This looks very odd.. I suppose that's why someone took a photo of it.
The road ahead looks dry and hard packed while this section is muddy and look like someone put down some straw? A county line perhaps?
It was not unknown for a farmer to keep a wet section of the road wet for a long time by dumping barrels of water on the road. The revenue stream from pulling stuck cars could be substantial.
there is a spring in the middle of a gravel road near me. its never is muddy, but will be wet and have a little water standing on the edge of the road all summer
Notice there are no trees with leaves. This may well be in the spring of the year and this may also be a low spot. When the ground freezes 4 feet down and starts to thaw this is what happens to low spots. They collect water and become mud and remain that way until the rest thaws so it can continue to drain. Imagine the ground thawed 2 feet down then frozen from 2 down to 4. Seen it plenty in Michigan as a kid.
Also looks like it is a pretty fresh cut in the road. There is no last year's vegetation on the banks. The mud will be ever softer for the first year or two after a road like that is cut in.
even softer, not ever
In the forties our farm was on a poor gravel road. During the spring thaw the farmers would spread old hay and straw in the mud to thicken it up. Then Dad would take his stake truck and pick up kids along the way for school.
PS By then no one had model Ts anymore to navigate the muddy roads.
Depending on where the wood's/trees are the sun might not hit that spot much and it could be the frost coming out of the road?? Bud.
Almost no one, Gary.
In the forties and early fifties in the spring when the bottom went out of the roads near my Grandparent's farm the neighbors who all had newer cars would get my Grandmother (siting here in the front seat passenger side)to take them to town.
Dale, No Ts near us but I remember some young sisters a few miles from us that drove a model T in the summer. I remember that because they would drive into their yard and stop the T by running into their porch.
An 1878 Ohio Department of Agricultural publication had a memorable quote from teamsters whilst discussing the condition of rural and interconnecting roads related to hauling products. "No one knows the depth of mud." The quote was referencing a case of a wagon disappearing on a mud track.