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A school bus races down the highway early in the morning outside of Fairfield, Montana. → Buy a Print

1.) You know cow tipping is impossible.

2.) You can drive any vehicle with a clutch.

3.) Your front door was always unlocked, even if your entire family was on vacation. And the keys to your car or truck were always in the ignition.

4.) You are devoted to a particular brand of tractor every bit as much as you are devoted to a pro sports team (if not more). 

5.) When you give directions you don’t use street names. You use landmarks; such as trees, barns, and bridges.

6.) If someone asks you about the weather you will always add that it is either too wet or too dry. And you are never, ever satisfied with the weather regardless of how close to perfect it is. “Well, we could always use some more rain.”

7.) You fear hearing the three words, “Cows are out.”

8.) You never had to talk with your parents about the birds and the bees. The farm or ranch provided ample opportunity to learn that lesson on your own.

9.) Travel is measured in time, not distance.

If you grew up on a farm you probably like red or green tractors. Never both. → Buy a Print

10.) You planned everything around planting, harvest, and/or calving seasons.

11.) Lunch was dinner and dinner was supper.

12.) You could drive a tractor before you could drive a truck. And you could drive a truck long before you attended any formal driver’s education class.

13.) You made forts out of hay. Or snow. Or both.

14.) You have jumped on more bales of hay than you have ever jumped on trampolines.

15.) Regardless of what city you are now currently in, your first instinct upon hearing the toot of a horn is to turn around because someone is trying to say “hi.”

16.) Years later you are still an accomplished pea shucker, corn husker, berry picker, and bean snapper.

17.) The only traffic jams you ever experienced growing up were the ones when cows crossed the road.

18.) Despite being justv12 years old you only needed a note from your mom or dad to buy alcohol, cigarettes, or ammunition at any store “in town.”

19.) When you went to college you learned other kids had more students in their home room than you had in your entire school. And you didn’t know what a home room was.

20.) Half of your senior pictures were taken with a cow, tractor, or barn.

21.) Everyone showed up to watch if a house or barn caught on fire.

22.) Your classroom was empty when deer hunting season opened. Or so you were told.

23.) You intimately knew every road and two-track road through fields for miles.

24) At least once in your lifetime you have driven a tractor, four-wheeler, horse, or snowmobile to school.

25.) There was a time when you could recognize the voice of anyone who dialed the wrong number.

26.) The county fair was considered the social event of the year.

27.) You spent more effort looking both ways when crossing a pasture looking for bulls than you ever did crossing a road looking for cars.

28.) You are much more likely to have had a favorite tractor in your life than a favorite car.

29.) All of your friends had cable TV and Internet service long before you did. And cell phone and over-the-air television signals were poor at best.

30.) The smell of freshly cut alfalfa or freshly spread cow manure makes you feel nostalgic.

31.) You drank more water from a hose and the mouth of a spigot then you ever did from a plastic bottle.

32.) To this day you can still remember the exact time your school bus arrived in the morning.

33.) Lifting two fingers with the rest of your hand planted firmly on the steering wheel to say “hi” to a passing tractor or motorist comes easy.

34.) You had a sandbox made with an old tractor tire.

35.) Getting stuck behind a tractor doesn’t piss you off.

BONUS: Your town did not have a beauty queen pageant, but it did crown a Dairy, Beef, Pork, Apple, Wheat, Cranberry, or Maple Syrup Queen. Or something similar.

Think Spring
Things I Like About Montana

36 thoughts on “35 Signs You Grew up On a Farm”

  1. Cell phone service, cable television, and high speed Internet were all once nonexistent.
    Everyone showed up to ‘help’ if a house, barn, or business caught on fire.
    You are an accomplished pea shucker, corn husker, berry picker, and bean snapper. and tomato harvester.
    Your front door was always unlocked…with money on the shelf for the milk man and bread man

  2. We didn’t have a school bus when I was growing up on the ranch, I started driving my brothers and sister into "town" when I was fourteen. Didn’t know what a home room was until junior high. had one teacher for all six grades. Had no concept of organized sports, because there was always work to do. Case was a yellowish Tan color on the sheet metal with a red engine. The 4010 John Deere was a revelation in tractor technology, complete with John Deere Tube Radio with AM mounted on the fender, if you were lucky enough to get to drive it. Need I go on? Oh, one other thing, you could beat the town kids in arm wrestling every day of the week, since you milked cows by hand, every day and night, and bucked bales, while the town kids puked their guts out, with it was a 115 degrees in the barn

  3. Carole Woodbridge

    Love the rules they are like all true remember a lot of these rules happening now we take things for granted the old day were quite sweet and simple

  4. Ken Degner (Ken-inatractor)

    Still have a Massey Ferguson Super 90! Noisest brakes on a tractor….EVER! Nice list!

