| |
0 com

Cold green tea and me and my body.

I'm not a keen food culinary snob. I just like what I like.Preferably without fuss. But I've been drinking green tea brewed cold for years. It's less bitter that way.

It turns out that hot brewing releases different Catechins , a type of disease-fighting flavonoid and antioxidant, than does cold steeping. So I've started to brew up jugs of tea with hot water. But not just any old hot water. I'm trying to keep the initial brew temp within the 60-80 degree centigrade range in the hope that I can avoid the taste of bitter tannins.

This range is supposedly serendipitous  for green tea.

That may seem fastidious but it works. The flavours are stronger but I use green tea as a cordial anyway. 

Since I use a thermometer to make my yogurt -- an essential -- the tea temp thing comes easily to me. 

I indulged myself last week and bought 50 grams of locally grown Sencha. Ouch! Vereey priceey.

The literature may be keen to distinguish green teas one from the other in way of benefits but I think there's not much in it. In Summer  cold green tea is my preferred daytime tipple but I'm gonna stick with the supermarket blends as that's my price range -- esp my preferred Madura Green Tea and Papaya Leaf. I rip the strings bits off the teabags and steep the little pockets of tea. The Papaya Leaf is supposedly a therapy addition but I just like the taste...and besides Pawpaw/Papaya is my favorite fruit.

Why bother with green tea?

While I like drinking it I'm currently extra keen to exploit any means of pain relief I can find. It has  been a very painful last 8 months inside my body and after obtaining some relief  with Curcumin (Tumeric) I'm looking for similar options. I've been a bit desperate you see...

Green tea has long been recognized to have cardiovascular and cancer preventative characteristics due to its antioxidant properties. Its use in the treatment of arthritic disease as an anti-inflammatory agent has been recognized more recently. The constituents of green tea are polyphenolic compounds called catechins, and epigallocatechin-3 galate is the most abundant catechin in green tea.Epigallocatechin-3 galate inhibits IL-1–induced proteoglycan release and type 2 collagen degradation in cartilage explants.In human in vitro models, it also suppresses IL-1b and attenuates activation of the transcription factor NF-kB. Green tea also inhibits the aggrecanases which degrade cartilage.Green tea research now demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects. Additionally, green tea research includes the “Asian paradox”, which theorizes that increased green tea consumption in Asia may lead to significant cardiovascular, neuroprotective and cancer prevention properties. The usual recommendation is 3–4 cups of tea a day. Green tea extract has a typical dosage of 300–400 mg. Green tea can cause stomach irritation in some, and because of its caffeine content, a decaffeinated variety is also available; but the polyphenol content is currently unknown.
Mind you I drink black tea too. That's my favorite drink. Maybe four large cups per day (although my black tea is low caffeine). And I drink coffee -- black -- each morning.

Read more »
0 com

Warrigal greens and other preferences

I'm really taken with growing and consuming Kale in the cooler months and Sweet Leaf ( AKA: katuk, star gooseberry:-- small SE Asian tree which is deciduous south of the Tropics) in Summer, but I sometimes run out of green eats -- in part because I use these leaves in everything.

So I'm exploring Kangkong (AKA:water spinach, water convolvulus) which regrettably does require a lot of moisture to bring on. I also grow Portulacas but i'm finding these fleshy leaves a bit gluggy.

