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Our Battle With the Mud...and We Finally Won a Round!

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  • Our Battle With the Mud...and We Finally Won a Round!

    I have been whining for months now about the mud and amazing amounts of rain. Just when I did not think it could get worse, we get 10 inches of snow...then it melts...now we have another major storm...a Nor'Easter coming at us with the potential for much more moisture (both frozen and not frozen) and flood warnings up as well. I truly have no idea where it's going to go, but it's not going to sink into the ground much at this point.

    Anyway, I'll share a few pics I got just before it got really dark tonight. They are dim so I apologize. Maybe we'll be able to get some better ones tomorrow.

    This is the back aisle between Wayward Wind's field and the two year old colts. We've quit going through here at all with the Gator after I almost got stuck earlier this week. It is a 4x4 with aggressive tires. It's like there is no bottom any more. That lighter patch of dirt is some sand I tried to put down before the blizzard last Friday. It is back to mush now...almost liquefied.


    This aisle has some rock under it...but it gets more traffic than any other as it is the main route to the muck heaps. We have to drive over it several times a day for feeding and mucking.

    I tried to put some gravel and sand down here last week and it's pretty much washed out now. I have several axle breaking holes in here that were getting deeper every time we had to go through there. I was to the point of not making it through for much longer and no chance to make a permanent repair with large gravel as wet as it is (with more rain coming) so I took an old fashioned idea and tried it out: a corduroy road.

    I had some old landscaping timbers laying around and laid them side by side across the road. It is working fabulously. The Gator goes right up over it like a bridge. Our current bridge is about 27 feet long. I'm so thrilled that I may go buy a couple of bundles and lay down some more! When we went over it tonight doing chores, my helper and I both started to giggle! It's great to have something to finally get one over on the mess for once!

    You know it's getting to you when you think of the mud as a living breathing enemy!


    A close up:



    Looking back from the other side. If you look closely, you may be able to see where I put some timbers in a big deep rut longways. That one was an axle buster also.


    Almost too dark to see at this point but this is the first aisle I showed from the other side. That is where I came so close to burying my Gator the other day.


  • #2
    Wow, that's som battle you've got going on there. I like the genius of the landscpe timbers.

    I let my boys out for the night for the first time in weeks tonight as I wanted them to get some freedom before the big snow hit us tomorrow. their blankets from last week's snow stayed frozen until yesterday!

    I am so over this winter. They're talking 1-2 Ft in our area. even the cats are grumpy.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm


    • #3
      Sheesh DBB, that would drive me bonkers too. That's a lot of mud! The logs are a pretty good idea...spread over a longer area with less chance of the mud swallowing them. Sand and rock would disappear in that.
      We won the battle of mud on my property years ago and so far we're staying ahead still. BUT...although my property is in a basin surrounded by ledge outcrops and has a few natural springs...it's only 4.5 acres total with about half cleared only so far. Small equals easier and not a zillion dollars to add in drainage. I'd adore large acreage for grazing and such, but I have the type of area that also requires a lot of special drainage options put in and it's just not financially possible. As it stands now, I still have a lot more swayles to add. Kinda sad how one of my full time barn jobs is standing in the rain and staring at how the water pools/runs off/drains so I can plan more and better drainage strategies, LOL!
      Is it financially feasible to eventually cow-carpet and then pack some process in those aisle?
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • #4
        That's a great idea! The power company did something similar down the road. They're putting in new towers in the middle of these big fields.

        Until they all got stuck up to the axles. Then they put timbers down and made a "log road".

        Hope you are ready for the next storm - looks like it will be a doozy. Bleh.
        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
        -Rudyard Kipling


        • Original Poster

          Hehehehehe...I'm still giggling over this victory! I think I am losing my mind. Bleh is right! Jessie...I'm numb over the weather report. I just can't believe it. My poor horses will need to swim to their hay soon.

          Misty...I think we are going to have to do something next year assuming it ever dries out. This has just been an ordeal. We've been here five years and made improvements like the gravel on that one aisle that worked great up until this winter. I've never seen it like this and I think everyone around here is saying that.

          Also my land is reclaimed swamp land. The Great Dismal Swamp Preserve is a mile from me. Lake Drummond is several miles from me. Generally our land drains very well for this area...but mercy...we've had so much more rain than normal and it's not showing any sign of letting up soon.

          I got the idea from my beautician yesterday when I had my hair done. I was telling her about our mess and she asked if we could lay some boards down to drive over. Somehow my brain made the logical jump to a corduroy road...and I thought of the landscaping timbers sitting out there unused...viola!

          Corduroy or plank roads were how they got around in Colonial times with heavy wagons and freight. It's a very old idea that is rarely used in this day of gravel and concrete. Sure it's a pain and it's only going to last so long but around here, gravel sinks! Ask me how I know! I spent a $1000 last week on my driveway to get the danged tractor trailers in with our hay. Our driveway has sunk. It's unbelievable!

          Anyway, I will sleep better tonight knowing I can at least get the Gator to the muck heaps!


          • #6
            they call this a corduroy - used by the military, loggers and the corps of engineers to make roads through swamps - and yes, mud

            good job!
            "The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear" ~ Socrates


            • #7
              See, the old folks had some good ideas in the olden times, corduroy roads being one.

              We have mud, but not as spectacular as yours, just looking at those pix makes me shudder. Best wishes getting yourself "firmed up" in the coming months.
              Last edited by ReSomething; Feb. 5, 2010, 06:33 PM.
              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
              Incredible Invisible


              • #8
                How clever! My two are broaded right now while we try to dry out. Unfortunately, their turnout areas are really bad and some areas still under water. Our footpaths are okay.

