Today my cerulean blue mud boots were the same color as the clear sky and that alone made for a breathtaking afternoon. But mud season in Vermont brings with it a swarm of unapparent treasures that perhaps urban dwellers would not know to appreciate. Those of us who live a more bucolic existence not only appreciate these spring gifts, but we chat about them with a zeal that implies we are experiencing them for the first time. In reality, we anticipate their arrival year after magnificent year. Perhaps the simplest of these blessings is the smart and acceptable practice of wearing comfortable mud boots everywhere we go for weeks. They go with anything and nothing, and this is a fashion rule I can follow dependably.
Additionally, mud season is the only time I feel caught up on gardening. Last year’s growth now slides out of the spongy ground with ease. Everything is neatly trimmed, the dead leaves are raked and disposed of, compost is spread and there is not a weed in sight. If I am especially on top of my regimen and have ordered fresh mulch then it is really a sight for tidy eyes to behold. About this time I start seeds in egg crates on the kitchen window sill which makes me feel as though I have outsmarted our short growing season.
Equally favorable is the notion that there is little sense in maintaining our car’s exterior appearance during this time. In fact, on many of our state’s dirt roads just keeping our vehicles on the road in mud season is challenge enough. Deep mucky ruts throw us side to side, splash our cars and obscure our license plates. A good time to stir up a little mischief...hypothetically.
Horses shed out, chickens start to lay again, baby chick orders are placed with Murray-McMurray Hatchery, sap flows and fresh 1st cut hay can again fill our lofts. Perhaps the one draw back of this time of year is the unsettling realization that the hundreds of Garter snakes that call our property home are waking from their winter sleep deep inside our stone walls. Even still, I find their clockwork emergence almost reassuring and charming. Honestly, there is little I do not like about mud season as it gives way to spring on our tiny farm. It is the perfect opportunity to get my tractor back in working condition and spruce up before the voracious overgrowth of summer entangles me.
My daughter summed it up best after our family vacationed on the Mayan Riviera this past week. As we packed our bags on our last day, she offered a kind of farewell blessing as we headed home to the awaiting mud season in Vermont. She said “Goodbye warm paradise, hello cold paradise”. We collectively agreed it was a fair and fortunate trade!