Monday, April 24, 2006

Dirty Girl

I’m so stinkin’ dirty. Spring means the dirtiest gardening work: digging and grubbing in the earth. I expect the dirty fingernails, but today, I went to the bathroom at work and discovered a big smear of filth on my bare calf. How can anyone take me seriously when I resemble Pigpen?

I refuse to wear garden gloves, so I constantly have dirt jammed beneath my fingernails and soiling my cuticles. I prefer my flip flops to garden clogs, so my toenails look no better. I actually ended up barefoot for a while yesterday because the wet grass made my flip flops to slick to stand in. Ever try to get dirt out of the rough spots on your hands and feet? I think my calluses are just naturally brown (or they are now). Kneeling in the dirt ensures that my knees and lower legs get nice and muddy. During the day, as I wipe away sweat and brush back errant hairs, I transfer the sticky clay from my hands to my face and neck. I’m pretty sure that I resemble some kind of mud monster with my dirt smeared body and crazy, humidity-frizzed hair.

I really don’t mind the dirt, as long as it stays in the garden. I try to hose off outside and always take my shoes off before stepping over the threshold. What I can’t wash away, I conceal, with closed toe shoes or dark nail polish. I hide my hands at work, and apply regular doses of cuticle oil, hoping to work the last bits of dirt out. In the end, though, I suppose I should wear my dirt proudly, as a gardening badge of honor. It’s just that it’s sort of embarrassing at the monthly staff meeting.


Blogger snappy said...

I dont wear gloves in the garden i like to feel the soil on my hands under my nails.I walk barefoot too somedays for the closeness of the ground to my skin.
When you sweat and wipe your brow you spread the mud!
Being close to the earth means you see the flowers leaves stems in close detail.
I touch leaves and flowers using touch as a sense to feel a plant.Some even smell after being brushed like lavender or rosemary.
Scent is another sense i use when i wander if flowers have scents.
Looking is another sense we all use, listening to the wind blowing and birds singing, insects buzzing.
keep on growing...

1:55 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Bare handed gardeners!
Celebrate it!

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from a few posts back -- what is the "real" name of shooting stars? Are they bulbs? Or are they just such early bloomers?

7:29 AM  
Blogger Takoma Gardener said...

Great post. And yeah, we're a glamorous bunch. I also find big smears of dirt when I'm supposed to be passing as clean. At work I know people are looking at my nails and judging me, and if people come inside my house in my busy season - spring, as you just noted - I just tell 'em I haven't been cleaning house lately. Can't hide the dirt, you know?

5:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I wear gloves only sporadically (usually when dealing with thorny shrubs or prickly weeds), so I have dirt under my nails a lot. I don't tend to garden barefoot, so I guess I don't worry about that too much.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

*nodding head in agreement*

I get the crazy mud woman look. That's usually when my husband runs out and asks if I want to go grocery shopping.

I HAVE to wear gloves. I have a weird texture issue. I can't stand the feel of dirt drying on my hands. I can't even handle chalk.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I read a post a few weeks' ago about how the bacteria in dirt was actually good for warding off depression. I think it was a post by

I kind of liked that thought so now I feel just fine about having dirt embedded in my nails. No one seems to notice although my fiddle teacher gave me a strange look on Wednesday and asked if I was already out working in my garden.

7:43 AM  

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