Winter Training Regimen


I don’t just prepare for winter by splitting wood, ya know!

Okay, so I don’t split wood. But I know how!!! (That is all that counts.)

In Winter’s snow and ice, our driveway becomes impassable for the better part of three months. There are days, sometimes weeks at a time, when I can’t drive up or down the driveway. During these times, it’s necessary to park my vehicle at the bottom of the driveway and hike up and down on foot. (This is one of the reasons I stock up on food and supplies as much as possible–it’s hard toting supplies up the driveway on my back, er, on the children’s backs!)

Not only is the slippery snow and ice difficult to traverse, the driveway is steep–and long! About 600 feet long, to be exact. It’s a hike. As opposed to many of Winter’s other hardships, wearing myself out on the driveway is one thing I can do something about.

This year, I decided to beat Winter at her own game, foiling her dastardly plot to kill me, by beginning a driveway physical training program now. Not that I don’t get my exercise around here in the course of daily chores, but hiking up the driveway is a particular sort of challenge and requires muscle strength and stamina. Unless you want to get to the top with your legs quivering and panting for breath. Which is pretty much how I do it most of the time. Not this year! I want to bound up that driveway this winter like Superman. I want–

I want my children to not be laughing at me.

Because they do. They’re mean. They’re also athletes, so they bound up the driveway like Superman. It’s embarrassing. For me.

You should do it with me! Let’s go. I like to do this in the evening, after my day of working on the farm, before I take a shower. We’ll start here at the top of the driveway.

Don’t worry–this is the easy part, going down. We won’t be lonely. The dogs will come with us, and we’ll meet lots of other friends along the way.

The driveway drops off pretty sharply on one side, so I hope you haven’t been drinking. You wouldn’t want to stumble.

There are lots of creepy-looking tangles of grapevines hanging from the trees here. Don’t be scared. This isn’t a Snow White movie. They won’t try to attack you. You can pull some down later and make a grapevine wreath, though, if you want.

Down, down we go.

If you look up now, you can see the house up on the hill through the trees. It’s hard to get a good picture of the front of our house because just past the goat yard, the ground drops off steeply.

The dogs are so glad we’ve started doing this! Dogs love walks.

They don’t even care if we go up and down in the exact same place!

We’re about halfway down. If you look up now, you can’t even see the house.

But you can see the field where the sheep are grazing.

And you can see the river.

And you can find interesting late summer-early fall decorations.

You can also find– Do you see what I see? Across the road, outside the red gate.

That lamb is out. AGAIN.

You’ll need to put her back, but no rush. She does this every day. She’s not going anywhere. Eclipse and Rhett are calling us. They miss the girls so much since they moved down to the meadow bottom.

Let’s go on up the road a little bit to see Beulah Petunia. Do you see her?

How now, brown cow?

You know, Beulie Petunie, I don’t think that’s a real lady-like position.

I don’t think she cares, do you?

C’mon, everybody, time to go back. We’ve got a lamb to put in, and more friends to visit!

There she is.

She thinks we’re taking too long and she’s getting impatient.

Don’t worry, it’s real easy. Just open the gate and in she goes!

Now you can visit with the other sheep.

That Annabelle has grown into such a beauty.

You better give her a scratch.

She misses her people. You know, the dogs.

Okay, that’s enough being lazy. This is business! We’re in training. Get up that driveway!

Work it!

Casper’s keeping up and he’s just a baby. Don’t be whining!

He’s getting ahead! No stopping to rest!

You made it!

Now, go down again. No goofing around with the animals this time, though. Down and up. Down and up. No stopping.

Just do that four or five more times and you’re done. For today. Do it again tomorrow, and every day till Winter!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 4, 2010  

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44 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 9-4

    I’m totally worn out. My back and knees are killing me. I’m going to take some ibuprofen and go to bed.

    Good night.

  2. 9-4

    Good job. I’m behind you 100%!! I, too, get snowed out of my driveway and sometimes even my whole road in the winter! I would benefit by following your example and get into winter-hiking shape now!

