Current weather conditions

Click for Dexter, Iowa Forecast

Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



I feel somewhat sorry for city kids. There are so many things we farm kids learn growing up that are lost on many city children. I’m sure those who grow up in small towns get a few of the lessons that we get, so we will exclude them a bit from this conversation, but here are a few things the farm taught me about life.

  • We learn strange things from watching animals and the way they react to the weather…chickens will go inside if a rain shower appears and it will only rain for a short time, if it is going to rain all day they will stand out there for hours. Cattle and horses will generally turn into the wind during an approaching storm. If birds get completely silent just before a bad windstorm and the dog runs for cover under the porch, you should too. We also know that for some strange reason livestock knows exactly when we are leaving for family reunions, weddings and vacations and choose that exact moment to climb through the fence into a corn field.

  • Opossums, raccoons, the occasional fox, rats, mice and snakes should all be killed.

  • Badgers are bad news and roosters will make you mad mostly at five in the morning on your day off.

  • We learn that generally the entire animal kingdom is different than humans. The males are the pretty ones while the women tend to be on the plain side. Aren’t we glad that doesn’t apply to us?

  • We learn how to read a tape measure, rain gauge and road map, all important life lessons. We also know that if we end up in the middle of a cornfield in late July we just have to follow the rows until we come to the end rows to find our way out. (And that some people call them head lands which I still think is strange.)

  • There isn’t a better place to have a conversation with your Dad than in the barn while you are working. Many of the discussions you have as a teen are easier when you don’t have to actually look as at your parent. Livestock make great partitions when they are needed.

  • We learn that reward comes with hard work and risk, that it isn’t handed to you and that you have to put in the hard work in January to win blue ribbons come July.

  • We know how deep to place seeds in a furrow in the garden and that it’s easier to mow off dandelions than dig them up or spray them. Also how to snap beans and shell peas.

  • By the time we could see over the dash of a pick-up, or kind of see over, we had learned to drive, operate machinery and how to change the oil.

  • We can look at a bolt or a nut and tell whether its size is 7/16” or 1/2” and if we need to go digging for a metric wrench. We know how to crawl over a barbed wire fence without ripping out our pants and the sound an electric fence makes when it’s shorting out.

  • We can recite the 4-H pledge and the FFA Creed, run a meeting using Roberts Rules of Order and pick out the prize gilt in a pen of four.

  • We know that a fresh cut onion is good for a wasp sting, that you’ve been cutting brush if you are covered in pink splotches and the feel of straw chaff under a t-shirt in the middle of your back on a 90 degree day.

  • We can build fence, cut a 2 x 4, screet concrete, find a plugged tile using a forked stick, stack hay, repair a broken hydraulic line and pick a spot across an 80 acre field and tell you just where the wet holes will be.

  • Finally we learn how to appreciate the sunrises and sunsets, the joy of fireflies on a warm summer evening, to never lick a frozen piece of metal and just how lucky we truly are. Maybe not all of these things are exclusively learned by farm kids, but when we look back we sure wouldn’t have traded in these things for anything in the world. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.