The 3 M's of Farmsteading
Spring has arrived on Drystone Ridge and with it comes a new configuration of the 3 M's. That's my list of the three greatest nemeses of farmsteading: manure, mud, and mistakes. This trio is not limited to a season, no, they stalk every day of the year, but the Spring version brings a whole new level of misery and despair.
First there's the rise in temperature. Frozen manure might be unsightly but its not slimy on the bottom of your foot and it doesn't announce your return from the barn with a torrid smell in the air. Sheep is maybe the worst. Those innocent looking pellets hide in the grass and then stick like magnets in soles of your boots and shoes.
And then come the Spring rains that turn the best groomed field into a mud and muck bonanza. Soon you begin dreaming about mud and manure engulfing everything. Finally, you just give up and embrace it. Even the smell becomes almost imperceptible until that blunt speaking friend reminds you that your homeplace stinks to high heaven. (Tip for the week: Try to put mats or gravel around high traffic areas such as shelters, water and feeding troughs, and gates. Otherwise, once solid ground will quickly turn to a bottomless quicksand of mud. When summer drought comes, that sinkhole will turn into Grand Canyon-like craters as hard as concrete and destined for a human foot or animal hoof disaster.)
Maybe its because of my preoccupation with the manure and the mud that makes Spring mistakes all the more absent minded. This year, it was leaving a determined ram in a field adjacent to ewes (among many others). They say, love will find a way, but that wasn't the time or pairing called for in our carefully planned breeding program. So, for every photo of our green fields and cute mild mannered animals, just remember that there are twice as many that we could have posted of manure, mud, mistakes, and the fourth and culminating M, mayhem.
And that's diary entry #1- April 20, 2020 of real farm life this week.