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Hey, Everybody, today I want to talk about the top eight ways to get more exercise when you garden. A low-maintenance garden, one that you can just putter around in, pulling a weed here and there and flicking off the occasional pest, has its advantages. But it has one huge disadvantage, and that is, it doesn’t allow you to maximize either your strength-training or cardio workout.

And we wouldn’t want that to happen. So without further ado, here are the top eight ways to get more exercise when you garden.

Number eight:

If you’re growing to grow vines on a vertical-type trellis be sure to plant the vine right at the end of the trellis. Remember, vines don’t just grow in one direction. They grow in all direction. So if you plant a vine in a middle of a trellis, it will be able to spread out in both directions without needing to be pruned.

But more work equals more exercise, right? So be sure to plant your vines at the very end of a vertical trellis so that you will be forced to out and cut off branches that are going in the wrong direction every few weeks.

Another vine crop many people like to grow is grapes. And speaking of grapes,

number seven is to plant things that really, really don’t do well in your area.

For example, if you live in a humid subtropical climate like we do, you probably get lots of rain in the spring, surrounded by very humid days. This constant high humidity is a breeding ground for fungi, including the block rot which most grape varieties are not resistant to.

Therefore, you want to go ahead and grow grapes. Why? Because every couple of weeks during the spring, you will have to go out an spray the entire vine with a fungicide. This doesn’t provide a huge amount of exercise, but every little bit helps.

Grapes are only one example. Do some research and figure out which garden crops have trouble with the climate or soil in your particular area, and be sure to grow them.

Number six:

demonize container gardening. For example, say you live in an area with acidic soil, and you want to grow goji berries. Goji berry bushes hate acid soil, so what do you do?

To maximize your exercise, amend the soil two to three feet down in an area two to three feet in diameter, and plant the gojis there. You will get even more exercise should the bushes shrivel up and die because you will throw a big, huge adult-sized tantrum.

Don’t ever use containers instead. Container gardening is for lazy people, who don’t want to spend hours digging and collecting organic material. Also, when you grow things in containers the fertilizer and water you put in go exactly where they need to go, preventing you from doing the extra work of extra watering and fertilizing because most of it flows away from the roots.

And don’t forget: never use plastic containers. Plastic is EVIL. And save you even more work, because they hold in water better than either clay pots or fabric pots.

The fifth top way to get more exercise from your garden:

Let your crops that like to get out of control, get completely out of control.

For example, red malabar spinach goes CRAZY once it gets hot. If you let a lot of those vines grow, they will turn into a mini-jungle that will provide you with hours of pruning and carrying away of foliage once the growing season ends. That will really help you toward those 10,000 steps you’re supposed to take every day.

Number four:

prepare your garden beds using the double-dig method. Lasagna gardening, the Ruth Stout method, and the Back to Eden method are all techniques in which you pile up organic material onto the existing soil and allow it to turn into even richer soil. This is the lazy way to build a garden bed. Sure, there is some exercise involved, but not nearly as much exercise as is provided by the double-digging method. This method of bed preparation is also guaranteed to stress your back, and we all know how healthy it is to stress back muscles, right?

The third top way to get more exercise when you garden

is to not mulch your soil. Whether you use leaves, wood chips, or straw, mulch helps preserve the moisture in the soil while it inhibits weed growth. This means, if you put mulch down in your garden, that you won’t have to water as much or weed as much.

This means, you won’t get as much exercise. So be sure not to use mulch.

Number two:

don’t fence in your garden. Thus, critters of all kinds will come and eat up your crops. This will add to your exercise routine in several ways. First, you will spend a lot more time sowing seeds and planting transplants. Second, you will end up jumping up and down and stomping in frustration. Great cardio. Finally, if you have a gun, you will likely, at some point, end up running after the hungry critters and trying to turn them into stewpot material.

