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Jan 7, 2007

When I was a child, I remember often being scolded with, "Why did you get your clothes all dirty.  You've been in the dirt.  It's dirty."  I was raised to believe in God, and I wondered why, if God was good, did he cover the whole earth with such a bad thing as dirt.

I played in the dirt because i had few toys.  I loved to watch the interaction of earth and water, water and wind, make clay dams, and houses, dig in black soil.  But I did all this with the floating guilt that "dirt is bad." 

Decades have passed and I am not the same person that I used to be.  I have raised 5 children and grown wiser at their side.  Together, we, the children and I, have experimented with all kinds of different planting methods, coaxed vegetables from the soil, nurtured flowers, propagated herbs and pretty vines, harvested bunny tail grass and pepper berries for craft projects. 

We have pored over stacks and stacks of library books and become entranced with the incredible magic of the soil, the same soil that I was once told was "dirty" and "bad"!!!

Now I love the soil.  As a family, we have graduated from one sixth of an acre to a whole acre (160 feet by 300 feet of our own land).  When we moved to our new house, our acre was bare.  On it, we planted 230 trees with our own hands, including fruit trees and shade trees.  Some of our trees have grown to 30 feet tall and very shady.  Our friends all love the paradise we have created. 

After we finished planting trees, we began planting grape vines, berries, herbs, vegetables, and wild flowers.  I am so amazed by and enthralled with what the earth was made to do.  (I still believe in a creator God).  It gives us food, shade, fresher air, a sound buffer, privacy, beauty, peace and serenity, and attracts singing birds into our lives.  Oh what an incredible thing is a tree!  Every day I bask in the wonder of 230 trees.

We've pulled out "bad" weeds (those with thorns and prickles that we have no use for- unlike berries) and left many "good" weeds alone to grow and spread, such as the carpet like sand spurry.  In the stream like path of spurry in our fruit orchard, tiny rabbit droppings increase each day where, after dark when we are in the house, wild rabbits dance and play.  My son reports that he saw 10 rabbits the other night.  The rabbits do not harm our vegetable garden.  You see, rabbits prefer weeds!

I am sad that my backbone no longer allows me to caress the earth in my hands as I once did while planting.  However, we are creating raised vegetable beds so that I can again access the earth, the beautiful soil that I was once told was just "dirty". 

Meanwhile, I have been spreading all the wildflower seeds I can, picking seeds from brown spent flowers, which we are also told are "trash" to simply throw away.  We don't throw away dead flowers, for there is life in the developing seeds.  Instead, we let the flower go completely brown, then harvest and spread the wildflower seeds. 

From my wheelchair, I cast the wildflower seeds all around our acre, in the pine woods that we created, between the berry brambles, in the fruit tree basins, along the front yard flower patch.  It's a mystery which ones will make it and grow new flowers and which will not.  But I have a part in that mystery, and it is my delight. 

It's an incredible earth that we live on.  We take so much for granted.  Raising 5 children, I taught them to notice every new bud, watch every sunset, splash in every water source, learn to recognize each planet in the sky, listen to each bird son, treasure each butterfly.  If we could all learn to live life this way, how much more happiness and peace might we find across this incredible planet, our earth. 

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Sunday January 7, 2007, 2:39 am
Tags: woods flower children sunset earth trees green pine butterfly nature outdoors wildflowers herbs gardening organic soil seeds rabbits planting wildflife ourincredibleearth [add/edit tags]

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Fiona G. (5)
Sunday May 20, 2007, 9:27 pm
How beautiful and true. It sounds like sustainable living for you is something that grows out of your soul.

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Marie Marindy
female, age 53, married, 5 children
Riverside, CA, USA
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