Around The Farm: Gaily Green ‘Gainst Gray

Today is one of those wet, dreary days that invites thoughts – albeit briefly – of simply getting back into bed and pulling the covers over your head. Of course, when you farm (or if you have kids, pets, or other obligations, as most of us do), that’s merely a briefly-entertained fantasy that you quickly pop like a soap bubble. Mud or no, chores must be done, animals must be fed, and other tasks must be addressed. And while finding beauty on a day like this may seem difficult, it’s really not: it’s there, just waiting to be found.

While the sky may be a dull gray – threatening more rain – there are bursts of color nearly everywhere on the ground, defying the gloom. From the blue-green of a tiny conifer seedling to the bright mustard-yellow of lichen to the vibrant green of flourishing moss, it just needs to be seen.

And let’s not forget how the waterfowl adore days like these. Small depressions fill with rainwater and become pools for bathing and dabbling. Never mind the clean water in the various pails set out for the geese – they want puddle water!

The mud provides a nice medium for footprints, too. Some are familiar, and some belong to wild animals. This wild animal (likely a skunk or raccoon) likes to dig under logs and rocks, leaving disturbed ground where it’s searched for food.

Quite honestly, I’ll be glad when the mud either dries up or freezes…but it’s here now, and all I can do it make the best of it. It provides favorable conditions for some animals, like amphibians and mollusks, which need moisture. Having found a salamander in the paddock near the barn before, I can imagine how pleased these amphibians must be with the soggy ground, sliding through the mud with ease and eating the plentiful worms and slugs that cavort in the muck. It’s amazing to think that there are creatures that actually like this kind of weather.

In the end, it’s really about perspective, isn’t it? I can choose to withdraw from the gloom and sequester myself away from it, or I can observe the wild birds bathing in tiny puddles, the delicacy of the raindrops on leaves, and the excitement of chickens finding worms. I choose the latter – to see the beauty and interest in even this kind of day.