                Sorry about your next storm--we sent it to you from Texas. We just a heap more rain we didn't need--hadn't dried out from the last monsoon. Flat land,
                a foot of black clay on top of a very thick layer of limestone. Second time
                this winter the boys got to go to camp. There in the mare motel with 12 x 36 open stalls but not much turnout. Turnout areas at camp are pretty muddy, too. But one is recovering from a cut below knee and on restricted activity until stitches come out. Hurt himself during the previous monsoon somehow.

                The broad beats bowed tendons, etc. Just wasn't in the budget.....


                • #9
                  Daydream Believer you folks are getting nailed by the weather this year. At least up here in the northeast we're used to it since its normally that way in Jan/Feb. This year has been quite mild for us since all the storms are staying low and hitting the mid atlantic states.

                  The corduroy roads are great... except up here where we get major frost heaves. You DON'T want to be driving over them faster than 15 mph!


                  • #10
                    Well, DDB, I'm glad you won one of the battles!

                    Same mushy story here. The horses are already swimming in mud, except for in their run in sheds. They'll probably flood during this crap today and tomorrow, there is simply nowhere else for the water to go.

                    I got the truck stuck yesterday afternoon.and was worried for a bit that the tractor wasn't going to pull it out...with a ton of hay aboard that I needed to get into the hay shed.

                    During that, I dropped my cell phone, and I swear it wasn't wet more than a nanosecond, but it's toast...

                    And, I've got a miserable head cold to top it off.

                    Now you just watch...when I start reseeding my torn up pastures we'll get the mother of all dry spells.
                    Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.


                    • #11
                      I was going to say that you'd made yourself an old fashioned log road, but you already did! Very cool and what a clever idea.


                      • #12
                        Good idea, I have stuck the bulldozer in a bottomless dam, cleaning it and digging a little bit too deep into the muck below and did just that, lay some railroad ties and walk the thing out of there over them.

                        One possible solution when it dries is to maybe move one fence about 8' or so over, to get a little more room and crown that feed road a little and have small barditches, maybe add some geotextile fabric and about 4" of gravel on the crown.
                        That should survive most anything, as long as the sides are made to drain away into a ditch that drains, but not quite to the fence posts, or it will rot them away.

                        I am surprised you could drive straight in that mud, without getting into the fence.
                        That was gooood driving.

                        Then, your log road will last for long time.

                        I am sorry to say, we got 1/3 rain and 6" of snow from that storm heading your way and I heard it may give the East up to 20"!

                        We are still covered all over in snow and have some hefty drifts around.


                        • #13
                          when you first start clearing land to build roads, you take the first cut of trees and do the same thing, it's called "rip rap."

                          I have wanted to be able to do the same at my farm ever since I worked the pipeline and discovered the ways they deal with swamps.
                          InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                          Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                          • #14
                            I'm impressed that several people here know the term "corduroy road"
                            Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                            The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                            • #15
                              Good lord, mud like that would make me WEEP. Around here when the snow melts or we get a gully-washer, the water rises, floods everything, then gets the heck out of town--GOD BLESS the sandy soil we live on.
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • #16
                                Well DW you would be sobbing 24/7 around here right now.. I've never seen anything like this. The low side of my road is flooded. The horses are in a swamp. THANK GOD my barn is so high, it is fine. But we have more water on the ground than I have ever seen during a hurricane, even. It's disgusting and yes, I could just cry.
                                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Yup...weep indeed. I'm so sick of it that I could cry daily. We just got in from doing chores in this slop...now sloppier and pouring ice cold 37F rain. Lovely...

                                  The new "road" section is doing great. I had to lead three geldings up over it and they clopped right over it happy to be out of the mud also I think. This is working so well I may put some more down if I can get some more landscaping timbers.

                                  SGray...I can't remember where I learned about corduroy roads. I think it was in history class years ago when they talked about how Gen Mad Anthony Wayne got his Army and cannon across Pennsylvania. building corduroy roads as he went. I read a lot and remembered reading about the use in history of such things. I didn't realize the roads were still being built and used today.

                                  dawglover...sorry to hear about your cell phone. What a bummer.


                                  • #18
                                    My mud does not look so terrible right now and it has been making my weep! Wow! Glad you've come up with such a good solution!!


                                    • #19
                                      I'm worried about tomorrow night when all that water being deposited on top of all that water already in the pasture, along with the snow that is supposed to happen tomorrow, freezes. Usually at least some of the pasture is not water but I'm not so sure about tomorrow night. It is supposed to get really cold tomorrow afternoon and stay that way till Monday, when it gets above freezing again.
                                      I haven't brought my horses into the barn in years; they have a run-in, but now there is a virtual pond in front of the run-in, which will freeze tomorrow night.
                                      How long do people leave horses in their stalls in the barn...


                                      • #20
                                        Something else to try next Spring...we live on clay and
                                        go through a major mud event when the ground finally
                                        thaws each Spring (no thaw usually here from November
                                        to March). We had some junk plastic snowfence around,
                                        too torn up for the original use. We laid that down and
                                        covered with sewer rock, a size around 1-2" chunks of
                                        rock (limestone in our area). The snowfence keeps the
                                        rock from sinking and because the fence is plastic, it
                                        won't rot away. It turned almost liquified mud into a
                                        solid enough surface for horses to walk on comfortably.
                                        Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                                        Elmwood, Wisconsin