Whether Robert Frost originally coined the term or not I do not know, but ‘mud time’ must be the simplest and most accurate expression to describe the period from the last snow melt to the first tulip blush. It has arrived, and each day is a new adventure in negotiating paths, roads, chicken coops and garden beds.
Mud time is a period of frustration for the gardener, who, feeling the sun on his back after months of ice and snow, is anxious to get outside and tidy up winter debris without further delay. Instead he finds himself in a soupy mess that repels all attempts at order, and tacks an extra fifteen minutes to each hour’s worth of outside work.
In fact, mud time is frustrating for most people other than New England poets with an enviable sense of patience and a flair for colloquial verse. My husband’s muttered curses as he spins out the back-end of the trailer are hardly poetic; and I find that without discipline, my thoughts run not to the emerging daffodils or the sight of reddening maples, but to the likelihood that I’m going to end up face down in the chicken coop when I try and catch a broody hen.
Could we but leave everything alone out there for a few weeks, there would be less gnashing of teeth and renting of garments, but this is not the gardener’s way