Tips for Living on a Farm

I’ve been throwing this “farm” thing around here and after some deep thought, I have created my list of tips to help anyone who lives on or plans to live on a farm.  Consider it my gift to you.

1.  If you foresee yourself living on a farm, strongly consider the pros and cons of farm animals.  I don’t have farm animals, but live within a close proximity.  I can assure you – when the wind blows the right (or wrong) way, you don’t want to have cows in that path.  Consider your average deer, gophers, bunnies, and household pets your “farm animals” and call it a day.  Far less upkeep, too.

2.  Remember that with farms comes grass.  If you’ve heeded the advice in #1, you’ll have far more grass than you know what to do with.  Note that just because Farmer John (with the cows) says he is going to hay your field, the likelihood of that happening is slim to none.  Do yourself a favor and buy a tractor.  A big one.  Not one of those silly little riding mowers.  And don’t for one second think you can handle it with a push mower.

3.  When it comes time to take your dogs out at night, it is advisable to close the door behind them.  This will aid in the effort to keep bats outside versus in your living room.

3a. In the event that you fail to close the door in a timely manner, it is best to remain calm and inform other occupants of the newest pet.  It is not in anyone’s best interest to run screaming upstairs and lock yourself in the bedroom.  The result could be your other occupant(s) fearing that you have been murdered.

4.  Just because you live on a farm, don’t feel obligated to grow a garden.  Try it, and if you have a brown thumb, quit.  I recommend you start you garden with the following items:  Mint, Strawberries, Asparagus and Blackberries.  Especially in the case of blackberries, you’ll have an orchard in no time thanks to the birds in your neighborhood.  Also, these plants seem to taunt those who plant them with threats to never die.  Which is a good thing…except if the asparagus is planted right in the middle of everything.

5.  If you’re among the lucky ones to have a barn, you’ll suddenly find yourself with a year-round FREE storage unit (again, especially if you follow #1).  Things that I recommend keeping in barns:  Cars, boats, old couches, old bathtubs, spiders, lawn furniture.  Things I recommend against:  dog or cat food, anything with the potential of being eaten, anything you never plan to have inside your home.

6.  Enjoy the finer things of country life.  For example, when you arrive home and look up into a field full of fireflies, pretend you’re famous and there are hundreds of paparazzi taking your picture.  Guarantee it’ll make you smile – which you should do when someone is photographing you!

7.  Be aware that the sound of a buck feeling threatened does sound remarkably like someone being brutally beaten.  Don’t call the police. 

8.  When burning brush in your yard (which you’ll have to do eventually), be sure to complete the task while the wind is breezy.  Once the wind has died down, it is best to cease this project.  The fire & police department frown upon smoke that covers the entire town, especially when the source is unknown.

9.  For the ladies:  Flaunt your farmgirlness.  Buy a T-shirt that says “100% Homegrown” with a tractor on it or one that says “I (heart) my John Deere”.  It’ll match your straw cowgirl hat which is required when riding a tractor and your husband/boyfriend/significant other will think it’s hot. 

10.  Always keep in mind, that you may think your farm neighbors are crazy.  And they probably think that about you.


~ by zuzu on August 1, 2008.

5 Responses to “Tips for Living on a Farm”

  1. I am laughing so hard at #3 and 3a that I might need a diaper soon…. I can assure you though, that #3 and 3a don’t pertain just to farm life…. I know from personal experience!

  2. An excellent primer for wannabe rural folk!

    I like #7. Ditto the advice for screaming raccoons, although if you’re from Toronto like me you probably already know what they sound like.

    I would add to the easy-grow list: rhubarb. You won’t get anything the first year, but after that it pretty much cares for itself.
    For Gardening 201, beans are much more worthwhile than peas. Less fuss and greater yield. And if you spend 20 minutes to loop some nylon string between the fence and the ground, and plant scarlet runner beans, you get the added bonus of little red flowers! Makes it all worthwhile when you discover that the beans themselves are too tough to eat.

  3. All good advice. I remember some times in summer when it seemed like the entirety of upstate New York smelled like cow patties …

  4. Hmmm, any thoughts about renting out that barn/storage unit? I happen to know a lovely couple with WAY more junk than places to put it. You could use the extra income to buy more farmgirl t-shirts, like one that says “Fresh from the Farm” or, “I think his tractor’s sexy”

  5. so when i see a sign around town that says “barn sale” …good chance it’s you?!

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