Heave – Thaw, Heave – Thaw
It’s known as “The Mud Season.” The time of year when winter’s frozen solid ground starts to thaw.
When spring’s first warm sunny days arrive the previously rock hard and swollen ground starts to sheen up. It looks like a food stylist has brushed a coating of glycerin over everything to give it that sparkling depth that makes everything look appetizing. Then as the warm days increase so does the thaw. The ground that had expanded with a mighty heave, now gives up its solidity. The catch is all that extra space, from the expansion of freezing, has to go somewhere. Actually, it doesn’t go anywhere. Little air pockets take the place of frozen state making the ground, well, squishy.
Then it rains – it rains a lot. Then it freezes again. Then the whole process starts again. Yuck.
The ground is much like uncongealed Jello at this point. When you walk around your feet not only sink several inches your foot often slips one way or another. Especially if the places you frequent are not level.Level spots are in short supply around here.
This, of course, is the same weather that makes the maple sap flow. That means I’m all over the place carrying five gallon buckets full to the brim trying not to slip. I use a 55 gallon plastic food grade barrel strapped in the back of my truck as a port to which I carry the smaller bucket loads to. So, I drive around to various areas where the clusters of maple trees are. The truck tires sink many inches in too soft ground. I hate rutting up the place, but my buckets are all over and it would take hours to lug all that sap by hand. Besides, I stomp deep rutted paths as well by foot.
The Mud Season requires only one type of footware. The Muck Boot. Not to sound like a sales pitch, but these are hands down, or should I say feet down?, the best farm footwear ever invented. This pair is three years old. It’s been patched several times with “Shoe Goo” (another great thing to have around). I do tend to wear Muck Boots all year or at least until the ground is hard and dry. But chiggers often come at that time so, yep, time for the Muck Boots again.
I do have a new pair in waiting but can’t bring myself to get them muddy!