My New Experiment

If you know me, then you’re well aware that I hate heat. And humidity. And I’m always hot. For instance, this morning I went out to open the barn for the chickens and to feed the other furmonsters dressed in nothing but a teeshirt and barnboots, and I was sweating like a stuck pig within 20 minutes and needed a cold shower. It was 36°F. In Ohio. In December.

I’ve been waiting with impatient anticipation for this turn in the weather for months on end – the time of year when the days hold more soft shadow than light, when cold cheeks and cups of hot cocoa make buddy-buddy, and pulling weeds no longer feels like endless torture in a furnace, but a nice workout. This is my season!

So, the other night my friend Kamilla sends me an email about how she’s looking for a local butcher because CAFO hamburger and imdustrial romaine lettuce are killing people again and she ordered a grinder attachment for her mother’s stand mixer and, because I’m too lazy to text her, I emailed back….

“My butcher is saving neck bones and pig’s feet for me for Christmas Octave, and my dairy guy called me the other day and told me that his milking season is ending in two weeks. I ordered extra to process and freeze (they start back up at the end of March when the herd freshens), but it made me wish I had a chest freezer. My chickens aren’t laying because the days are cold and dark, so I don’t have to worry about anything but feeding and watering them…I am glad for the coming Winter because I’m going to spend half of it lying outside in a snowbank morning and evening, working on my immune system and inflammation, but I can’t wait until Spring when I can start hunting bunnies and groundhogs again, and have more variety for herb and veg.”

To which she responds by asking about my snowbank napping attire (preferably nada) and why would any sane person do something so freaking ridiculous (not her words, but I could hear her wheels spinning clear over in the urban wilds of Denver), and the conversation eventually wound it’s way around to:

I love what the cold does for me. And, supposedly, there’s some dude they call the Ice Man who’s been tested in medical schools worldwide up and down the wazoo who is proving that this isn’t just a hot-blooded injun thing.

Kamilla tells me that she was traumatized by snow-onesies as a child in Minnesota, and all I could think about whilst I went looking for info on the Ice Man was how often I got screamed at every Winter for running around outside half naked for hours on end. I have proof that you will not catch your death of cold from losing [read: “accidentally” discarding] dozens of new hats, mittens, scarves and jackets all over hill and dale, and I am that proof. But I went looking for this thing I read from Michigan State about the Ice Man dude to show to Kamilla, and I ended up falling down a two-day rabbit hole of wonder. Have you seen this guy? You should.

He calls cold his “god.” He says he hates it, but he’s also repeatedly demonstrated for scientists how submitting to the cold over the years has helped him to learn to control everything from his breathing to his circulation to his autonomic nervous system. At first I’m thinking this is just yogic breathing, I already do that, but no….

I tried this guy’s “method,” and after two days, I’m a believer. The other day, I brought home 5 – 50 lb bags of feed for the beasties, flipped every single one of them over my shoulder and carried them like bags of Sta-Puf marshmallows up the stairs from the driveway to the porch one after the other without stopping. I shocked even myself. This is the strongest I’ve been since I was hit head-on by a drunk driver in December of 2009 (and subsequently spent a solid year, three-to-four days a week, in physical therapy to avoid spine and hip surgery). I have no explanation for this sudden surge of strength.

Of course, I’m cheap and broke. So, instead of paying $300 for the Wim Hof Method ten week course, I downloaded the app to my phone when I went to town and paid $2.99 for the extention. I’ve been doing the breathing exercises each morning this past week before I roll out of bed. I’m definitely adding this to my Winter napping habit because, holy cow, I feel freaking fantastic and I’m excited to see where I’m at healthwise come Spring. Who knows? I may even have the energy to pound in the remaining 200 – 8ft fence stakes all by myself. Oh my Lord, would that be awesome, or what?!

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