It is the end of May and summer has arrived in Minnesota. The day began in the wee hours of the morning with thunderstorms and badly needed rain. At 7:00 a.m. the clouds began to part for the blue skies, sun and humidity. Now at 4:30 p.m. we are at 86 degrees, humidity at 40 percent with a light wind.
My body has not adjusted from the deep winter chills to this temperature so I am hot and sweaty as I sit writing. It is really very pleasant. I am not complaining one bit. This is lovely after deep snow and 40 below wind chills in winter. I am looking for the cool breezes of June to help me adjust to the warm climate of summer.
I am also sitting and not in the garden. This is an odd thing for me. I have my computer on my lap and am sitting with my new friend, a Tens machine. If you have not had muscle injuries where you work with a physical therapist you might not know about these little guys. I used a big fancy one when I was at the PT office the other day and another one long ago when I had a severe ankle sprain that did not want to heal.
Now they make little ones you can use at home while doing other things. It is a small machine with batteries and two sticky pad that you attach to you body wherever you muscles are pulled or sore. It runs a low level electrical charge through the muscle to relax and heal nerve endings that are irritated. (They are weird and great at the same time.)
Well, if you thought through my sitting with this new friend you might have guessed that I over did it in the garden. This is why these posted are titled Old Lady Gardener. This old lady thought she was pacing herself. I was taking breaks. I was drinking water. I was switching from heavier tasks to lighter tasks to keep things going smoothly.
Yesterday was not so smooth. I repotted some tiny shallot seedling (a light task) then dug up a few Balloon Flowers for my daughter (a heavier task) and then on to planting a few things in the raised beds ( medium to light task). While getting up from the raised bed I noticed my right low back or hip was really hurting. Yep, I hobbled to put tools away and in I went to sit down. Resting was good but any time I wanted to walk was not so good.
Today the PT was very nice and was working to lightly let me know that I was way over doing it. My left shoulder that we were working on is moving great and moving in the ways it is suppose to. Yeah, I thought but she said you have to realize you don’t have any muscle strength in the shoulder yet. Oh, not good! I am thinking I know what I have done. She continued to let me know my back right hip, left upper back and shoulder into my neck was one big muscle spasm. Over do was putting it lightly.
I left her office in not a very good mood. It seems that each gardening season I have run into a wall that slows me down or sometimes stops me completely. How do I get past this wall? I do not want to take this as a sign that I need to stop gardening. It does mean I need to listen to my body more and find ways around the big tasks. I want to say I should be able to do this. The should and can are two different things. Yep, there are 71 year olds in better physical shape than me but there are also those in worst shape. I am once again discovering that walking down the comparison road does me no good. What others can do does not matter. I have to look at what I can realistically do.
The rest of today I did very little physical work, used ice on my back and the Tens machine. Tomorrow will be much the same. Hopefully this will settle things down. (I did make a rhubarb pie. I am not sure if that is heavy or light work.)
While I sitting – I need to rethink my summer gardens. I am wondering how I switch gears. If this physical therapy had started some 8 to 9 months ago I could be doing what I am doing in the garden but that is not where my muscles are at. I have another good 6 months or more of building up muscle that can handle the work of a gardener.
- the pulling and dragging of hoses around,
- the digging and pulling of plants and weeds
- the cutting and trimming of bushes
- planting new plants
Now what do I do!
I am looking into who I could hire to do the grunt and heavy work of the perennial bed redo that I had planned. I may need to engage my daughter in helping me finish planting the raised beds. The tomatoes, peppers and some flowers still need to go into the ground.
Wondering if I can get planting done will I be able to handle the daily or weekly watering if I cut out all the other lifting and digging. I guess I will have to wait to see.
I did want to do more work on botanical drawing and watercoloring so that may be what I am switching to. It is not lifting, digging and hauling.
This is not going to be easy! I can write about it in an easy fashion but as I sit here I was thinking oh yeah there is that large Hibiscus plant but the deck door. I should take that out on the deck. Well, no that is a heavy task and it is off my list for awhile. It may just need to sit there gathering sun through the screen door.
Could not resist adding this photo of the tiny birds nest I found while trimming the spice bush this past weekend! A great find while doing a task I should not have been doing. (Trimming with hands and arms up high using muscle that are not there. So my body nicely used other muscles that are not meant for that kind of work. There in lies the start of the deep muscle spasms I am now dealing with.)
It was great fun though and just for the record the tiny eggs were all gone and the nest was abandoned for the summer.