When life gives you mud, make mud pies

When life gives you mud, make mud pies By Bob Karolevitz Normally Maggie, our golden retriever, is a good looking dog � but not in the mud of March.

Like a little kid, she sloshes in every puddle in sight until she's a gawd-awful mess. Her once honey-colored coat is soggy and smelly, but she revels in it.

Getting through mud season is especially difficult for those of us on the farm. City folks � with their concrete sidewalks and paved driveways � don't understand what we go through in the country.

When the snow goes, the mud comes � not just any old mud but the sticky muck they call South Dakota gumbo. To go to the barn and chicken coop, we've got to wear dairy boots, and they don't do much for Phyllis's figure.

We track great gobs of it into the kitchen if we forget to take our shoes off. Wives don't like that, I've discovered.

Car wheels spin in the goo as the road ruts get deeper. They splatter the vehicle with viscous residue which doesn't come off completely at the car wash. At least the ice and snow were a lot cleaner.

Animals don't seem to mind the mud as much as we do. They can walk in it easier than on frozen clods, and it probably feels good on their feet. I can recall going barefoot when we were kids and how we enjoyed the squishy stuff oozing up between our toes. Maybe it's the same way with horses.

Speaking of them, Phyllis's miniature steeds now have their winter coats caked with the mire they've laid in. That'll mean long curry comb sessions when it dries up.

I've written about it before, but I can remember when we had a small cow-calf operation and how frustrated the little fellows and gals were when their mothers were udder deep in the feedlot. I don't think milk and mud tasted very good. I called what they ate mudsicles.

I also wrote about the time that Phyllis rescued an old ewe stuck in the morass caused by the snow melt. She was half dressed for a party when somehow she heard the aged sheep bleat in distress.

In slip and underwear, she ran across the yard and leaped over the hayhack fence to the struggling animal. She lifted it to safety, and then � covered with mud from head to foot � she stomped back to the house and into the shower, clothes and all.

It's my favorite mud story but an experience I'm sure she doesn't want to go through again. Besides that, she doesn't leap as well as she used to.

With the melting comes water as well as the mud. Once again we have Lake Phyllis down by the barn. You won't find it on your map, and it isn't deep enough for fish, but it'll be there until the sun takes it away.

However, as I've said before, we have learned to take the goop with the bad. They tell us that when life hands us a lemon, we should take it and make lemonade. In like manner I think I'll go to the Neighbor Lady to get a recipe for mud pies. Goodness knows, I've got the ingredients.

Once again though, the sodden season will soon pass, and we'll forget about it for another year. March Madness might mean basketball for some folks, but for me it stands for just one thing. And that thing is mud!

© 2001 Robert F. Karolevitz

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