Monday, June 23, 2014


I know I've mentioned I live beyond the back forty. My little flyspeck town is 8 miles away and boasts a little over 3000 and that’s not counting the population of the maximum prison facility three miles outside of town (which still ticks off half of the district’s residents fourteen years later and some still have protest signs in their yard). It has the basics, like groceries, gas; a couple of feed and farm stores, a couple of cafés and banks, etc. Anything else you need is sixty mile round trip. If you want a mall it’s about two hundred and twenty-five mile round trip. Beautiful area but short on amenities.

Much of what I need isn't available locally. I either buy online and have it shipped in, or make a list and a 60-mile trip. I tend to make do with what I can make. Places to work out are 60 miles and I can’t justify the fuel to go there. Hubs works out on the army post but then he’s there everyday so that makes sense. 

(Click on any of the pictures for full size)

Standing beside the barn looking
down to the pond embankment
I got to thinking, some years back, if I can’t get to a place to work out why not make something to suit my needs here? So we cleared a half a mile of trails down to the last hay field several years ago. We keep it mowed and it’s drivable. Takes you right down past the large farm pond. Very pretty. The ground here isn't flat. We have several hills and this year my husband has created some nice little meandering trails through the woods on NW side of the house.  

Looking up the grade to the barn

It added another quarter mile. Better.  I don’t like walking back and forth. I prefer walking a loop. So we’re adding another half a mile loop to join the existing section. When it’s done it will be about a mile and a quarter. I’m ecstatic.

From the naked tree looking
New path on the NW a wood
pile and a naked tree

I’ll never be able to run again but I needed a good walking work out to burn calories and tone. The hills and grades provide that. This track will give me the workout I need. In heavy snow I won’t be able to walk the loop—I’m lucky to make it to the barn and back in that weather (which is a workout in itself). But most of the year it should be walkable. I have an area outside where I can use hand held weights. Inside in the winter. Nothing elaborate but suits my needs. I've had to modify a lot of core exercises to accommodate my physical limitations—get the same results without hurting the body.

You’re probably thinking, as several of my friends have, why not invest in a good treadmill or elliptical. My husband LOVES the elliptical and puts in 15-20 miles a week on it. He has contacts that would have provided a professional gym quality unit and at a reduced price.

There is a small problem with that.

See, I absolutely loathe treadmills and ellipticals. I can’t think of anything more boring and consequently I wouldn't really use them. I don’t like watching TV so forget that as a distraction, music is good but not enough to consistently use the equipment. Waste of money. I'd rather be outside.

So the walking trail is the answer for me. It challenges me daily and I like that. June has been the month to consistently walk on a daily basis. It’s kicking my butt but I love it. I love the clear mind and the rev of energy I get. I sleep well. The release of endorphins gets rid of any vestiges of depressed feelings. I’m getting rid of the blah exhausted feeling. It counteracts all the daily sitting with my job. It readjusts my thinking because I concentrate on what I can do, which is considerable, and not what I used to do, which is a waste of brain matter. Stay in the now. Challenge it. Make it work for you.

Another benefit is I get to interact with my animals and my environment. I can’t think of anything better than feasting my eyes on the wildlife, hearing the joyous symphony of birdsong and the counterpoint hum of insects, the crescendo of the katydids, and the bullfrogs keeping the beat. The rich smell of wooded areas and fresh scent of the fields and flowers. I love watching the rabbits, the armadillos, ducks, turkeys, and quail with babies and the hawks and eagles drift on eddies of wind. I love seeing the matriarch of the small deer herd that rests here every night and graze on the other side of the water each morning and watch me go by. Love to see the herd babies’ jump and play and race around their mamas. I like catching sight of the coyote and her pups—so long as she stays down near the horseshoe stream that meanders three sides of our property, we’re golden.

I choose to make my life the best I can and work with what I have. I've determined that this summer is Project Sia. I won't be the bionic woman when I'm done but I will be better and more refreshed. More balanced and centered.

When I consider all things in my life…it really is a good one. I’m blessed in so many ways. I choose to remember that. 


Maurice Mitchell said...

