May 2, 2010

DENIS THOET: Our health club guarantees fitness, and membership is free

A few readers (very few, probably) might remember that, in my first “Notes” column two years ago, I offered free memberships in the West Gardiner Branch of the Kennebec Valley Health Club. The satellite health club happens to be located at our farm.

Perhaps naively, I expected a deluge of responses. Sadly, no one responded. Not one phone call or e-mail. Perhaps readers thought it was too good to be true.

Now, two years later, I am prepared to renew my offer to readers of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.

 Here is what we offer at Long Meadow Farm:

• Prep the garden bed: Go at your own pace and increase your arm, leg and back strength. The back-and-forth motion of the wheel hoe is great upper-body work. You can even hum a waltz (one-two-three, one-two-three) while you work up a sweat.

• Weed the rows: Perfect for end-of-the-day cool down. One half-hour after dinner. Stretch those calves and hamstrings. If it’s raining, there’s always the greenhouse.

• Swing the scythe: Great for June and early July when hay is at its peak. Torques the entire body. One half-hour to one hour in the morning will drop that winter pudge. Instruction provided.

• Cut the brush: Take the heavy nipper and set it at the base of the biggest saplings it can handle. Work the blade through the tree until it falls down. Great isometrics for arm and hand muscles. A favorite of our former president.

• Water aerobics 1: Carry 5-gallon buckets from the house spigot to the ducks, sheep and chickens. No swimming pool needed.

• Water aerobics 2: Using a brush, bucket and squeegee, work your way around the outside windows of the health club main building. You’ll need a ladder for this one. Definite upper-body benefits.

• Manure maneuver: Jab, hoist and throw hay-matted sheep and goat poo into wheelbarrow. Wheel to the approved pile location, dump. Create steely back muscles, washerboard abs and bulging biceps. Jump in Cold Stream, please, and dump clothing in wash.

• Sod separation: Take the pick-mattock and, using a modified golf grip, slice off chunks of sod from the lawn or weeded-over parts of the garden. Let the tool do the work. Great for hand strength, biceps and back muscles. All-around workout.

• Wood wrangler 1: Take the 8-pound maul and attack the oak and maple we have cut for next year’s firewood. Improves both hand-eye coordination and brute force skills. The 12-pounder does even better, if you can swing it.

• Wood wrangler 2: You will like the primitive elegance of this maneuver, which is best to do after the wood-splitting exercise. Load the wheelbarrow with the wood you just split and move it to the shed for winter storage. Great for legs and arms.

Your personal trainers, Michele Roy and Denis Thoet, have years of experience and will guide you through all of these workout techniques — and more!

 Membership is open to everyone and the facility is open during daylight hours, seven days a week.

 We await your call or e-mail.


Denis Thoet and his partner, Michele Roy, own and manage Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner, longmeadowfarm@roadrun

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