Life Mucks

IMG_3039     It’s the end of January and it is still raining which is to be expected when you live on the edge of the Olympic Rainforest in Washington State. After my last post I committed myself to choosing a different attitude when facing the trials excessive mud brings to the farm yard. An animal’s health is dependent on dry, warm, and clean places for sleep and feeding. Our goat’s hooves and digestive tracts can especially be adversly affected by the lack of these conditions so, I pulled on my muck boots, grabbed a wheelbarrow full of hay and with pitchfork in hand set out to battle.

Before we get to that though, I first have to say, my first year in this farming adventure I quickly realized that what you put on your feet is incredibly important. I wore my cheap $12 pair of rubber boots non-stop, the first summer to help protect from the berry bushes and then throughout the fall and winter to slush through the mud. Not only did I quickly wear through them I developed some pretty calloused and painful toes. I chose more wisely the next time and bought myself a pair of heavy duty Muck Boots. I was a little hesitant to shell out the $100 but, the comfort and support through this Fall/Winter season has been pain free and greatly appreciated.  They say that Muck Boots go with everything especially pajama pants and I will admit I have confirmed that a few times myself, so no judgment here.

With my feet properly shod to attack the four inches of muck at the gate entrance to the goat pasture in my sights, I set off with sheer determination. I began grabbing heavy loads of wet straw from the compost pile to fill in the deeper holes, swinging back and forth until the area was covered. I then moved fir branches from one area to another to form a base for the goats to stand on while they wait by the gate for me to come feed them. If only they would choose to wait a little further back in the pasture we would not have the mud problem we do. They must believe that crowding the gate is what makes the food lady come faster, so there they wait, creating a deeper, messier area of muck. I trudged back to the house feeling somewhat satisfied at my temporary solution, at least until I could get a truckload of wood chips from a local tree cutting service.

I woke up that night in the worst pain I can ever remember having, just short of childbirth. I seriously thought I might be having a heart attack, a panic attack or a combination of both. Seeing that I have not experienced either of these I couldn’t rule them out so, I broke down and  woke my husband up. We decided that I had caused a pretty hefty strain on my core muscles from my excessive pitchfork work. I will be turning 50 this October and this is the first time I felt old. You just get to the point in life that you have overcome personal struggles and gained a bit of wisdom and maturity from your life experiences just to face the fact your body might not be able to keep up with your ambitions.

I suppose this is one of those occasions where one might be tempted to say “It sucks”, although I wasn’t allowed to use that expression as a kid. I was told that “only vacuums suck” and my all-time favorite mom response, “Where there is a will there is a way”. Life is filled with many difficult circumstances and trying situations, it begins at birth and will continue to our last breath. The attitude we choose and the truth we embrace is the key to enjoying fully the life we have. On the farm you know each day you are going to deal with refuse and some days disease or death.  It is a difficult yet inevitable part of the process; a beautiful cycle that brings the joy of growth, discovery and new birth.

Farm life has taught me to face each day with expectation instead of dread and to be grateful of even the smallest victories. Most importantly, I have learned the importance of choosing quality work clothes , the most valuable article being a positive attitude.    Put on those “Life Mucks” and tackle what is in front of you today, it may cost more than you think you have but in the end you will have a great reward.

Rocks in the Road


I sincerely intended to write on a regular basis and post on this blog in a consistent manner; however November came and with it the rain. I remind you that I am a California native born and raised, transplanted into this fertile and damp Pacific Northwest. I am not complaining mind you, I absolutely love the rain. What I dislike is the mud, the slimy, slippery, suck you down type of mud. I am pretty confident most people would share my reticence for donning the raincoat and muck boots to trudge through an ankle deep mixture of manure , straw and mud to complete the daily chores. Even so, I do it because diligence and the love of what I do compels me to.

It is through these daily struggles I find inspiration and gain strength to persevere. These difficulties or proverbial “rocks in the road” have in the past, been a source of frustration and distraction in my life. I have wasted too much time and attention wishing they weren’t there or planning my way around them. The crazy thing is; it is often these very obstacles which can keep us focused. These daily trials or “rocks” can actually provide the traction we need to maneuver through the mud in our lives.

Mud and I haven’t always been at odds, there was a time in my childhood it inspired me to create the most glorious mud cakes with a dark mud frosting. I spent hours squeezing my hands through it’s squishy consistency and daydreaming of the endless possibilities that could be created from it. Maybe it even inspired my brief business interlude as a cake decorator. As an adult I have even enjoyed an occasional relaxing mud mask. Mud is not my enemy but I have allowed it to be an excuse from moving forward.

It is January and it’s still raining, the mud is magnificently disgusting. I can stand still and let it suck my creativity down into its depths or I can grab the rocks around me and arrange them into a mosaic of sorts. It is my decision, I know it’s often a difficult choice to see things with a positive perspective, but I am giving it my best effort. I want to stomp confidently down onto each rock along this muddy path in a victorious procession forward.

Perhaps, I will even stop along the way and make a mud pie.