And finally, the number one way to get more exercise when you garden:

water by hand. Even if you have a big garden. You don’t want to set up an automatic irrigation system in your garden. When you drag buckets, or even just gallon jugs, of water from the rain barrel or hose, you get both extra strength training and extra aerobic exercise. You can kick it up a notch by walking as fast as you can, even running, if possible, between the water source and your garden plants.

You get an extra bonus in the summer, when it’s so hot and humid that you start dripping with sweat after only a few minutes into your watering chore. Sweating helps clear toxins from your body, you know.

Well, there you go. The top eight way to get more exercise when you garden. Exercise equals greater health, right? And we all want to be healthy.

Thanks for watching, and remember: if you believe everything you hear or read on the Internet, it’s not my fault.


Never Say Never

“Never say never.”

I never (whoops, said it!) really understood that phrase until I was in my late twenties. It hit me even harder in my mid-thirties.

By then, I had learned the horrible truth: when you say you’re never going to do something, a divine ha, ha, ha! echoes through the heavens, and an invisible hand begins to slowly tweak your circumstances so that before you know it, you’re doing those things you said you’d never do.

As a teenager, I looked around at my three siblings (because I was the Perfect Child, don’t you know) and decided that I never wanted children. At the same time, I wanted to be a good Catholic. Catholics are not supposed to have sex unless they are number one, married, and number two, open to conceiving a child with every “act of marriage”.

And so, with much reluctance on my horny late teenager part, I decided I would never get married. This I announced openly to my mother who would hear it at least a dozen times over the next decade.

By age thirty-five, I was married. By age thirty-six, I’d had a baby.

Desperate to find a teaching job after college, I found myself in a big city nearly a thousand miles away from where I’d grown up. I had on purposely not taken any early childhood courses in college, not received certification in that area. Because I didn’t like little kids, so I was never going to teach Kindergarten.

In that city I’d moved to lived many Hispanic immigrants, and so the school district had a bilingual program. Therefore, so did the school that eventually hired me.

Having received my teacher education in an area where immigrants were immersed in English in school – only taught their native language at home – I lifted my nose in the air and said, “I will teach in this school, but I will never teach in a bilingual classroom.”

Little did I know that the principal was spying on me, hearing me speak in Spanish to Spanish-speaking parents, rubbing his hands together in glee as he plotted to stick my hoity-toity nose into the dirt. At the end of my fourth year teaching, he assigned me to a bilingual classroom for the coming year.

A Kindergarten bilingual classroom.

Ah, ha, ha, ha! boomed the mirthful Voice In The Sky.

Since my mid-thirties, I have been tempted to say that I would never do any number of things. I was never going to have another baby. I was never going to live in a city again. I was never going to teach in a classroom again.

I have resisted temptation. I learned my lesson.

Wait! Hold on! Why didn’t I think of this before?

“I will never be a New York Times number one bestselling author.”

“I will never sing on a stage and wow an audience of thousands.”

“Hubby and I will never be self-sufficient in growing fruits and vegetables.”

“I will never act in a movie.”

“I will never…”

Hey! Reader! Are you laughing at me?


On The Verbing Of Nouns

I think I read somewhere a few years ago that English is the only language in which its speakers regularly turn nouns into verbs. Take the word “nail.” It used to be just a noun – that small, iron, cylindrical-shaped object with a point on one end and a flat head on the other that you used to hold two pieces of wood together.

But in the last few decades, it has been verbalized. If you do something right or figure something out, you “nail” it.

Then there are words like “jar” and “dish.”

It seems the more digital technology progresses, the more this verbalization happens. You “google” if you search something on the Internet (regardless of the search engine you’re using). Fake photos have been “photoshopped.” You “friend” someone on Facebook.

So I thought it would be fun to get goofy with the idea of verbalizing nouns that, as of yet (and as far as I know) have not yet received the privilege of becoming verbs. Here we go.

“That really floored me….” Wait, floor is already both a noun and a verb.

Let me think…

Got it! “He beaned me on the head with a baseball.”

