Hip 1, yard work 0


leaves carrying

What a difference a year – and a new hip – makes.

I spent five hours Saturday doing yard work, with the help of my wife, and felt great.

A year ago, my right hip would have had me take breaks about every half hour to 45 minutes, and I’d have been lucky to get done half of what we accomplished Saturday.

With the late fall this year, the leaves lingered on our trees, before dropping en masse over the past week or so. Sure, there are still some leaves on our maples in the backyard, but the big oak is empty.

So it was a matter of clearing leaves and then giving the grass a final cut.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

I moved patio furniture and broke out our lawn vacuum – the one that looks like a push mower for the most part, except for the air intake across the front that sucks leaves through an impeller, mulching them and dumping them into the bag attachment.

It’s so much easier than raking, as you can dump more leaves into bags because of the mulching process, and you aren’t endlessly bending over to pick up handfuls of leaves after raking them into a pile. When there are lots of leaves, it does take a while as you have to go back and forth over the same spot, much like vacuuming a carpet, to suck up most of the leaves.

Between the leaf gathering and the mowing, we got three quarters of the lawn done before I had to take a trip to the yard depot with a full pickup truck of bagged leaves.

Always a popular spot in the spring and fall, it’s never a surprise to see someone you know at the depot. I spotted a friend, Ralph, there, and we chatted about the Irish Rovers event the night before at the Capitol, a great show according to Ralph.

Back home, it was time to try to finish off the yard. This was the thickest area of leaves, as it was right under the mighty oak. I got four more large bags full before Mother Nature decided to encourage me to call it a day. I ran out of steam as the sky started to spit. With perhaps a 10-foot-by-10-foot area left to do, I didn’t wait to see if it was just a brief bit of drizzle. I had some aches popping up, including the hip, so I decided to put the tools in the shed and head indoors.

I have a little of the backyard left to do for next weekend, as well as the front, but that’s just fine with me. Another big thumbs up for my new hip.

And to think I was considering delaying surgery. Quality of life is something you should never take for granted. Even with such mundane things as yard work.


Suffering from the time shift


Is anyone else still a bit out of whack with the time change? Sure, it took place Nov. 1, but my internal clock still has me waking up well before the sun comes up.

I used to enjoy when the clocks fell back an hour. It’s light out earlier, meaning it was easier for me to get up each morning.

I’ve reached the stage in life where my internal clock keeps its own time. Not only do I wake early, but I quite often hit the personal snooze button while watching sports events, or most any television in the evening. This past Sunday night’s Cowboys-Eagles tilt was an exciting one that went into overtime. I missed it. I closed my eyes on a commercial break with about five minutes left in regulation and opened them sometime later to the news broadcast.

I remember as a teen seeing a friend’s father regularly nap during a ball game or hockey game. I laughed, saying I’d never do such a thing, as the games were too exciting.

Yeah, right.

With me apparently not adjusting (at least so far) to the mornings, I am also impacted by the evenings. Now it gets dark so early that by the time I would go to barbecue weeknights, the sun has set. I’ve got a light in the backyard, but it’s not the same as sitting outdoors in daylight as the meat cooks. Oh, I’ll do it all right, but…

The best time to barbecue at this time of the year is on the weekend. I can cook a variety of items in daylight that way, and we can consume them over the course of the week.

My wife is on a soup kick, which is fine by me. I love soup and stew. But she and her sister have been cooking on the stove. I need to get them into the Egg-sperience.

Simmering soup on the Big Green Egg, with it set to indirect heat, is awesome. Cooking with the lid off of a Dutch oven, you can get some smoky flavour added to your soup as it simmers.

We did chili on the Egg last year and it was amazing.


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