In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet, novelist, activist, and teacher
Maybe Ms. Atwood was onto something, but I’ll wager she drew the line between the scent of “dirt” and that of “mud.”
Many moons ago, we applied weed-and-feed to our lawn in an effort to drive out the weeds and promote the growth of lush, green grass.
It worked, and our yard was a thing of beauty.
But the past decade or so, we’ve had a lawn crew do the mowing, Spring and Fall cleanup, leaf-mulching, and so forth, and to my knowledge, they haven’t used any weed or feed treatments.
Meaning, our yard struggles to look one iota better than anybody else’s. In fact, it struggles period.
Perhaps having a little Monkey might be one reason for its sad state, but in his defense, even the front yard — where he never ventures by himself — looks pretty shabby.
All it takes is a little rain, and we’ve had way more than our share lately, to turn portions of the yard into muddy messes.
Normally, I wouldn’t care. I don’t aspire to Yard of the Month recognition, and it’s not like I feel a need to wander across the grass on a daily basis.
What bothers me is having a long-haired dog who MUST patrol the perimeter every time he goes outside. Who MUST wade through all the mud and then race inside assuming he can track that mud through the house.
I’ve got a rug and towel beside the door, and Monk has been trained to endure feet-wiping in inclement weather.
He doesn’t particularly like it, not that I care. It’s way harder for me to get on my hands and knees to clean the floor than it is to towel off his four paws.
I thought this would be a challenge during winter’s snows, but Spring rains are lots worse. Snow melts; mud oozes. And since I don’t want to retrain Monkey to use a pee-pad, he has to go outside.
So we’ll soldier on. Eventually, the rains will stop, and the sun will return.
Dirt is bound to clean up easier than mud, too. Right?
Yep – mud is part of the season – and not a good thing for dog owners. Then again, spring’s wetness will help lead the way to many glories.
Thanks, Frank, for showing me how to look on the bright side. I tend to grumble when it’s rainy weather, mostly because it’s soooo hard keeping Monkey entertained when he can expend some of his considerable energy on a long walk!
Oh, I hate mud. Over the span of nearly thirty years, we had two Shelties, so I feel your pain. In the spring, we used to “bucket” our dogs. That is, have a pail of warm water where we dipped each leg. As I’m sure you can imagine, the dogs did not like this, but it sure did remove a lot of the dirt.
HaHa! That reminds me, Laurie — when Dallas was little (and I could easily pick him up!), I used to carry him to a bathroom sink and dunk his muddy paws in warm water. Gone are those days (and that pup). Monkey wouldn’t let me do that. No way. He does good to stop *near* the rug so I can wipe each paw!
I guess I’m lucky. we only have a bit of mud, out by the road. Katie is not that into getting her feet wet ,much less muddy.
Maybe it’s a “girl thing”? Monkey seems to think the mud is there for his personal enjoyment! When he gets so covered that I can’t easily clean him off, why, I place him in a crate and let him dry for a short while. That’s about the only thing that works, sad to say.
Debbie, with all the rain we’ve gotten lately, our city parks look very much like the oozy, gooey mud pics you shared. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally stepped in it. Ewwwwwww!
“So we’ll soldier on. Eventually, the rains will stop, and the sun will return.
Dirt is bound to clean up easier than mud, too. Right?”
HA! Right you are! When I lived in Florida, it was the wet SAND that our German Shepherd would track through our house that was a challenge. That’s why my mother had all the carpet in our home replaced with title because it was much easier to clean.
Have an awesome day, my friend!
Ron, I didn’t realize you had a German Shepherd when you were little. I thought you were more of a cat-lover!
I refuse to let Monkey on the carpets with muddy paws. But even the kitchen floor can be a challenge to keep clean … and after all, the kitchen is where we eat! Your mom sounds like a most practical person.
Happy mid-week to you. Stay safe in those storms! xx
Yes. Dirt is easier to clean. Dirt responds to the vacuum where mud stands firm.
John, that is so true. Dirt and dust can be vacuumed; mud hangs around until you mop it up. With four white paws, Monkey is a dead give-away for cleanup though!
I’ll bet. We had lots of mud when we had grass. Spring was the worst.
Maybe artificial turf is the answer, but our yard is HUGE (ca-ching!!) At least Monk is better than he used to be about letting me do the foot-wiping.
They get used to the foot wiping for sure,
Thankfully, mud season is relatively short. Once the ground thaws, it will drain better. We wipe paws at the door too, much easier than mopping up the prints!
Personally, I love the look of a mixed lawn, weeds don’t bother me. It’s make for a more resilient lawn. I’d rather see violets, veronica and ground ivy blooms mixed in with the grass, yes even dandelions, too, because they feed the emerging and very hungry bees. Chem-lawns aren’t good for the environment, you or Monkey, who picks up the chemical through his pads and nose. A new garden ethic is sweeping the land, folks are recognizing the value of Nature’s way of doing things. She has lots more experience than we do! 😉 For more info check out http://www.homegrownnationalpark.org – their videos are great.
How fascinating, Eliza — thank you for sharing that! Perhaps our yard crew knows more about this than I do (which makes paying them easier!) I’d love having ground cover in those low spots, but I’m kind of afraid of snakes … even garter snakes. The last thing I want is to either step on one or have Monkey scoop one up and shake it around. I know they’re good for the environment regardless. I guess pristine lawns are for golf courses these days, huh?
