Kathy Purdy describes her “mud season”. I loved her description of our ‘cold climate’ spring. When I lived in the city, the muddy thaw that segues winter to spring was never so noticeable, but once I moved to the country…. that muddy time consternated me.
Here, the water is table is high, for one thing. For another, the lack of sidewalk made muddy trails inevitable. Those early years, when I had a passle of kids, meant that there were boots sucked into mud and waiting on the back porch to be cleaned… and a trail of tracks through the house. The first thing I learned was to cover bare earth that led to the driveway. Grass works well, but stepping stones were better. I tried sliced logs, but those proved dangerously slippery. Commercial quality door mats helped, and removing shoes at the door is good-if you can get kids and husband to do it.
I don’t know how many high heeled shoes were ruined in the days that I still wore those to church, sinking into mud on the trip from house to the car.
Unlike Purdy’s land, mine is flat and prone to ponding even when the ground is unfrozen. Without the deep ditches this land originally was not capable of cultivation until deep into summer, but with ditches to carry off the excess water the mud season only lasts to mid spring.
This is why fall cultivation, plowing up the ground and leaving it to frost heaving, was a practice that allowed for timely spring planting. Different practices: raised beds, mulch, increased fall planting, using grass swales, are all useful to navigate the season.
I do hate cleaning all that mud off my shoes, though.
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