News from the Farm: Mud Season
Good morning friends and local food eaters,
Monday morning we awoke to a lovely snowfall.
"I thought it was spring now?!", my four year old said.
Yeah. Us too.
"April Fool's!", says Nature.
Global "weirding" seems to be happening. Or... maybe it's just a fluke.
Whatever the explanation for this long winter, it is perpetuating a season that we have here on the farm. Maybe this season exists everywhere, but it is just more apparent and potentially problematic in farming.
It's called Mud Season.
It goes through winter and spring, corresponding with the ground thawing, high precipitation from snow and rain, and not a lot of ground cover.
My kids think it's a real season. They talk about it naturally, like "when mud season is over..." or "Mom will be mad if you don't take your boots off in mud season ".
Monday morning, I took this photo:
Six hours later, the same scene looked like this:
This is reality folks. The truth of what it looks like, un-touched up.
These are the pictures that aren't normally shared. We like to display the green, sunny, pretty pictures. But mud season is a real phenomenon, with real challenges. We think food eaters deserve to know about the transparent realities of where their food comes from, and that means how it is grown, year round, in varying conditions. Sometimes farmers can't get into their fields because it's too wet for weeks or months. Sometimes they think they can, and get their tractors and other equipment stuck.
Driving in and out of places with vehicles for routine feeding and care becomes a challenge in this kind of mud.
We've gotten better at situating outdoor livestock (pigs and sheep) in relatively high and dry spots that Brooks will be able to maneuver the skidloader into and out of for bringing hay and grain without getting stuck. It's been a learning curve, like so much of farming.
Sometimes there is so much snow melt and rain and the grass hasn't started growing yet, and the beautiful pasture looks like this:
Mud season is basically a waiting game.
We wait until the sun comes out, temperatures rise, grass starts quickly growing again, and the ground dries out a little and firms up. It is unpredictable in what time frame exactly this will happen. Farmers watch the weather forecast and wait.
We try to clean up some of the many messes in the meantime. Here is Brooks doing some repairs and spring cleaning outside the butcher shop.
What a mess.
And don't even get me started on trying to keep mud out of the house...
There is still plenty of beauty to be found this time of year.
And that's what makes the magic of spring - when the grass DOES finally start to peak out and turn green and start growing rapidly, it is so welcome and appreciated.
Especially in contrast to the stark and messy days of mud season.
Thanks as always for supporting local food, through sun and mud!
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p.s. Our snake friend has woken up, and I find him every day on the stone wall in front of our house.
The snow didn't stop him from making an appearance.