“The Back 40… Why my husband goes to hell (sometimes)”

As the weather finally takes a turn for the better, many of our “warm weather” projects begin to rev up.  One of the biggies is checking the fences.  If you have cattle spread out on pasture all year, it’s crucial to maintain the integrity of the fence which contains them, otherwise you find yourself getting calls from the neighbors informing you that your heifers have taken yet another self-guided field trip through the neighborhood- hitting up the Amish vegetable gardens along the way- and that’s on a good day!  Heifers are the worst for pushing their boundaries with the fences, probably because they spend less time eating and loafing than the mature cows do, so they find ways to entertain themselves and get into trouble (you can only lick the tree trunks, mineral feeder, and each other for so long).  I remember when the hubs and I first started dating, his heifers got out 5 times that summer!  Needless to say, he spent a great deal of time fencing.

So, this year, as I see my mate piling things onto the 4-wheeler preparing for a day along the fences, I meet him in the yard with a packed lunch.  While he begrudgingly lets me smear him down with sunscreen and bug spray, he informs me of the classic “where I’ll be if you need me” location.  This is standard procedure for us farm wives, often times we have to go our separate ways in order to get everything done, the amusing thing (and subject of this post) is how we define different locations on our property.  For anybody who owns a lot of land, often times spread out in many different directions, describing a specific spot on that land can get challenging.  That’s why we name them.  For example, today, my husband will be “down in Remstad’s”- more specifically “the front half”.  You wont find this specific location in any phone book, and the ambulance driver will probably need more guidance than that description to get there, but anybody involved in our operation knows exactly where this is.  Remstad’s is our heifer pasture (divided into two halves- front and back).  We call it Remstad’s because that is the name of the family who owned the piece before we did.



Most of the times, these names are pretty standard.  For example, many of us have a “back 40” or “east pond” or “3 corner piece”.  We’ve also got a spot named after the “bags”, “old shed”, “junk pile” and “joe’s”.


the bag piece

Some of the names can be pretty unique as well.  For example, my parents have a valley in the old pasture that has been referred to as “Pony Land” for years now.  Named by a couple of little farm girls obsessed with My Little Ponies who enjoyed playing down there.  A friend of mine has a piece of land better known as “the horsey farm” because it used to have all kinds of horses on it.  The hubs and I even have a spot on our land we refer to as “hell” because it’s the most god-awful, miserable place to be in the summer.  Thorns, weeds, snakes and mosquitoes big enough to carry the dog away. 



Just another novelty of farm life that escapes most people, but can be humorous at times.  Do you have any fun names for places on your farm?

Well, I think that’s enough writing for today, I’d better go check on the hubs and see if he’s made it to hell yet 🙂





2 thoughts on ““The Back 40… Why my husband goes to hell (sometimes)”

  1. I love your blog! I married into a dairy farming family, and can completely relate to what you post. My in laws have names for several broken up sections of their farm because of their grazing practices. To name a few: the dog leg, the willow strip, the rock strip, the spring strip, the zigzag lane. Unless you were very familiar with the topography and aerial view of their farm, figuring out where these places are specifically located could easily take a newbie six months to figure out without the help of the trusty farm map. I grew up with minimal time invested in the day to day farming operation my father had so he generally kept things as simple as possible in order to avoid confusion. If he was going anywhere on the farm it was either “out back, the sheep pasture, to the creek crossing, up behind the barn, the pasture, up across the road, or on the bottom”. Nothing too exciting, but self explanatory to say the least. Keep up the great work 🙂

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