Day One and Counting

The real me is a farm girl, and not so much the kind that sets apple pies to cool on the windowsill, more likely the kind that has a close affinity to dirt. Dirt ends up in my hair, on my face, my clothing, my feet and under my nails. It’s not that I love dirt (and I do clean up fairly often) but that I can’t seem to get away from it. I accommodate this proclivity in several ways.

For one, I almost never wear white, and I’m a bit afraid of light colors. They invite soil. A white shirt is just waiting for spaghetti sauce. Wear white pants and it won’t be long before I sit on something I shouldn’t. It isn’t worth it, so I wear a lot of earth colors. And I rarely buy a piece of clothing that costs more than twenty dollars. Throwing away a designer priced T-shirt with a weird blob of something on the front is sooooo painful. And contrary to some reports, Oxy Clean does not cure everything with a stain.

I also have opted for a no-frill hair cut that can be washed often and pretty much left to dry on it’s own. It is my answer to Florida humidity and bushy (not really straight, not really curly), kinky hair. I never wash my hair in the morning because I know if I go outside I will be sweaty and unkept in a matter of minutes. Unless I shackle myself to a chair inside I will need at least one shower later, when it’s safe to clean up.

And I don’t do manicures and pedicures. True, I live in sandal land and am insanely jealous of people with beautiful feet on display in their beautiful shoes. But I have trouble pulling it off. It would be easier now that it’s trendy to go with black or brown polish (eew…) but I rarely get past the stage where you have to let it dry. And the fact that my feet are so far away from my eyes that I can’t see them very well is a mixed blessing.

And manicures? My excuse since 8th grade was Miss Varien the piano teacher telling me to cut my nails short or else forget playing piano. After that it was the nursing profession that claimed a whole army of bacteria lived under fingernails and polish. Did we want our patients to die on account of our vanity? No we didn’t.

Well, the person who invited me to an online Jamberry party was clueless about all of this. And since I didn’t know what Jamberry was (I love jam, I love berries, what could go wrong?) I signed up. This sweet girl was thinking of me in her circle of friends and I need all the friends I can get. Imagine my surprise upon finding out it’s all about manicures and pedicures. For a week I learned the language, listened to the stories, watched the videos and entered the contests. By the end of the party I started thinking about the decorative plastic film (think contact paper) as armor for my almost nonexistent fingernails. Not only did I end up buying to support my sweet friend but for the second time in my life I won a contest and got a free sheet of Jamberry thingies to apply to my fingers and toes.

It’s a holiday weekend. I’m going to relax and be a lady (of leisure). I’m going to avoid harsh chemicals, dirt of all kinds (yeah, right…) and abrasive activities and see if my manicure can live up to expectations. Two weeks sounds kind of impossible but here we go, day 1 and counting…

This is not really me, but sometimes it's kind of nice to be someone else...
This is not really me, but sometimes it’s kind of nice to be someone else…

Dirt

I have noticed that I feel so good after spending a day outside working in the yard, and I’ve decided it’s the dirt. Therapeutic dirt. I always make sure I have a lot of contact with it – wear my sandals and shorts, and somehow manage to get smudges from head to toe.

Today’s dirt was AMAZING stuff.  Two years ago it was a huge leaf pile and now it is all broken down, dark brown with nice fat earthworms crawling through it.  It grows healthy looking weeds, which I pulled out and put in next year’s compost pile.

In Florida it’s the time of year to plant the spring garden.  At the vegetable stand where I get the weekly fresh things for our meals, they also had tomato plants so I decided to get some instead of growing my own.  An interesting aside – the stand is at our church and is “donation only” for whatever you want to pay and goes to the orphan homes in Cambodia that I visit. I call that a win-win transaction when I can support my special kids and get something to eat at the same time.  I know the farmer who supplies it and he farms very successfully. Bet his tomato plants are going to do wonderful things for me this season.

So I pulled my earthboxes to the only sunny spot I could find in the oneacrewoods.  It happens to be right near the fence line.  The neighbor has cut down a lot of his trees and has a much sunnier yard than I do and some of the light sneaks through to my side of the fence.  I think that my somewhat “iffy” results from the gardening I do is because there is so much shade.  Good for keeping cool, bad for growing plants.

The other outside chore for today was harvesting my carrots.  They have been growing for a whole year and are pitiful.  This is what happens when you don’t thin out the seedlings.  I’ve never been able to get carrots to germinate in my Florida gardens so I was really excited about all the fluffy greenery and couldn’t bear to pull any of it out.  This is probably why they are so small after a whole year! (could also be the shade, or the inconsistent watering, or the general inattention they received).

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So, other than the fact that some bug is eating all the leaves off my strawberry plants, things are looking much better in the garden today. And I feel great.