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Dog days

One hour and 45 minutes.

That’s how long it takes me to mow our lawn. One hour and 45 minutes. Why does it take so long? Well…

It’s not because the lawn is so large. It’s because I use a push walk behind mower and surprisingly enough, I enjoy the walk. Yes, the lawn is good sized and yes, I saunter behind the mower, but no, I don’t not like the job and here’s why.

It’s been proven scientifically — yes, things can be proven scientifically — that when the body is activated by physical activity, the mind is activated, too. Therefore, when you use your physical muscles, your mental muscles are also likely to be energized. I’ve noticed this connection when I mow the lawn.

There are times when I’m not quite sure how to introduce a subject, an article, a speech or how to address a topic for a stirring conversation. So, when I’m mentally stuck and when I’m able to, I mow.

And during that one hour and 45-minute walk, I find my way into the subject, the article, the speech or the topic of conversation. The “hook” appears as I push and amble behind the mower. Maybe the exercise releases some brain chemical that stirs my sleeping mind but, whatever it is, it works and ideas flood my head.

Perhaps it’s as simple as I’m finally using my brain to think — maybe!

Whatever the reason is for the releasing of my thoughts, I also enjoy my mowing walk for another reason. During these dog days of summer, the exercise makes me sweat.

Yes, I don’t mind sweating and here’s why. First, my sweating isn’t from stress. It’s from physical labor and that’s good for me. Secondly, I don’t mind sweating because it takes me back to the “good ole days” growing up on the farm and I find my memories of those days are actually pretty darn swell. Yes we worked hard and perspired a lot, but it was good for me to learn the value of hard work and what could be accomplished by working together for a common goal. But please don’t tell my siblings since I want them to continue to think that life was so terribly hard for their brother.

Hey, one needs to get sympathy where one can get it.

Additionally, my sweat glands working overtime while mowing get me to a point where I’m thirsty and looking for a delicious cold beer. After that 105 minutes of lawn mowing walk, I need something cold to lower my physical and mental temperatures and, after a glass of cold water, beer hits the spot.

When I’m hot and wet with perspiration, I like a beer that cuts through the accumulated dust in my throat and an extra pale ale does that nicely. Summit Brewing in St. Paul has a particularly nice Extra Pale Ale (EPA) that I enjoy. It has a crisp citrus taste and aroma that reminds me of eating an orange but without the need to peel one. The finish is long lasting and is very satisfying to me. It helps to dry my pores.

At this time of the year, there are many pilsners flooding the market. Any of them are good after mowing (or any other type of hard work) and I would recommend the Bavarian style Pilsner from New Ulm’s August Schell’s Brewing. There’s enough hop flavor to go along with the maltiness of the brew to make it a tangy and refreshing drink. It’s not overly bitter and has enough alcohol to lend some heat to the pleasant finish.

Along with a plethora of pilsners, there are many shandys to be found on store shelves. I particularly like Brau Brothers (Marshall) Lemon Berry Shandy. I like the balance of the brew. Along with the lemon tartness — that one should find in a shandy — there’s a wonderful underlying taste and aroma of blueberries. It’s tart and sweet at the same time — a terrific tasting and aromatic beer.

During one of our recent hot sultry dog days, I found myself sitting in Brau Brother’s taproom and I wanted something different. After reviewing their beer listing, I had to try their Skolsch — a gluten removed Kölsch. Kölsch’s are an iconic dog days of summer beer and, if gluten bothers you and you still want a refreshing beer, you must try this beer. It was a bit fuzzy in the glass and had just a hint of a sweet aroma to go along with its light taste. Its low bitterness and decent alcohol level of 5 percent was very good. Again, if you’re into a gluten free diet and want a beer, this is the one for you.

Yesterday I was mowing and looking for an opening to a speech I’ll soon deliver to a summer gathering of Danes. It didn’t take long before the combination of physical and mental exercise synced and the speech appeared in my head. Let it be known that it didn’t take one hour and 45 minutes to drink my post mowing EPA.

Even the dog days of summer have their upside.

Next week, lite or heavy?

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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