|Drinking your tea from a bone china cup is a small and inexpensive luxury if you already own the cup ! Use the things you already have.|
Yes, I live a glorious and glamorous life. I eat blueberries, raspberries, baked potatoes I grow myself, and occasionally chocolate. I drink my tea in a bone china cup, because it's a simple luxury. I am afraid that this is where the glamor ends.
This is a bit more typical of life here. Because my husband did not want the demands of horses, you may recall, my husband allowed me to get my four horses (two at a time) only if I agreed to personally purchase all the supplies, feed them, maintain their hooves, give the immunizations, brush them, turn them out and return them to the barn each day, assist the farrier and the equine vet, and pay for it all. (Yes, I know it's a run on sentence.) This includes, but is not limited to mucking the stalls, the horse pasture, and the disposal of horse manure. The mucking has given me firm arms and a much smaller waist and so it's not all bad. However, the mucking and disposal of manure has been a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. Each morning, I rise very early and I muck out all the urine soaked pine shavings, urine soaked hay remainders, and actual manure from the concrete floored stalls of the barn. I place all of it in a large wheelbarrow. After I mop all those floors, I move on to disposal. The wheelbarrow was quite a challenge at first. After each rain it was so heavy that ultimately I had to have two holes drilled into it. Now the rain empties nicely so that all I have in the wheelbarrow is what is intended. While the horses are eating, I open the gate and sneak the heavy wheelbarrow out of the pasture and quite a distance away on the edge of the forest. I empty it there, and then I trudge back in my rubberized muck boots which are a little too conducive for my taste, to the development of athlete's foot ! . Later in the afternoon, I muck the pasture. I haven't thought much about the pile of manure accumulating on the forest edge. Normally, my husband uses his tractor to truck alpaca manure to a manure pile which is quite a distance from their location. I thought he would probably eventually do this for the horse manure. But, in this instance, I would have been wrong. A giant mountain of manure has accumulated for the horses in the thirteen months that they have lived here at the farm. After the first five months, my builder who was here on another barn related issue entirely, took his bobcat and moved five months worth of manure, stirring it into an area I will eventually use as garden. I therefore did have somewhat of a reprieve. Interestingly, horse manure composts pretty readily. It's very hot here for most of the year, and when what I affectionately call Manure Mountain heats up, you can actually watch the steam rise from it. I wondered if I could burn it, but my builder thought it was too close to the forest. I noticed this week that Manure Mountain was growing rather tall green grass, which looks a lot like Kentucky 31. I don't really want a permanent grass mountain at that location. So, my crack force of me, myself and I really should get going on it.
|If my husband is searching for a meaningful birthday gift for me, he really should have a custom silver pitchfork pin made for me. Unfortunately, he doesn't read my blog since it ultimately resulted in my getting horses !|
Fortunately, the remaining Manure Mountain has composted nicely into really fine blackish brown soil which looks and smells a lot like the soil my Nana used to stir into her garden before she grew carrots, greenbeans, apples and marigolds in England. If Nana could shovel all that dirt and manage that garden, certainly so could I.
So today I donned cotton socks, rubberized muck boots, and cool light colored clothing in order to avoid the ticks. I sprayed my boots with DEET 40% in the hope that I wouldn't be a tick magnet. The plan was to attack Manure Mountain and redistribute the composted manure to places on the farm where it could be used. Fortunately, a broad pitchfork picks up a large cluster of composted material not unlike a rather large piece of shredded wheat. The weather was cool here today and so after animal care, I was able to move quite a bit. I moved some of it to flower beds which had already bloomed. I moved some to an area near the barn which is still in recovery and could use some organic material. By one o'clock, I was getting tired and a little dirty. At one point I decided to stop manually trucking the bails of manure, and I started throwing them to another region using the pitchfork. Perhaps a stronger person could do this more effectively, but a couple of times soil wound up on my light jacket. I decided to break when I found that as the mountain disappeared, the mush below is not completely composted. I marched around in a mashed manure tea until I could do no more. About that time, one of my sons and his friend finished replacing a serpentine belt on the friend's car and they decided to help a bit. Funny how two of them were more effective in a short period of time than me, myself and I (all three of us) working for hours were.
|This is a highly trained and efficient manure manufacture device !|
There is now a short plateau of composting manure and hay where Manure Mountain once stood. I hope to do a bit more on this tomorrow. The fact is that farm life, if you decide to raise animals, plant almost anything, and then maintain flower beds, vegetable gardens, yards or anything else is fairly labor intensive. We can save ourselves quite a bit of the backbreaking work by planning what we do there carefully. Raised beds for many things have proven to be less labor intensive than our attempts in the past to till, amend and plant our rocky and partially clay soil. Planning some of the more difficult work on cooler days, sometimes even in a misty rain can also be a big help.
My final point is that in a disaster or an emergency you may well need more physical reserve than you have now. Most of us have grown to being comfortable using cars instead of walking and slowly diminishing the amount of tedious physical work we do. In an emergency we might need to walk quite a distance. We might need to carry a backpack that is heavy. We might need to carry a pet or pet supplies. I am not advocating that we all start weightlifting. I am not even advocating spending money to commute to a gymnasium. I am advocating looking at the work that is necessary at your house, and planning ways of doing it yourself in order to remain active. This might be gardening. It could be raking. It could be walking a dog as much as he needs to stay slim and more than you are doing now. It could be parking the car a little farther from the mall than you might ordinarily do, and then walking in. If it's not a comfortably safe place to walk, then consider spending more time walking in the mall. Meet a friend and tell them your objective is to walk as much as you can.
My point is not to stretch anyone beyond what they can do. My point is not to have you increase activity to the point where you lose weight and muscle along with it. My point is that everyone should be working on simple baby steps to being more fit especially in consideration of any known medical issues we already have. My parents and my grandparents passed in their eighties and nineties. All of them were either working full time at a career they loved, or they were physically quite active in other ways. My Nana walked more than I do now on a regular basis through her eighties. She planted in her garden, weeded and harvested, and looked great doing it. She carried bushels of apples from her trees to the house and then made pies and cobblers. I don't remember her dieting, and she did occasionally have a piece of her own apple crumb pie after dinner. When she went places with me, we walked. Being British and having lived through the war where it was not a given that women learn to drive there, she and I walked everywhere. This meant that when I had an ice cream, so did she. I remember on one of the visits my father made to us being amazed at how much he could lift. Even in his eighties, he walked a great deal, could work hard and could lift boxes of books better than I. He continued to function that well until he passed.
|Okay, so I wouldn't wear this color. But we all should own a pair of comfortable athletic shoes.|
Remember that the weight on the scale should never have been our primary focus. Staying active and busy and enjoying activity in our lives should be. If we are sufficiently active and healthy enough to engage in activities we like, then chances are that we will be healthy enough to meet the episodic demands that an evacuation or a regional disaster will bring to us, our pets, and to our families.