The Clan's guide to sprinklers (a.k.a. how to stomp a mudhole in the yard)

We’ve been stomping mudholes since the very beginning, as demonstrated by this picture of me and my oldest siblings in the sprinkler about 12 years ago.
By : 
Lydia Hanson
Too Hick to be Square

With the recent summer heat we’ve been experiencing, the Clan has been busy with outdoor activities. Putting in the garden. Getting sunburned while putting in the garden. (If you’ve never had to individually put 1,280 carrot seeds in the ground, you’re missing out.) Getting even more sunburned while watering the garden, mulching the garden, and weeding/aggressively thinning the strawberry patch. 

But when not otherwise occupied with getting the garden in order, my siblings and I have been digging out the squirt guns and sprinklers for several sequential afternoons of getting wet in the backyard.

In the process of doing so, we revisited and revised what I like to call “The Clan’s Guides to Sprinklers (a.k.a. How to Stomp A Mudhole In the Backyard).”

It’ll probably be a bestseller someday if we actually get around to turning it into something other than a word-of-mouth manual to creating a 10-minute mudhole in the middle of a well-groomed lawn.

In the meantime, however, I’ll take a stab at it myself and give you the abridged version so you, your kids, and potentially grandkids are prepared for getting wet this summer.

To begin with, you should be sure to pick a nice long hose so when you hook it up to a hydrant, you can still put the sprinkler far enough away from the house that you don’t accidentally put Mom’s flowerbeds in the line of fire.

We didn’t need previous experience to tell us that would be a poor decision on our part.

And while you’re at it, why stop at just running through the sprinkler when you could also fill a five-gallon Rubbermaid tub with water and use it as a refill tank for squirt guns? 

Using squirt guns at our house inevitably turns into a battle (with the refill tub ostensibly a squirt-free zone), but no matter how far-ranging our campaigns become, we’ll always return to reload. The heavy traffic helps turn the area around the refill tub into a second mudhole, so we can get twice the results out of one afternoon.

In fact, repeated, regular traffic over the same square footage of the backyard is our secret to efficient mudhole creation. And it works well for us because, on any given afternoon of sprinkler use, we have between four and eight kids out there getting thoroughly soaked.

For those of you with smaller numbers of siblings, children, or grandchildren to work with, getting enough traffic to tromp a decent mudhole may be more challenging, but it’s definitely doable. I suppose if necessary you could always use rubber boots for maximum stomping effect, although you lose the satisfaction of having mud squish up between your toes.

Of course, the other key to making a good mudhole is to have plenty of water. We accomplish this by dumping out the refill tub at least once (this also helps get rid of the grass clippings floating in the water) or hosing each other with the sprinkler to increase the amount of water getting on the ground.

Ultimately, it comes down to the individual mudhole makers. Use your imagination. It’s really not that difficult.