I am happy to say I’ve managed to drop a few pounds and inches just in time for bathing suit season, otherwise known around here as that one weekend in July when the temperature is high and the wind is not. I figured if I share my secret, I could be like everybody else and get my very own reality show. It goes something like this:
Day One: Arrive at the ranch at six p.m., at the same time as a cold front packing record wind and snow. You won’t need to worry about loading up on too many calories at supper, the power will go out when your pork chop is only half cooked. Begin exercise program by trotting up the hill to encourage three stray cows and calves to take shelter in the front yard. Then jog across the adjacent hayfield when the cows take off running in the wrong direction. Finish by strolling twice around the indoor arena to check the cows that haven’t calved yet.
Day Two: Breakfast of cold cereal and warm milk (still no electricity). Exercise for the day will consist of pacing from window to window, fretting endlessly, debating whether the visibility has improved from zero to three yards in front of your face, and hauling bales of hay through waist deep drifts to the three yard cows. Power is still out, so dinner is your choice of peanut butter on white bread or graham crackers with cream cheese frosting.
Day Three: Wake up call at 5 a.m. The blizzard has now ended. The power outage has not. Breakfast: lukewarm juice made from melted snow, since the water pump requires electricity.
Time to get serious about fitness. Begin upper body workout by shoveling out the doors to the calving barn and horse barn. Incorporate agility by dodging ice falling from the eaves. Finish by shoveling a three foot wide trail through a five foot deep snow drift so the bulls can get to their hay feeder.
Lunch: toasted cheese sandwiches and canned soup because the power is now on but nobody has time to cook real food.
Afternoon workout will focus on the lower body. Begin by locating a dozen strays three miles from home. Warm-up consists of floundering around the neighbor’s hay yard, attempting to shove a calf through the fence. Calorie consumption may be increased through the use of creative swear words at high volumes. When all critters are finally lined out on the road home, realize the calves will not go unless you chase them on foot in your Wellingtons.
As you reach your destination, a helpful crew from the rural electric co-op will pass through and provide an additional opportunity for fitness improvement by advising that they saw two of your calves way over that-a-way. These calves will contribute to your weight loss goals by placing themselves in the middle of a stubble field not traversable by horse or tractor. Walk two more miles, but this time through knee deep snow. Should you begin to tire, extra motivation will be supplied by the coyote trailing along behind, hoping you keel over from a coronary.
Phase three of today’s workout is designed to improve coordination, balance and problem solving skills. Begin by saddling a horse. Place a rope over the saddle horn. Tuck a quart bottle of milk under one arm. Ride half a mile to the east pasture and locate an orphaned calf. Realize you cannot rope the calf while riding the horse and carrying the milk bottle.
Get off the horse and attempt to capture the calf by a back leg. Realize the calf is slightly faster than your horse is willing to be led. Leave the horse ground tied. Watch him run back to the barn without you. Chase the calf fifty yards uphill through snowdrifts, attempting to keep the milk bottle tucked under your arm while swinging the rope. Stop twice to hyperventilate. When finally captured, the calf will refuse to suck on the bottle. Wrestle with him for ten minutes, then give up and walk home.
Dinner: Are you kidding me? Who has enough energy to lift a fork?
Days Four and Five: Repeat Day Two, with the addition of sloshing through six to twelve inches of mud as the snow begins to melt.
Day Six through Eight: Return to office job where everything will have piled up in your absence, necessitating that you work through lunch and coffee breaks, thereby enhancing your weight loss.
On the evening of Day Eight, the next blizzard will arrive. Go back to day one and repeat all steps.
For best results, be sure to forget to purchase any form of sugary carbonated beverages before heading out to the ranch, thereby maximizing the odds that you will lose both pounds and your sanity by the time the roads are cleared and you can get back to town.
As luck would have it, there’s snow in the forecast for this weekend. Registration is now open for participants in the next workout session. Who wants to sign up?