However, there's another option which I've started growing: Warrigal Greens (AKA: New Zealand Spinach) . The stuff is easy to grow and that attribute may have a little to do with the fact that it grows native and wild along the shoreline here.
Toxic oxates need to removed by blanching first, but Warrigal Greens aren't bad at all...and I'm saying that as a person who doesn't like Spinach or Silver Beet. I'm not giving Warrigal Greens the heads up just because they're 'bush ticker'. In the right recipe they work (even though I still prefer my kale and sweetleaves).
This brings me to the core question of what I prefer to grow and what, for now, my garden will grow. 
It's all about what I want to eat.
I'd like to grow a lot of different things but my soil (and  my skills) aren't quite there yet. But here's my working list.
Kankong - Spring Onions - Small tomatoes - Herbs, especially heaps of parsley - Kale - Peppers (although not very successfully) - Sweet Potatoes (if I can keep the water up to them) - Zucchinis -- Cucumber - Warrigal Greens - Salad veg esp the chickories -- Chillis -- PawPaw -- Mulberry -- Chokoes -- Snake Beans -- Sweet Leaf - Figs - Pumpkin - Portulacas - Bananas - Gooseberry - Loganberry - Tomatillo - Eggplant - Leeks -Passionfruit.
Now that I actually can refer to my patch as bona fide 'soil' I can get down to the serious business of targeting specific plants in order to grow them well. 
But hey! there's a lot of frustration emanating from some species: large tomatoes, Peppers/Capsicums, Strawberries,Pepino,  even most beans. And 'quality produce' is not an across-the-board thing. My soil and I still don't trust one another to make the babies I yearn for.
But then in other related gardening news there is a 70% chance of an El Nino phenomenon this year which means I need to seriously work at drought protecting my garden.That means I gotta really up its carbon content in order to hold onto what moisture it gets.
That's my rule-of-thumb.So I'm really working on my honey hole recipes. Digging and filling these trenches seem the most efficient way I can introduce such matter into my soil. I'm relying on my worm army to do the menial work so I take the approach that if I keep the worms happily fed and fecund I'm ahead of any drought.
I'm also looking forward to late Winter when the Mulberry loses its leaves. Then I'm planning to cut me a lot of branches and strike them around the border of the chook pen as a hedgerow.My chicken wire frame (made from collected driftwoods) is protesting under the weight of choko, passionfruit and Madagascar Beans so I'm gonna  grow myself a new fence.
Read more »
| |
0 com

After the rain + >3 years of effort making soil out of beach sand...Getting there.

Would you believe we are officially in Drought and our water usage is down 40% compared to last Summer -- a wet one -- but the plants live! That's the hobby, you see:Making the best of soil and climate...and scrounging mulch. 

But for me the key inspiration has been the Greek and Italian formatted veg backyards of Inner city Melbourne. 

You want to learn horticulture? Then go rent in Brunswick or Northcote or Preston or Thornbury or Clifton Hill in the seventies and take on the lessons of a gentrification occupancy . 

What's missing is cement, right? But hey, I got figs...you gotta have figs.

Read more »
| | |
0 com

If you can garden in beach sand you can garden anywhere.

After three and a half years of seriously collecting mulch materials I suspect that I now have the beginnings of a garden.

This change has kicked in because I now have dirt where once sand ruled. 

At some time over the past 6-8 months this qualitative  metamorphosis kicked in. Now, at the end of a very dry Summer -- when we are still officially in  drought -- I can dig  my fingers into the dirt and grasp a rich loam.

And I got critters ++++ in my dirt. Worms especially -- when once upon a time there were none known to roam. 

I think  worm activity rules the quality of the underfoot establishment and I guess I can now call myself a vermiculturist.

Feeding my soil takes a lot of effort. How many times have I carted lawn clippings from my front nature strip to the outback patches? Layer upon layer -- a recipe  enriched by collected newspapers and manures, a bit of blood and bone, twigs and sweat. 

Constantly spreading the green stuff, hunting down any more carbon materials I could get my hands on, fretting over soil quality and irrigation options.

So I guess it took me 3 years to graduate.  

The disconcerting thing is that having spent so much of my energy focusing on creating soil from sand I only now begin to address the question of growing plants better in it.  Maybe now I can begin to look at pH  issues and some of the other horticultural parameters that make for  good cropping. 

But what a great adventure it has been.  (Read about it here.)  If you can garden in beach sand you can garden anywhere.

