Walking is easy. It’s gardening that will kill!

I came very close to coming here to announce that I had put in every scrap of my energy with the garden today, so that would be my walk. From a pure-work point of view, there would have been no shame in the substitution. Let me clarify. This is not the casual strolling along well-tended paths, dead-heading spent flowers and clipping perfect specimens to gently place in the basket over your arm. This is end-of-the-season harvest and winter-prep for a 1,200 sq. ft. community garden plot. This is digging and cleaning 30 lbs of potatoes, about 10 lbs of carrots, picking 30-40 lbs of tomatoes … it goes on. Then it all must be hauled to the car, and then to the house. This is sweaty, dirty work, creating back pain in people who have no back trouble.

I did have help, and even though I am referring to my grandson Ryan, I don’t need to put the word help in quotations. Ryan has spent plenty of time with me at the garden, and he knows a ripe tomato, and just how much dirt should come off a potato. He can even be a bit bossy, like today with the potatoes: “You dig, I’ll pick.” I’ll admit, 6-yr-old boss, or not, it was an effective system.

We went at that, full out,  for over two hours. We were supposed to head for a south Winnipeg dog park, but we spent too much time at the garden. So, we came home, hauled everything in, had dinner, Ryan went home, and I … didn’t crash. I wanted to. I felt that I could with my head held high, but a little voice convinced me that I would be less sore from the bending and lifting tomorrow, if I went for a short walk. Plus, Kenna doesn’t get much fun at the garden, as she is tied to the car.

So, I set off to go a few blocks, walking off the stiffness that had already started to settle. And, it worked. I didn’t walk that far, about 1.5 km, but standing tall, concentrating on good posture and taking it easy, led to  feeling better halfway through the walk, than I did at the start. However, I did tire, even in that short distance. I wasn’t on my knees, but I was certainly glad to walk up my steps. I do think I will be better off tomorrow morning for the walk.

I walked past a small community garden, and along a path behind the skating rinks and soccer fields near Elmwood High School (where Clara Hughes, winner of multiple Olympic medals in both summer and winter games, went to school). I may switch to a small garden here next year. It’s close to home, and much smaller. I’ve included a shot of the big garden when it is in full splendour.

The path is not exactly an escape, but it is one of the benefits of living in an older section of town, rather than a perfection-planned new area. It’s like pieces get left behind, and while it’s hardly a beauty, it is a place close to home where you can have a walk on dirt or grass, and in the evening, usually let the dog off the leash. Kenna stays close to me, but she has a lot more fun, and gets at least twice the workout when she is free.

That’s it for me. I am about to curl up on the couch with a book for an hour or so till it is late enough to go to bed. I am tired, but pleased that I took no chances with my pledge to walk …

Click on any image for a slide show with a larger version of the images.



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