What? “Bean” is already a verb, too?

“Let’s ratchet this up a notch.”

Meh. This is hard.

I’ve got one! Seriously!

“I was so computered by the class, I felt dizzy when I walked out of it.”

Computer: To cause to be inundated with information.

Let’s see if I can come up with another one…

“He toothbrushed along in his sneakers.”

Toothbrush: To move in a back and forth gliding motion.

Next: “I don’t want to shirt right now.”

Shirt: To act as a mediator between two debating parties. Comes from a shirt having two opposing sleeves.

How about this one? “He lamped up the entire house.”

Lamp: To turn on multiple lights in an area.

Finally (because my brain is getting tied in knots): “She seems to just headphone her way through life.”

Headphone: To go through life engrossed in one’s own thoughts, or otherwise seeming to ignore what is going on around one.


Yeah, okay, so some of these are a bit of a stretch. I never realized how many nouns have already been verbalized until I started to really think about it!

Maybe I’ll stick to just using the words that others have already invented. You know, keep being a writer, and let others do the mental gymnastics of manipulating the English language.

What about you? Can you come up with any G-rated examples of new verbalized nouns? Share in the comments below!

Or, go through this post and tell us all the words I used that could be either nouns or verbs. I know you have nothing better to do. 😉


Life With A Single Toilet

“I have to go poop!” our son, B, announces as he heads toward the bathroom.

I grimace at him. “Daddy just took the toilet bucket out to dump.”

Rewind. Our family lives what you might call an unconventional lifestyle. Some might call it downright weird. One of the many weird things we do is defecate into a composting toilet.

No, not one of those several-hundred-dollar jobbies that have a fan, climate control system, and casino all in a three-square foot area. Not one of those that you can ignore for weeks on end before needing to dump it.

We poop into a five gallon bucket. Instead of flushing, we cover our feces up with dirt. And it needs to be dumped about every third day.

Uh, by the way, you may not want to read this post while you’re eating. You’re welcome.

Back to the story.

“That’s okay,” B says, snatching up his sunglasses to go outside. “I can wait.”

It’s as though his words were a trigger for my own system to kick into high gear. Suddenly, I have to go so bad that I’m not sure I can wait for my husband. “Now I have to go,” I moan as B opens the door to go outside.

“Should I tell Daddy?”

I shake my head. “He should be done pretty soon.”

Famous last words. Ten minutes went by. Then thirty. Then an hour.

In my head, anyway. Really it was probably about two minutes. But with every passing second the pressure became greater and greater.

My heart began to race. My palms began to sweat. Finally, I snatched up some wipes and headed out the door. “I’m going to have to go in the woods!” I exclaimed.

It would not be the first time.

B ran out the door ahead of me and began yelling at J, my husband. By the time I had run to the place where I would enter the woods, J had just finished putting the couple inches of dirt at the bottom of the bucket. Now aware of my dire situation, thanks to our son, he began to run.

And B, wanting to spice things up a bit, began a play-by-play: “Daddy just finished putting dirt in the bottom of the bucket. Okay, he’s throwing down the shovel. Now he’s running past the garden…”

I guess he was trying to make me feel better. Give me hope.

I backtracked to get out of J’s way (there is a spot between the orchard and garden that only one person can walk through at a time). Would I make it? After all, he still had to get through the door, and situate the bucket under the lid of the compost toilet.

I high-tailed it after him, hoping for the best. Watching him work at a frenetic speed foreign to him. I went into the bathroom just as he set the toilet lid with the toilet seat back down.

I was sitting down before he had even closed the bathroom door.

I made it.


As I sat on the throne, I wondered for a few seconds why a crisis like this never happened when I was growing up and there were twice as many people sharing one toilet.

Then I remembered: we were all dehydrated and consumed a very low-fiber diet.


Then I thought to myself, it’s a good thing this hardly ever happens.

Sometimes, I should just stop thinking.

The next morning, all three of us had to go at the same time.


Oh, No! I’ve Done It Again!

Call the men in white coats. You know, the guys carrying straightjackets.

Because I did it again.

I started another blog.

You gotta understand two things. First of all, I recently promised myself that my Pro Human Vegan blog would be The End of starting blogs for me. I would use Live Your Dreams With Emily as my author and personal blog, and use the other as an outlet for my interest in all things vegan.

Second, my starting blogs has become a sad joke between my husband and me since I began my first one in 2009. I’d start one blog, go with it for a while, then follow a shiny object which would lead me to start another blog. I would get sick of that latter one and give it up while starting two more blogs, all the while maintaining the original blog.

Finally, a few years ago I made The Ultimate Declaration: “I’m never going to blog again!” I even cancelled my webhosting.

In my world, “ultimate” means “a definite maybe.”

Which brings us to…

Eventually, I changed my mind and started my Live Your Dreams With Emily blog. It was supposed to:

  1.  help me make money with the MLM I belonged to at the time, and
  2.  encourage other people to follow their dreams.

By making money with me, with the MLM I belonged to at the time.

But before I’d had my latest blog for two years, I quit MLM. And was really, really sick of telling people how to straighten out their finances and eat healthy. So I started talking about my family and our homestead.

During the past few months, I went back and forth in my head, trying to decide whether I should start a separate personal/author blog. One day I would tell myself that I never liked the domain “liveyourdreamswithemily” and that anyway, and author blog is supposed to have the author’s name in it somewhere.

The next day I would tell myself that I’ve already got a small following on my blog, and that the domain name really isn’t all that important.

My “final” decision was to stick with Live Your Dreams With Emily. I was even regretting starting Pro Human Vegan.

I should give you this heads up…

I am in my late forties, and as such I go through long periods (okay, three days to a week, but they feel much longer!) when I am so exhausted, I can barely take care of basic household tasks. And/or I have a headache for four days. And/or I can’t focus on anything. It’s like I’ve got a flock of birds soaring back and forth through my head, swishing my brain this way and that.

And making me kinda dizzy in the process.

I was in a period like that when I was regretting starting my Pro Human Vegan blog. During that same period, I was never going to write another novel.

So just FYI, if I’m ever gone from this blog for a week or more, no worries. I’m most probably slogging my way through one of those perimenopausal events.

Another FYI – whenever I make a “final” decision during one of those periods, it will not be final.

And then, I woke up

All the ick lifted. I was my ambitious, goal-oriented, visionary self again.

And I knew I wanted to keep writing novels. And to blog.

I also knew that I was going to do it right this time. I was actually going to sell my work.

Enter Tim Grahl’s book, Book Launch Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To A Bestselling Launch. He told me I needed to:

  • Start an e-mail list, (sign up in the right sidebar, right over there====>>)
  • Ask my fans to help me launch my books, (sign up in the right sidebar, right over there====>>), AND
  • Contact bloggers and podcasters to help me launch my books. (sign up in the right sidebar, right over there====>>)

He told me nothing new, only to do the marketing that I already knew I needed to do. But have I done any of that? NO-O-O! Instead, I have dug my heels in and said, “No! No e-mail marketing! No figuring out launches! I’m going to do it my way!”

Which is fine, if you don’t want many people to buy your books.

But I was finally ready for the kick in the pants that Tim provided. I wanted people to start seeing me as a serious author, and if that was going to happen, I would need to start taking myself seriously as an author.

In other words, no more playing house.

I would have to join an e-mail subscription service, and beg my fans to sign up to my list (sign up in the right sidebar, right over there====>>). And I would be consistent about my writing.

A-a-a-annd…start an official author blog. With my name in it.

So, here you go. And here I go, being consistent. Publishing my first post to my blog.

Thanks for visiting; y’all come back now, y’hear?

(And in case you didn’t get my subliminal message peppered throughout this post, sign up to my e-mail list. The form is in the right sidebar. See it? Cool. 😉 )