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rainbowgardener
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very athletic!

I think when some people talk about gardening, they are talking about walking around their nice (flat!) little garden space, maybe even in a skirt and picture hat, like ShadyLane's avatar, with hand snips, deadheading the roses.

When I talk about gardening, I am often talking about clambering up and down my hillside that is so steep sometimes I have to use all fours, manhandling heavy stuff up and down the hill (e.g. all the concrete blocks for the retaining walls). Last year I felled a big old tree of heaven (~40' tall and more than 12" diameter at the base). But then my chainsaw blade got dull and I couldn't get it sawed up. Took me a long time to get it together to get the chainsaw sharpened and then I lost the window of opportunity. So today, I was out there, standing on steep, rocky, uneven slope, with the chainsaw, cutting it up into 36-40 inch logs and hauling the logs up the hill. Some of the time to get to part of the tree and keep my balance, I had to wrap one arm around a standing tree, and do the chainsaw one handed. So I came back up dirty from head to toe, tired, and feeling wonderful! :) Cut some more honeysuckle down too while I was down there with my chain saw and 100' of extension cord.

Now that's my kind of yard work!
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pinksand
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Re: very athletic!

Ha! :lol: You paint a lovely picture!

I often wonder if friends hear my say "I was gardening all weekend" and picture the frolicking hat clad version. The truth is I end up bruised, scratched, frizzy haired, and with dirt in places that leave me scratching my head. Sometimes grunting is involved, like last weekend when I was violently swinging my ax at a stubborn root.

As I've been purchasing materials for the path I'm building, I've had salesmen at various stores say, "You're going to need help with that, it looks heavy!" or "You'll have to have someone help you load your car." Hm, If I can't lift these bags of sand into the car by myself, then I'm going to have a serious problem when I get home and have to lug them to the path and dump them!

Real gardening is a pretty solid workout, minus the stuffy gym!
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valley
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Re: very athletic!

That's it! That describes our place exactly. I took this pic. earlier today. I had my chance to cut up some wood, has to be in a couple days now.
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valley
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Re: very athletic!

I was about to fire up the greenhouse. That won't be for another couple days now.
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applestar
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Re: very athletic!

Yep sounds like lovely exercise. :D

I'm not a fan of repetitive training/exercising so by spring, I'm as flabby as can be. :>
But with spring, I start "working out" -- shedding winter fat and re-gaining muscle tone. I was noticing my cheekbones coming back just this morning. :wink:

...oh and I'm with you about asking for/accepting help at the store. But sometimes I do so I can conserve energy for later on. :()
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Gardener123
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Re: very athletic!

Well, personally, I enjoy the fact that I live on fairly flat ground, and have just a few raised beds and the greenhouse I built. While I enjoy what I call gardening, I wouldn't want it to feel like a job. What RBG is speaking about would definitely feel like a job to me.

Though this year, I have already done more than ever by this point in time.

I'm not old - but I am 50 - and I'm quite happy to just be a very casual gardener. I only wish that I had done more gardening when I was younger so that I would know more now.
Living the good life with my wife and 2 wonderful daughters!

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applestar
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Re: very athletic!

That's perfectly understandable, too.
Gardening is about what you envision growing -- be it on flat land, on hill side, on a balcony, or in a little cup of dirt! ...and doing what you can to accomplish it.

Often, you amaze yourself -- you look back to what wasn't there before and what IS now and be so proud you have to try again... and grow some more. Sometimes things go wrong and you have to try again. There's always something new to learn.

Then there is that feeling of watching nature, learning about nature, live plants growing, insects and other fellow planetary denizens interacting, hyper-awareness of day to day weather: Recognizing -- what you are growing, what you don't want growing, good bugs and bad bugs, plant diseases, what your plants look like when they are infected or invaded or eaten... birds and animals. What you can do, what you should do and shouldn't and how ultimately you will respond... Your place in all of this.... Lots of brain exercises going on, too. :wink:
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rainbowgardener
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Re: very athletic!

Lovely post, applestar!

