Monday, January 16, 2012

A Touch of Winter

Our weather here has been rather mild this winter but we finally got enough of a dusting of snow to use our new sleds. Last Thursday we had snow and highs in the low 20s, today its sunny and 65 while our family and friends still in Alaska are burried under record breaking snow. I like sunny and 65 a whole lot better thank you.

Today is also a Federal holiday in honor of Dr Martin Luther King and I think sometimes the meaning of this gets lost through focusing on MLK the man instead of MLK the symbol. He was a fascinating person with many flaws like most men but he came to represent something that grew out of the times when he lived and the fact that I was alive myself during those times makes MLK as a symbol more real to me. I mean, when I was in school there were still segregated schools (though I did not attend one) and other aspects of Jim Crow were alive and well...its kind of hard to comprehend in light of the progress we have made today but these things were not that long ago and at least for me, this holiday makes sense as part of our national history and development.

We are also continuing our quest to improve our health through targeted exercise, healthy eating and stopping or reducing some bad habits. We both started with blood work from the clinic and for Holly a breast x-ray and it will conclude with a colonoscopy for both of us (I shudder even typing that word). Holly turns 50 in a few months and I am going to turn 52 and though we have always been physically active injuries have dragged both of us down for about 3 years now. I have been given a green light from the neurosurgeon to return to running, lifting weights and other strenuous activities and Holly is starting a conditioning walking program and will return to weight lifting herself soon. We are sharing this personal information for those who have reached a point like we have where you just dont feel as healthy as you could and dont know where to start to change things. We are starting with blood work to get a baseline and then targeting diet and exercise towards specific goals. We have both been athletic our whole lives and already have the knowledge and experience with our training regimes so for us this is just returning to a life style we previously enjoyed; if your not a gym rat or prior gym rat I would encourage you to get some professional training advice from a local gym or community center before embarking on a vigorous training program....bad technique can get you injured in a hurry and you just get discouraged.

Here is our baseline test results:

                                           Andy                             Holly

  • Weight                          207                          Yea Right
  • BP at Clinic                120/80                       107/65
  • Pulse                              82                                  72
  • Total Cholesterol          189                               100
  • Blood Glucose                99                                 71
  • TriGlycerides                216                                 97
  • PSAs                               2.1                                 --

As you can see we are starting from a pretty good point and since neither of us take any medications at all these are not bad (particularly for Holly) but my Triglycerides are higher than I want, my blood glucose is at the high end of normal and accompanying that were slightly elevated liver enzymes .......for me personally that can be attributed almost wholly to my nightly happy hour. I do not have a sweet tooth and eat little refined sugar and I also dont drink much in the way of soda pop but I do have 2 or 3 mixed drinks of an evening. Changing this one habit will likely have a significant impact on those areas I am targeting; Holly stopped her personal happy hour a while ago and the results are likely showing in her great test results. I have returned to running 3 times a week and am beginning a lifting program with a friend from the Sheriffs Dept and feel great...I missed the runners high in particular. Oh...and I stopped chewing tobacco by using a Nicoderm patch for 2 days then I just said to heck with it and even stopped using the patch.

We will keep posting updates on the low fat diet, the exercise and the blood test results scheduled for 3 months to see if our modest efforts to feel better, lose some weight, and improve our heart health pay off. For us some of this is a bit harder to do here on the farm than it was in the city where we both belonged to a nice club and literally hit the gym everyday but in some ways its even more important. Trying to stay healthy and fit not only allows us to work the farm more efficiently it just has to become part of your financial planning in todays sky rocketing medical costs/dwindling insurance benefits environment. Physical health is part of financial planning?...Absolutely.

Our big snow storm...about an inch and temps to the high teens.

I actually enjoy running in this kind of weather but one of my 2 mile routes involves driving to our small town and then running along some township streets (the population is 109) and I can only imagine what some of the locals think. Folks just dont run for pleasure or health much around here and I can imagine them watching me run by and saying things like "that boy from Alaska is a bit touched" or "he was in the war you know" or "he runs pretty good for a big fella"

I always enjoy a bit of snow each year because its so peaceful and serene....but now that we have had it I'm ready for spring!

Holly spoils the cows. She puts out hay bales and then if they dont see it right away she will walk to the back pasture and call them in...they follow her like she is the pied piper.

Its not that cold and the snow isnt really keeping the girls from grazing but cows are generally lazy and will seek the easiest tastiest feed just like we would. We have been putting our 1 bale of our first cut hay about every other day and they really go at it. We also give them grain in the evening and that is a choice we consciously made; some folks see more benefits in a purely pasture raised beef than we do and we wont try to convence them our way is better. But we like things the way they are and you would be amazed how some people (many who dont even have cattle) feel compelled to criticise us for using grain.

Now this is what I would call "The Good Wife".

We have burned about a cord and a half so far this year but we keep our house warm so we dont think thats too bad.

This was a high for this day but compared to winters past we dont complain.

This is our view from our kitchen dining are in the bay window (you can see the screen) and I posted it to show how peaceful it looks with a little snow. The girls tend to stay close to the barn when its cold and windy, we have a ton of birds in the feeders, and mornings are quiet and with the sun rising in the back of the pasture (this view faces East) so breakfasts generally have some great visages.

Not a lot of snow but since we paid $9.98 for a couple of plastic sleds we are determined to use them.

Chris had some fun anyway. We know winter isnt over, we know there will likely be a lot more cold weather and snow but togay as I write this its 66 degrees outside and I am heading out in shirt sleeves to do some chores....we are ready for spring.

1 comment:

  1. We've had the same weird-warm weather....I just hope it doesn't mess with the fruit trees! I don't think I can take TWO years in a row with no fruit!

    You can keep the snow though, yeah, yeah poor man's fertilizer. Still don't like it!