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.


  1. Jennifer Memolo says:

    Too funny

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I loved reading these phrases. I remember my grandparents & my great grandparents using some of these phrases. Guess there’s more of a farmgirl in me than I thought!

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Most of these expressions are new to me. I guess I have been sheltered from the “true” insider wisdom of farm living! The funniest is the one about not skinny dipping with snapping turtles! In Florida that is very true as they are in abundance along with alligators! Yikes!

  4. Hi MaryJane!
    Having originally been raised in Texas, I’ve got a bunch of phrases like that. Even “city folk” use them in Texas! Two of my favorites: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. Doing so can cause you to feel “more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs”.

    Farmgirl hugs,

  5. Angela Cleveland says:

    I love these. Most of us “natural-raised” farm girls say things like these without thinking. Moved to the city 10 years ago and the last few years my teenage son has called me out on them. The most recently one used by my dad to him was “I cut my teeth on that” and my son freaked and had to ask what that meant. So, this year at my parents we have a pack to all speak in our farm idioms and see how my city son handles it 😉

  6. Ace says:

    Ashley and I know all too well that “A watched pot never boils!” 🙂 -ace

  7. Laura Strick says:

    My all time favorite farm girl saying was said by my husbands grandmother. I still chuckle when I think of it. When she would see someone doing something she thought was strange she would chuckle and say
    ” Each to her own! Said the old woman when she kissed the cow.”

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