Gardener123, if I had gotten started quickly, I could have been your mother (i.e. I'm 16 yrs older than you are). I do put in all those gym hours, but that I consider work/drudgery. The yard work is something else entirely, that I don't think we have a good word for: work/play/joy ! Very physical, but not work.

The front of my house faces on to a big busy street, 4 miles from downtown. Once I am over the brow of the hill in back, I could be anywhere or nowhere. I see nothing but trees and plants, hear nothing but birdsong. It is like a little (mini!) wooded retreat, more the illusion of woods, than actual woods, but I love the illusion. And most of it I have created. There were a few big old trees there when we bought the place. Otherwise it had been used as a dump, literally. There was nothing there but bush honeysuckle, ivy, poison ivy, and tons of trash - garage doors, tires, bushels of beer cans, sinks, air conditioners, etc etc. And yes I do mean all those plurals. The first season I lived here, my neighbor saw me standing just over the edge (in those days there was no way to get very far down) and asked what I was doing. I said "someday this will be beautiful." She just laughed, but I was not wrong! :)

Thanks for all the comments, people, love them all! :)
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pinksand
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Re: very athletic!

I'm 25 and what I failed to mention is that all the hard labor I'm doing now is likely in the hopes of one day being able to meander through my gardens in a sundress with a simple pair of hand clippers ;) The truth is, there will always be improvements I hope to make and big projects on my to do list... but a girl can dream! In between those projects I will stand back with a big smile on my face and just enjoy the work that has been done.

I think that part of what makes gardening such a reward is the fact that we can visually stand back and see the beauty of the work we've done, or sit down for dinner and eat the fruits of our labor. Whether planting a simple pot of flowers, doing a bit of weeding, or wielding heavy equipment... at the end of the day you've worked towards breathing life into the vision you have for the space.
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imafan26
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Re: very athletic!

Felling trees! I admire you for that. I'm afraid of chain saws and so I only use a handsaw. Now, that breaks a sweat. Obviously I am sawing a lot smaller trees.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

valley
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Re: very athletic!

We get a lot of exercise in winter, skiing. Our lower place is much flatter, offers a different type I like that too, both are good.

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tomf
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Re: very athletic!

We went skiing yesterday, Vally, had fun. Today is going to be in the 70's down here,1200', so I am off o work in the yard.
imafan, I have like 7 or so chain saws small ones and big ones, I use al kinds of safety gear when I use them.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: very athletic!

I love my little electric chainsaw and do not use any safety gear. It has automatic cutoff, if you let go of the trigger it stops. The main thing is just to be alert and not do anything stupid. (Alcohol and chainsaws do NOT mix! :) )
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tomf
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Re: very athletic!

rainbowgardener wrote:I love my little electric chainsaw and do not use any safety gear. It has automatic cutoff, if you let go of the trigger it stops. The main thing is just to be alert and not do anything stupid. (Alcohol and chainsaws do NOT mix! :) )
I hope you at least use safety glasses.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: very athletic!

Nope, but I wear regular glasses, so my eyes are at least a bit protected behind them.
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tomf
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Re: very athletic!

This week hs been very busy for me in the yard. Day one, put the 6' lawn mower on the trator and mowed all the lawns I put the tiller on it and tilled the garden and some place I am going to plant grass. Day two, put the brush hog on the tractor and found up a ton of brush, then used it to clean up the dirt roads through the woods.
Now today is day three, pulled down called branches out of some wood near the house, cut out brush and weed trees to open a bit of the woods. Running a chain saw and pulling brush from the woods was a work out. I then ground the brush I piled on the roads up. I made some new trails in the same woods, mostly with the trator, but a bit of hand work as well. To finish off the day I did some raking.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: very athletic!

Wow! I bet you slept well after all that! :)
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valley
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Re: very athletic!

Now is the time to cut your wood.
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tomf
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Re: very athletic!

Yes I slept well!

Valley you'r right I have a ton of wood cutting and spliting to do.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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ElizabethB
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Re: very athletic!

