From Pipi’s Pasture: Mud season on the way to Moffat County
March 8, 2018
Recently we've had some blizzard weather here at Pipi's Pasture, and there's probably a lot more snow to come before winter plays itself out, but mud season isn't far off, complete with its unique odors. The following observations are how I know.
• In the driveway, where the snow has melted, we can see our footprints.
‘• Water has run across the road into the front part of Pipi's Pasture; this, plus melted snow, has left a pond of water that runs into the driveway and into the neighbor's place.
• Though the soil/leftover hay/manure mixture at the corral is still solid, water fills some of the hoof prints made by the cows; it freezes at night, and we have to tiptoe around it when the days are warm.
• The cats avoid walking across the corral, except in the morning. when it's frozen.
• There's hardly a place to put hay out on the feedlot where there isn't ice — turning liquid later in the day.
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• The calves seek out dry places to take their naps.
• The cows, lazy by nature, have taken to drinking water off the feedlot instead of walking to the stock tank.
• The soles are starting to come apart on my boots, probably a result of the acidity of some of the "slop" I have to walk across at the corral.
• The front porch smells like the corral, thanks to my boots.
• I go through lots of socks, thanks to the holes in my boots, and white socks have to be soaked in bleach to remove the stains.
• My chore coat smells like my boots and has to be washed more often than usual.
• What can only be described as "gunk" has built up under a gate to a small pen at the corral, and when it freezes at night, the gate also freezes down, requiring extra time to pry it loose with the pitchfork.
• Frozen fertilizer is starting to thaw so it can be pried loose in a long pen at the corral, and soon, we'll be able to shut a gate that has been frozen open all winter.
• We have to use caution when driving a vehicle back to the hay storage area.
These are only the signs of what is to come as days grow warmer and warmer. Before long, walking across the corral will mean putting one foot down and then prying it up before putting the other down, all the time worrying that a boot won't come up but the foot will. It takes patience and lots of luck to maneuver the corral without falling down in the slop, which can be a most unpleasant experience — I know, because it has happened to me.
Most years, mud season for the corral lasts until branding time, which means we have to step carefully around the branding chute. Time passes all too quickly. Not only is mud season quickly approaching but branding day, as well