Monday, April 5, 2010

It All Began in a Garden

It was a beautiful long weekend. I say "long weekend" because since the kids had Good Friday off from school, I had Good Friday off. I took them on hike on Friday, and did the requisite Easter stuff (dyeing eggs, hiding eggs, finding eggs).

But, I also had my first weekend of doing some substantial work in the yard. The weather was beautiful--warm without being hot and humid with a lot of sun.

I have been "gardening" in a sense for a few weeks now. I had started some seeds a few weeks back for parsley, cilantro, swiss chard and kale. They're about ready to set out in the garden. I've also done some Spring clean-up, and I've of course ventured out to pick some of the earlier daffodils to liven up the house.

This weekend, however, I was outdoors in earnest. While the kids ran around the yard and played on the playground on Friday, I swept through the yard picking up stray twigs and branches that fell onto the lawn. I then spread some fertilizer.

And, my gardening activities had some caloric payback. According to the calorie chart I consulted, spreading fertilizer burns approximately 170 calories an hour. I spent a little more than an hour on this chore (and a lot of it was spent pushing the spreader up and down the hills that make up my year.) Picking up the twigs and branches (which also involved pushing a wheelbarrow) also burned approximately another 200 calories. So, I burned about 370 calories (on top of what I burned hiking), just by spending some time outdoors.

On Saturday, I had an absolutely wonderful power walk then headed off to Tai Chi. After that I spent two hours pruning my rose bushes. I have rather extensive perennial beds, some inherited from the previous owner, and the rest added to and/or extended by me. I absolutely love roses, and although I avoid the fussiest varieties (i.e., Hybrid Teas), I have quite a few Floribundas, grandifloras, climbing, David Austin, Heritage, and modern hybrids. All need to be pruned every year when the forsythia bloom. So this was the weekend to do it.

I have one rather spectacular white flowered climbing rose whose name has been lost. It's a rather aggressive grower, having its own rosy notion of Manifest Destiny in the garden. It takes more time to prune this one bush, then all the others combined. But year after year, my efforts are rewarded with spectacular season-long blooms.

Besides, pruning burns approximately 70 calories every fifteen minutes, so in the hour I spent pruning this climber, I burned 280 calories.

I did a lot of other work this weekend, including hauling compost, spreading compost and weeding, and there's still so much more to do. But it's all worth it. Gardening is probably my favorite calorie burning activity, because of the visual rewards. I love looking out my windows to what my efforts have wrought.

And, my waistline looks so much better for the effort as well.


  1. I admire gardens and those who love to garden, but it's not for me. However, the calorie burn does make it sound more attractive.....

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