Rainbow - don't think that because you are using an electric chain saw that you are safe. My sister cut an 8" gash in her thigh nearly to the bone with an electric chain saw. Muscle and skin had to be stitched. ALL power tools can be dangerous. :oops:
sorry for the lecture but I have seen too many power tool accidents.

I joke about being a crazy, old, southern gardener. Yes I do start my day with basic makeup. I NEVER walk out of the house without some makeup. When I am in the yard I come in covered in dirt and sweat and smelling like a wet dog. Love every minute of it. No I do not walk around in a picture hat with a basket on my arm and a pair of snips in my lace gloved hands. I wish :!: I do get down and grubby just with a little flair. :oops: My straw hat has a green band with a silk flower in it.
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ElizabethB
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Re: very athletic!

RB just re-read your original post. For a retaining wall instead of hauling concrete blocks have you considered setting out bags of Quik Crete packed closely together? Just set them out. Rain will set the concrete and wash away the bags. Makes a very serviceable, attractive retaining wall.

When I had my landscaping business I had 3 clients on the Vermillion River with steeply sloped back yards suffering from erosion. This was a viable solution much less expensive than retaining walls.

Just a thought.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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tomf
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Re: very athletic!

Elizabeth is right, I once had an electric.
One thing is never use a saw straight on, be to the side a bit so if it kicks back at you it will not hit you in the face. Lots of people think cutting limbs is not so dangerous, but you are swinging the saw and can very easily cut your self. A dull chain makes you work harder, and I think is more dangerous.
What gage is the extension cord? If you are running 100' then you need to have thick wire, 12 gage would work, the saw draws a lot of current, and at that length even 14 gage is pushing it. Small gage wire will have a lot of resistance that will drop the voltage past 10%, this will make your saw run weak and can burn the saw up. A number of extension cords are 16 gage, and that is much to small for that distance.
Are you cementing the cinder blocks? If so make sure you have drain holes so the water does not back up and push your wall down hill. You may want to put dead men behind the wall.
RBG, if you decide to do a natural stone wall, or a wall face over the blocks, look into getting a truck load of rocks. I got mine from a quarry for much less than getting them from a stone yard or garden supply place. We have a factory that makes the cement kind of wall stones and if you order a lot they can deliver them for a better price. I once did a wall with rail road ties.
Do you have any high school kids that need some money, or some local looking for work? It may be well worth hiring them to save your back, or falling down the hill.
You are a smart person and may know all this, or a bit any ways, but I felt it was worth saying any ways.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: very athletic!

No cement, just dry laid, interlocking concrete blocks that hook over each other.

Thanks for all the comments, but I have already built as many retaining walls as I plan to (four of them).

I am careful with the chain saw and am always to the side of it. I have used it for years, taking down trees and brush. It does have a big heavy thick extension cord, the orange kind, I don't know the gage.
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tomf
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Re: very athletic!

I saw a photo of your wall in Pink's yard topic, that is a big wall, it looks good. I bet you were a bit tiered and even sore after making it.
I did not understand that was what you were using until you explained it. like the looks of the wall blocks. I like the round area.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: very athletic!

Unfortunately, that is just a picture I found on line, it isn't mine--it was just to show what the blocks look like. I should go look and see if I still have pictures of mine of photobucket. I did make a round one like that. The blocks work well for that. None of mine are higher than five blocks tall and generally they don't recommend any higher than that.

OK found my old pictures of my walls (the pictures are old, but the walls look just the same). Here's the first one at the top of the hill, where it still gets some sun. Behind that wall is a mostly herb garden:

Image

This is the next level down, showing the context and ambience:

Image

I think this is a different view of the same wall, showing more of how the blocks actually look:

Image

This is the lowest level and newest, so you can see the blocks before they fade and weather. I actually like it that they fade... they blend in and look more natural.

Image

These are going down the hill, straight back from the house. I also have one I built in the side yard where it slopes down that direction to, towards the neighbor. There's hardly any such thing as flat ground on my 1/3 acre.
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