Farmer Diary: Fake farmer knows the difference

Farm Forum

Editor’s note: Farm Forum contributor John Papendick is spending his fall helping on the family farm in Faulk County. He is writing about his adventures in a series of columns.

I hear novice gardeners all the the time say “I can’t tell if it’s a weed, plant or flower.”

Real gardeners know. It is the same on the farm, like mine in Faulk County or wherever your farm happens to be.

Here are some ways to tell a fake farmer from a real farmer:

• A fake farmer fuels on $1.89 16.9-ounce plastic bottles of water with a fancy name from a convenience store. A real farmer uses a water jug full of ice and tap water.

• After a couple of hours in the field, a fake farmer finds himself drinking sun-baked hot water in a warm-to-the-touch plastic bottle with a fancy name that he has to throw away that will dissolve in a billion years. A real farmer is taking a refreshing swig of cold water from a water jug he or she reuses everyday.

• A fake farmer always dresses for comfort. A real farmer dress for the job. (I have scratch marks galore from barbed-wire fencing in shorts and a T-shirt this summer).

• Sometimes when there is a job to do, a fake farmer jumps right in and does it incorrectly. A real farmer analyzes the situation.

• Sometimes when there is a job to do, a fake farmer wastes time by incorrectly analyzing a situation that needs no analysis. A real farmer jumps right in and does it.

• A fake farmer looks blankly into space with each new piece of equipment he jumps into, and even some of the ones he has driven. A real farmer drives off.

• When asked, a fake farmer responds, “Yes, I went over the ENTIRE field and picked ALL the rocks.” A real farmer knows he will need to repick the field, again and again.

• A fake farmer is confident there are no dumb questions. After a summer full of them, I know a couple of real farmers who have real proof there are dumb questions.

• A fake farmer who has no idea what was just said, nods, laughs and hopes for acceptance when a real farmer says stuff such as “if you know what I mean.” A real farmer really does know what his fellow farmer means.

• A fake farmer’s stomach works on a timeline. A real farmer’s stomach works on a “we’ll eat when we can” schedule.

• A real farmer sees a rainy day as opportunity. A fake farmer sees it as a day off.

• A real farmer writes checks. A fake farmer collects them.

• When a fake farmer breaks down, he thinks, “Rats, now we have to go to town to fix it. But wait, what if I am the one who gets to go into town …”. A real farmer thinks, “Rats, another thing for me to fix.”

• A real farmer knows what to do next. A fake farmer waits for instructions.

• A real farmer is thinking days, weeks and years ahead. A fake farmer is thinking about what he had for lunch yesterday.

• A real farmer sees potential problems before they happen. A fake farmer is creating potential problems.

• A real farmer is visualizing drainage solutions in his farmyard after a heavy rain. A fake farmer is wondering if he will get to slide around in the skid steer on a muddy surface.

• A real farmer uses many unsaid skills each day. A fake farmer uses many words to describe his skills each day.

• A real farmer is proof that common sense exists. A fake farmer is proof that common sense is not so common.

Longtime South Dakota journalist John Papendick is a freelance writer, public speaker and seeker of new life experiences. Email