Jun 17th 2019 Back to latest news
David Palmer, Farmer Palmer Senior, uses phrases that are not always recognised by the younger generation! It made us curious about where the phrases came from. Over the centuries our animals, and farming, has had a big influence on our lives and language. We have adopted expressions, phrases and idioms but do you know what they all mean?
An idiom is a phrase or expression whose meaning can’t be understood from the ordinary meanings of the words in it. For example, “Get off my back!” is an idiom meaning “Stop bothering me!”
We all love bees and know how important to the plant’s eco system they are. From day 1 the worker bees don’t stop working to ensure the hive’s survival.
Imagine having 12 beautiful eggs and assuming you’ll have 12 chicks. Nature is not that predictable and this idiom sums this up very well.
This is a social behavior among chickens, which attack each other by pecking to establish dominance. In our chicken houses the dominant hen will be the first to the food and will let newer chickens eat when she’s ready. A hierarchy is created between the chickens.
This is all about risk, bravery or safety. If you collect all of the days eggs and pop them in one basket, then you drop the basket, you risk breaking them all. Put them in two or more baskets and one should survive.
Chickens settle down on a branch or pole in their houses when they go to bed to rest and sleep. They come back to the same place every night.
Our beautiful cows take life at their own pace. This is usually a sedate walk, due to the difficulty to walk with a huge udder between your legs!
Ox were always used to pull carts, operate farm machinery and power milling.
When land was being divided up hundreds of years ago everything was done by hand. The line of planted crops was called a row. The wooden and stone/metal tool used to weed and loosen the earth around the plants was called a hoe. The phrase indicated that something is difficult to do.
From the middle of the 16th Century this meaning has survived.
When wheat is harvested the processing (threshing) involves separating the grain from the husks, known as chaff.
Hay loses it’s nutritional value when it exposed to rain after it has been cut. If it gets too wet and won’t dry out, it will mold and be useless.
This expression comes from a tradition in horse racing. Thought to have a calming effect on high-strung thoroughbreds, a goat was placed in the horse’s stall on the night before the race.
Content animals are happy animals and there is none more happy than a pig cooling off in a mud wallow. Because pigs can not sweat to cool down, they need a muddy hollow to make sunscreen.
We all know pigs can’t fly, don’t we? “When pigges flye” can be referenced back the 16th Century. Lewis Carroll used it in Alice in Wonderland.
The expression derives from the old proverb ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear‘, which dates back to the 16th century.
Horses are generally held in high regard as trusted, loyal friends. We all know they can not speak but the literal connection is linked to the understanding between horses and horse lovers.
Anyone who knows horses, donkeys and mules will know when they decide they don’t want to move they can stand their ground and pulling does not help. The mule is not all bad but it is in their nature to be willful and stubbon.
A horse’s age can be determined by looking at it’s teeth. Evidently, there was a time when those people who had been given a horse as a gift would look into it’s mouth to see how old it was. If it was an old horse, they would complain about the gift that had been given to them.
When animals are loved but no longer of use to us they are rewarded for their lifetime of dedication by being retired to a lovely field or pasture. Glitter, our retired male pony ride pony, has kicked off his shoes and lives with the girls now!
We hope you have enjoyed some of these. If so please let us know.
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