Why I Quit The Gym

Last week I had 3 cubic metres (about 4 cubic yards) of lovely organic compost delivered. It is very nice compost and I hope it will grow me all the vegies I can possibly eat this summer, because it almost killed me getting it down to the vegie garden.

I don't have any off-street parking, so I had the compost delivered in the street and then shovelled it into the wheelbarrow then barrowed it down 17 steps and around 6 corners to get it down to the bottom of the block. Then I did it again. And also again. For six hours. Next time I am planning to order less than 3 metres of compost. Much less. I made these raised vegie beds in the bottom garden. I am going to make paths in between them with bark chips. Currently, the unplanted garden beds look slightly sinister, like graves. At some points on Monday afternoon I thought I was going to need one..

But then I remembered I am practising Stoicism, and began to enumerate all the virtues of my situation. I am strong and healthy enough to barrow compost onto my garden all afternoon. What a blessing!  I am only going to remain strong enough to barrow compost if I continue to barrow compost. I am a fortunate person who has the means to buy compost and the ability to grow organic vegies for my family. The rain gods went somewhere else for the afternoon so I could barrow compost in the sunshine. I never in my life worked as hard at the gym as I do at barrowing compost, but lifting weights at the gym never contributed in the slightest to the production of organic silverbeet. In fact, the gym cost me $12 a week, and now I work in other people's gardens and my own, get an amazing workout and earn money instead. Ha! I try not to feel smug as I work in the sunshine in other people's gardens and get to play with their lovely dogs and talk to their chickens and listen to birds and develop great back muscles as I shovel mulch onto their gardens, and get a very nice shoulder and upper arm workout while pruning their apple trees. And all the while they are working in an office somewhere. Poor poppets.

At sunset, my lovely neighbour from up the road brought me a glass of wine and we sat on the back deck and watched the sun go down and the stars come out and I looked at the quite large pile of compost that is now at the bottom of my garden instead of in the street, and planned my next vegie beds and was very quietly happy. Then I went to bed and slept for thirteen hours straight.


Treaders said…
Wow that is an amazing achievement, and you are right, it is so satisfying to get all those muscles for "free" (well, you know what I mean). I'm not sure I could cope with the heat in the summer but I guess you have your ways round that eh! Anna
Jo said…
Anna, yes, it is called a hat and a drink bottle!! I thought summer would be difficult for gardening, as I am not normally a sun enthusiast, but I was pleasantly surprised last summer to discover I am not the delicate snowflake I thought I was.. it is amazing the difference a hat makes, though. And a big, loose cotton shirt.
Anonymous said…
I so enjoyed reading your update, I have missed your posts. I too, forgo the gym by up- keeping my yard but I do not know that I have the stamina you have. Kudos to you!
Jo said…
Patricia, yes, I have been a bit quieter on the blogging front. It really is extraordinary how much exercise you get in the garden, isn't it? And it keeps you young. One of our locally famous gardeners has a radio talk back show. He is ninety one and last week was rototilling a patch of the hillside above his house to start a new potato patch! That's what keeping on gardening plus eating all that organic kale does for you!
simplelife said…
Lovely to see you back in this space.
What an achievement, isn't it the best sleep after a satisfying day of outdoor physical work? Nothing else comes close.
Those veggies, they will taste so much more delicious for this effort.
cheers Kate
Beznarf27 said…
Well done Jo and thanks for showing me what 3 cubic metres of soil looks like. I obviously need about 6 for what I am wanting to do now! We spent Saturday chopping up a large fallen tree and hauling it over to the side of the driveway so that we can get a truck up to the rear of the property to haul in some topsoil for topping up my wicking beds and for filling a new garden that I have planned for strawberries. I am also going to make straw bale gardens in the top of the bales that I am using to make the surrounds for the new garden. I have also put straw bales around the outside of my ancient fruit trees so that it will keep the mulch in and the chooks off the mulch and as the bales are on the dripper lines that we installed around the trees they will keep the moisture in the soil and can be used for additional garden beds as well. We whipper snipped the back garden yesterday and I still have to tidy up Sanctuary as she is looking very overgrown and we need to put in some more poles to prevent the rather hefty possums from jumping up and down on the top of Sanctuary to stretch the netting to eat the avocado trees below! SO much to do, so little time, who needs the gym! I think you deserved that glass of wine, in fact I think you deserved a bottle <3 :)
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

I'm genuinely impressed. Three cubic metres is my absolute limit for any materials in any one day. Far out! But then, you won't regret it either. :-)

I'd be interested to hear how you go, but I find it takes a few weeks for the stuff to, I don't know what the right words are, but sort of settle in. In another year, the soil will look like rich black sand / loam. That is what my grandfathers vegetable beds used to look like when I was a kid.

Can't wait to read the reports about how your garden grows over the summer.

It has dried up a bit over September, but I feel that we have just had October's climate because that is usually dry. Time will tell.

I still haven't dared plant out the corn yet. Have you ever tried the three sisters method of growing corn?

Pam in Virginia said…
Hi, Jo!

17 steps! 6 corners! Again and again! For 6 hours! I am surprised that this blog post's title is not "Why I went to the hospital". But good for you - I see that you have been working (pun intended) your way up to that.

Meg said…
Reckon you earned that glass of wine and those stars too! Just think ... pretty soon you'll be feasting on your own homegrown veg and all that barrowing will be a distant memory. Meg
Jo said…
Kate, falling into bed after a day of hard work is the kind of bliss that money can't buy..

Fran, wow, I am always blown way by your hard graft plus great plans and ideas. I love the straw bales around the fruit trees idea. Brilliant!

Chris, if I had known beforehand that 3 cubic metres is all you would tackle in a day, then I would never have tried to do it, because you are the legendary Chris and a big, strong man. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, plus that sheer bloody-mindedness that sets in near sunset at the end of a long job!
Three sisters gardening - yes, tried it once, the beans took over the corn. I will try it again this year, but let the corn grow up a bit first, then add the beans and pumpkin.

Pam, ha, yes, that was always on the cards. Was it persistence or stupidity with dumb luck?? Or is that the same thing except that stupidity without dumb luck will end you up in hospital?

Meg, distant memory already, but not so much that I'll be ordering 3 metres of anything again.. and my neighbour left me the bottle, so all good:)

Anonymous said…
Wheelbarrows and steps are never going to make for an easy day! You did a magnificent job with the mulch mountain, and soon you will be reaping the reward in loads of fresh summer vegetables. I'd have needed three days' rest after that lot!

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Linda, my plan is for many, many summer vegetables. I can't not keep up the vegetable quota now I have put so much effort into the preparation.
Linda said…
Loved reading your blog post. Seems ages since your last one. Doing all that hard compost shifting and gardening certainly eliminates the need to belong to a gym and also for buying cocoa to get you to sleep. Enjoy planning your veggie plots!
Barbie said…
Often times the hardest work is in the setting up and preparation, everything else after that is like coasting downhill. What fun you will have when you are ready to plant seeds and seedlings! Great job!
Tanya Murray said…
No NEXT time you organise a gang crew and we bring a couple more barrows! Seriously Jo, I could have helped you with this. NEXT time many hands make light work, or quicker work at any rate. Last week I shovelled a ute load and I know how I felt after that small amount.
Jo said…
Linda, I didn't think of the cocoa savings! Excellent!!

Barbie, you are so right, once the prep work of barrowing manure and compost onto the bed is complete, the planting is a delight:)

Tanya, I am such an independent bugger, sometimes you'd think I was a man in a past life. Trying to embrace the work party vibe, may get there soon:) Bless you for your lovely offer xxxxx

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