Right now my world is a place of mud and ice. The snows are s-l-o-w-l-y melting, and although they look snowy, they have transformed into icy, gritty, hard-packed mounds that are fighting their last battle with the warmer temps.
(‘Warmer’ mostly means temperatures in the middle thirties to low forties. And over the weekend we got eight inches of snow, so it’s an ongoing battle.)
Where the snow has given way, there is slushy dirt and gravel. The ground squishes and oozes mud on boots when stepped on. The trucks and ranch vehicles are covering in a thick frosting of dried dirt, and the layers continue to grow.
To make it more interesting, our back yard is a sea of torn-up dirt clods with muddy rivulets of water leaking past into the pasture below. (Last winter our septic system decided to die, and the new leach beds were put in after clearing out the drifts of snow.) Our dog Pepper loves the outdoors, and regularly comes to the back door with paws packed with mucky dirt.
The roads are a disaster- one has a choice between snowy slush to skate on, or gooey mud trenches that spray mess everywhere.
The pastures and fields are covered with animal poo that, until now, have been frozen poopsicles. Since the elk, deer, coyotes, dogs, and other critters wander freely, fragrant reminders of their visit are also on the roads, yards and walkways. Not stepping in some kind of poo is an impossibility.
One bit of hope for Spring are the birds- both robins and bluebirds have returned. This morning, while walking up to the work barn for our morning meeting, I realized the bird chatter was a new sound. “This too shall pass,” I thought. The snows will melt, plants will grow, the mud will turn to dirt, and we’ll have elk babies to watch as they scamper around.
All griping aside, once I resigned myself to muddy boots, coats and clothes, there is an ever-changing panorama of wildlife, weather and mountains to feast my eyes on each day. Poopsicles aside, it’s a beautiful place to live.