Do You Know What Your Kids are Doing?
My kids loved mud. They loved the challenge of trying to get through mud on foot or on wheels.
When Trent was in first grade he had his friend Timmy over. Timmy is a city boy that not only would never get dirty but didn't even know how you would go about getting dirty until Trent showed him the beauty of mud.
It was a beautiful spring day and they decided to walk to the woods behind our house. They had been gone for some time and just about the time I was about to begin a search they came walking up to the house. The mud was caked on them in clumps and it was from head to toe. Although it was a beautiful spring day it was crisp and cool. "Well boys you can't go into the house like that so I am going to have to hose you down outside" I said to them.
They squealed like piglets when I sprayed them down. The water turned brown as it dripped off along with the clumps dropping off. When I finally got most of the mud off I realized that Timmy didn't have any shoes on his feet. He was standing there in stocking feet.
"Timmy where are your shoes?" I asked him.
"Well we thought we could walk out into the swamp because it didn't look too deep but when we started out into it I got stuck in the mud." Timmy replied.
"So where are your shoes?" I asked again.
"Well, the mud sucked them off and they are still back there in the swamp. Trent saved me by pulling me out." Timmy replied.
"Trent! Why would you take Timmy to the swamp? You know better than that!" I said in a stern voice as I fought off a chuckle. Trent was standing there in his knee high rubber boots. Proper gear for mud bogging walking style and Timmy's shoes are still back there in that swamp I am sure.
This fascination with mud advanced when we purchased quads for the farm. My quad had four wheel drive while Trent's quad was only two wheel drive. Often times when Trent got home from school he would jump on his quad and travel across the block, through the neighbors woods to visit with our friends across the block. If his sister Ashley wasn't too busy he would talk her into going with. Sometimes his friend Logan would meet them half way in between in the woods. In some areas it would flood out. Instead of avoiding this mud hole this posed as a challenge for them. They never seemed to worry that they may drop a quad in that hole never to be retrieved from the mud. No, they would take turns making it a challenge to try to cross the large mud hole. Unbeknown to me they weren't worried because Mom's quad was four wheel drive with a great winch on the front. When they couldn't get their quads out they would just use my quad to drag them out. I often wondered why my quad was squeaky clean when I got home. Now, I know.
As the years passed running quads through the mud was not challenging enough. We had bought the kids an old 1987 Ford Ranger stick shift pickup called Heidi to do chores with. Ashley was only nine years old when we got the pickup. She became very adept at driving and when she was only 12 or 13 years old probably the only one in her grade that could drive. Trent was proud of this fact and the new challenge after school was to drive through the woods on the trails to the meet their friend Logan while I was at school working. On the neighbors property there is a muck field. If you don't know much about muck it is pitch black dirt that will suck you in if the conditions are just right. Needless to say the kids thought it would be great fun to try to see if Heidi could make it through the muck field. Ashley mashed the gas petal to the floor the motor screaming and the truck shook like crazy as they gave it all Heidi could give them. All was going good until they hit a sink hole. The front end dropped into the hole and the tires just spun slinging mud. Trent jumped out and said, " No problem! I'll just go get the big four wheel drive log skidder. It's got a huge winch on it. That thing can pull us out!"
So, that is exactly what they did. At 10 or 11 years old my son Trent drove our log skidder, no small piece of equipment, across the road and pulled out Heidi. " We better power wash the skidder and truck off before mom gets home so she doesn't know." Trent said to Ashley.
The mud fascination continued through the years. Trent and Ashley become very good at running equipment and maneuvering through the mud. They were also good at washing off equipment and clothes because I continued to be clueless about what they were doing while I was at school working.