Farm Rules

I'm brand new to the country and learning as I go. Here is a list of rules I am either learning on my own through failure or being taught by neighbors, family, and friends:

The Rules of the Farm

#1) If you find the gate CLOSED, make sure it is CLOSED when you leave. If animals get out onto the road because you left it open, you will be one VERY unpopular person. (Has not happened to me yet). Learned from Cousin big D. (who has 30 head of cattle on our farmland)

#2) Keep a list of errands. Try NOT to make a single run for one item. It wastes gas. You're not in the city anymore and Circle K is not right next door. Learned by paying $30 to pee in a cup.

#3) Don't ask anyone that has lived in the country to pick you up some bug spray on their way to your place. They just laugh and say "You've got big feet. Just use your shoes!" Thanks Aunt D.

#4) Don't just drive blindly through thick grass exploring the land. You might run over an old piece of farm equipment. (Almost ran over what I think is an old tractor plow/disc?)

#5) It doesn't do any good to continuously spray the spider for five minutes with pesticide until it falls off the wall in a paralytic state. It would have died after the first five seconds and you would have saved a lot of bug spray. (Yeah, so...I like to be sure...)

#6) Don't blindly walk into tall grass without first stirring it up with a long stick. You don't want Mr. Rattlesnake to catch you by surprise!

#7) A hot catalytic converter on the bottom of your car can start a grass fire under the right conditions. Keep it moving or park it in the dirt (or keep the darn grass mowed.)

#8) Swallow your pride and ask what you need to ask. The biggest mistake you can make is not doing the right thing because you were afraid to ask the right question. (Pretty girl or no pretty girl...just ask already!)

#9) Small town parts stores will close before you get there. The worse you need the part, the earlier they will close. Call ahead and check their store hours. Then, find out where the parts store is in the next bigger town and call them.

 #10) It's a six-volt battery if it has three distilled water chambers in the middle of the battery. I don't know why, that's just what they said. And the part that says CCA is Cold Crank Amps, which is relevant, for some reason...

#11) When you're weed eating for the first time, pay extra close attention to what you are doing. Phone cords and ground wires can EASILY get caught up in an overpowering weed eater and jam it up. So can random ropes that are left laying around in tall grass...Grrr!

#12)  Just because a tractor battery is brand new doesn't mean you can crank on it all day. More like 20 minutes...which I think stinks. Either be prepared to crank less or have your charger with you.

13) Diesel is Diesel is matter what they call it. Regular diesel, farm diesel, whatever. If you aren't sure, ask someone over 40 years old in dirty overalls. NOT someone under 20 in bluejeans and a tank top.

14) Trust your gut. If it tells you that you might be wrong, then maybe you are. There's no shame in that...unless you keep ignoring it.

15) Be thankful for what you have. Nothing lasts forever.

16) Don't leave the house while talking on your cell phone. You will forget something important! I learned when I drove all the way to town (15 miles, one way) to fill up the gas cans in Rule 17 only to find out I had forgotten my stinking wallet. Hence the slightly speeding, which, bit me in the butt too.

17)  Just because there are no speed limits signs on backcountry roads doesn't mean you can drive as fast as you want (66 in a 55). However, having a Jeep with six containers full of fuming, noxious gasoline might help you convince Mr. Sheriff to let you move along to your barn...before you both pass out. Thanks for the warning Mr. Sheriff!

18) When doing your cost analysis of how much cheaper it will be to live in the country...don't forget to add in the GALLONS of bug spray you'll be using each week.

19) The sooner you use your windshield washer button to blast the fresh bug guts off your windshield, the better chance you have of being able to SEE out the windshield for one more day. If you wait, you'll have layers upon layers of opaque bug guts blurring your vision.

20) It's much easier to take down a 300 lb calf with a dart gun than it is with a Sheppard's Hook or sometimes called a Calf Catcher. (wisdom courtesy of Cousin big D, after he was yanked out of his quad and drug face down through the stickers and sand while trying to stop a calf with said Sheppard's hook).

21) After moving to your new homestead town, be prepared to see things you've never seen before. (The buffet at the KFC in town had gizzards(!) and livers(!) offered like they were as normal as the Colonel's extra crunchy chicken breasts. Just laying a pan...looking at you...! My hospital cafeteria served deep fried macaroni today. What the...?)

22) if you are buying a replacement part because something broke, buy more than one...because it probably will break again! (thanks to the commenter on my How to Replace a Sediment Bowl video who said: "You did buy more than one, right?" My response: "Doh!")


  1. When we first moved to our farm from the burbs 3 years ago, I had about 30 pounds of misc hardware (nuts, bolts screws, hinges etc) in jars I'd saved over the years. By 6 months or so I'd used virtually all of it fixing and building stuff. I was stunned! A farm rule we now have is when I go into town to buy anything hardware, I buy at least a 5 pound box of it. This rule saves me a ton on gas @ 18 miles each way. Same for 2x4s and OSB. If I need just a few to finish some project, I buy a couple of dozen. The trick is to balance this rule within the ongoing and ever flexing budget. Hope this helps!

  2. @Sam - I brought several Home Depot buckets filled with misc hardware with me. Can't wait to start building stuff.

  3. Sadly, I cannot convince my wife that spraying the same spider ten or more times does not kill it any deader than the first one-second spray. I am now persuaded that there must be something in the DNA of females that makes them want to overkill bugs. LOL! God bless you in your adventure and I'll be following your posts. Sapro

    1. Thanks Sapro. We just like the satisfaction of completing the task? LoL.

  4. lol, its not enough until the bug is dead!

  5. I am loving this list (so far)! I am looking forward to watching your families story unfold, and watching this list grow ;)

  6. One more rule for you to ponder.....Just because you moved to the country don't mean you can let your dog(s) run free. It's a good way to tick off your neighbor and possibly wind up with a missing dog. Sometimes even neighbors don't follow this courtesy. "my dogs been running these hills long before you moved here". I've had this problem in the beginning and after a few dogs went "missing" the neighbor kept better track of their dogs and my livestock are a little safer.

  7. butterbean carpenterJuly 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Howdy OJD,
    LOVE COUNTRY LIVING!!! My dog, a Red-Heeler. runs loose and doesn't bark, unless something is moving, on the ranch, but my neighbor's dogs are penned up AND BARK ALL DAY AND NIGHT!!! He ran on the hiway until his sister got hit, now he won't cross the bar-ditch.. Our house is a quarter-mile off the hiway..

  8. Deer season is near & since your place has not been tended, you may have folks hunting without permission. You might want to put up some signs. Nothing like waking up to a 30-06 on Thanksgiving! I am in NE OK near the Illinois River but I have family in Anadarko, Ft. Cobb/Oney & Weatherford. Okie wisdom: Don't pee on the electric fence. Never squat with your spurs on. Enjoying your story; keep writing!

    Ozark Okie

  9. Rule #15, Nothing lasts forever. Actually, General Electric small appliances made in the 1950's and 1960's last forever.


Don't you spam me...I'll just delete it!