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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Garden Chores in the Heat..

This morning I plan to get out to the garden very early before the heat comes. I'm bringing along my daughter to help me. One thing I know needs to be done is weeding. One end of my ever-bear strawberry patch has been taken over by some kind of grass--yikes! I've been wanting to get out there and deal with it but it has been very hot this week and I've been busy.

I am more and more noticing that I must adjust some of my activities due to arthritis related problems in my back and neck. Everything is connected you know, so if one area is flaring most likely I can feel some stiffness and pain in other areas too. My physical therapist has made many suggestions of ways to do things that will take some of the strain out of them. Today I am planning to try to hoe my weeds from a lawn chair--see if that is a reasonable solution. I have a hard time bending down and stretching a tool out in front of me for a prolonged period while standing. Eventually I'd like all my beds to be raised a bit and also to have less weeds in them--but this is a new garden and it is what it is.

The ground in the extra wide path between the shady part of the garden at the top of Pokeberry Hill and the sunny part on the slopes, is hard as rock. I cannot get a shovel into it to turn it, Hubby couldn't even get the big tiller we rented to turn that stuff! It is a good spot for planting otherwise, full sun and a little flatter than the rest of the garden. I am going to set containers on the ground there to grow plants. I have 2 big wash tubs for starters. Today I want to plant watermelon in one of them. I have a melon plant in my cold frame all ready and waiting.

I didn't plant all my tomato seedlings. Yesterday I brought half a dozen to work and gave them to my friend for her neighbor. I still have several I'd like to plant--but I am not sure about this year--I do have a tilled bed beneath my pepper patch--but I am thinking it will be too much to tend this year. If you can't do an adequate job tending it is no sense planting. I may choose out the nicest of the plants and put them in containers--they will be easy to tend that way, but I may just put them all in the compost too. :( Then I will have another nice big tub to put maybe cucumbers or squash in.

My pole beans are ready to start climbing the ladder that is set in the middle of them. I need to encourage them to attach to it.

I enjoy bringing my daughter with to work in the garden. She doesn't have as much patience as I do at her age, and usually she will want to leave after about 2 hours. This is good because I should stop at about that point anyhow--so it helps me avoid the temptation to do too much and end up sore and stiff the next day or two. I especially want to avoid that right now as we are getting very busy at work with Summer Reading, so I am already starting most days stiffer than usual.

Exercise is something that is great for arthritis. Up until now I had a hard time knowing just which exercise I should do and how much. My new physical therapist has been helping me with this. I am amazed that the routine I am developing is not that hard, but it is still helping me! I have already begun to see improvement in how easily I can move my neck and how much.

Hubby is a weight lifter guy, so is #3 Son--and I always tried to work out with their help-but it was way too much for me. Hubby would think that if you keep challenging yourself you can do more and more-but with arthritis it is not always good to try to do more--sometimes it is even harmful. He would set me with too much weight to work with and I would get discouraged and feel like I wasn't trying hard enough or I would be better at it. Now I am learning what is the right exercise to do for my body and how to push myself to do the right amount more--not too much or too little. I will need to do exercises daily throughout my life in order to keep my neck and back from degenerating. I think about 30 minutes twice a day will hopefully be about right, plus taking walks.

It isn't always easy to make yourself do what is good for you. So often I wake up feeling like NOT doing what I should. I like to remind myself of other folks I know who deal with physical problems too and who are good examples. One lady at work has RA--rheumatoid arthritis. I think her problems are far worse than mine and yet I see that she outworks most people I know. She also walks her dog twice a day and goes to her physical therapy every week. She is a great role model for folks like me.

Our insurance will only pay for 20 visits to the therapist per year. I am going twice a week right now but it will not be for very long.They are teaching me things I can do to prevent a worsening of problems I already have. They can't straigten my spine or repair any damage already done--but they can give me more range of motion and strength and help me be more fit and avoid more problems later.

I am walking Mojo at least once a day right now- I am going to try to make it twice. One thing I had to do was make the walk less difficult. Hubby liked to go up a steep hill and it was very hard on my knees and hips. It would tire me out so much I wouldn't want to walk again for days. Now I take a less difficult shorter route but I walk more often. Some of my stretches and exercises can be done throughout the day while doing other things, some have to be done on a schedule. I am aiming at doing all my 'band' exercises twice a day. I took a band with me to work yesterday to do some stretches in the afternoon in the break room--that helped me get through the rest of the day with less fatigue from stiffness in my back. Keeping things moving is definitely better when you have arthritis-- things that move don't get stuck as easily. But you must move wisely! Overdoing can make it so much worse you will give up on exercise altogether.

I am glad that my job includes various physical tasks because I think they help to keep me mobile.

Well I'm enjoying my coffee here. Daughter has already inquired how long til we will be leaving. I told her we'd go at about 8 am. I need to 'warm up the muscles' and do my exercises. We may take Mojo along so we can walk him when we are done. Walking after gardening is a great way to loosen up all the muscles and joints that have been strained. I also like to walk in the field near our house because I find great rocks there to line my shade garden beds. We can each take along a small bucket for rocks. :)

It will be about 70 degrees when we leave for the house at 8 am. Temperatures will only be in the 80s today in Charlotte, according to weather.com. Our house is further south and is usually a few degrees warmer, but also has lots of shade for resting and almost always has a breeze. I hope to be home by noon and have time to cook a nice meal for Hubby and the crew and spend some time relaxing in the pool too!

Sounds like a plan. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Very good that you are working so hard to maintain your back/neck health. I read your post to Tramp 1 - he has similar issues and needs to do what you are doing. He has a Bowflex but has not been able to get the motivation going to use it... And with all the gardening lately, his back is really a painful problem. I cringe when he gets into bed and winces in pain at night... Changes are due in Tramp's Camp for both of us! More sleep, using the hot tub and Bowflex and eating healthier and at the right time - we eat way too late - work til dark, then eat and crash. Not good. You inspire us so often, Mary! Thanks!!

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