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Dealing with dirt; maddened by mud

Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010, at 3:56 PM

After moving to the country I realized a long time ago, that "Dirt is Our Life."

I even wrote a column about it which was published in a national farm magazine.

I wrote then about my new husband and his farmer's friends fascination with dirt and the fact that I had been raised in an area where I rarely dealt with actual dirt. However, after moving to the farm I learned that "dirt" was going to be a part of my everyday life. I was even told by my new husband, "Don't you understand honey? Dirt is our life."

I soon understood that no matter how much we tried to stay clean, my husband and myself were always going to look a lot more like "Pigpen" than the much more finicky "Schroeder" from the Peanuts series. After having children, I realized keeping them clean was also an impossible task. Even as little tykes they would get filthy just riding for a few hours with their father in a cabbed tractor.

It became a fact of life. No matter how hard you try on a farm, especially when you live on gravel road, dirt is everywhere.

I surrendered to the dirt long ago, knowing I didn't have the time or energy and most importantly -- desire to stay ahead of it. In fact, I probably even embraced it. I gave up any appearances of having a perfectly clean house. I've taken housekeeping to a new low, boldly telling anyone who would listen that there are many more important things in life than a clean house -- like spending quality time with my family, farm work, gardening, yard work, my job at the Democrat-News, television, the Internet and (perhaps my favorite) sleep.

But the last four years, my low in housekeeping has gotten lower. And the reason is something I didn't agree to and haven't come to embrace -- MUD!

Mud isn't like dirt. Dirt comes in a speck at a time. Mud comes in big hunks -- on shoes, on boots, on cars, on trucks, on dogs, on jeans, on faces and recently on a few arms, legs and elbows.

If you don't attend to mud right away it turns into dirt and makes an even bigger mess. But if you do try to clean it up right away, it makes more mud and spreads itself around.

A little dirt or dust on a car, isn't really a problem, but big chunks of mud are a colossal problem. Last week I kept hearing a terrible noise coming from my car every time I turned a corner. I thought my steering was going out -- or worse.

After finally stopping and taking a look, I found big hunks of mud embedded under the wheel wells. They were scraping on my tires every time I turned my wheels.

Ever try to get good hunks of Missouri mud out from under a car? Trust me, it's not easy. After drying, the mud which is always mixed with rocks and chat from the gravel roads, turns into big hunks of concrete.

You can vacuum and sweep dirt, but hunks of concrete have to be rolled -- or hauled away!.

Through the years I've learned to appreciate dirt. After all, great things grow in the dirt. I've even come to enjoy the smell of a newly turned field of dirt, or the picture of a planter going through the field with a large plume of dirt trailing behind it. Besides, dirt on a piece of furniture, a tractor cab or your neighbor's truck, makes a great substitute for a note pad when you need to quickly write something down.

But mud? You can't grow anything in it. Quite frankly it stinks and trying to write with it only makes you muddy too!

Walking in mud is tough and losing your boot in a muddy lot is a common and very uncomfortable, squishy, mishap. It usually occurs at the time you least need it to -- like when a cow is anxious to get through a gate that you are standing in front of with your now one mud (is that really

mud?)-covered foot.

Mud also seems to make my farmers very cranky, even when they keep both boots on their feet.

I sure hope this mud (and rain) thing ends soon.

"Mud is our life" just doesn't have the same ring.

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"MUD IS OUR LIFE" What a quote!!! You are the best!!! Marcia, you know farm life to a TEE!!!! I grew up on a farm and left for the "city" for eleven years but twelve yrears ago I decided my kids needed to grow up on a "farm" and show some livestock so we moved back. You may not have grown up as I did, but you know the truth about farm life and farm kids!!! Oh!!! What we will go through for our husbands and kids!!!! Mud and all--Would we change it for the world?!?!?! No, I wouldn't!!!!!! It's the life!!!

-- Posted by Farm Mom on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 2:07 PM

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