Sanders: Landmarks and Names
March 24, 2017
Do you name your farm fields? Some operations number their fields, but we're not that sophisticated so we refer to fields for various reasons.
My brother calls one the Funky Field due to the fact that it was planted with Funk's seed corn several years ago. Other fields were planted with the same brand of seed but this one got the name for some reason. I don't know why, but we have never named a field Pioneer after that brand of seed.
Landmarks, whether permanent like a hill, a big rock or even a feature that could easily be removed, frequently figure in the naming process. On the south side of one field, one year a lone cottonwood tree was crawling with red ants and it became the Ant Tree and the field is so named. An old red truck sits at the edge of a hay meadow and the Red Truck is a landmark.
When our county began the process of naming roads for 911 addressing names that made the list were Highline Road and Gravel Road. The latter always has to be explained. Yes, it is a gravel road, common in the country, but that is actually the name of the road; it's on the road sign. Some names are historic such as WG Flat, an area that was open range with a ranch headquarters owned by William Grimes, or WG in the late 1880s and early 1890s.
“My brother calls one the Funky Field due to the fact that it was planted with Funk’s seed corn several years ago.”
Farms and ranches often carry the name of the previous owner for years after those owners have sold and left the property. The new owners seem to need at least 20 years on the place before it is referred to by their name. Creative people leave their family names off the farm or ranch name. The most obvious is the use of the cattle brand, as in the –T (bar T) Ranch.
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I've seen local farms with names like Poverty Knob, The Poor Farm and Glencoe Ranch. There is no end to the possibilities. Appropriate signs that accompany a name often are pieces of art in their own right.
In England tradition has had it that people name their homes, especially in the rural areas. The practice came from the early days when wealthy homeowners named their castles, lodges and manors, by adding either their surname or a geographical feature. Examples include Sanders Manor or Hillside Cottage. While visiting in England many years ago, I found, at that time, the house name was actually part of the mailing address. A letter posted to Graham Thatched House with no street address would have been the actual address.
My married niece came up with a good one for their acreage in Oklahoma: Curry Crest. Like me, she likes alliteration. That may be part of my difficulty. I've tried to come up with a name for our place however a fitting title escapes me; our home is on a sandy rise, not really a hill or a knob. Perhaps readers will share their ideas by emailing me. ❖