  5. You and your neighbors all shared a "party line" for telephone service… each home having it’s own "ring"… and there was usually at least half your neighbors listening to every conversation.

  6. This is great! And so true. I’d add one thing. You knew that some animals that showed up in the pasture it was best not to get too attached to.

  7. Onions fkash-frozen with LP and shattered on the ground make amazing knife blades that leave onion juice in the cut.

    4wd tractors make boneheads into heros.

    I could drive a 5 ton dump truck through acres of mud long before I could drive Dad’s old Falcon out of the driveway.

    Sheep are neither fluffy nor white, but they are the only way to dispose of rotting onions and beets.

  8. We always went to school with our guns on the gun racks in the back windows of our pickups no way would our kids get away with that today.

  9. Ronda Bowers Frech

    Party lines, neighborhood get together which included a 5 gallon freezer full of icecream, tree houses made out of whatever we could find, being outside for hours at a time but when mom or dad hollered we could get back within 5 minutes, never ever said the word Bored!, Huge gardens, the list could easily go on forever!

  10. I miss the simple times of the 70’s on the farm. I learned to work hard – I though everyone worked 12-to-15 hour work days. The cow that jumped over the moon had our brand on it. I spent many hours putting cows back in the pasture. We had TV, three channels – one came in clear enough to watch. I didn’t need an alarm clock, every morning my dad would blast the intro to the "Joe DO-IT-UP-Brown farm report". I would time my lunch at 12:00 so I could hear Paul Harvey. I still miss hearing him sign off "Paul Harvey……Good Day!" After you heard that, you knew it was gonna be a good day.

  11. Jill Prest Hart

    OH my COW! First did you take the school bus picture from my front door? There was a time when I would get wrong number calls and 1) Knew the person they were looking for and gave them the correct number 2) my number was one off from the local elementary number so would just give them that number as that is who they thought they were calling.

    And we raised a couple of calves – calves get big, fast. Constantly we dreaded hearing "cows out"

  12. Most. I was raised in the country, but not on a farm or ranch. Actually, where we lived USED TO be a pig farm, before we lived there, so…

  13. Jana Rhea Cartwright

    We had a fire at our house in 1967, 23 miles from town, party line, neighbors with water truck made it to the house before the fire truck did. Never did get a hold of parents by phone, neighbor on party line took over and called all the neighbors, lol.

  14. Laura Wheeler

    I did not jump on hay bales. I jumped on skidder tires, and floated in the river on them. Grew up on a home farm with a logger father, so our favorite mechanical color was actually John Deere YELLOW. But it was two miles, through our woods on a road, through the neighbor’s woods on a cow path, and down the county road to the creek where the swimming hole was located.

  15. Happy to say my kids are getting to grow exactly like this, same as my husband & I did! Remote northern BC allows most of these points to stand true. Could add firewood is a family outing. LOL Our area finally has cell service as of Jan 2014 🙁

  16. Christine Chapman Mahloch

    I still remember our ring on the party line–one long & two shorts. And that was 55 years ago !!

  17. Russell Palmer

    10.) Cell phone service, cable television, and high speed Internet were all once considered luxuries. (NON existent)
    11.) Lunch was dinner and dinner was supper. (Y)
    12.) You could drive a tractor before you could drive a car. And you drove a car before you ever attended a driver’s education class. (Never were driving ed classes)
    30.) To this day you can still remember the exact time your school bus arrived in the morning. (Never had a bus. Usually walked.)

  18. Leanne Isaacson

    What a great list – I am in SOUTH AUSTRALIA, still live on a farm and they all ring true.
    You could always guarantee that a heifer calving need helpl right when you were about to go out for a special dinner or in the middle of a winter night.
    The smell of smoke in summer strikes fear in your heart, no matter where you are – you go outside, look around and then probably jump in the ute if you can see where it is coming from.
    If an animal is out on the road even miles from home, your first instinct is to look around & see if it belongs in the paddock nearby (and put it back in) – or you call into the nearest house and see if it theirs.
    Our children’s school had 38 in total for 8 grade levels and I can still tell you where they all lived.

