Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Middle-aged/Senior Gardening?

I've always WANTED to have a garden, but never wanted to do the work! Or if I was in the mood to do the work, I was living someplace where I couldn't put in a garden. I remember being impressed at my sister's garden many years ago when I visited her farm in IL. and it's always been one of those little nagging "bucket list" things (like learning to play the piano) that, at 64, I'm wondering if I'll ever do.

I still don't live in a place where I could put a traditional garden. The most I've been able to accomplish is buying a potted lily and digging a hole to put it in. My daughter helped me plant a Peony bush several years ago and I've managed to keep it alive. This year the weather was very weird--warm very early, then a hard frost after things were blooming--so it wasn't as great as last year. I still enjoyed the wonderful fragrance that only a Peony can give (just my opinion). I favor it over roses and even the lovely carnations that always take me back (mentally) to my first dance and corsage! Since this was the year of the Puny Peony in MY yard, I took a photo of someone else's beautiful specimen! I'm sure they wouldn't mind since I'm not providing any identifying information with it! LOL....this is why I always carry my camera! The one on the left was mine in 2011 and the one on the right is the way I WISH mine looked this year!

So...I've actually got a point that relates to the title of this blog...I have come across something that I think would be great for us older gardeners, well really ANY age, but especially anyone with bad knees or a bad back. It's called straw bale gardening and you could literally have a garden on a balcony or a deck with just a bale of straw, a little bit of potting soil and some seeds. I've found a very good site for beginners and experts to ask questions and share information and I think you'll find it as interesting as I have. The first part is reading but there are pages and pages of photos showing you all kinds of techniques and tips. I love the idea of not having to dig or weed or get down on the ground (sometimes it's hard to get back up!!). And it's just so NEAT looking! So let me know what you think and if you're a gardener at heart, like me or a REAL gardener!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Middle-aged or Senior?

It's another hot one today and at this point, I'm glad I'm in Michigan instead of my home state of Missouri or any of the other states where this heat wave is causing all the crops to burn up! It's only supposed to reach 97° in my area today. I can definitely tell the difference in how the heat affects me these days....I don't tolerate it well at all. I literally start swelling up like a blowfish as soon as the temperature creeps up to about 80° and it's already 89° at 11:50 am. 

I walked at 7:00 am today to make sure I got it done before the sun started beating down. Also went to the store to make sure I had a bag of ice and some nuts to snack on. 

I remember when I never even thought of seeing what the forecast was going to be and now I do it every day! With the internet, I can see what the weather is like anywhere in the world! Isn't that exciting? All of a sudden, in my head, I hear the phrase "all old people talk about is the weather and their aches and pains"! Uh oh....this is 3 paragraphs long and all I've talked about is the temperature, and I haven't even started on my aches and pains! LOL! 

The worst part is going to be going out in the heat to watch my Grandson's baseball game this evening! His team is in first place and I thoroughly enjoy watching him play. He pitches and catches and can play any position on the field! I'll definitely be taking an umbrella to block the sun. Thank goodness things will be cooling off by the weekend when they will be playing the league tournament...that could mean at least 3 games!

So, to answer my own question in the title of this blog, I think it's happened! I think I've ever so slightly creeped out of the middle-aged category and into the....wait for it....no, I can't say it! Ok, let's do it this way.... I'm a baby-boomer, right? How about we call this the "Boomier" years (pronounced like junior)?  Oh yeah, I like that!! What are your thoughts?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Can walking solve all your problems?

Probably not, but this activity has a LOT to offer! For a 64 yr. old woman who's been walking nearly every day for 2½ years, I've got the tightest buns you could ask for! LOL! Of course, I was blessed with beautiful bum genes to begin with, but with everything else falling, dropping, collapsing and hanging, I am happy to announce that walking has given me buns of, well if not steel at least semi-hard rubber? A mostly inflated basketball? You be the judge! LOL! 

As for the other benefits of my daily walks they are: 

Physical....I don't know how I lived so many years without walking, but even though I was very sedentary and very overweight, I could not get myself out there on a regular basis. And when I did, it was maybe 10 minutes because my back hurt so much and I was out of breath very quickly. I was in the process of trying to get in the habit of walking every day when I found out I had diabetes. I didn't need any further motivation. 

At that point I was going to walk! As most of you who follow this blog know, I lost 53 lbs in less than a year and walking (along with eating a low carb diet) has become a daily habit. I was scared NOT to walk after reading up on diabetes, so I used the time to work my stomach muscles and clench my butt muscles with each step. Eventually, I could actually see and feel an improvement.

Other physical benefits have been to help with my arthritis and increasing my bone density, improving my breathing, lowering my blood pressure and by losing weight, my knees don't hurt anymore!

Emotionally.....When I reached day 30 of walking, I can't tell you how proud I was of myself! I almost couldn't believe it and by that day I was walking a whole MILE! Remember, I was 61 yrs old when I finally started doing something for my health.  I felt shameful during the years before when I KNEW I had to do something, but couldn't stick to any kind of routine or get out of my rut. It sounds crazy, but getting diabetes probably saved my life.

I can start out in the morning in a very poor mood, even feeling depressed, and once I've got my walking shoes on and I'm out the door, I feel better about myself and about the world we live in! I've read that..... "Walking 30 minutes a day boosted the moods in depressed patients faster than antidepressants research by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found. Walking releases endorphins increasing your mood and decreasing pain."

Spiritual.... there's something about nature that calms me and reassures me that I'm not all alone with my problems. Even if you don't have a beautiful place to walk (like I do),
 there's still the beauty of the sky, the trees, even the air around you can bring on a feeling of peace and serenity. That's how I felt in CA the few times I was there and I've never forgotten it.

Fortunately, I live right across the street from a nature trail so I've been able to see and hear a variety of wildlife on my walks. The anticipation of getting a glimpse of any of God's creatures has given me the motivation to get out there very early in the mornings when it is especially quiet and peaceful. Perfect time to pray and I've done plenty of that in the last 2 years.

Social..... I had become a bit of a recluse in the past 18 years. Not a TRUE recluse, but just not getting out to meet new people. I've spent all my time working on the computer and going to my grandkids' sports events, so with all the people who also use the trail for exercise and enjoyment, I've been forced to be a bit more social! I would say it has brought me out of my shell and it's nice to get to know people by name, stop and chat a little and pet their dogs. :)  

So I guess I wouldn't expect for walking to solve all my problems, but it sure gives me plenty of reasons to keep on doing it! And the #1 reason I will keep on doing it? Taking pictures! :)  AND to keep my butt in shape!

Other resources for walking: