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Wednesday, February 12 2014

This is a Public Service Announcement:

"The very next person who tells me we are in a drought will be clubbed to death with a muddy boot."

Thank you.

It has come to my attention that people who say this tend to be weather men, and folks who aren't actually slopping their way through chores in the mud. These are people who get up in the morning, walk down the sidewalk for the newspaper, and return to the comfort of their clean house. They then get ready for work. This involves walking on clean floors, with clean walls. They then select clean clothes and clean shoes. After this they may walk through the house into the garage where their car is parked. They will drive to work and be slightly miffed that their clean car has now got road scum on it. They will be even further miffed when they discover their child's afterschool sports event has been cancelled due to weather. They will return home in their climate-controlled vehicle, drive up to their mail box, open their automatic garage door, slip their shoes off onto a special 'mud mat' at the door, and settle down to a nice evening in front of their computers and/or television where they will hear the weather man announce that we are still in a drought. 

Now let's examine the lives of people with farms.

These people get up early to care for the animals. There are no holidays, no sick days, no snow days, no rain-out days.  Like the old donut commercial where the man staggers out of bed every morning and says "got to make the donuts," these people stagger out of bed and say, "got to feed the animals." 

The carpet is not clean in this house. It is tan with a muddy brown layer in high traffic areas. The walls are flecked and smeared with mud at dog level. Muddy boots are stacked in the foyer. Muddy coats are hanging from the kitchen chairs. Muddy towels are piled in front of the washing machine. They smell slightly of wet dog.

These people fall out of bed in the morning to slide into Carhardt jackets and trip toward the foyer. They examine the strange lump in the hallway and note with satisfaction that it is not a dog turd, but a clod of mud from someone's boots. They thank God for this and continue to the foyer.

In the foyer they select the driest pair of wet boots and struggle to get them on over insulated socks. They then slide to the barn. These intrepid individuals are either sliding in mud or ice depending upon the day of the week and the hour of the day. Depending upon the temperature, the locks on the gates will be frozen shut. Much cussing and banging will be involved to open them. If it is not frozen, it will be muddy thus resulting in muddy gloves. The sound of the gate opening will not be greeted by welcoming nickers, but by impatient banging and screams of

"Where's my bloody breakfast!"

It is at this point where the individual will be mugged. Feeding farm animals is not as simple as reaching into a clean dog food bin and tossing sterile kibble into a bowl on the kitchen floor. Feeding farm animals on a cold, wet morning is like a Wal-Mart Black Friday Sale. Mouths will reach and grab from all directions but unlike monsters in a scripted Haunted House, they will make contact and will knock you down. Only when one has been knocked down by cattle while slinging out hay or cubes can one truly understand the meaning of the term 'collateral damage.' An Olympic figure skater has nothing on the moves a sheep rancher can make when sliding in the mud under the onslaught of wooly backsides pushing at knee level.

After the initial wave is over and mouths are busy, then the farmer can ready himself/herself with the problem of water. Ice may need to be broken and buckets must be filled. This is not the time for multi-tasking. Doing other chores while leaving hoses unattended only results in flooding. Although this is a Law Of The Farm Universe, to save time most ranchers will ignore this and thus overfill buckets which will lead to more mud and/or ice later - and more cussing.

After the livestock have been fed and watered, it is now time to return to the house and get ready for work. Yes, work - because hauling 50 pound bags of feed and 65 pound bales of hay is not work. Sliding through mud or ice while carrying water buckets that slosh on your pants leg is not work. It is now time to shed those muddy clothes and find clothing that isn't muddy. It will not be possible to find shoes/boots that aren't muddy. Although the selected pants start out clean, they will be flecked with mud along the journey between the house and the truck as the now off-duty rancher leaves for the office. The running board of the truck will be slippery from either ice or mud, thus resulting in Olympic gymnist moves to get inside the vehicle, and more mud on pants legs.

On the drive to work they will note the scores of farm workers at the local farmer's market removing or covering the crops for the third time in a week.

People who have livestock will arrive at the office with hay in their hair, without make-up, with mud smeared on clean clothes from the kneee down and from elbow to wrist. Their co-workers will be dressed in clean clothing that is not appropriate for the weather outside a climate-controlled office or vehicle. They will question the off-duty rancher about the moral issues regarding raising livestock for food as they explain that everything necessary for a good meal can be obtained without guilt, or effort, from the grocery store.

Alrightie then.....

.... people who say things like that just scare me.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:08 am   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  |  Email
i'm a suburbanite myself, so i lack your intimate experience with mud and livestock.....i do know that large portions of the state of Vermont and some parts of New Hampshire do have a 'semi-official' mud the point that the rural folks keep a 'beater' (old car or truck) to use in the mud, so that 'good car' doesnt get wrecked in the mud and the towing. They get to have icicles and snow in mud season, too...... never mind what your coworkers think....we pay far too much attention to appearances anyway!Your heart is beautiful, that's what matters!
Posted by clairesmum on 02/12/2014 - 12:54 PM
Posted by claire s on 02/12/2014 - 02:08 PM
Awwwww.... (blush) thanks!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 02/12/2014 - 06:29 PM
Despite your candid/funny description of mud in Texas, and because I don't have to do any outdoor work except to shovel snow, I'm GLAD you're getting rain. Yes! Because I can only imagine how horrible it would be to have never-ending drought like parts of California or Australia have now. And I'm sure your dislike of mud is similar to mine (where the choice is either mud or cold, wintry temperatures and snow). Mud is annoying but better than the alternative. ;)
Posted by Terri's Pal on 02/12/2014 - 07:10 PM
I know mud is tough but it is better to have rain. I listened to 3 hours of people fighting over water today, both sides with good arguments. Heard people talk about their wells going dry and having to buy water to put in their cisterns. Medina lake is at <5% capacity! It is sad, people, livestock and wildlife suffering. That rain of yours is really a blessing, wish you could send it west to San Antonio and the hill country Rebecca and Mojo (the Terv)
Posted by Rebecca on 02/12/2014 - 10:52 PM
Much better to grow your meet in styrofoam than mud, duhhh!!! LMAO. City people are funny. I haven't decided which I dislike more...mud, or -30. I think now that I have dogs, I'm going with mud. (I'm a bit OCD and dirty dogs on the bed skeev me out.) And yet I still anxious await the day I can afford to have an acreage and sheep. Ha! So I think you're lucky, mud or no mud!! :)
Posted by AlbertaGirl on 02/13/2014 - 09:55 AM
I'm like you, the muddy dogs on the bed 'skeev' me out too!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 02/18/2014 - 11:22 PM

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