    FYI – In South Australia now to toot the horn to say "Hi" is illegal – the horn is deemed a warning device only!! However I still "toot" to say goodbye to my parents in the town when I leave. Some things never change 🙂

  19. Must be too old! Remember the last farm ; started out with two rooms, no phones, no electricity, kerosene lanterns, hauled water from town 5 miles, and an outhouse. Really were excited about the 3rd. room frame leanto attachment of a kitchen and dining area and two frame graineries! First remember living in an old 2 story farmhouse at 1 to 2yrs., but still remember the rats running up and down the stairs under which I slept which made me cry at the noise, and made the folks upset. Good thing I had a dog and puppies to play with and tell my troubles to! Later it was a Massy and a Case 830 and 930 creme and orange and all the farm and ranch work and life I could squeeze in having moved to town which was little more than a place to stay when not at farming and ranching til I was 17yrs. Loved riding the quarterhorse to work cattle and parades for rodeo. Worked one summer in Wilson Kansas doing farm and ranching in the 2 mile wide Salina River Valley plowing at til late night followed by coyotes eating the field rats behind me. Watching the turkey buzzards dry out in the cottonwoods in the mornings making ready for another day. All the fence post were limestone from the 1800s. At the end of a limestone canyon full of grass and water where it opened out on the Salina there was a cliff with buffalo hunters names carved including a relative William F. Cody aka Buffalo Bill! Thats all under lake Wilson now. Still miss all that and more, but remember it all.

  20. Well done! I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I married a farmer and we’re raising two farm kids that will be able to relate to these for sure!

  21. The old rock quarry was our swimming pool. Spring fed and the best place after a long day of haying! Always took at least an hour when running to town for a few items. Had to "visit" with those you ran into. Never could take up jogging/running. First of all, with all the chores, really not needed (to stay in shape). And if you did, everyone who drove by would stop and see if you needed a ride. Never school activities on Thursday evenings as this was always church night. Even after you bought a piece of land, worked it for years and paid it off, everyone always referred to it by the previous owners name. Field parties for high school years!! If you were caught speeding, drinking under age or something similar, the Sheriff (or deputy) would take you home to your parents since that was worse than than going to the jail house. After all, he was probably related to you. The community did raise you and and we didn’t need someone to remind us of that.

  22. John Vriesema

    I grew up in real farming,
    now you do know that’s alarming!
    Those where the days of old,
    and you had to work regardless of the cold,
    but you knew homes that heated with coal.
    Yes but on the cold days cow buckles froze,
    and you wore wool socks to cover the toes.
    You used a rag with hot pale of water that soon cooled,
    and more then one grade in a room at school,
    but you lived under family rule!
    You learned to love raw milk,
    and the ear of corn had the silk.
    You felt many a cow, or calf tongue,
    but even the water bucket had one.
    It was the thing you you pushed or water you had none.
    You drove a tractor at the age of five alone,
    while your dad pick up hay bales, or field stone,
    and it was a super treat to have creamy Pa. custard cone.
    A bigger ice cream treat those late night road trip miles and miles to a town a far,
    and you worked years for an allowance for your own car.
    You’d be called home from school to work,
    and you worked like the men in the fields without a shirt.
    Even the young girls wore a shirt, work pants and seldom skirts.
    You did get to know the nurses cot,
    but not sick, to nap, I did it to miss gym a lot.
    You see you did chores before going to school,
    and you learn to use most every tool.
    However, the cow in the wrong stanchion you yelled, ‘you fool!’
    Yes every cow had a name,
    later in years the names became numbers automation, and breeding records the blame,
    but on eating Penny at Sunday Dinner discussion where never lame.
    To watch, or helping a calf be born,
    and hands on as a child in all farming I must for warn.
    I grew up knowing orange, and green,
    and they are loving, rugged, dangerous with a touch of mean,
    but as hard as it was we loved keeping the machines, and farm very clean..
    God created the farmer, the farm, and dairy for more than one reason,
    and trust me you work, wind, rain, snow, mud, dust, cold to hot in every season.
    Dangerous yes but as of recent the Government I called!!!
    It seems Big Government wishes to build even more walls–
    ~with control on the family farms which will only help further the final fall…
    My/Our Dad, Peter Vriesema Sr. 1990 passed on on the family farm,
    and his Partner, my Brother picking stone, also Paramedic, Firemen heard the 911 alarm.
    I left the Family Farm in 68 with BOECE Horticulture,
    returned on and off, related fields staying like my family until 2001 in Agriculture.
    That’s when farming never returned to our family future……..
    BY: JohnnyV @hartwick NY//

  23. Very good. Out west, a traffic jam could be a herd of sheep as well as cows. And boy do I relate to, " The cows are out", I knew I would be hearing every cuss word known to man, coming from my dad’s mouth. Nothing ever made him madder.

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