En route I have to say that the gardening literature was not all that helpful. So much of what I've done has been trial and error. Most of it presumes that you start with dirt and not sterile granules devoid of an active biology. And the irrigation handbooks simply have no concept of how porous my untreated sand is...still is. 

Now my garden is 'perched' atop of sand like a Fraser Island lake. The difference is that my 'garden' isn't impermeable. It just slows down the water as it diffuses through the soil long enough to foster the makings of a garden. I suspect that without the addition of clay  it will remain very permeable. So my interest is in seeing how much I can do in way of soil improvement with organic matter alone. My working hypothesis is that big bits of organic matter -- my favorite being rolled up newspapers -- act like sponges, holding onto more moisture than the surrounding soil. 

This is my number one principle -- a principle that underlies my use of clay pot irrigation. Indeed, I guess I  have added clay to my soil -- but in the form of  buried flower pots.

Sometime this year I'll write up my experience in as a sort of DIY manual for those who may be interested in  a few hints for gardening on sand.

But outside of all that I gotta say that my main inspiration--aside from local Wallum ecology --  has been the rain harvesting work of Brad Lancaster and the literature on vermiculture, especially David Murphy's wonderful book , Organic Growing With Worms.  As the irrepressible Peter Cundall writes in regard to it:
"This is an amazing, inspiring book..it should be on the bookshelf of every farmer, gardener, conservationist, scientist or anyone who comprehends the environmental dangers now threatening all life forms on earth."

Read more »
| | |
0 com

How to honeyhole.

After exploring trench mulching a lot in  my garden I decided to adopt some of the principles that govern honeyholes and fertility trenches.

The main variation from my past practices are:
  • tear up the newspaper and cardboard
  • mix it with green mulch and manure 
  • add water (even urine!) to the mix
  • let it marinate
  • ram the mix into the honeyhole
This is still an experiment.
  1. Honeyholes should be standard depth and diameter. In my established garden I keep them to a forearm's depth. 
  2. Honeyholes' location should always be marked.
When positioning your honeyhole remember that its contents may be a tad strong for some nearby plants. So remember: Location. Location. Location.

If creating new beds, long trenches would be more apt.

When watering the garden, be sure to always hose your honeyholes so that they absorb more water for slower local distribution. 

A honeyhole  is a pulpy version of a slow watering terracotta pot irrigator...and my presumption is that any fertilising is spread by the creatures of the soil especially worms. I'm thinking that juxtaposing terracotta pot irrigation with honeyholes makes a lot of gardening sense --esp on my sandy soils


I've found that my garden takes in moisture unevenly. This is a product of how much carbon matter is in my sandy soils...but other factors come into play.

Mulch can shield the underlying soil from getting wet...especially if precipitation is often light. While using terracotta pots for irrigation will get regular  moisture below that layer , the pots'  seepage envelope  can only reach so far.

The honeyholes serve as supplementary irrigators as their carbon/cellulose content hold moisture and their vertical alignment ferry moisture below the mulch layer. They are like so many wells. 

If I had planning options I'd alternate terracotta pots with honeyholes and let the worms work out their daily lifestyle. But as much vermiculture proves, a good worm colony will spread the fertility everywhere they go -- moving carbon about like dodgen cars. 

My other experiments with additions -- such as laying down rolled up newspaper and logs on top of my soil, in hugelkultur fashion -- have not been very successful. The cellulose needs to be buried, encased in soils and its biota. 

So these little mine shafts --adapted from my trench mulching experiments -- may suit my conditions. Filling them is like stuffing cannoli. 

 But a few question remain:
  1. How many freshly made honeyholes/how far apart can I insert in the one garden bed?
  2. How close can I locate a honeyhole to a growing plan or a freshly planted seedling?
  3. What happens to the hole once its contents has rotted down? Do I refill the space with more 'honey' or with the soils I initially  set aside -- and dig a fresh hole elsewhere? 

Read more »
0 com

Two rants: the joys of a sickle and my troubles with Permaculture


I got myself a sickle because I couldn't afford a scythe and my grass patches are small. I had been electric whipper snippering but my machine burnt out.I've had it with mowers and powered brushcutters.

