Earth Hands

Yesterday I did something that I haven't done in a while.  I gardened. 

My mom is an avid gardener; in fact, she was the president of her local garden club the past two years.  My Mom, unfortunately, took a spill the other day, thanks to our dog feeling a bit rambunctious, and hurt her hand.  As a result, my Mom isn't really up to digging in the earth at the moment.  Normally this would just require a gardening hiatus, but she had recently purchased some bulbs that needed to be planted ASAP.  Enter me.  I agreed to do the heavy digging.

 Our sweet dog, Bonita, who swears she didn't mean to pull my Mom down.

Our sweet dog, Bonita, who swears she didn't mean to pull my Mom down.

There is something healing about working in the ground.   Whether it is the transfer of electrons that many proponents of "grounding" or "earthing" speak to, or some other yet to be understood healing property of nature, touching earth feels good.

Our overly indoor existence is probably at least partially to blame for a lot of depression among us creatures of westernization.  Realizing that I have been spending most of my time recently staring at computer screens, partially for this website, yes, but mainly due to studying (thank you electronic versions of books and study guides), I was excited at the prospect of feeling the land beneath my knees and hands.

 

 A beautiful Crocus bloom about to open in our garden.  The fruit of a past season's labor of love. 

A beautiful Crocus bloom about to open in our garden.  The fruit of a past season's labor of love. 

Where we live we have a substantial amount of clay in the ground, not to mention rocks and roots, so digging turns out to be a lot of work.   It's that deeply satisfying kind of effort, though, that only comes from accomplishing something through sheer physical exertion.  After a couple of hours of unearthing orange clay, silver rocks and a few pissed off worms via hand and spade, we successfully planted four different types of plants that will hopefully bloom in the spring. 

We set aside the really large chunks of clay and replaced them with the most beautiful soil fresh from our home compost.  What was once food scraps, fallen leaves and pulled up weeds has become the sweetest smelling pure, earthly soil.  MMMM...Petrichor.

 Fresh soil from our home compost

Fresh soil from our home compost

I highly recommend composting.  Whether you can do the large scale outdoor-style bin that my parents do, or a mini indoor apartment-style bin, everyone can compost.  Waste disposal is becoming a problem in this country.  Landfills are filling up.  Start a home compost and be a little bit of the solution.

And lest you fear that composting is complicated and hard, it's not.  Really.  There are plenty of ways to fancy up composting, your innovative urban farmers tend to have truly impressive systems, but it pretty much takes something brown and something green.  That's the basic rule.  Brown and green, then pile it up.  Organic materials only, and no oils, meats, fish or dairy.  If you are going to keep the bin inside or anywhere that is not literally outside on the ground, I would recommend buying a bin that is designed for composting.  They are pretty easy to find at any garden supply store.  They even sell cool outdoor composting containers that simplify the outdoor process too.

 That's pure magic right there: My parent's compost pile. In the left bottom corner you can see some of the remaining wonderful soil that was created from a previous compost pile.

That's pure magic right there: My parent's compost pile. In the left bottom corner you can see some of the remaining wonderful soil that was created from a previous compost pile.

So that was yesterday.  Today I am back to the decidedly ungrounded side of things, staring at computer screens and applying artificial tears to cure the subsequent dry eyes that come along with it.  BTW: How rife for discourse is the notion of merchandizing artificial tears.  Something about human artificiality and society being emotionally stunted.  I feel there is such great social commentary in that.  You know, if you ignore the boring germane purpose of easing eye discomfort.  Alas, a conversation for another day.  I must be off to work now.  I hope you are having a wonderful day.  Take a moment to touch the ground if you can.

 

(P.S. Here is an awesome infographic on treehugger.com about different types of composting.)

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.