Ranching and Farming Sayings

Farmers and ranchers across Montana use a unique, and yet simple system for starting a conversation and spreading the news. Whether stopped in the middle of a quiet county road or out in front of the bank during a quick run into town, conversations invariably begin with a question, which are almost exclusively dependent on the season.

The short days of December and January elicit queries sounding like:
– “How much snow did you get?”
– “How cold was it this morning?”
– “Are you feeding hay yet?”
– “Windy enough for you?”

In early spring Montana farmers and ranchers generally have just one question:
– “Are you calving/lambing yet?”

However, the gist of the calving conversation will have its own subset of questions such as:
– “How is calving/lambing going?”
– “How far along are you?”
– “Still getting them in at night?”
– “How is the weather treating you?”
– “Had any twins [calves]?”

Once calving starts winding down, late spring and early summer conversations will comprise of the following:
– “Are you done calving/lambing?”
– “Have you started farming?”
– “Are you done branding?”
– “Do you have enough water to irrigate?”
– “How much rain did you get?”
– “Are you done farming?”
– “Kids coming home this summer?”

As the heat of the summer sets in, they ask:
– “Are you haying yet?”
– “How does the grass look?”
– “Hot enough for you?”
– “Get any rain?”
– “How are your crops looking?”

Early fall brings:
– “Kids head back to school?”
– “Sell your calves?”

And later in the fall we hear:
– “Have you shipped yet?”
– “How did your calves weigh?”
– “Have you started harvesting?”
– “Got your fall work done?”

Before we know it, December has once again arrived in Montana; cold, windy days are among us. We run into our neighbor at the post office, and ask:
“How much snow did you get?” Happy, healthy eating from the Cream of the West crew!