So I thought $25 for a sickle? Why not?

I needs to keep the neighbours off my long-grass-indifferent back.

Cutting with a sickle means you have to bend and you can't maintain a fixed height as you can with a scythe. But I'm not fixing to play golf or bowls.

We had a sickle way back in the 50s. Rusty old thing. Combined with hammer you can be a bolshevik.

But I tell ya, I can cut my patch quicker with my acoustic hand tool than I can with electrics or petrol.

(So long as you don't cut yourself: always cut with the right hand (if not a southpaw )and hold a short walking stick in your left.The more efficient scythe displaced the sickle for reasons such as these...)

And a scythe is the Tai Chi of mowing...and I look and think: what a hobby! what a exercise regime! What grace! It's groovin....add an ipod and you're there.

But hey the blade is gotta be sharp.Handy for later suicide attempts or decapitating the neighbourhood bully...

Maybe one day I'll graduate to a scythe but for now I'm sickling it.

My troubles with Permaculture

For many years I've done my homework and I've put in the gardening hard yards. And I've created a few gardens in different places. While I respect and endorse all those who take the sustainable growing path, the heavy doses of evangelical hype that accompanies omnipresent Permies annoys me no end. 

The pieces below by Peter Harper captures some of my hesitancies in regard to Permaculture. I'd also add that the way the system is so often packaged, dependent as it is on perennial plants, sponsors a menu mainly of fruits and the occasional nut...

I don't eat that much fruit....So what's the charm in growing it?

So growing perennials, sensible as it may be, has a limitation in that we aren't hunter gatherers of the olden day ilk and would like a more frequent turnover of comestibles. So I don't believe the hype, because I don't think much of the Permaculture Cook Book. 

But that's not the be all and end all of sustainability. Design surely matters and is no doubt useful, but it ain't the be all and end all of gardening....

So I'm saying partake with a grain of salt. Be pragmatic. In a 'food forest' you can't always see the wood for the trees.

My attitude isn't alone. With a little homework you can find some very useful and well argued critiques of Permaculture that do mark it down where it matters, while respecting it for its utility :
Read more »
0 com

The Honey Hole and the Fertility Trench

I've written before about my penchant to trench mulch by burying stuff.

Dig a narrow hole. Throw stuff in and scatter mulch over.

The 'stuff' can be anything from kitchen scraps, junk mail, manures..to  dead frozen Cane Toads.

My garden is a cemetery for the rotting dead.

So I was looking at my soil and was thinking I needed to manure this up. My habit had been manure teas and dispersal of mixes like Blood and Bone. Cow and horse manures always came with a weed tax.

But I suddenly thought. "What if I buried these manures deep, away from ready seeding?"

So I came back to the hole option. Did some homework and found I wasn't alone because the term for this is Honey Hole or Fertility Trenches.
"Before fertilizer became available for sale in bags, people came up with interesting ways to stash away nutrients in the soil. Some Native American tribes regarded the burying of a fish beneath each corn seed as a spiritual necessity, and early peach growers in Georgia are said to have buried an old leather boot at the bottom of planting holes. In both cases, these traditions created hidden caches of bioactive nutrients that were slowly released as the materials degraded, which is part of what happens when you make compost in a Honey Hole. We don’t recommend planting right on top of a Honey Hole, mostly because it’s filled with a more massive amount of active organic matter compared to a fish or a shoe. In addition, planting in a Honey Hole would compromise its secondary function as a reservoir for moisture when there is little water to be had." [The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin ]
Honey Holing isn't rocket science. It works no matter what you throw down the hole because the gains are  not just about adding nutrients. Water entering these trenches slowly percolates an enriched brew into the nearby root zone.  But as  Pleasant and Martin warn,
"Do think things through before using a Honey Hole as a depository for a glut of high-nitrogen manure, and use restraint should you decide to activate the mix with a high-nitrogen meal. Plant roots that wander into a moist environment that’s rich in nutrients may suffer damage from chemical overload, or frenzied microorganisms may mistake them for dead and eat them for lunch."
Trench mulching like this has formatted much of my activity although I've often strayed from my focus. Become eclectic.  I guess I'm engaging in some renewal with re-commitment in mind.

