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breeden
ursulav

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.

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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.


Sigh.
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.