Along the western fence line there are a couple of spots where the field fencing needs to be tacked down, maybe even some fill brought in. These scrapes under the fence were most likely dug by the coyotes who prey on our poultry. Of course I would like to stop that predation, but there is a more immediate reason. If a coyote can get under there, Haku can get under there, as soon as it occurs to him to try. And if Haku runs amok over in that particular neighbor's fields, frightening his mules or chasing his chickens, Haku will get shot pretty damn quick. Not that I would blame that neighbor - controlling one's dog is country etiquette 101.
On the eastern side of the pasture, there has always been a low spot that tended to get boggy in the winter. Creeping buttercup dominates that area. This is a natural feature of the hillside - it is easy to see the wide, shallow path of drainage running down from the ridge away to the southwest. In the past, before our neighbor bought the lot and built his HSH (hotel-sized-house), the swale was only wet in the depths of winter. The rest of the year it was simply a slightly softer area where plants that enjoy more moistness predominated.
In latter years I have noticed that the area stays much wetter for more of the year. I am starting to think that the rearrangement of the neighboring property has permanently altered the drainage in such a way as to send more water through this swale. Walking the area today, I saw a fair amount of standing water.
To be fair, this has been the wettest wet season on record in western Washington. We have had something like 80 inches of rain since last November. Additionally, the pig enjoyed rooting in this soft dirt, and his activity may also have caused there to be a more generally swampy appearance. Hopefully it will dry up with a few more weeks of little-to-no precipitation.
That will be too late, however, to save my nice shoes. I underestimated the swampiness and as I was crossing the swale I stepped into a deceptively deep puddle and sank in almost up to my knees. Silly me, I was wearing my only pair of nice shoes. Yes, I know it is exceedingly idiotic to traipse about a muddy pasture in early April wearing one's one and only pair of shoes suitable for work. What can I say - it was a spur of the moment thing.