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Odd Happiness

I woke up this morning feeling happy. I'm not quite sure why--I had a vague impression that there was a smell in the air that I liked, or a quality of light or something. It had something to do with the garden, which suddenly looked a lot better than it has all winter (and not just because I spent three hours out there yesterday thrashing down dead stems and pulling up pepperweed.)

I went downstairs and there was coffee and even cream, and that was clearly a sign that the universe is good, or at least knows what's good for it.

It must be said, I'm not always a happy person. I am a cheerful and busy person, and that looks like happiness from a distance. I like my life and my people and I do a thing that I generally enjoy and this all contributes to making life pretty good. But of course I am gnawed by anxiety like anyone else and I have deadlines that loom over me like the wave in that Hokusai painting...and this winter has been LONG.

So I am not entirely sure why I am in such a good mood. The likely cause is hours spent in the sun over the weekend--Tuscon is a blaze of desert sunlight--which undoubtedly kicked my vitamin D level up a notch, and yesterday's gardening probably also helped in that regard.

Plus I finally started getting my hands back in the dirt, now that things have warmed up. And I could go on about the spiritual benefits and connection to the earth--which I do believe in, though I won't tax you with it--but the more concrete element is Mycobacterium vaccae, which is a soil bacteria that increases your seratonin levels. It lasts in the system for about three weeks. In a short winter, I'm never not digging for that long, but this one has gone on (and on and on) and I have been busy and I suspect it kept getting punted. (Yes, gardening literally makes you happy, or at least less depressed. Humans and dirt have a long history. Incidentally, it's apparently related to leprosy!) You can get it from vegetables that haven't been brutalized, but it's much easier to just dig around and inhale the stuff.

I was planting peas last week and getting my hands in the damp dirt and poking around. Maybe that's the reason I'm feeling great today. Whatever it is, I'll take it.

I have learned a thing!

I didn't know about serotonin-creating garden bacteria! That's fascinating.

I managed to do yardwork this weekend for the first time in forever. There are plants planted, and bed trimmed and neatened, and I'm about to make a stab on my first real vegetable garden. I have a terrible black thumb, but anyone can grow tomatoes, right? Or at least a tomato? (I don't have high expectations for my abilities here.)

My mood is much improved since last week as well. I've been happy since I spent the day digging around in the dirt, and I don't know if it's sunshine or Mycobacterium vaccae or the lengthening days, but I'm glad to have it.

Re: I have learned a thing!

I'm bad at tomatoes. They're not as simple as the *real* gardeners would have you believe. Raspberries, on the other hand, are self-sufficient once they've taken hold. My greatest gardening success is that I have given them the scant encouragement required to begin taking over the entire yard! This year, I've got some zucchini seedlings, but half of *them* aren't even looking too great right now. I had thought that they would be easier than tomatoes. I don't think the cauliflower will make it, but there are some hopeful pepper plants and 5 pumpkin plants started from seeds out of one the pie pumpkins I bought last November. The cucumbers are looking less well than the zucchini.

Oh, and radishes. Radishes will grow well enough for me to actually harvest and eat something. And FAST.

If you are out in the garden, be on the lookout for Whipple's Disease (which, despite its name, has nothing to do with bathroom tissue.)

Huh; I had no idea about the bacteria thing. I've known for ages that gardening (hell, even digging a hole! Digging big holes is fun, if muscle-taxing) makes me feel both physically and mentally better and in particular more alert; didn't know there was an actual bacterial component. That's rather nice to know.

I'm glad you got down to Tucson; this time of year is so, so pretty! I spent some time last weekend at Tohono Chul Park, taking photos of the wildflowers, and two weeks back did the same out at Picacho Peak; the lupins and poppies are freakin' fantastic this year, and apparently the local naturalists are in hopes of another Gila Monster baby-boom (don't know if you've heard about that, but there's been a really massive amount of sightings of young Gila Monsterlings or whatever they're called all around Tucson in the last couple of years.)

I have sunflower and morning-glory seedlings to put in the ground this afternoon, my tomatoes are trying to take over, and I'm currently building a terrarium 'reptile park' for my snakes and Mister Angus the Bearded Dragon to frolic in; and now I can know that I'm not only enjoying myself, I'm doing my body actual good. Thanks! ^___^

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Well, like Elle Woods says in "Legally Blonde"...

Exercise gives you endorphins!

Endorphins make you happy!

Happy people don't shoot their husbands! They just - don't!

Well, hopefully the last part won't come into play here...

That is a marvelous piece of information - thank you. :)

I just moved to a gardenless little flat, but at least I'm on the ground floor, with windows facing a patch of forest (with squirrels! and birds!), so I'm gonna do a bit of guerilla gardening once it warms up a bit more. The last few days have been pretty warm, but the nights are still cold - something I've definitely noticed, since I leave for work at 2 AM.

I do loves me some yard time... yesterday I got more veg and flowers to plant..

Happyness needs no excuse. :)

If soil makes people happy, they'll have to criminalize it.

I have sand.
I wish I had dirt... but, sand.

Maybe start vermicomposting and gradually pile up non-sand on top of the sand? Then there will be dirt with REALLY good drainage!

6__6 put a bucket of soil away in the fall and stuff your mitts into it periodically during the winter? If it works...

Isn't that interesting! I discovered last year that gardening was excellent grounding after arguing with my (then) boyfriend. I got a wine bottle border planted (hehehe) and my Great Rite statue placed.

Winter has not ended here in upstate New York. I drove through a freaking whiteout to work this morning. I have lots of bulbs patiently waiting.

I hear you. We're still covered in snow here in Boston. Not counting the stuff that fell today.

Also my garden is full of lead. Sigh . . .
At least I have a garden, I guess.

I now have a very mental image of shady individuals hanging about street corners and saying "Psst! Wanna buy a bag of dirt?"

Much better than drugs!

♪ I've got a jar of di-irt ... ♪

That's lovely news. Hooray!

(And Mycobacterium vaccae? Fascinating.)

Oddly, my mood always shoots up in about mid-September, so yeah, I understand the inexplicable-happy. Hey, I'll take it!

Though dirt-happy is a good kiind, too.