I never meant to turn into a mud connoisseur at the same time as being a goat farmer, it just happened. In our area of the country, we get a lot of rain which turns into a lot of mud. So, if you live in a similar place like ours, you know that mud happens and quite frequently. But, we have a special mud. Not all mud is created equal. We have the queen of all mud. We have Clay.
Clay mud can be brick red in color, or rusty brown, or black, depending on what is mixed into it, particularly around the barn. Clay is the queen of all mud simply because it sticks and it also slides. You say that is a contradiction. On contraire, translated that means not so.
When we lived in northern Ohio, we would step out on a rainy day, walk around the barn, walk through tons of mud, and not once did we gain an ounce in weight. The mud allowed you to step out of it. Where we are now, in Queen Clay, step out on a rainy day and the mud stays with you. It clumps up on your shoes. You end up with about five pounds of clay mud clumped all over each shoe. I remember asking Lee, as I tried to pick up my foot to show him, ďWhat is this?Ē I didnít know what to make of it.
Not only did it want to stick with you, but many times, once stepped in, it would not let you go. I canít count the number of times that I have walked back to the house in my socks, with a nice coating of five pounds of mud on each foot. Simply because I took a step, tried to pull the booted foot up out of the mud to take another step, and the barn boot just got sucked off. It stayed in the mud while my foot slide out and took the next step without the boot. I would struggle and try to lift the booted lone foot free so I could turn around and pull the now empty barn boot out of the mud, and thatís right, that foot came out of the boot and there I stood in mud in my socks. It is truly a gross sensation. And, you canít put your foot back into your boots without making a colossal mess. So, back to the house you walk in your mud socks, carrying your barn boots.
And at the same time itís slippery. There is no other mud as slippery as clay mud. You could be innocently walking along and suddenly find yourself sliding over the hill, totally out of control. Or, have your feet suddenly wanting to kiss the sky and your rump kissing the clay mud. The mud likes you to play homage to it like that sometimes.
But, this one time, I have to admit that the mud actually did something worthwhile because, after all, it is soft. Walking out to check on the chickens in the chicken house one morning, the toe of my barn boot struck something solid. This is quite an unusual sensation when you are use to slithering along in the mud and suddenly there is something solid. So, of course, I tripped. The mud latched onto my feet and I fell forward. Seeing the mud rising up to my face fast, I threw out my right hand to catch myself, felt a sharp pain in my wrist, but the mud slid that hand forward fast and then with the help of the slippery mud, I did a neat beautiful roll down the hill. At the bottom, I jumped up fast in case any neighbors or cars driving by might be concerned about my muddy well being. I rather regally walked to the house, totally encased in mud. If it hadnít been for the softness of that mud, Iím sure I would have done some damage. Fortunately, with my lightning reflexes, and perfectly conditioned muscles from catching goats, I wasnít a bit sore the next day. Thatís my story and Iím sticking to it.
Besides being soft to land in, the clay mud is constantly landscaping our place. That clay will swell up with rain water, a few wet weather underground springs appear, and the next thing you know, about an acre or more of your land suddenly slides to a new location. We have slides all over this area and our farm is not exempt. One day you are use to seeing your land look a certain way, and then after some rain, the top of the hill may slide down to the valley.
People out of state probably laugh at our crazy leaning electric poles in the area. Itís not because the electric company doesnít know how to dig a straight post hole, itís just the clay mud has decided to relocate and partially takes the electric pole with it, or completely takes the electric pole with it. So, we have wildly leaning electric poles throughout the area. If you are tired of looking at the same old scenery, donít worry, itíll change with clay mud.
Being a mud connoisseur is not so bad. You develop a useful knowledge on how to walk in different consistencies of clay mud. The clay mud keeps us all humble in the area. Nothing like a quick dip in the olí mud to knock any uppitiness out of you. And, I understand people pay a lot of money to go to health spaís to get mud baths. Here, we get them frequently for free. Now excuse me, I have to go and clean the mud out from between my toes and find a clean pair of socks.