Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Boxer Day

We had our Christmas celebration on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.

Too much rich food and too little moving is taking its toll.

We have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather. It got to the mid-fifties yesterday and I was wearing jeans and a tee-shirt while I pruned some pear trees.

Several years ago I collected scion from a couple of "monument" trees near Vermontville and from an unknown Asian Pear tree near Family Shooters Corral near Olivet. Judging by the number of spurs on the trees I will get a chance to evaluate the fruit quality. 

My expectations are pretty low. If I had to guess, I would guess that the two trees from Vermontville are a variety named Kieffer which was very popular in the 1920s and is still sold today. It does not have "commercial quality" but it is a stalwart producer and the pears are plenty good-enough for canning.

The Asian pear has shown extreme sensitivity to fire-blight so it will probably get it and die. It has WAY too many spurs on the tree and I will have to thin the fruit.

It used to be common practice to take carpet beaters through peach-orchards and whale-the-tar out of the blossoming trees to reduce the fruit load. I wonder if that would work for pear trees.

Boxing Day

In the US more accurately known as  Boxer Shorts day.

Men who for the last three months honored their wife's requests that they buy nothing that might show up beneath the Christmas tree hie thee off to the big-box stores to lay in a supply of socks and tee-shirts and boxer-shorts. At least those of us who were naughty and did not receive them from "Santa".

The shelves of the local Walmart were almost stripped clean. Every brand of pocketed Tee-shirts in Large and XL were gone. Packages of calf-height, crew-socks were almost as bad. Under-shorts were available in all colors, sizes and shapes.

Figure-8 Lifting straps

I fiddled around with some webbing that I have laying around. My first guess on the length was 31" with 1" of overlap so I could sew them together.

31" of webbing version on the bottom. 28" of webbing version on the top.

My wrists are 7" in diameter circumference (yes, I am that puny) and my first guess was too long but now I have a baseline. Every inch I take out will "lift the bar" up 1/4 inch. Since the bar is somewhere between 1/2" and 3/4" lower than I want it, that means my next effort should be 28" strap length.

 ---Update: 28" was perfect---

The one I made is usable but I have to twist it several times to shorten it up. Today I will use it on my left (weaker) hand at the gym.

One consequence of my hyper-focusing on my grip is that my general form has gone down-hill. Form gets very important as the weight goes up. You can be sloppy when working with lighter weights but heavy weights are unforgiving. 

---Second Update---

The gym was crowded. Stupid me. I forgot that many people would be off work.

I used the two straps (with two twists in the longer one) and was able to knock-out two sets-of-ten of the 190 pounds.

Because I was not rushing, I was able to remember to drop my tush down a couple of inches and to arch my lower-back before I started lifting. And just like that, I was back to lifting with my legs and not my back.

I have a couple of "store-bought" coming on Thursday but the lifting straps were a nice beginner's project for webbing. The second one went together much faster than the first. I was wetting the tip of the needle with a bit of spit and it penetrated the webbing significantly better. I assume a drop of liquid soap would work as well or better. I also got smarter about where in the weft/warp to insert the tip of the needle to make it easier to push in.


Quicksilver's parents are on vacation. That means I have extra time on my hands.

God willing, I will get a few installments ahead on the two series now running.


  1. From Fred in Texas.
    If you can get some webbing that they bundle lumber with it's very useful. If you know some carpenters all them to save the nylon strapping and buckles they bundle lumber for delivery with. Loop slings are great for moving furniture and pretty much anything difficult to grip and lift. Machine sew a box W or double W to create an endless loop. I hurt my shoulder when I used my old bow for the first time in years... And I still gotta bring the firewood in. A loop sling will hold about 6-8 sticks and makes it real easy to one hand a load of stove wood. If you can't sew the ends together use a 'ring knot' or 'water bend' to join the ends. It will be difficult to untie after being loaded. But it's a very useful knot for webbing. The buckles are easily reused for bundling posts or lumber or temporary joining. Use two pair of pliers to lever the strapping tight through the buckle. I got enough webbing from one house remodel I worked on to last for a few years without being stingy. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  2. ERJ, one of the great struggles I have always had with lifting is fighting the urge to "rush" through it. I always to better when I take my time and do not feel rushed, although that usually makes for a longer session.

  3. If your wrists are 7" in diameter, you're not puny; you're Andre the Giant.

    1. Good catch. I fixed it. Thanks. Should have read "circumference"

  4. Call me pedantic if you wish (I get called worse most days, and that's by "friends") but ...

    Wrist size is dependant on 'Frame' size (bone structure and build) nothing else. There 'are' no muscles in the wrist, it's bones, tendons etc., so a wrist circumference of 7" equates to a (the upper end of US male over 5' 5" tall) medium 'build'.

    I had the same issue with wrist weakness as a teen and used the (common in martial arts and shooting circles) "wrist-roller" religiously ( a suspended weight attached to a cord wrapped round a handle you raise and lower using only wrist movement) and still do. (I was a tall skinny, 6' 5" teen, now I'm a tall expanding adult, I still have wrists of 7.5", but my fore-arms went from a weedy, for my height/build, not-flexed 11" to 16").

    Your issue, correct me if I'm wrong, seems to be more 'grip-strength' rather than weak wrists. Concentrating on specific forearm and grip exercises would 'seem' to be more appropriate than the (forgive me) 'vanity' project of building numbers you'll never be able to apply in the real world. Build the 'whole' system, not just the bits that make you look 'ripped'.


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