Originally I relied on cardboard and newspapers -- I called them junk mail sponges -- because I was  engineering moisture reservoirs. Now I'm hoping to integrate more manures into the beds this way.  

Another approach, offered by  ,  is to  service the trenches with wood chips.
This ingenious system rapidly converts wood chips into large quantities of fertile topsoil filled with earthworms and beneficial fungi and microorganisms.
Indeed I use the paths  between the garden beds like this: as fertility trench gullies

En route I also laid both small logs  and rolled up newspapers directly onto the beds and green mulched over them. The problem I've found with this approach is that I lost the sponge water reservoir properties that vertical mulching offered me.

So I'm back Honey Holing...this time with manure at the bottom of the honey hole.

Dig a hole. Fill her up.
Read more »
| |
0 com

Frangipani vegetable gardening

It's night time -- around 1 am -- and I've been outback dipping my hands in soil.

I pull  back the lawn clipping mulch, move aside any crusty newspaper dregs or wood bits and grab the soil underneath, copping a feel.
Most handfuls were cool and slightly moist. Some were not: dry and pithy. Indeed they were warm to the touch. By torchlight I could see plenty of  critter activity in the dirt.Very pleasing it was that I now have dirt instead of sand --  sand spit sand. Hellalujah! Some of my worms are so big I could pass them off as eels.
Why some spots should be so dry is confusing. I suspect that not all parts of my beds have received the same attention...and not all my beds have joined the orchestra. 

The frustration of relying on lawn clippings as I do for my primary input  is that desiccated grass can be either matty and gluggy or act almost like a layer of dust. (self seeded weeds don't bother me).

Today it is dusty.

Given that we have not had a good drenching rain for some time and the winds have been relentless, all my grass mulch is pithy and dust like. Like dandruff. Obviously it allows breath to the underneath, but any light showering merely wets the mulch surface and there is little penetration.

So hand hosing is important: gardening on sand you need to frequently quench.

Rule of thumb for sSand gardening: water often. 

Unfortunately I can't see what else I can do to improve things. My garden suffered this Summer from lack of shade. This was partly due to the fact that I had to pull down my trellis with its choko overgrowths because of storm damage to its structure.

I was premature. I shoulda rebuilt.

I am now concentrating  my shade wishes on the frangipanis I've planted...but the aren't all that tall...yet.

Frangipani's you ask? Why frangipanis? You can't eat frangipanis! 

I grow em...
  • because they grow very well here in sand.
  • because they are easy to strike from cuttings
  • because they're deciduous: summer shade/winter sunlight underneath
  • because they are ridiculously easy to trim and shape, even espalier
  • because their roots aren't 'invasive'
  • because they  produce gorgeous flowers
  • because they can be engineered for different shading effects
  • because...all things considered, they are so darn obedient
A garden trimmed in frangipani! Delightful. A whiff of Bali.

But since planting the frangipanis -- I have at least 20 in situ-- I've realized my scheduling mistake and have planted pawpaws in the beds, and yesterday, some Katuk/Sweet Leaf bushes.

These other trees grow faster than frangipanis and I want to harness their shade.

I'm also planting my seedlings closer together  around my terracotta irrigation pots. I can now get away with the crowding as the pots deliver regular moisture .

Love them pots. Saved my bacon.

They function better when shaded by the growth they service.

But I'm thinking that I'll plant out even more aggressively around the perimeter of my vegetable beds by deploying drought tolerant species like sunjewels-- Portulaca grandiflora -- which happen to also be edible ; and Warragal/ New Zealand Spinach  which grows on the shoreline here. 

