The leaves have finally all dropped from our trees. We try to pick up the leaves only once every fall, and today was the day. We dressed appropriately for our all-day chore, and before we headed outside, we asked the cats if they wanted to help.
Of course, they said no! They were going to take a "well-deserved" nap together.
We headed outside to begin our day's work. I like to use our mulching mower with the bag attached to pick up as many leaves as possible. The mower mulches them, along with the remaining grass.
Meanwhile, back in the house...
We need to make many trips to the compost heaps to dump the leaves.
I swear I heard snoring in unison...
We took turns mowing, dumping, raking and picking up sticks. Our brush pile is as tall as me, and is used by the birds as a shelter all winter!
Still cat napping!
We live on a corner lot, so we have more grass to mow. We completed the front and side property by lunch time, and came inside for a nice hot bowl of lentil soup.
Oh, you smell our soup, huh?
After lunch, we headed out to do the back yard. We raked leaves away from the flower areas, then mowed them up. We will be covering some of the beds with a layer of leaves once we settle into a deep freeze. We finished up just as nightfall approached.
No, they never lifted a finger, or paw, all day (unless you call this lifting a paw). Sometimes I wish we could both trade places with the cats. I would enjoy an all-day catnap once in awhile!
I really love the textures and colors of late Autumn, when the most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, the plants have faded to their subdued hues, and seed pods blow in the wind. Here are some photos I took a couple days ago on my lunch break in downtown Chicago, and today in our garden. Enjoy!
Dr. G: Medical Examiner, Dr. Oz and somebody's kidneys and aorta.
This past weekend, we stopped by the Dr. Oz Health Expo in Millennium Park in Chicago. It was fun seeing Dr. Oz in person. Everyone had the chance to don the famous purple gloves and touch various organs, enter the Truth Tube, get free health screenings, and learn great recipes from celebrity chefs such as Oprah's former personal chef Art Smith. We didn't stay long, so we didn't have time to participate in much.
It got me thinking about health and fitness in the 19th century.
In the early 1800's, people were mostly rural. The everyday labor they needed to do kept them fairly physically fit and they didn't really need any formal exercise program. Of course, if they became sick, they knew nothing of germs or where diseases came from. A prevalent theory was that their body fluids were unbalanced, and that they needed a bloodletting. Another theory was that bad odors or "miasma" caused diseases. Sick people were treated at home by family members. Occasionally, a doctor was called. Doctors had very little training. And only the poor would ever be taken to a hospital, as they were for people who were indigent or had no family.
Henry Peach Robinson 1858. Fading Away.
The nineteenth century was known for the prevalence of patent medicines of questionable worth. They were touted by traveling salesmen and advertised through trade cards. The alcohol and other (often dangerous) drugs in these concoctions are what made people feel better!
Scientific advances in medicine began to make great strides when it became acceptable to open cadavers and learn about how our bodies work. Stronger microscopes and other scientific instruments gave doctors a better understanding of diseases and how to treat them.
Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution put machines at the forefront and gave humans a back seat to physical labor. In the mid 1800's, Swedish and German exercise techniques and theories began to take hold in America. People realized they needed to stay physically fit.
Men had the advantage of playing sports in college and being able to engage in activity that was not considered "lady-like." Children, of course, played and ran around, but a young lady, especially with her corsets, could not participate in such things.
Some women's suffrage advocates put forth the notion that, indeed, women should be more active. They eventually worked toward developing "bloomers" in the 1850's, which never really caught on until the early 1900's when bicycling and gymnastics became popular.
When I was growing up, the public schools in Chicago required that we had gym class every day. In grammar school we did tumbling, races, calisthenics, kick baseball and worked with equipment such as Indian clubs, stall bars, ladders, rings, balls and climbing ropes. Everyone took the tests required by the President's Council on Physical Fitness. We also were required to go outside for recess to play. In high school, we swam, played team sports, danced and did gymnastics. I don't know if today's kids get that much exercise.
We are fortunate to live in the modern era of medicine, science and knowledge of the human body. We still have major diseases to cure, but we've made great strides. But, because of our free will, we can still decide to become obese, abuse drugs, smoke, become couch potatoes, or become anorexic. I guess it's up to each individual to learn as much as possible about our bodies, and to treat them with respect.
Visit these great links to find out more about the history of American health, fitness and medical care:
Do you love Victorian houses, Antiques, Eastlake furniture and Aesthetic style? Welcome to my world! Drop your calling card in the receiver in the front hall. The butler will take your hat and gloves. Make yourself at home on the settee in our parlor, and I'll have tea brought to us. One lump or two? :-)