Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

Rubber, Meet Road.

I don’t work out to stay lean, or look hot, or even for the undeniable health benefits. Those are perks. The real reason I work out is so I can run my farm.

There’s a 55-foot flatbed parked on my upper driveway. It towers with 6 rows of tightly packed bales of Oregon hay. The bales average 98 pounds — 17 pounds under my own bodyweight — and the load totals 16.2 tons.

My mission is to unload the bales from the trailer and re-stack them, 6 to 10 high, for winter storage. This must be done by early next week, so the trailer can make another trip across the border and return with another 9 tons.

It’s a hell of a workout. Wrestling those bales into place takes me, singlehanded, about an hour per ton. I try to move about 3 tons in a day. The effort compares to the same time spent on a heavy lifting workout — a bit more variety, no breaks between sets — but it’s similar. Plenty of real-life deadlifts, bent-over rows, front squats, and lunges. Throw in some sled dragging. And do it all in an enclosed space so full of dust and pollen that you have to wear a mask to keep your throat from closing up.

A while back, I wrote that fitness is choices. And it is.

But fitness is also the ability to do the job that needs doing, brutal though it may be. And I have it.

If friends stop by to help, it’ll be much appreciated. The job will be done faster, and I can get back to training horses. But they probably won’t, and that’s okay. I can handle it. It’ll work out because I work out.

And that, my friends, feels pretty damn good.


2 responses

  1. Kim

    I'm definietly envious of your ability to lift those larger bales! I spent the day unloading on our family farm this past weekend, but only had to deal with 50-70 pounders. I still ended up sore the next day! : (

    July 22, 2010 at 9:31 am

  2. Wow! I used to stack or buck bales of hay after we baled the hay on my relatives farm! I miss those type of workouts. Now, with my desk job I of ten wonder if I should simulate this workout with bales of hay in my backyard, just by moving the stack from one location to another! My wife says no way! It would make a mess! Or, I could bury myself under a few fallen bales of hay! Keep up the good fight! Stay strong!

    July 22, 2010 at 11:01 am

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