Both love these sandy soils. These sunjewels grow better than standard edible Portulaca so why not colour up my garden edges?

So I'm gonna aggressively plant out the beds. I had used sweet potato previously towards that end but harvesting the spuds disrupts the soil around the other plants I have growing, so my sweet potatoes now are exiled to their own sweet potato  grow zones.
Note to self: gotta work out how to give my sweet spuds more water.
Because my paths --such as they are -- act, with their plastic underlay, like gutters, the edges to the beds attract  growth. Wild Rocket esp loves that posey. 

I'm thinking that there's an irony that had not registered fully with me: the more stuff I plant the more I get a microclimate going, more things happening, more relationships.Even if I plant 'anything' I'm engineering the ecology. I can always replace it later if I need the space.

To begin with -- 3 + years ago -- I had such a infertile environment that growing anything was almost impossible. Now that I've got myself bona fide 'soil' ....well, I'm upping the anti.
I am also thinking through the fact that if I collect logs and lay them on top of the soil I got more vigorous growth nearby  because the logs supply both shade, are cooler and retain moisture -- esp in these sandy soils. I had been burying logs and branches in  Hugelkultur mode, but I'm really getting more out of my wood inputs by simply laying big bits on top of the soil. No doubt rocks would be better, but here there are none except for the pumicestone that flats onto the beaches. I've experimented with burying flat china soup  bowls in the soil so that they hold moisture at depth. Weird concept I know, but I'm monitor the impact on local growth.I happen to have the bowls -- and they're cheap enough, so I thought: why not? It's a crude variation on a wicking bed
I'm not into the Permaculture preference for fruits. My sand was so sterile that growing exotic fruits was difficult. Lemon and Mulberry does well but anything else  struggles: banana, fig, pawpaw, tamarillo... In the same mode are tubers: as yet there isn't the loam depth for the plants  to  dig themselves deeper into the soil. Theres' nothing down there worth feeding on.

So it still is experimental horticulture. Fiddling with the variables. 

I hope my next break through is with ground cover veges, like cucumbers. I'm not quite there but since I have been so successful with zucchini I reckon I'm on a roll. Slowly the capsicum family is settling in. Still a tad undernourished.  But the quality of each crop is improving. All over I'm now  growing non climbing snake beans...and I'm gonna try Winged Beans again some time as I love eating those.

I've also realized that my transition species may be ramblers and trailing plants because they travel across the beds looking for nutrients rather than dive deep.  Comfrey here soon dies away because it gets put off by the lack of stuff deep below.

What the garden needs is a heavy rain period which would push the activity in the soil along. A catalyst. Things are surviving but aren't really thriving because of the low moisture quotient. I'm getting a feed from this soil but the veg quality isn't good across all species I grow and harvest.

My patch only really thrives  when I see the toadstools shoot skyward...and I haven't seen such fungi for some time...except on shaded spots next to my pots, the toadstools raise their umbrella heads.

Read more »
0 com

Terracotta Pot Irrigation

I occasionally post comments on  Terracotta Pot Irrigation as I've been exploring and experimenting with the method for some time.
It's a bit of a passion.

