Scientists are beginning to echo what gardeners have been saying for years: it’s not only fun but healthy to play in the dirt, and today’s children (especially girls) need it more than ever before!
Over the past half-century, allergies have dramatically increased in children, while time spent outdoors has decreased. And while there may not be a direct correlation, many experts believe that children who are exposed to soil-borne bacteria from an early age may develop stronger resistance to infection, and be less susceptible to autoimmune disorders.
Girls are still less likely than boys to play in the mud and scrabble in the dirt, perhaps due to lingering stereotypes about ladylike behavior — or practical issues such as not wanting to “ruin” nice clothes. And certain autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus, are present in women at a much higher rate than in men. One conclusion? Growing up “too clean” may be unhealthy.
Planting more than seeds.
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When the Parsnip was a young preacher just getting started, we would often visit with the older members of our congregation. We would see if they had any physical, environmental or, most pressing in our line of work, spiritual needs.
While living in El Dorado, Arkansas we were always glad when the time would come to visit Henry and Marguerite Hogg. Henry was a strapping man in his early eighties when we met him. He had stories, many stories of how he had been a school teacher (at age 16!), then went on to be the county postmaster at the ripe age of 19. He had been to war, lived through the Depression and raised a strong, loving family.
As interesting as it was to visit with Henry, I always looked forward to my visit with Marguerite. This tiny, 5 foot, soft spoken woman chose her words carefully and didn’t “put on airs”. I liked that and I liked her. But, my favorite thing about visiting with the Hoggs was…the violets.
Marguerite had loads and loads of beautiful African Violets.They covered every inch of every windowpane. Rich burgundy, royal purple, majestic pink, quiet lavender violets, violets, everywhere.
One Thursday morning Curt (the Parsnip) called me and said, “Hey, Henry and Marguerite want us to come over, can you be ready in 20 minutes”? When we got there we had coffee and some treat or other and then Henry took Curt out to his large, beautiful garden to talk man things. Marguerite said, “I want to give you a violet, you always admire mine so”. I was thrilled beyond words. My own violet treasure. Read the rest of this entry