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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features January 24, 2015

2/3/2013 9:48:00 PM
Column: There's plenty of 'brown gold' in them thar hills
By Judy Bluhm

Don't you love the rain? The Navajos claim that when the clouds are formed like sheep in the sky, then the heavens are ready to open up and cleanse the earth, wash the grounds, refresh the trees, grow the grass, nourish nature and give us life. I have to clearly state that I love the rain, but I do not like the evil cousin of this glorious precipitation - mud. Mud is the ugly consequence that makes living in the country, on a dirt (mud) road a filthy situation.

Welcome to my world - of rutted roads, oozing muck up to my hubcaps, clumps of mud-balls scattered around the patios, in the garage, on my boots... yuck. My horse corrals are swamps, the horses are brown-smeared pigs, my yellow Lab, Molly, needs two baths a day just so she can be allowed back in the house! Even the gas company doesn't want to drive down my road after a rain. Well, neither do I, but be brave, I tell them. Grown men and women have to learn how to conquer mud.

Oh, did I mention I was in a mudslide? Actually, more like sliding in the mud. I happened to get into a collision with a galloping mare. A half-ton, running, mud-splattering, slipping, sliding horse inadvertently rear-ended me while we were both running through the corral trying to get out of the rain. I was carrying a pail of horse treats and Princess, my beautiful mare, was running behind me. It was pouring down buckets and I must have cut into her lane, because the next thing I knew I had two hoofs connect with the back of my heels and I was sent sailing through the air.

Life is filled with special opportunities to reflect, so we can ponder what road led us to our current predicaments. I had one of those "moments" when I was lying face-down in the mud at eight in the morning with a curious beast sniffing my head. I was "reflecting" on what got me here, as I was getting up out of the black goo, all the horse cookies scattered around me. Hey, I have friends who live in country clubs on paved roads and sip coffee in the mornings while scheduling their next golf game. So life is about choices. And as happy as I might be with mine, a slide in the mud made me pause for a minute and wonder "how the heck did I get here?"

Once again, I digress. It's not the horses that are annoying after a rain, it's the mud! Well at least we don't live in Florida where a few too many people have lost their houses to "mud-holes." That's right, drive off to work and then come home later to find out your house simply disappeared into a "sinkhole." Now that's enough to scare me silly. Actually, Molly and I were walking up my road after a heavy rain and I sort of got stuck in the soft mud. Molly had to pull me out because my boots were sinking into the brown slime! Yikes, I could have been a victim of a sinkhole right here in Arizona!

A woman in Chino Valley emailed me to say that she is tired of the "mud-pit excuse of a road" she lives on. She claims that when she called the city to inquire about pavement, someone told her to "move back into town if you want a nice road." Hey, sometimes we need a little compassion. Country living is great - except when it rains hard on dirt. To make natters worse, about two miles of Iron Springs Rd is torn up (oops, I mean being improved), and the heavy rains created about a hundred potholes, making driving a disaster. We will all need a front-end alignment before that road is done.

Back to mud - did you know that it can make us beautiful? I used to live in the San Francisco area, where mud is considered a key ingredient as a spa treatment. Calistoga mud baths are famous, so people travel there from all over the world for the privilege of sitting in vats of hot, "clean" mud. It costs a hundred bucks and is a "unique cleansing experience." I had to try it. All right, I was young and foolish then, but every day there's a new fool born, plunking down big bucks to sit in a steaming tub of mud. After sitting in this "vat" of brown goo for a few minutes, it gave me the creeps. I had to jump out and hit the shower and get back to my senses. Thankfully, I survived.

I have mud for you. I just can't say how "clean" it is. However, if you want to feel like you're going to a spa and need a nice mud-bath, come on over. There's plenty to go around. I could sell it by the wheel barrels, but for you, Dear Readers, I'll give it away.

I'll start shoveling now and I better hurry. I notice sheep are congregating in the sky. New mud... I mean rain, is on the way!

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in Skull Valley. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

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