This has been the wettest year I can remember. Certainly, the wettest year since we bought this farm. We would get weeks of rain, one week of sun, and more weeks of rain. All that rain amounted to so much mud. More mud than I’ve dealt with.
My normal mud control is to scrape it out once a year. My barn, where the mud is the worst due to the horses hanging out, is on a hill, so the dirt from above ends up making it’s way down the hill and collecting around the barn. So the scraping takes out that top layer and brings it back down to the stone dust base below. It was a pretty good system.
This year, I have scraped the mud back at least 5 times. To make it worse, sometimes the mud has been so bad that I have to wait for it to dry out before I can even get the tractor out, and sometimes it will just rain more, meaning the horses churn it up more, and it’s a sea of mud, constantly threatening to suck my boots off my foot completely.
It was too much, so I had to fight back. As I took some time off to deal with barn issues, it would be my top priority. Also, it kind of had to be because I could literally do nothing else until the mud was dealt with. The first step involved waiting for it to dry enough to get my tractor out, but then I sprang into action! I ordered some loads of gravel, which unfortunately it was too wet for them to dump it anywhere near where it was needed, but at least I had it. Then, the scraping. There was so much scraping.
The next step was to move all that gravel down there. Since I had to travel quite far from the gravel pile to the barnyard (It’s totally a barnyard now! very excited by this!) this was actually the most time-consuming task. Initially each trip took 9 minutes, but I shortened it down to 6 minutes by using the tractor bucket to open the gate, using the bush hog to push it shut behind me, and leaving it open for a few dramatic minutes while I while I rushed out to the gravel pit before the horses noticed the gate was open. Luckily, they didn’t notice or care about it the entire time. My hay bribe worked well.
After many, many hours of bringing gravel down, my barnyard was looking good!
I tested it out by having a hay delivery put right in the shed, and it worked perfectly. It also rained twice since I put the gravel down, and it’s nice and firm. It feels like a huge luxury to have my little barnyard filled with gravel. I can now walk freely through the area without getting stuck or falling in the mud (both of which have happened).
I still intend to put down more gravel – this is actually only one side of the barnyard, but the other side which has the stone dust base could still use more gravel. But that part will come after I put in some fencing to truly complete my little barnyard. Otherwise, I will just be digging holes in gravel, and that’s not nearly as easy as digging holes in the dirt.
I’m also very excited that everything maintenance/storage related is now moved out of the barn and into the shed. This means I can start on another step – Operation Build Stalls for Stu and Pony. They used to have the shed as their run in, but since it now has new machinery occupants, that won’t work anymore. Plus, it’s another step to help with the mud!
I had originally planned to use this time to put a new roof and new siding on the barn, but once again, I was thwarted by the rain. It was too wet to drop a dumpster anywhere on my property, and I just didn’t have the time to make dozens of trips back and forth to the dump with the bit of old roof and siding. So, unfortunately, that task will have to wait for now. But, still to come!