Monday, December 31, 2007

Muddy Day Blues

“Should’da, could’da, would’da….” My husband and I said to each other as we began Project Mud yesterday. The front corral doesn’t drain properly. It was a big mess when we bought our property. We tried to fix it with some re-grading and crushed limestone. For three years, we’ve limped along, inadvertently creating a bowl with three small drainage ditches that spill into our Big Ditch.

When we moved in, the lady who had owned this place for 35 years told us, “Keep that ditch clear, no matter what!” She was right. Last year, it froze solid and then we had lots and lots of rain. Our stalls flooded, and I had to bail that stinky soup by hand with a bucket to clear them.

So, as they were predicting snow and then rain, yesterday, my husband and I shoveled the front corral, which is a rectangle about sixty feet by twenty feet. We hauled away over twenty wheelbarrow loads of muck, hay and mud. Then, my dear darling spouse drove the small tractor over and over what was left, trying to pack it down and grade it. We knew we need to add material, but didn’t have the time or money to get a load of crushed stone and fill delivered. Fortunately, next to the compost pile, there was a mound of the limestone, dirt, sand mixture that we originally used. So, we shoveled that into the corral and smoothed it and packed it as best we could.

Sore, tired and very pleased with ourselves, we fell asleep. My last thought was how much I loved my husband for his willingness to not just put up with my horse madness, but dig into it with me.

It snowed during the night, and then, it rained. I got up at 6 am to feed the horses. As I approached the barn, I saw the new lake in front of it. At least, the stalls are dry. The back corral, which we built ourselves behind Silk’s stall is perfectly graded and totally drains into the Big Ditch. Sad to say, we’ve got our work cut out for ourselves today. I did find one bright note: My horses have no problem walking through water.

POSTSCRIPT: We unclogged the Big Ditch, which started the muddy water flowing from the corral. It was sunny and warm, so there was plenty of melting and evaporating all day. By tonight, the corral was just as we left it last night.



Rising Rainbow said...

Winter and it's mud problems can be a real challenge. We have to be watchful too or end up with wet stalls.

Arlene said...

Sounds like you have been having a fun time playing in the mud! Just kidding. Let's keep our fingers crossed for good weather.
Happy New Year!

Strawberry Lane said...

I can only imagine what a job that was! I thought we had problems. We have a high hill in back of our property and the water runs right down to the barn and house. We put in grids of French drains and finally have a dry barn.

Well, you lived in So.Ca .. and know it hardly compares. However, I'd trade any day for your lush green and the trees. How I miss that!

Have a very Happy New Year!

LJB said...

Reading your story makes me feel grateful that the barn is built on a hillside! Although it does get muddy when it thaws, most places has natural drainage and the areas where I'm most likely to walk dry quickly.

Of course the other side of that coin is when it freezes slick with ice!

Happy New Year -- snow, rain, whatever -- we have our horses and our families and our health today. Much to celebrate!