Monday, August 8, 2011

Boody Scootin' Boogie

Note:  For anyone young and healthy as a horse - just pass this one and come back tomorrow. 

On June 4th, I developed a severe headache.  Now, Mrs. G where is your pain on a scale of 1 to 10?  Since I've been blessed my entire life as being healthy as a horse and under the misconception I was still young, my ten was birthing an almost ten pound baby.  This was no #10 birthing experience, but, it put me flat on my back for almost two months.

The end of story is I must change the way I do physical labor, including gardening.  "Soooo", says I, "if I have a pick-up truck of rock, can I unload it by myself?"  PT lady looked at me a minute while she controlled the urge to say something unflattering and then said, "If you do it for half an hour, stop, go inside, rest and assess if it hurt you."  She continued, "If it didn't hurt, you can go back out and do another half an hour of work."  "If it did hurt, you know you did too much or you did it the wrong way."

I'm pretty much OK with making some changes because I don't want to be in that much pain again and I don't want to loose that much time to inactivity.  It beat the original GP's comment, "You'll never get any better and you'll only get worse."  I wasn't ready to settle for that - fortunately neither was the PT. 

I've normally stood and bent at the waste to pull weeds in my garden beds.  This causes the spine to bend at the hips one way and the other way in the neck.  Years of this and my neck protested.  Plus, I had never realized how many things require a similar position.  Looking in bottom cupboards, washing floors, pulling laundry out of the dryer, picking up things - you get the idea.

I now sit on my derriere and scoot so my eyes are looking straight ahead and my neck is no longer bent.  It works until I have to get inside a large bed to pull weeds or trim.  I then make a conscious decision to squat and even if I bend from the waste, I don't extend my neck as if looking up.

And, and these are the biggies: I think out the move before I start.  I quit prior to hurting.  I don't do one more thing and one more thing and one more thing before quitting.  I don't "soldier through".  I can appreciate a small portion of the bed cleaned out without being bummed I didn't get the entire three acres completely perfect.  (Oh, yeah, that's a hard one!)

I have a garden friend about ten years older than me.  She has decided she will start taking out some of her beds because she can no longer get them all perfect.  I thought I might be at that point and I'm all too happy to scoot a bit while keeping all my beds at this time.

I've been thinking, perhaps rethinking, how to simplify what I already have.  Certainly, mulch is a grand help to help curtail weeds.  Fact is, it takes a lot of work to get a bed ready for mulching and more work to lay it down.  I've never used landscape fabric since it tends to show.  Rethinking.

Typically, I've always been planning the latest additions - increasing the size - moving - and rearranging.  Perhaps, I should consider making each of what I have optimal without adding more work.  Rethinking.

If I had to give up this home and the gardens, what would I take with me - what favorites?  Rethinking.

 Each plan that I may still have needs to be judged on whether it will help maintain, add/decrease work, and is it worth the effort?  Rethinking.

I've heard older folks too often ask their children to help them maintain their prized gardens.  A few, very few, children/grandchildren/spouses may actually care about your flowers and gardens.  In most cases, they don't care and it's a mighty imposition.  I know, I know, you birthed those little darlings, but, they still may not have inherited the gardening gene.  Even if they did they may not have the time, energy, or desire to keep your hobby going strong.  Yes with the possible exception of food, most gardening is a hobby.

The end of the tale is this:  If you wish to continue gardening after you reach that certain age and certain condition, then you must either figure out how to do it within your limits, pay others to follow your instructions, or give some of it up.  Right now for me the boody scootin' boogie is a good option!


  1. Oh, Diane, I know of what you speak :) I now weed using the Step2 5A0100 Garden Kneeler that I purchased from Amazon. I loved it so much that I ordered two more to have another one handy in a faraway garden corner and also for indoors when I get the urge to get down and clean. I can't tell you how much it has helped my back pain and also my garden!

  2. So glad you've found a solution that helps your back! Where there's a will - there's a way for gardeners! Thanks for the note. Diane