  3. 9-4
    am – teaching your dog how to cart. Did this with previous husky’s, it was a good way of tiring them out. – We use the ones in the top row, middle picture. Love them for walking on icy sidewalks or driveways.

  4. 9-4

    I have nothing but admiration for you :yes: However, my legs are killing me now!

  5. 9-4

    You inspire me seeing that I now get winded walking up to my third floor apartment. When I move I may be right along with you, getting snowed in – I guess it’s time for me to start a walking regimen, too. But I don’t want to! :hissyfit: But I have to :happyfeet: Thanks for the inspiration, Suzanne – Happy Trails to you . . . :happyflower:

  6. 9-4

    Too early in the morning for that walk, my knees are shaking just thinking about it! I still say snowmobile……… ;)

    Great to see all the animals again though, thank you!

  7. 9-4

    But I’m allergic to exercise! It makes me break out in sweat. Could you just post pictures every day? This does look much more interesting than a treadmill though.

  8. 9-4

    I have nothing to say…. cause I’m out of breath, but thanks for the pictures, they are beautiful!!!

  9. 9-4

    What a beautiful walk. You’ll be in shape in no time. That little lamb is so precious, all your animals are. :sheep:

  10. 9-4

    Yeah, um, I’ll just stay out here on the flat prairie, thank you.

  11. 9-4

    I’m exhausted Suzanne, LOL! What a lovely walk and your drive looks ALOT tamer than it does in the winter months:)

  12. 9-4

    well…..puff puff….huff huff…..dang….puff puff….I’m pooped from just reading this!

  13. 9-4

    I love this post!! Good luck with your training!

  14. 9-4

    Suzanne, Do what we do in the winter when the ice and snow gets bad. Get one of those plastic toboggans the kids go down hills on and load your goodies onto it. Then you can pull the toboggan up and down the driveway. Depending on the size, you can haul a lot of stuff on one of those. If you set plastic milk crates in it, the stuff you’re hauling won’t fall out on steep slopes. Hey, worth a try. If it doesn’t work, the kids can have fun with the tobogaan.

  15. 9-4

    Suzanne, do the kids hike down every day to get to school?

  16. 9-4

    Hey! I like maryann’s idea (post #3): teach your dogs to pull a cart/sled and have it set-up at the bottom of your driveway during the winter. Then when you can’t make it up your driveway this winter, give your dogs a whistle, hook them up to the sled and have them PULL you up the hill!!

  17. 9-4

    By the way, Annabelle is just beautiful. :sheep:

  18. 9-4

    Couple of thoughts here, my mini lamanchas had a back pack that I put on them when we went for walks in the woods, they did not mind the back pack. The back packs on pockets on both side, You have a few goats that you can use to carry your stuff, they can also pull a wagon. Also , you have a wonderful red tractor, will it not make it up and down the hill? We always used the ash for the wood we burned to put down on the icy driveway, it worked great. Other then those ideas, I am thinking , stocking up, paying electric bill in advance for say 3 months, make sure computer works great and hide away for 3 months. Time to meditate, time to sample new recipes, tons to do with out going down the hill , which seems to be the easy part, the coming back up is my problem. Exercise is always great though so keep up the great work.

  19. 9-4

    I need a nap after that trek!! But I have to admit it was a lot of fun!

    Your farm is stunningly beautiful!! I love the trees, the winding drive way (non snow covered of course) and all the fantastic animals!! You are living my dream :) Good for you for training for winter driveway scaling. good luck, at least you have lots of company and wonderful scenery to keep you company!

  20. 9-4

    I think using animal power or an ATV is in order.I like the idea of dog power- dogs just love to help, but I don’t think your goats may be big enough. You do have one large animal though that has a tradition of being used – BP. Oxen of course, were steers but some farmers used their dry milk cows. They’re more sure footed than horses.At the very least train her to wear a saddle pack. I’ve seen people ride cows, and she seems amiable enough.

  21. 9-4

    P.S. I forgot to add that you also have your donkeys that can be trained to pull carts. Here is a link to the article about cow power

  22. 9-4

    Laura, when we park at the bottom, yes, the kids also hike up and down!

