From Pipi’s Pasture: Mud season begins in Yampa Valley
April 1 is Monday — no joke — and what the month will bring, weather-wise, is anybody’s guess.
At least a few of the last days of March have been warm, and out here at Pipi’s Pasture, some of the drifted snow has started to melt. (When I drive to Craig, it’s amazing how much “springier” things appear to be as compared to our landscape.) The feedlot where we’re currently putting out hay has begun to bare off, and where we fed earlier in the winter, some of the ground is actually pretty dry. It will be a while until the ice under some of the gates begins to melt and the huge piles of plowed-up snow disappear, however.
So now the mud season begins. Just this morning, I noticed the familiar springtime smells of the corral and feedlot on our outdoors clothes, wet socks, and boots, and when I went into the laundry room to fill the washer, there it was — the unmistakable smell associated with mud season.
You know mud season has started when:
• You have to wear your hip boots to the corral.
• One foot sinks into the mud, and when you pull it out, you just sink down with the other.
• Boots spring leaks after being pulled out of the mud a few times.
• You have to hunt up plastic bags to line your boots after they start to leak.
• Ponds of standing water and fertilizer make it difficult to navigate the corrals.
• You nearly drown the car driving through a pond of water standing in the lane leading to the house.
• Your new black tennis shoes are brown.
• You know which part of the feedlot is dry, because the cows are sleeping on it.
• You change your pants more often because the bottoms of the pant legs are wet and muddy.
• Objects you forgot about start to show up after a few days of melting — such as a pink bucket or the stacked-up feed pans.
• The ice in abandoned water tanks, from earlier in the winter, is beginning to melt.
• The blackbirds are walking around in water puddles.
• Driving through the mud leaves deep ruts.
• Cars are covered with mud — from driving through mud puddles and with muddy cat footprints.
• That spring barnyard smell can be found on anything that comes into contact with livestock or corrals.
• The cats and deer take advantage of bare spots on the lawn.
• You have to be careful, not only where you step on ice but also where you step in mud.
One thing is for sure — we’re happy to have moisture!
This column’s first recipe is good for a quick supper — or anytime for that matter. The recipe comes from Marcey Dyer, of Pierce, who has shared several delicious recipes with me. To save time, use leftover cooked rice when making this skillet dish.