In my experience, yard crews are just college kids mowing lawns for the summer and know how to sit on a mower, run a weed whacker and blower, not much else. As a horticulturist, they disappoint me often when I cross paths with them while working at my clients.
The history of lawns in America is pretty interesting, but it is an idea that no longer fits the bill. Lawn is out (except for small areas for recreation) and native plantings are in. All the cool kids are doing it, ha! 😀
Snakes like rocks (stone walls, etc) and pavement, so if you reduce their warming spots around your house, they may head for warmer neighborhoods. 😉
The lawn crews here are older than college age. Perhaps the college kids are seeking fancy internships, rather than doing outdoor work? That’s interesting about the snakes. I haven’t seen any “real” ones — only garter snakes, and they slither through the grass, onto the patio, and such often. The area I’m stressing over is pretty low, and I think we need a load of soil so we can re-seed. It’s under a big shade tree, though, so we’ll have to choose the seed wisely. Ah, so many things to learn!
Maybe choose a dry shade perennial under the tree? Here are some ideas: https://www.bhg.com/gardening/flowers/perennials/tough-perennials-that-grow-in-dry-shade/
Wonderful!! Thanks so much, Eliza — these are so varied and beautiful!
My pleasure, Debbie. Glad to help!
Haha, why do we love our animals so much? Tuppence used to come in and clean her muddy paws on my clothes, and my childhood dog, Sandy, was for ever rolling in anything disgusting he could find and then looking surprised that we didn’t find it as much fun as he clearly did! Tommy happily is more fastidious – he feels much the same about mud as I do. 😂
I’m soo glad Monkey doesn’t do what your dog Sandy did — yuck! Clearly, Tommy is the ideal house pet — anybody who steers clear of mud is brilliant! This has been a rainy week, but I can only hope things will settle down, warm up a bit, and certainly dry off before long.
This is why old-fashioned midwestern homes (and even some modern ones) have mud rooms. They’re like working foyers — a place to hang jackets and hats, get boots off, keep the leashes, and so one. My grandma had one, and we were forbidden (gently, of course) to head into the house from the mudroom until we were, as they saying went, “decent.” I’ve never had a dog, or any sort of outdoor/indoor pet, so those troubles haven’t been mine, but I can well imagine daily paw-wipes make you long for drier conditions!
I’ve heard of mud rooms, Linda, but our house doesn’t have one. I can certainly see the wisdom of them though! I Googled it, of course, and found some wonderful designs. If I were cleverer by half, I might give one a go! Thanks for the suggestion.
Life is funny. We really should swap places for an hour. Mud is seldom seen and celebrated here. I would so love your mud. We both have dirt though 😉
Thank you, Cindy. I guess it just goes to show that sometimes, we find ourselves in the wrong place at the right time. Having lived in a LOT of other places, I find that Central Illinois just isn’t my cuppa … not long term anyway. My problem is, I have to stay put until I decide where IS the right place.
Mud season — ugh! I can see why it’s even more of a problem with a dog to look after. For us it’s all about finding a way around the muddy parts of the trails in the woods. You need little rubber boots to put on Monkey before he goes out. 😊
HaHa, I probably do … putting them on him and keeping them on him are two other challenges! My last Sheltie refused to even walk in snow boots. I can only hope this rainy season passes quickly.
Oh you poor dear. That must be no fun at all. Especially as we get older…it’s not so easy to get on hands and knees and clean up. I vote that mud season ends quickly for all involved this year!
I’ll second that motion, Kathy! Spring just isn’t terribly nice up here — not like it was in the Deep South. It’s far too up-and-down temperature-wise and this year at least, we’ve had a LOT of rain. Probably will be helpful to the grass, flowers, and trees though. It’s lots easier to deal with snow!
Lawns can be a challenge, especially if there’s lots of shade. And sadly, when children or dogs are involved, mud tends to find its way from yard to house….
You’re so right, Ann. We don’t have that much shade — not really — but there definitely is a low-lying section of the yard. And Monkey has a gift for finding all that mud!
We live in a rainforest climate and while our yard isn’t really muddy it is squishy a lot of time. We have lots of moss growing and I guess that is part of the wet landscaping but I do love the warm sunny days that dry it all up!
Beth Ann, those warm, sunny days *almost* make the mud worthwhile, don’t they? I’m sure you remember how L-O-N-G it seems to take for Spring to get here — I’m short on patience, I suppose!
More food for thought– A movement to help bees is gaining traction: https://www.peacefuldumpling.com/no-mow-may
No Mow May? I’ve never heard of it. Fascinating explanation — thanks, Eliza!
It sound like you and monkey need a little mud room, like they have in Minnesotan homes. It’s a small part of the entryway, a place to stomp snow/mud off boots and hang coats during the endless winter up North.
We thought we were done with winter up in the Swiss mountains and then we just got dumped with another foot of snow, which will postpone mud season! Bring on spring!
At this point, Pat, I’m ready for Summer! Spring isn’t very pretty in Central Illinois, as I’m sure you remember. It’s up and down with temperatures and precip, and I’m hungry to see some flowers, ha!