"Pretty sure there’s poop in my boot. Yup, I can feel it sticking to my sock. Oh! It is wet, and I can feel it in my toes! And now it’s gone. Not the poop, but the boot. Where did it go? I’m not sure. I might find it this summer, or maybe not. This right here is magic mud!”
This year, no matter how hard we try to prevent it, the mud is real. I’m going to call it mud, but the committee meeting I had in town disagreed. Apparently, they don’t think mud smells like that! But hey, it’s here, and now we get to deal with it.
Yes, I said “get to.” I could complain about how the rain has not stopped long enough for the mud to dry, but I can’t bring myself to do it. The last few years California was on fire. Not just a little fire, but the kind of fire that made Smokey the Bear flee the state. It had been so dry for so long that everything was burning. Believe it or not, I’m not a huge fan of being on fire. “Fire BAD!” as Frankenstein says. If you know the reference, you probably have kids and will understand my next point.
The air was foggy with smoke, and even those who never had breathing difficulties started having problems. It was torture to watch my kids cough and hack with red puffy eyes due to the smoke. I was all but ready to move them out of state until the smoke cleared, just so they did not have to endure the man-made fires.
However, today we are faced with a very wet winter. One like we have not seen for decades. It is wet, muddy, and taxing on the body, but I welcome it every morning because I know that with this rain comes clean air, green plants, and lots of outdoor playtime for the kids.
Yes, the boot is gone and I should probably hose myself off before I get home. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.