I have Lucinda William’s song, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” stuck in my head (and if you have to have a song stuck in your head, anything by Lucinda Williams is enjoyable). Why is this song looping over and over in my mind? Twenty-three tons of ½ inch native stone gravel were dribbled along the driveway this morning. Somebody has to spread the gravel over the bare spots on our private road. And that someone is me. Of course, I didn’t finish today. I spread just enough gravel to count the time as my workout.
Instead of a morning run, I slipped on an old jacket and gloves (it was 39 degrees), grabbed a rake, a hoe and a shovel and hiked up to the top of the driveway. Spreading gravel is a new experience. When I bought the gravel, the woman in the sand and gravel company office told me to spread it with a metal rake. So I began my workout: redistribute the gravel from the large pile using the shovel, comb out the smaller piles with the rack, smooth with the hoe and then tamp it down. Remember to shift the tool from one hand to the other so I work both sides of my body. After 30 minutes, I removed my jacket.
Part of the appeal of the Boot Camp and Cross Fit training classes is the focus on strength training—often using muscles that one would work if one was working on a farm or getting ready for winter in New England. Who needs whole body conditioning when one has to get the yard and house ready for winter?
The past few weeks my workouts have been yard maintenance. There’s the rake the autumn leaves off the basketball court routine. That one includes some sprints (chasing my grandson) and some heavy lifting (picking him up) as well as some squats, not to mention actually playing toddler style basketball when done (Each of us has a ball; he doesn’t have to dribble). I could use the leaf blower but that thing is heavy—I leave it for hubby to work out with. Then there’s the carrying and stacking of fire wood drill: more squats, more lifting, some farmer carries, log rolling (pushing). The actual splitting is done by machine, but the wood has to go somewhere. And now we have the gravel. It’s going to be a strenuous workout tomorrow.
The dogs are doing a fall workout as well. They do the “see if we can catch a squirrel sprint” and the “chase the deer dash.” They do their weight training by messing up my log piles and demolishing the stone wall while patrolling for chipmunks. In a few weeks, they’ll be swimming in the snow and I’ll be shoveling the deck and walkways. My arms will be so toned for golf next spring. Sometimes I wonder why I have a gym membership or a rowing machine in the basement.
I really shouldn’t complain. I go to bed tired. I feel like I’ve accomplished something but still . . . we have logs to cut and leaves to rake and we already had our first dusting of snow. Nature is getting ready for a long rest. I want to rest too!