Farm Talk

Cultivating your inner farmgirl?


Photo by Jacob Fowzer via Wikimedia Commons

Have a little fun with your friends and neighbors by throwing out a few old-fashioned farm phrases in casual—or, better yet, formal—conversation.

After all, if you’re going to walk the walk, you might as well talk the talk, right?

I guarantee that you’ll get a giggle from the puzzled expressions you receive in return.

Here are a few dandies to dabble with:

  • Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
  • It’s gonna be a toad strangler (translation: a big rainstorm is coming).
  • Every path has a few puddles.
  • Trouble with a milk cow is she won’t stay milked.
  • Fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong.
  • If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.
  • Don’t kick a fresh cow chip on a hot day.
  • Always drink upstream from the herd.
  • It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.
  • It’s hotter than a hen on a hot rock.
  • The second mouse gets the cheese.

And, by all means, don’t skinny dip with snapping turtles!

While you’re on a roll, you can beef up your down-on-the-farm vocabulary with this glossary of farming terms.


Neck ‘n Crop

“Does the hitch come with the truck?”

Glampin’ Jane was fielding questions from a prospective buyer with a hankerin’ to haggle.

“Yes, ma’am. The whole shebang,” she assured.

“How about the seat covers?”

“You bet,” Jane agreed. “The full monty.”

“I’m gung-ho about going glamping in a pick-up truck,” the customer confessed.


“Will you throw in that little luggage rack for a couple hundred more?”

This gal drove a hard bargain, but Jane was set to sell,

lock, stock, and barrel.

Jane extended her hand.

“It’s a deal,” she said. “Take ’em both, neck and crop.”

Whoa …

Neck and crop?

That’s right:

the whole enchilada,

nine yards,

ball of wax ……….

The origin of this uncommonly uttered phrase is sketchy, but most say it had something to do with a horse (or maybe a rider) taking a spill.

I would have guessed it had something to do with a chicken.


In any case, “neck and crop” has come to mean completely, wholly, altogether, and at once.