  23. 9-4

    wheeze…wheeze….huff …wheeze No wonder you’re into preserving and canning everything under the sun! I agree with others, Giant Puppy w/cart might be an asset. Another aid for winter training might be a pair of hiking poles. They can help with balance and take some stress off knees and ankles, making training less strenuous while remaining effective.

  24. 9-4

    What an absolutely wonderful walk that would be every day! seeing the leaves change, having your furfaces to go with, hearing the crunch of gravel and sounds of nature, i can’t think of a better walk!

  25. 9-4

    Or!!! Maybe you could bribe 52 to come over and take you to the store once in a while. :hug:

  26. 9-4


  27. 9-4

    thanks for the tour Suzanne. I love how you do just what I would do too, if it were my lane and I was walking it. there are so many fun distractions! :yes:

  28. 9-4

    What an excellent idea! I’m thinking this might be snow insurance. You know, like when you have all the stuff needed for heavy snows, it doesn’t snow? This will now be a winter of light snow and since I’m just up the road a bit, color me happy.

  29. 9-4

    It’s really a beautiful hike…..but the curve in the hill is the part that’s scary! Sometimes tires don’t want to turn…

    What a lovely spot in the woods.

  30. 9-4

    That was fun!

  31. 9-4

    You are going to have a rockin’ hot bod with all that exercise! :sheepjump:

  32. 9-4

    Okay, now I’m tired!

  33. 9-4

    You do that two or three times a day and you’ll have legs that look like Frank’s arms.

    Annabelle really is a beauty. And as for Beulah Petunia not looking ladylike, were YOU worried about looking ladylike when you were that pregnant?

  34. 9-4

    Love your work-out Suzanne! You could video it and create your interactive bootcamp from home! Just have us walking with you up and down…..up and down…..
    The only problem I would have is it’s much hotter here and much flatter!
    Keep up the good work ’cause winter is around the corner!!!!

    Debbie (Spencer’s mom!)

  35. 9-4

    My son went to a cross-country running camp this summer that had roads just like that. My kids would be in great shape for the races this fall if they could run that driveway everyday. Unfortunately, the hike to your house would do them in first.

  36. 9-4

    :snuggle: One of my sisters and a brother lived in West Virginia for many years. All the country side up there must look the same. Your place looks a lot like the places where they lived. I visited them there a few times, and it looks very familiar. I love visiting other states just to see how different they are from my own state. I have lived in the same state, my entire 62 years, and can almost say the same county.I lived just across the county line for a very few years.

  37. 9-5

    That lazy Jack needs to earn his keep! I bet he could carry LOTS of aluminum foil up that hill in one trip. :lol:

  38. 9-5

    Move it or loose it. :happyfeet:

  39. 9-5

    Maybe u should exercise your arms too when walking or use those little hand held weights. :shimmy:

  40. 9-5

    You sit down now and I’ll get you a nice mug of coffee and a piece of toasted Grandmother’s bread with some of that corncob jelly you just made.
    Don’t overdo it at first. Maybe only once up and down the drive for the first week; twice up and down the second week, etc. until you get up to 5 times. My thighs would be quaking if I tried it 5 times right off the git go.

  41. 9-6

    By the way, what does the fine print on that “No Trespassing” sigh say? Any dire threats?

  42. 9-9

    I feel your pain! I just moved into a small 1 bedroom duplex that requires you to climb 18 steps to get to the FRONT YARD! Then more to get into the house. Moving=carrying stuff UP those stairs and then going back down for MORE stuff to carry UP those stairs. I’m beat!

    Good luck with your training.

  43. 9-11

    What a FUN walk and and even more beautiful place. :sheepjump: All of the animals definitely make it much more fun than when I trudge through the housing tracts in my corner of the US. Thanks for sharing it :wave:

  44. 12-17

    How long is your driveway, Suzanne? I have a half-mile drive which I should be walking everyday, as I have a desk job. And it’s dark when I get home. And I’m lazy. I need a dog to walk. Hard to just walk for the sake of walking up and down the same driveway. :sheepjump:

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