Powder graced the slopes at the Loup Loup Ski Bowl over the weekend for what might be the last epic dump of the season. Big thanks to Leaf Seaburg, who organized the Slopestyle competition where able-bodied shredders showed their best stuff on the jumps and rails in the terrain park. Noah Ashford, in his usually tomfoolery fashion, kept the crowd entertained with his balderdash as the emcee. All in good fun, proceeds from the event go to support the Okanogan Special Olympics.
In like lion, out like a lamb. This adage is used to describe March. So far, it’s holding true. I think it’s easy to predict we are moving in the mud season.
Mud season deserves some serious hacks to keep the grit away. Mud season isn’t limited to mud either. Leaves, gravel and sand get tracked in once the snow wets the soles of our shoes and paws. It’s a constant battle.
Before I moved to the valley, I had never heard of the term “mud room.” The house I grew up in had a mud room, but we referred to it as the “vestibule.” We also had foyer off the main entrance, which of course no one used; it was a more formal receiving room for the two times a year anyone came to the front door, namely Christmas and Halloween.
Everyone entered the house via the vestibule, where shoes, mittens, basketballs, jackets and assorted sprinkler heads and work gloves were stored. This was the entry room where the dog was banished when she was filthy and wet, where gloves went missing, and shoes fell to the bottom of an endless basket of sports equipment. My mother carpeted the vestibule with heavy-duty industrial style carpet that absorbed all the moisture and was virtually indestructible. Vacuumed weekly or swept, it was a first line defensive hack to keep the grit at bay.
Our current home has no mud room, so the battle is real. An ordered sequence of throw rugs and mats line all entrances, fortifying as our only defense before frequent sweeping. I could probably fill a small sand box with the grains swept up each season.
Leaf and plant material are a whole other battle to contend. Some trees are better than others with respect to debris tracking. We have four birch trees on our property, and while the white bark and autumns yellows are appealing, the birch tree has a litter problem.
The cones on both male and female birch trees are called catkins and they wreak havoc when it comes to spring cleaning. Catkins are comprised of small bracts, scale-like structures that hold pollen or seed. The bracts break apart and fall to the ground by the millions and litter every inch of my yard, finding their way into the house with every gust of wind upon an open door and cling to every shoe.
The mess happens all year round, but spring triumphs, as the layers of catkins begin to emerge from under the snow. I’ve yet to find a great hack for this problem, other than a leaf blower — a garden tool I typically detest as its loud and only works when the ground is dry. So, for the next few weeks, I will be compulsively battling the bracts, or giving up, depending on the day. Wish me luck to keep out the muck and in turn I wish you all a manageable mud season.