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“Leave your muddy boots on the porch.” Those were my mother’s words, uttered so many years ago, but still ringing in my head as we enter what she called, “The Mud Season.”

My mother hated mud, but during the month of March, we had a lot of it. The once frozen paths, shoveled clear of snow all winter long, were mud. The road past our farm was mud. The barnyard was a sea of mud. Mud everywhere, and alas, too much of it made it to my mother’s kitchen floor.

Walking the mile to our country school in March was usually easy in the morning, as the mud stirred up by the milkman and the mailman, and the occasional salesperson making his rounds had frozen overnight. But wow, on the walk home!

By the time we left the school the mud had become enriched—almost alive. If you weren’t careful it sucked the boots right off your feet. If you thought walking home in a blizzard in January was a challenge, walking home in March, in the mud, although not dangerous, was downright challenging.

Of course, once home, doing your chores meant stomping through the mud to the chicken house, to the granary, to the barn. All muddy adventures.

There was an upside to Mud Season. It was usually short, only a couple of weeks. No one was happier than my mother when this challenging time between winter and spring ended. Beyond a clean kitchen floor, the end of mud season meant the beginning of spring.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sometimes a little mud in our lives helps us appreciate the times when the mud is gone and things are going well.

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to www.jerryapps.com 

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