On my very sandy soil they've proven the only approach that works while saving water such that I'm more or less irrigating from my one 3,000 litre tank and only supplementing occasionally.
 My key lessons are:
  1. Pot size: at least 20 cm in diameter
  2. Routine top up: every 3-4 days usually despite the weather conditions.My pots will take 4 days to empty whether it rains or not.Nor does evaporation seem to impact much on this rate.
  3. White, heavy white coloured stoneware plates for lids. Lighter or smaller plates will only be upended by crows. 
  4. Rather than cover the drainage holes with a wee tile and  sealant, I find it preferable to lay down a layer of grout across the bottom of each pot because by sealing the whole bottom,   the rate of irrigation is slowed even further by up to 25%. Water is  forced by gravity  to disperse through the sides alone. 
  5. Also test your 'sealed' pot to see if it does hold water without leaking and, conversely, that  the terracotta is permeable.  Even raw terracotta pots, seemingly from the same batch/same pottery may often not leach water -- I guess because of differences in clay structure and grog.To bury these is a waste of time and space. Grow plants in 'em instead.
My current focus is exploring the most effective and water efficient distance between pots given my soil type...while experimenting with planting patterns and sowing distances around each pot's perimeter.
I'm thinking that a Terracotta Pot Irrigated Garden requires a different template than the standard rectangular bed pattern. A wave pattern...
 While this research  argues that even small pots can maintain a wet front 60 cms from the pot for a period of 10 days, the factors impacting on distance  are variables such as soil type and clay mix.Since I need to refill mine at shorter intervals, 10 days of constant irrigation from one pot full of water aint an option. 
Of related interest are elements such as the diameter of the pot vs its depth...but my feeling is that a key factor is the surface areas on the sides of the pot that are responsive to the pressure of gravity. That means that only part of the 'walls' will be wet enough to irrigate.
Consider a wet sponge and how water will always settle at the bottom of the sponge with varying degrees of wetness the deeper you go....while the driest area will be at the top.
These pots follow the same rules of Physics. 

Read more »
| |
0 com

Notes on exercise and exertion: what seems to matter

After focusing on creating and sustaining a full-on exercise program for myself I've now moved on and stepped aside from any obsession.

My lengthy mid year bout of ill health had sabotaged my program and recovering any routine has been difficult.

So I said to myself, "Chill out. All in good time."

After 4 years at the sweat face I'm relenting.

Of course when you take a break you should feel it physically and I do -- I feel my bod is missing something: not as strong nor as enduring as it  was...and theres' more daily pain.

But each time I get into the old mode -- do a session, so to speak -- I appreciate the changes that I'm re-introducing.

For instance, I'm back dancing almost every day and it's clear that the lack of practice had really impacted on my hip and knee mobility.

So it's great to discover  my core again and become more movement aware.

I'm walking less -- shorter distances -- but the irony is that I recognise  I'm missing  the routine of the peace and interaction with my environment long nighttime walks with the dogs give me.  So it's not the distance I yearn for. Nor the activity. It's the time and place. 

A walk to the shops or one of my shorter routes isn't the same as my old rambling habits along the shoreline. The dogs may get out for a walk but it isn't the same head space thing for the human.

Worst of all, I miss my early morning kickbike scoot...and that was so important to me. I could notch up an on-waking scoot even though I may be incapacitated the rest of the day. 

It was something active when I'm so often inactivated by pain and stiffness.

That leaves the High Intensity Interval Training exercise sessions -- the really demanding stuff. I need those 8 minutes of intense exertion every second day so I can handle my pain and alleviate stiffness. So that is a sort of pressing need I'm trying to re-embrace. After all: No pain/no gain. 

The rest can fit in as I feel primarily because I like all this other stuff: the walking, scooting and dancing. The HIIT -- lifting kettlebells or dumbbells, push and pull ups -- on the other hand is just plain Ouch! 

It slips my mind that I need to do this.... (no prizes for guessing why).

But I can feel its physiological absence especially on my upper body, across my shoulders and back. I'm stiffening up, despite my conscious attempts to work my limbs while swimming. Swimming and water work really doesn't challenge me that much. I need to work hard against gravity.

Since it's New Year resolution time: this year -- gotta get back doing HIIT. 

It may be irksome but the science supporting HIIT confirms it as the best 20-30 minutes  you could invest in yourself each week. So it's worth taking up and finding your own preferred HIIT routine. That's the trick. There are any number of ways to get highly INTENSELY TRAINED. Squatting. Running up stairs. Skipping. Sprinting (on foot or cycle/scooter). Lifting weights. Push up and pulling....

Just go flat out to the max. Then rest. I use 90 seconds/10 seconds cycles.

Read more »