It's so important to remember our blessings Sia. Thanks for the reminder and I wish you a classy day.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Walking is great exercise. Add your hills, and you're set.
I live in a decent sized city, so walking the neighborhood isn't very interesting. I admit I'm with your husband and do that many miles a week on either the treadmill or elliptical at the gym. We all find what works best for us.

Jo said...

First, I have to say I find treadmills boring, but I now prop my Kindle up on it and read which I find deals with the time quite nicely, not that I can do it for very long anyway.

Love the sound of your trails, wish I had the ability to deal with something like that in the first place. Your communing with nature sounds absolutely fabulous.

Great going Sia, keep it up.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I would love a place like that to walk. Our subdivision is out in the country, so we do get some of the wildlife.

I do like my new elliptical though. Too hot to go outside right now.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I'm with you, Sia! I LOVE being outside and LOVE power walking ... it's my favorite exercise and keeps me in great shape! I live in Chicago and I am about a brisk ten minute walk to the lakefront. I've been up and down the coast more times than I care to think about, but like you said, it's great communing with nature..even in the city... the gulls, sparrows, robin, ravens, geese, squirrels, etc. ALL over the park and lakefront.

We had a cold, damp, rainy June so far, but it doesn't stop me. I also work out at a gym, but I use that for weight training and some cardio... I don't mind the elliptical. LOL. But I will never give up my walks.

SO happy to hear you found a solution that works for you! Your land is so beautiful! HAPPY SUMMER WALKS!!!!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Maurice it is so important because when you get all tangled up in the negatives you can't see the good things or care about them. Just the negatives being focused on.

Alex I'm a firm believer that there is no one way fits all. Treadmills and ellipticals are great tools for some. More power to them. Good you're racking up the miles, Alex. I know Dan feels good when he does. My hills most definitely work the body. :-)

Jo Now that's a creative way to handle the treadmill!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Diane Same here with the heat and humidity. I have to walk early in the morning. I'm done by 7:30 or 8 each morning. In August I may have to start earlier we'll see. Usually that time frame is still tolerable.

Glad to hear you got a new elliptical and you're liking it.

Michael When I lived in California and in a city of over 190k, I always headed to the waterfront to walk or run. Always something to see and water is soothing to me in all it's moods. Then we move further up the coast near Santa Rosa. They took 20 miles of abandoned train tracks and made into a walking, hiking, bike riding trails. It was FABULOUS! Such a good idea. The paths wandered around orchards, streams, oak and redwood trees. Amazing things to see and extra hidden trails to take. Nooks with benches. It was also classified a wildlife reserve--also a grand idea. Lots to see.

We've had the same weather in June even tho we're about 6 hours south of you. I walked anyway. Downpour and lightening no. But misty rain or drizzle--why not. It's saved my sanity during the rough times I was facing. Walking helped me think things through too.

Yah, cardio and weight training is important. Part of the cardio I get on the walks but I recognize the need more and hence my weights and core workouts. :-)

shelly said...

Good for you! And I loved your pictures.

Kat Sheridan said...

Oh, what a lovely "gym" you've created! It looks beautiful, and I'm glad you're feeling better and more up to doing it!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thanks, Shelly! After all the rain, and the march of the high pressure systems (oh my aching head) it certainly is lush and green.

Kat I've had to wrestle some alligators the past few weeks. A lot to come to terms with. Walking my track has given me lots of time to think and work through stuff and the exercise and environment has been a big help.

I can't wait for the track to be done!

Carol Kilgore said...

Yay for you! You're definitely on the right path - pun intended :)

I've lived in a couple of places that were as out-of-the-way as yours, so I totally get that.

Stephanie Faris said...

I used to feel that way about treadmills--now I use that time to play SongPop. It takes my mind off of walking in place. But if I was surrounded by beauty like you are, I probably would want to walk outside, too!

Dani Harper said...

Your trails sound WONDERFUL, Sia! I love to be outside as much as possible too - it's very healing and enlivening.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. sounds like you've got the best of what you can have .. love your grounds and the fact your animals are around you .. gorgeous idea to create the trails ...

Enjoy your muscletoning and fresh air .. cheers Hilary