So the March issue of Food & Wine came yesterday. I was just flipping through it, and one of the trendspotting pages is about garden chic and “are farm stays the new spas?” And there’s a bit called “Get a Farm Workout,” comparing the calorie burn of typical farm chores with traditional work-out activities – you know, along the lines of, ‘you could do this traditional, boring activity, or this ‘fun’ activity and burn the same amount of calories.’  And I ended up laughing myself sick, because if you ask me, they really did not do a good job of making farm chores sound more appealing.

(As reported in the magazine, all calorie calculations are for 30 minutes of activity for a 150 lb. person – which I am so not. I am also reporting them out of order, for comedic value.)

Tractor Driving or Hatha Yoga = 87 calories
The Mom grew up on a farm. And there’s a family story how at three years old, she started the tractor and nearly ran over all of her cousins (or maybe just scared them). So when I read this, the first image I got was Little The Mom getting a calorie burn.

I love yoga, so of course that is my choice right off the bat. But I started thinking…just how strenuous is driving a tractor compared to driving a car? Yes, I know it probably is more strenuous, but not as much as one might think, these days. So theoretically…a road trip (which I’ve been dying for recently) could be quite the calorie burn…

Milking by Hand or Light Weight Lifting = 105 calories
I like cows. I’ve never milked one, but I like petting them. That said…I can spend half an hour  milking one, in a barn surrounded by hay and other stuff that will probably make me sneeze, the scent of cow pies, and the possibility of the cow kicking over the milk pail, or worse, kicking me. Or I can spend half an hour in an air conditioned gym, moving from machine to machine, smelling the not-so-bad scent of sweat, and ogling the college boys using the free weights. What do you think?

Gardening or Low-Impact Aerobics = 184 calories
This is a tough one. As a rule, I hate aerobics classes – the “origami out of a refrigerator” thing. And as another rule, I hate gardening – insects, worms (especially worms), heat/humidity, getting dirt all over my hands; not to mention my tendency to have a black thumb (while orchid #1 and my African violets continue to thrive, orchid #2 and my cyclamen bit the dust, and as usual the jury is still out on my jade). But while watching a Barefoot Contessa this morning and seeing Ina picking tulips, I was almost inspired to start gardening whenever I get a house of my own. And I think aerobics has a lot to do with the instructor. As long as the instructor is decent (read as: not a perky, skinny bitch), I think I’d have to go with aerobics.

Baling Hay or Jumping Rope = 277 calories
Another tough one. I’m not very good at jumping rope – I have a terrible time with anything other than a basic jump with a double hop, and I don’t have much stamina for it. And baling hay…yeah, basically submerging myself in scratchy, allergy-inducing hay. Though I could probably take that for 30 minutes easier than I could jump rope…eh, we’ll call this one a draw.

Rounding up Cattle on Foot or Jumping Jacks = 119 calories
Another draw. I don’t care for jumping jacks (the four-part jumping jacks we had to do for gym class warm-ups in 5th and 6th grade have scarred me for life). But running around after cattle? I know what it’s like trying to round up just one dog (Simon and Liam, on multiple occasions each); cattle are a lot bigger and faster and harder to hold on to. And they can run you over.

And now, my personal favorite:

Butchering a Pig or Brisk Walking = 170 calories
Granted, now that I think about it, it says “butchering,” as opposed to “slaughtering.” But we’re going to go with my first reaction. Which was: “Okay…I have the choice of taking a walk or killing a pig. Yeah…I’m gonna hit the pavement. See you in half an hour.”