Fun in the mud
The delight of the changing seasons in Wisconsin
By Theresa Blume
I remember springtime in the Texas hill country was beautiful with bright sunshine, warm southerly winds, and bluebonnets popping up over the countryside. I wanted to take those flowers home with me when I came back to my muddy Wisconsin.
I love Wisconsin and its four seasons because of the variety. With our changing weather extremes, you never know what to wear sometimes. You would think after having weathered the winter, we would have nothing to worry about, but when warm weather comes along and the snow melts, dealing with mud becomes a whole new adventure.
It is not so bad now that I live in town with concrete sidewalks and parking lots. But if you live in the country, muddy fields are a major obstacle.
When I was a young girl, our family farm was in a strategic spot for weather-related events. The house was on a hill, which for whatever reason attracted lightning.
Our lightning storms were amazing and dangerous, even knocking my brother right off the couch one night, leaving bruises on his legs. The field where our big garden was located sloped low like a valley, which is why we called our place “Lightning Valley.”
Some years melting snow and spring rains would cover the garden and sit there like a man-made pool. Many a tractor got stuck in that deep mud until we acquired what we called “The Steel Wheel Tractor.” That tractor, with its exposed steel wheels and protruding metal points, could go anywhere.
We lived in what was locally known as the “sand country,” but the garden was pitch black dirt. That dirt produced thick, gooey, knee-deep, organic mud. We grew delicious sweet corn and pickles in large quantities so we had extra to sell, but it all depended on how soon we could plant. In the meantime we kids took advantage of our natural swimming hole.
Sometimes I would get a foot stuck so deep that I could not pull it out without nearly dislocating a hip. We were not really supposed to get wet, but that was like telling kids they could wade in the swimming pool but not jump in.
I could hardly wait for each rain to pass before I was off running through the garden to see how far I could get before the mud and water were too deep for my short legs. I even remember rainbows rising over the garden like beautiful apologies after severe storms.
It was an exciting time to be a kid with scary lightning storms and muddy gardens embraced by rainbows. I am glad my parents were not so concerned about getting dirty so we could have these unique memories.
My young granddaughter just got a new pair of rain boots last week and finds great delight in stepping in water puddles. I know just how she feels.