This is the in-between time of year when it comes to dirt roads. The dirt is either rock solid frozen or a gooey muddy slop. Neither can be graded.

In the northern parts of New England, this time is known derogatorily as mud season. I know of many folks from that region who have in the past traveled to warmer climates simply to avoid dealing with it. Being absent while your long driveway thaws and dries spares it from becoming rutted and in need of possibly expensive and time-consuming fixing.

We can only hope that there will be just one mud season each spring. On the islands, we usually experience at least a couple. My advice is to invest in gravel. Lots of it.

The other aspect of this in-between season is the melting and weakening of pond ice. When the water surface was in the process of freezing over, the weather was frigid and not conducive to outdoor activity. Now it feels almost balmy out. Venturing out on the ice is very attractive to humans and seemingly irresistible to dogs.

Rule number one: if your dog falls through the ice, you cannot go out there to save it. If the ice couldn’t support the weight of a dog, it certainly can’t hold you. A dog can last much longer in cold water than a person. Call 911 for help. The island fire departments have put a lot of time and effort into preparing for such incidents.

Rescuing a dog is very satisfying. There is always lots of tail-wagging and face-licking. It’s also much easier than rescuing a human and the outcome is usually better. So, call right away and keep your feet on solid ground while you wait.