Saturday, November 13, 2021

Mitigating mud in rainy Germany with sand?

Today was a landmark day in our 12 years living here - my husband finally allowed "gravel" on our property. See, our property is in an environmental zone that does not allow altering the surface in any way. That is why I don't have a round pen. (See also: Inches of Rain per Year, below.)

To illustrate further, this earth-friendly frenzy going on here, our driveway, and every other one in our city, country? is made of bricks and not asphalt. Which sucks in so many ways (moss, weeds). But it goes further. I recently learned our driveway bricks are made of a permeable composite of stones, so that rain water can freely flow through each brick and not simply *around* each brick. Cuz you know, it's important that a solid brick not interrupt the flow of rain into the earth. I'm amazed our house is allowed to have roofing tiles that don't allow the free flow of water into our house. I'm American.

Nearly every home in Germany has a brick driveway to be sure to protect the earth. Also, supermarkets! So you're pushing your grocery cart along a bumpy road of bricks to get to your car. The Water Must Go Where It Will. 

Therefore I may not build a roundpen. If you are tempted to doubt me, I can stand on the highest point on our land and feel the ground squelch beneath my feet, like a sponge. In Summer. So jealous of people in the highlands.

But last week we were able to sell 3 parcels of land to a guy and he told us how he keeps the mud at bay on his ostrch/bison/horse farm nearby. He recommended a particular mix of sand and various stone sizes. He was somehow able to convince J and that is all that matters to me!

Walnut tree waste. It's awful - we have 2 massive walnut trees and that is 2 too many. I love my new battery leaf blower so much! This year there were no walnuts so it was just work for me and no reward.

You'd think I moved away from Rain City and came to someplace drier. Alas, it is even wetter here. Proof - grass stays green all Summer and no one needs to irrigate crops. That is great for us cuz we grow hay, but I'm the person in the family who operates the lawn mower and I used it 3 times weekly since August. (I'm old now, I cannot mow everything at once anymore, I do it in quarters.)

Just checked - Seattle has 35 inches of rain per year, and my town in Germany has 46. Of course it comes down differently here you need an umbrella, in Seattle, you don't. 

The mud here is so bad, I have several different words for the types of mud, like we have for snow in Winter.

It was quite a moment for me when the truck arrived.

I'm so thrilled that my husband let the ostrich dude convince him that we must not, for the rest of our lives, rely on wood chips in our high-traffic horse areas.


I was the stereotypical freaked-out-wife with her hand over her mouth as my husband directed the truck through a 3 meter gate with barely any turn radius, due to an embankment across the street. Mag was prancincg around, the donkey too but J was able to convince the reluctant driver to maneuver into our garden area - thank God. At one point that dude jumped out and said, "This will not work!" But J got him in and out without destroying our pretty concrete fence posts. 

Now we have a pile of rocky sand and it is so heavy we cannot even fill a wheelbarrow up with it to bring it to the mud zone. I did, I tried, and I hurt my back. J did about 15 tiny wheelbarrow loads - tiny - to make a little path through the slop. The slime. The black pudding. 

He didn't hurt himself but simply shoveling it into the wheelbarrow was exhausting. 

We really need the help of heavy machinery but we're not sure to get it in the next 4 days before we go back to America.

With only a shovel and wheelbarrow, we made a little strip, and it seems Mag likes to go there to pee *sigh* J didn't want to be there the first time our animals walked across it - I understand, cuz I was there and Mag sank. 

Oh well, we'll keep working on it. 4 days to go and then I hope to see more of America than I ever have.


TeresaA said...

It’s hard when the ground is always wet. But no round pen? That’s rough.

AareneX said...


You aren't going to like this. Sorry.

Before you move all the gravel, scoop out the mud. Yes. All of it. Scoop it out, or your gravel will just sink into it and disappear forever. Totally not exaggerating.

Scoop. Out. The. Mud.

And then.

Stay away from the gravel still. Put down a barrier. Ideally, hoofgrid, or whatever other grid stuff you can get. Heavy-duty landscape fabric, if you can't get anything else <--the kind you can drive trucks over, not the wimpy weed-barrier stuff. Really. Put. Down. A. Barrier.

When the barrier is in place, put gravel on top of it. Yay! Gravel!

Permeable brick driveways are tremendously better. Pavement leads directly to flooding. We have a gravel driveway because we can't afford permeable brick. If we had impermeable pavement, we would have a river from the road down out driveway that would eventually gully out my barn. We do not have a gully because we have permeable gravel.

lytha said...

Aarene, I tried to scoop out the mud but J disagreed. I'll mention it again.

Shaste said...

You can make it work without removing the mud but you must put down a barrier. If you add sand/gravel to mud directly you need to add 3x as much to get any impact.