The Winter 2007-2008 issue of Organic Gardening (a ghost of what it used to be, unfortunately) has a blurb titled "Soil Makes You Happy":
Proof that dirty fingers lead to clean minds.
Findings: A common soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, is an effective vaccine for leprosy. Researches began to evaluate its value in treating asthma, tuberculosis, and cancer. When cancer patients treated with M. vaccae reported feeling inexplicably happier, neuroscientist Christopher Lowry, PhD., of the U.K.'s University of Bristol injected mice with the bacterium, then examined their brains. The mice's immune systems were stimulated, causing brain cells to release serotonin, a mood-altering, pleasure-inducing hormone. Our Advice: Dig in! Be happy!
Now I know why I am always calmed by digging my fingers deep in the soil. I can't think of anything more relaxing than weeding in my garden, turning soil, planting seeds and enjoying the growth and beauty of the results of all that work.
This same issue of OG has an article on 'The Bee Crisis" that discussed other native pollinators rather than our beloved honeybees. All are important, of course, but would the natives be able to fill the void left by the death of honeybees? OG seems to think so
Ann, holy smolly. I am impressed!!!!! Although I must say that the first line in that quote from OG made that smile come to my face. Hmmm..... "proof that dirty fingers lead to a clean mind"
, hmmmm.....don't know about that one (
That enough smilies for ya? Hee, hee. Can't speak for myself on that one, hee, hee. Kidding aside. Wonder how they even began to use this soil bacterium for research, that puzzles me how it began.
We are identical. I spend hours and hours and hours, with my hands in the soil, weeding, weeding, weeding, planting seeds, digging up dirt, throwing rocks, I am dirty almost all of my life. I am not kidding you one little bit. I can go all day in the spring and summer with dirty hands, if they get too dirty I do wash them. Of course I clean my hands all the time too. But if you were to spend a day with me, you would see me with dirt on my hands for more than a good part of that day. I am sure that sometimes people look at my hands and probably truly wonder.
My poor oldest gal. She is always buying me hand creams, soaps, anything to try and make my hands look nicer. Good luck with that one. She has beautiful hands, but then, when she washes dishes, she even wears those stupid rubber gloves. She is beginning to lighten up a little bit, just a little bit. When we go to visit her (some 4 hours drive away), sometimes I see her working in the soil with bare hands (hee, hee), that would never have happened even 2 years ago, she is maturing I guess, and resigning herself to the fact, that if you are going to have livestock and gardens, it is almost impossible to have those beautiful, soft, lovely hands. Ha.
About a week ago, my young nephew Dallen came out and asked me if there was any work that he could do to earn $4.00. We sat and equated how long he would have to work to earn $4.00. I told him that if the foster boys ever wanted to do some work, they would not get a high wage, but we will give them a token hourly wage. $5.00. He figured out that he would have to work about 45 minutes, and this he was willing to do. Oh brother, kids, eh? That was all he needed, so that was all the work he was prepared to do.
So we began. I was digging up near the apiary, preparing the new bed for the garlic (which I still have not got planted yet, slap my hand). I told him his job was to pick up rocks and throw them beside my rock pile. I told him that I would move them a couple of times after rainfalls so that they would go onto my pride and joy, the rock pile, nice and reasonably clean. He started out by pitching the rocks, like I showed him how. He then thought it would be easier to get an ice cream pale and sit there and pick the rocks. So, I let him be his own boss and sit there and pick up the rocks and put them in the bucket. It was a waste of time doing this way, but that was OK, that was his way and I respect that.
We were having discussions and he asked "so Auntie Cindi, what do you do for fun around here?" What a loaded question. I said, "Dallen, I dig in the earth, make gardens and throw rocks onto my rock pile". He was horrified......he looked at me as if I was from outer space. He said, "no really, I mean it, what do you do for fun?" I told him, "that is what I do for fun, honestly, Dallen. When I am digging up the rocks, I find treasure rocks, I find the most beautiful rocks" and I showed him a little pile of pretty little rocks that I put aside. I could see his mouth dropping to think that this was what I did for fun. I know he thinks I am rather odd.
So, poor Dallen. His next question was "well, Auntie Cindi, what else do you do for fun?" I know he really needed to know what I do, because all the time he sees me, I am only doing a couple of things, and that is weeding, working, watching the chickens and ducks and sitting by the poool in the summertime (hee, hee) and doing more outside work. All the time. I had to stop digging and look at him with an honest look on my face and I said, "well Dallen, my next favourite thing I do for fun is weeding." Well, that floored this poor little dude. He was speechless and didn't say anything more to me for quite some time. I know he thinks his Auntie is right off her rocker, imagine that, weeding and digging and rock throwing, come on, how on earth could that be fun, hee, hee. He finished his 45 minutes work, I went to the house and got his $4.00, he thanked me very much for letting him help me and he went his way and I went mine, back to digging and throwing rocks.
Gotta love those dirty hands!!!!! Have a wonderful and beautiful day in this great life. Cindi