dare say so—unless you’d like more chores.
15. Creative punishments.
With acres of land and never-ending duties, a farm kid fears punishments far worse than a spanking: picking rocks, pulling weeds, or shoveling manure.
16. Animal information.
You learn to recognize signs of sickness, how to roundup animals, and the difference between cows and heifers, steers and bulls. Also, this fun fact: horns don’t always mean the critter has testicles.
17. Work with and worry about the weather.
Your schedule, income, and at times sanity are dependent on the uncontrollable (and might I add adorable) Mother Nature.
18. Importance of community.
The closest home may be miles away, but you still consider them your neighbor. The community helps others in need.
19. Family is everything.
Working side by side with your family is valuable quality time you’ll appreciate (even if it currently makes your eye twitch).
Don’t go near the road, stay out of chemicals, don’t mess with equipment, leave the bull and rooster alone, remember the fence is hot, and please close the gate. You know what can happen if you leave the gate open. It’s usually noticed as you’re leaving to go somewhere; wearing your good clothes. Please refer to #1.
Growing up on a farm is a special lifestyle. It’s not easy; it’s a labor of love. Everyone raised on a farm has stories to tell—both good and bad. Even with the complaints, most people are proud they were raised on a farm and value the lessons they learned.
Did I leave off the favorite thing you learned being a farm kid? Please share your lesson with me with a comment below!
Are you proud to be considered a farm kid. If you are, please share this!
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