This morning I walk out to the processing room down the driveway filled with mud. By the time I finish the short walk, my boots are covered, filthy, and noticeably heavier. I switch into the clean processing room boots and start work. While I am doing many of those repetitive tasks one finds on a farm, my mind wanders. While some people fantasize about what they would do when they win the lottery, I dream about mud. I imagine the mud, that marks this time of year (fall through spring), is amazingly gone. Just non-existent. Poof! It just disappears! No more having to hose down your boots. No more filthy trucks. No more having to slow down because you are afraid of losing your boot in the really thick goo. No more trucks stuck in the field or having to chain up. The joy from these images only lasts about as long as it takes to box a couple of dozen eggs, then I realize it is March and the hope of the mud disappearing soon is just not very realistic. Pretty soon I find myself preparing my prayer to Mother Nature. Knowing how she works, I try to make it reasonable. I carefully consider my options.
I won’t ask too much of her, just ask for the usual stuff she does. You know, sun, rain, wind, cold. It’s obvious that if she could just quit sending us rain, the mud would dry up, but hey, I realize I live in Western Washington and the rain is what makes this place so green. If I don’t want mud, I would just need to move somewhere drier. I was born and raised here and I love it, but hey, enough is enough. Oh, I’ve got it, how about it just freezes for a while. That would give us break. Just walk right on top of the goo. Boots stay clean. Hoop houses and nest boxes will hardly need any attention. That would be heaven. But wait, if freezing temperatures come, that means wearing a few more layers of clothes so that one works up a sweat just walking to the out buildings. In addition, the watering systems freeze up, and we have to haul water to the large animals. If it gets really cold then the pump can freeze, and then have to thaw it out before getting around to hauling the water to the animals. Okay, I’m not asking for freezing weather. Let’s see, what else is there, wind – won’t help. Sun – get real. If the sun comes out in March by August the heat will be unbearable. I just can’t make up my mind. As I contemplate different scenarios, Mother Nature came up with something I hadn’t considered.
After a half hour or so, I look out the window and see the thick snow falling. I smile. The temperature is right at freezing, so the ground is still thawed and nothing is frozen. When I finish, there is about two inches of white covering the thick mud. As I saunter back to the house anticipating breakfast, I thank Mother Nature for her unique way of giving me a break from the mud without having to freeze everything. My heart is filled with gratitude as I slide off my clean boots by the back door and smell the sausage that is waiting for me.