No one can understand what it’s like to grow up on a farm if they didn’t do it themselves. I grew up on a small farm in Benton, Kansas, and now I live in LA, where most people don’t know who Luke Bryan is and have never heard of mudding. But I love going back to visit, even if I don’t miss waking up at the crack of dawn to feed the animals before they lose their sh*t. Here are 10 things you’ll only understand if you grew up on a farm.
1. Roosters can be terrifying
A small bird can actually be pretty scary, especially when you’re a kid. Roosters can be vicious and honestly, even as an adult, I’m still scared if one of them runs at me. When I was little, we had a goose named Mia who would bite your butt and not let go, even if you were running and hitting her. Sometimes I was afraid to go outside. Good times, man. Good times.
2. “Going to feed” is a very normal thing to say
One time I was texting with a friend and said I had to go feed and they were like, “Is that some country way of saying you need to go eat?” and… no. It is not. It means it’s time for the animals to eat, not me.
3. You could drive way before everyone else
In Kansas, you can drive on your farm, to work, and to school starting at age 14. That means I had a two year head start on everyone else in school (except all the other farm kids).
4. Hay bales were a big part of your childhood
When you’re a kid and hay bales are around, you’re going to play with them, even though your parents will tell you not to. Hay bales become your jungle gym, your fort, and your hideout.
5. You’re not supposed to climb up the windmill, so of course you do
Farms are full of dangerous things you aren’t supposed to do, so you just do them when your parents aren’t around. We had a tall windmill with a quasi-ladder (really just metal pegs) we were never supposed to climb, so we always just waited until my dad was asleep and climbed to the top to look over the whole farm.
6. Horses poop more than you can imagine
Anyone who’s had to muck out horse stalls knows that horses poop more in a day than you will in a year. (That’s actually disgusting to think about, and I’m not entirely sure it’s true.) One time we had a water leak in the barn and had to clean out an entire barn full of watery poop. Guess how wonderful that was?
7. Farm animals sometimes live inside
It was totally normal for us to have animals inside that most people would consider outdoor animals. We let our goats come inside until they got in a fight and crashed through our living room window. For a while we had a pet possum because my stepmom found it injured and had to nurse it back to health. Just part of the farm life!
8. You have no option to be squeamish
You’ve seen animals give birth, cleaned up more poop than many people will see in their entire lives, and found the remains of chickens after they were attacked by coyotes. You don’t have the luxury of being grossed out by things like that. (I considered making the photo for this a cow giving birth, but I decided to spare all you non-farm kids.)
9. Everything’s far away
Your closest neighbors are miles away. If you need something from the store, you’ll have to drive 15 to 20 minutes to get it. We had a gas station about 15 minutes away but if you needed something you couldn’t get there, you’d have to drive all the way over to the next town, which took about 30 minutes. Contrary to popular opinion, nothing about farm life is simple.
10. All parties involve bonfires
What do you do when you’re in high school and you live on a farm? You get in the back of a friend’s truck, drive out to someone’s house, and light a bunch of sh*t on fire. Party, rinse, repeat.
Did you grow up on a farm? What quintessential farm memories did I forget? Tweet at me and let me know @erikaheidewald!