Mud, my specialist subject

Mud.  Looking positively (it takes effort but it’s possible) mud means that the water troughs aren’t frozen and the animals are reasonably warm and comfortable.  I wasn’t here for our recent cold snap, but I’ve heard many reports of cold fingers fumbling at horse rug straps, and hens refusing point-blank to come out of their hen houses, and geese denting their beaks on frozen water tubs.

None of that applies at the moment, it’s mild and deeply, deeply muddy.  Mud was a specialist subject anyway, as it will be to anybody with a smallholding in England.  Now I’m bringing it up to PHD standard.  And here are a few of my findings:

Hen mud.  Loose and slidy, pale grey in appearance and thin in texture.  Taking a hen at random (Frillz) it turns sparkling white feathers into tatty and grubby rags.  Frillz is cross about this and blames me.  She’s a girl who is usually high in self-esteem, but not at the moment.  She adds that if I want any eggs I can whistle for them until the hen mud goes.

Goose mud.  Soft and glutinous.  Goose mud doesn’t happen naturally, it has to be worked up into a froth by the orange rubber beaks of geese.  After they have spaddled mindlessly for a few hours the goose mud is ready to go.  The plan is (if you are a goose) that you stand in it, then walk calmly but with intent to the hay barn where you stand again.  The goose mud transfers to the floor of the hay barn where it sets like concrete and is nearly impossible to shift without power hosing.  A success in every way (if you are a goose).

Dog walk mud.  Deep, intense and yielding.  Contains nameless horrors.  The innocent bridle paths and footpaths where I have walked the dogs every day for ten years have become bottomless pits of filth, often with spontaneous streams running along them.  The Labradors come home coated from stem to stern.  Indie (whippet puppy) has several times needed saving from a slough of despond, and his pretty white party socks disappear daily behind a coating of dark brown yuk.  Not recommended, even in a positive mood.

Field mud.  Dark, sticky, reaching down to Earth’s primal core.  Pockets of rainwater in every hoofprint.  Field mud swallows buckets, hay bales, salt licks.  It forms deep pits in gateways and (the real point of this blog) I lost a wellie in it this morning.  It was bad enough hopping around in a rather nice sock (why or why did I wear a Christmas present cashmere sock in my wellies?)  But the sheep and Harry came to watch me and I know, I just know, that the whole lot of them were laughing at me.

Thank heavens for a mug of coffee and some CHOCOLATE back at base.

10 thoughts on “Mud, my specialist subject

  1. Field mud, that’s the worst. I lost a pair of wellies in it when I was a child, the mud got into my super cool black wellies and I couldn’t take them off anymore, it was like having concrete feet in an italian style :-) My mum had to cut them open (the wellies, not my feet) to remove them…..

    • Both wellies? That trumps my experience this morning, poor you. At least mine was just the one, so I could hop to freedom. Aly x

  2. Or as the immortal Flanders and Swann sang:
    “Mud, mud, glorious mud!
    Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
    So follow, follow, down to the hollow
    and there let us wallow in
    Glorious MUD!

    • Funnily enough those words went through my mind as I squelched about this morning. Also their weather song which starts ‘January brings the snow, makes your feet and fingers glow’ but with particular relevance to the last verse. Aly x

  3. Not only in Wiltsire. we can do it in Tuscany too; I have a rather fetching mini (midi?) waterfall coming down from my olive grove, the vines are sulking (thank goodness they are dormant) and the sheep are wearing Mafia boots and do not think this is La Dolce Vita. As long as you lost the wellie not the cashmere socks (cashmere and choccies being sacrosanct), something for the landscape archeologist in years to come!

    • Mud in Tuscany? Well I never! There was me thinking you’d be basking in very early spring sunshine. Poor old olive trees, at least the oak trees here are used to it. As you say, cashmere and chocolate are sacrosanct, and my socks are startled but OK. Aly x

    • Hi Freda! I only look at mud from the animal’s point of view – if I looked at it from my point of view I’d emigrate to Australia right now. But the geese view mud with an entirely positive attitude. Which somehow helps. Best wishes, Aly

  4. Yes on days like that coming in to a tasty bit of Cadbury , a steaming hot cuppa joe and a hearty “Here’s mud in you eye! ” always seems to make everything bettter doesn’t it :)

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