Friday, October 21, 2011

#119 - Farm and Ranch Jargon...My Brain is Learning

When I first began blogging about our Farm Life Lessons, I hadn't really thought about how city groomed I had become throughout the years.

My first few blogs about us gearing up to take more steps toward moving to our acreage full-time found me struggling to narrow down all the lessons we were suddenly learning. We eagerly look forward to moving from the city to the country. However, my life-long dream of owning chickens became a reality as we took the risk and bought a flock of chickens for our backyard here in the city. I must say, it was one of the best decisions we've ever made.

However, I do remember writing a blog post about checking on the chickens in the "coup." Yep, that's how I spelled it. Lovely. Humiliating. The "coup" in my backyard did not make head-line news, I can tell you that. But, it brought me such happiness that I wanted to shout about it to the world.

These days, I make sure that everyone knows I am actually going to the "coop." Perhaps my initial misspelling occurred because a deep-rooted side of me felt as if I were pulling off an amazing coup after returning from the coop! I did know the definition of "coup," but I can't imagine what possessed me to write about being at the Chicken Coup.

Then, a few times I wrote about raising more food...the delights of raising a bumper crop of corn will be so nice...and similar wordage I loosely used with my deficient farm-knowledge.

And it only makes PERFECT sense that if I was going to be raising my own food, then I would certainly be growing a few cattle.

Best of all, I could only imagine how awesome it would be to increase my herd of chickens.

After blogging for a while, I began to be more careful with my wordage about farm life. After all, I was a legal technical writer for years, for goodness sakes. I can write about things in an intricate, detailed, and complicated format, but farm talk was far from my area of expertise.

I'm learning.

My latest wordage dilemma is when I am talking about our eggs that we gather from our backyard chickens. How do I reference the eggs? These eggs are not grown, and I didn't directly raise the eggs...they are laid. So, I guess I am merely the gatherer of the eggs that are freshly laid...and no...I realize that I do not "harvest" those eggs...Maybe...Or do I?

People who have been raised around farming and ranching have their own technical and expansive vocabulary. They might not even realize how knowledgeable they are in their area of expertise. They might take it forgranted that a city dweller might not really comprehend the difference between a filly and a foal. Undoubtedly, farmers and ranchers grasp unique wordage for their lifestyle on a level that city people can only read about it books. For me, I've not yet hit a comfort level in this area, but my awareness and knowledge toward farm jargon is increasing.

So, I guess I'll be brushing up on exact definitions and studying the distinctions between words that are most used by patient country folk who probably shake their head and wonder about the "educated" city person who can't figure out if they are sitting on a mule or a horse. Yes, as I sit atop a mule, I do know that I am indeed on a mule.

However, for instance, speaking of vocabulary, simply starting with horses can demonstrate the complexity with word usage and country living. The confusion can be tremendous for a city gal when you hear horsey words like...filly, mare, nag, foal, backyard horse, gelding, broodmare, colt, dam, easy-keeper, Jeanette, mule, pony, barn sour, rogue, sire, stallion, weanling, yearling, and so much more! And, this is just with horses...not including all of the other terms relating to horses.

Farm and Ranch talk is an entirely new language for many people. With horses, I'm a bit more comfortable with many of these definitions, but again, I am a Texan. We cannot escape horse talk, even if we live smack dab in the middle of downtown Houston.

And, just so you know, with horses, even with my basic language skills, I've been doing my homework. Will we ever own a horse? Hmmm, I don't know. Deputy Dave wants us to eventually get a couple and there is a very lengthy, enjoyable horse trail near our acreage that would make it worthwhile; regardless, there is so much for us to learn. Yes, I took horseback riding lessons when I was a child and being a Texan means that we often find ourselves having to ride a horse...somehow...somewhere...we end up on a horse. But, the lessons I took as a child were proper English riding lessons when I lived in Scotland. That's another story for another day.

For now, just so you can see where I'm going with all of this "farm talk," I will continue the demonstration as it pertains to horses. In fact, here are a few words strictly referring to different kinds of horses with their definitions.

1. Filly:  a female horse under four years old

2. Mare:   a female horse over four years old

3. Nag:  an old horse or one that is in poor condition 

4. Foal:  a baby horse or pony still at its mother's side

5. Backyard Horse:  a horse that lives with its owner, not in a proper barn or stable

6. Gelding:  a castrated male horse

7. Broodmare:  a female horse used strictly for breeding

8. Colt:  a male horse under four years old that has not been castrated

9. Dam:  the mother horse

10: Easy-Keeper:  a horse that easily keeps his weight

11: Jeanette:  an offspring of a stud and a Jennie

12: Jennie: a female donkey, longer ears than a horse (confused about this one) horse-donkey hybrid?

13: Mule:  the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse

14: Pony:  breeds of small horses under 14.2 hands

15: Barn Sour:  a horse that doesn't like to leave the barn or stable

16: Rogue:  a horse with a bad temper

17: Yearling:  a horse just approaching or just turning one year old

18: Sire:  the father horse

19: Stallion:  a male horse over four years old that has not been castrated

20: Weanling:  a horse under one year old that has been weaned from its mother

21: Bronco:  a horse that has never been broken to saddle or harness use

22: Cow-Horse:  a horse that is trained in roping, cutting, herding out a cow herd

23: Mustang:  a feral horse

I am sure many of you will have additions to make to this list as well as more slang terms that I can't even conceive of grasping unless I'm struggling with one of these huge beasts.

So, my dear blog buddies, I hope that you realize that even though I actually do have a rarely utilized, vast SAT-level vocabulary, I only have a Bambino-level vocabulary when it relates to my Farm Life Lessons. However, I'm sure that will continue to change over the coming years. I am even more confident that each near term I learn will accompany a solid real-world experience that will effectively etch the word into my brain.

If you are a Farming and/or Ranching individual, I bow down respectfully to all the brain etching you've had to endure. Some lessons are hard learned, but long remembered...I feel as if I am in Kindergarten and class is in session. I'm paying attention, for sure.


LindaG said...

Hope you all have a great weekend! :)

Dreaming said...

A fun, thought-provoking post! Sometimes we just don't think of the vocabulary we are accustomed to using in a specific context. Think of the acronyms we throw around at work.... if we step into another field, they have their own acronyms/vocabulary and I, for one, am lost!