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I spent some time outside in the 74 degree weather Thursday (that’s roughly 23 celcius). It’s amazing. The birds are out calling to each other, some chickadees are inspecting our bird house, we’re cleaning up the garden after the big snowstorms.

It’s amazing how much the weather affects my mood. It’s just so wonderful to be outside.

I got my hands in the dirt today, as I worked a bit to clear some space for a new vegetable garden. Mostly I was putting old leaves in brown paper bags, and then spreading a bit of compost. I’m trying to work within my body’s limits, but also stretch those boundaries a little bit. I have a feeling my arms may be feeling it tomorrow, even though I did some stretching. It’s a constant quest for balance.

It’s so nice to have something to focus on. It helps my mood – it gives me a purpose and something to work towards. Knowing that there may be a tasty payoff is an extra incentive. Planning the garden is fun, too (although it can be a little overwhelming). What I’m really looking forward to is when I can go, “Hmm, what shall we have for dinner?” and then saunter outside to grab some tomatoes and basil and maybe even some garlic and whip up a quick pasta dish. Mmm…

I suppose you could say that the garden has the potential to be a giant coping mechanism. I know it is for a lot of people. It lets me use my body, I get connected to the earth (both through cultivating it and through getting it all over my hands), it may reduce the number of trips I have to make to the grocery store, I get healthier food…not to mention being good for the environment. All in all, a win-win situation.

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I know this post may seem very strange given the recent bout of winter storms. I’m posting it now because, (1) it’s a reminder that spring is coming, and (2) you can think/organize/plan gardening things now, in time for the season. If you’re a gardener, that is.

I come from a gardening background. My mother is a Master Gardener, and our garden is a lush bonanza of color and foliage during the growing months. I’m not nearly as involved as she is. I enjoy getting outside, and there’s something about getting your hands into the earth that I find healing and grounding.

Since I began dealing with chronic pain, gardening has been more of a challenge. I have to be hyper-aware of whether or not I’m reaching too far, kneeling too long, or overexerting unused muscles. I say “hyper-aware” because these are things all people contend with. I’ve known athletes who overdid it planting a tree.

Fortunately, there are a lot of tools and methods out there to make gardening more accessible for anyone with physical limitations.

The PBS website has a short article on several types of tools that are enabling gardening tools. These include fist trowels, ratchet pruners, multi-purpose benches, and pulley-system hanging baskets. (I’d never heard of the last one before.)

There are some other tools that I’d recommend. In my opinion, anyone using a wheelbarrow should use an ergonomic wheelbarrow. Extra cost is definitely offset by ease of use, maneuverability, and lack of doctors’ visits. There are a bunch out there. I don’t know where ours was purchased, as it was some online place  several years ago. (I’d imagine something like this model from Home Depot would do the trick.)

I also find that finding the right gardening gloves has been a challenge for me. My hands tend to be slightly swollen and sometimes tender. Anything that’s too tight or chafes is definitely out. There’s a garden store near my house where I go and try on all the gloves to find the one that’s most comfortable for me.

I used to scoff at ergonomic this and that, but having the right tools really does make a huge difference. Having the right tools applies to more than just gardening, of course. There are tools to make computers more accessible, to help people walk, to help people shower….There are lots out there. If you know of any more good ones – gardening or otherwise – feel free to post them in a comment!

My Etsy Store

A fibro-friendly item from my Etsy store

I've been working on making fibro-friendly jewelry. I'd love it if you checked them out by clicking the image above, or going to www.etsy.com/people/RogueCrafter

About Me

This blog is intended as a place for me to reflect on my own healing journey, in the hopes that others may also gain insight from my experiences. I've "borrowed" a line from Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken:

'Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'

I think the most important thing for me now is that I feel empowered to be a force for positive change in my life. And that, my friends, has made all the difference.

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