ANN BAILEY: Getting in shape for spring chores is hard workLast week in this column I wrote about embarking on a spring walking program. After a six-month break from doing much in the way of physical labor, I wanted to get in shape for spring and summer chores.
Last week in this column I wrote about embarking on a spring walking program. After a six-month break from doing much in the way of physical labor, I wanted to get in shape for spring and summer chores.
I found out last weekend that I probably should have started the program a lot earlier and it should have included a good deal more strength training. I have been doing push-ups each day along with the walking, but a long weekend of outdoor work made it clear to me that 15 a day weren’t nearly enough. My aching muscles also gave me the message that maybe I should have eased into outdoor work with a little less enthusiasm than I did.
It’s hard, though, not to tackle chores with zeal when there are so many to do and so little time. My husband, Brian, and I both work at off-the-farm jobs during the week, so on the weekend we have a lot of catching up do. Meanwhile, I’ve been cooped up inside all winter so I relish any chance I can get to be outside and soak up the all-too-seldom seen sun.
Last weekend’s work actually started, though, indoors, on Friday when I sorted through closets and got rid of some stuff that I should have thrown away in the first place instead of storing it. We also did some re-arranging in my son Thomas’ bedroom and found some items under the bed that we tossed.
My sons, ages 11 and 14, would have been happy to haul the garbage bags of junk to our dumpster halfway across the farmstead, but I figured I needed the exercise. Friday was a cold, rainy day and put a damper on my enthusiasm for walking, so I thought several trips to the dumpster would help make up a little bit for not going for a hike down the road.
On Saturday, I got a little exercise by cleaning the house, a little bit more from dozens of trips up and down the basement stairs washing and drying clothes and quite a bit from walking for two miles, half of it against the wind. Sunday was spent cooking Easter dinner for family members and friends, visiting and then going for a two-mile walk. It was a busy day, but didn’t involve much in the way of strenuous physical activity.
Monday I made up for my lack of exercise on Sunday. The day started with the semi-annual chicken house cleaning at my mom’s house. I won’t go in to details about the job, but I will say that when 20 chickens and a rooster are kept inside a small building for six months, there is a lot of shoveling to be done. Fortunately, my sons, Brendan and Thomas are good workers and between them, and me and Brian, we made short work of the job and were back home at our house by shortly after 10 a.m.
That left the rest of the day to work on our yard and flower gardens. I spent the morning removing last year’s flowers from the flower beds and raking the leaves off of them. When I finished that I moved to the yards and raked gravel that the snowplow had pushed onto their edges, back on to the driveway where it belonged.
By the time I finished raking, my back and shoulders were starting to ache and I probably should have called it a day. However, since it was such a nice day I decided to do “one more thing” and pick up branches off of the yard that had blown down over the winter. Every branch, like every rock, seemed to have a brother so it took me longer than I anticipated to clean up the yards.
Just one more
When I finished that job I decided to call it good and relax the remainder of the day. However, I was about to go in the house and rest when I remembered that while I had done plenty of exercise, Rosebud hadn’t gone out for her daily walk. Rosebud thoroughly enjoys her outings, and I would have felt guilty if I had skipped her daily trek so I grabbed her leash and took her for a two-mile walk.
By the time I finished, it was about time for supper, and then I was on-call as a homework consultant for my children, so I didn’t get a breather until I went to bed. Then I really did rest. Nothing ensures a good night’s sleep like a day of fresh air and physical work.
I woke up the next morning with a lot of sore muscles, but a good feeling of accomplishment. For now, all of the outdoor work that can be completed is done. That will change, of course, when the garden dries and the lawns start growing and round two of spring 2011 work gets under way. In between now and then, I’ll savor round one’s victory and after my aching body heals a bit, pick up the pace on the strength training.