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Cats And You: The Secret Healing Powers of Cats

Most people generally think that cats do nothing, are lazy and all they do is eat and sleep. Not so! Did you know that cats have a specific job to perform in your life? Did you ever wonder why so many people have cats nowadays, more so than dogs? Here's an unknown tip inside the secret life of cats...

How To Avoid Scams When Buying A Pet Online

How To Avoid Scams When Buying A Pet Online

For many people, the pandemic has been a lonely experience. Because of this, it might be tempting to go on the internet and look for a new animal companion.

6 Tips For Looking After Your New Puppy

6 Tips For Looking After Your New Puppy

The success of a long-term dog-owner relationship depends on building a good foundation. Here are six things every owner needs to know about looking after a puppy and developing a long-lasting relationship with their new best friend.

The Four Main Styles of Pet Communication

The Four Main Styles of Pet Communication

Our pets are constantly interacting on the subtle level, directing data at you while picking up messages from you. Most likely, you’ve been relatively unaware of exactly how much intuitive communicating is already occurring between you and your pet. Understanding...

Cats With Round Faces and Big Eyes Might Be Cute, But You Can't Tell How They're Feeling

Cats With Round Faces and Big Eyes Might Be Cute, But You Can't Tell How They're Feeling

For decades, humans have been selectively breeding cats and dogs to exhibit exaggerated features – particularly in their faces. When it comes to cats, the very flat, round faces of the modern Persian and Exotic Shorthair are classic examples. While it might be cute for humans to look at, there are various downsides for the animals when it comes to looking this way.

Three Ways Our View Of Animals Shapes Our Connection To Them

Three Ways Our View Of Animals Shapes Our Connection To Them

One of the consequences of the current coronavirus pandemic is that it has brought us face-to-face with our own mortality. Not only are we vulnerable to disease, but we can also share diseases with other animals.

Canine and Able: How Dogs Made Us Human

Canine and Able: How Dogs Made Us Human

Anthropologist Pat Shipman, in an issue of American Scientist, suggests dogs gave our human ancestors an advantage over Neanderthals when they arrived in Europe.

Magnetic Induction Cooking Can Cut Your Kitchen's Carbon Footprint

Magnetic Induction Cooking Can Cut Your Kitchen's Carbon Footprint

To curb climate change, many experts have called for a massive shift from fossil fuels to electricity. The goal is to electrify processes like heating homes and powering cars, and then generate the increased electrical power needs using low- or zero-carbon sources like wind, solar and hydropower.

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Happy And Likes You?

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Happy And Likes You?

The things you see your cat doing are probably what it enjoys. As long as it gets the chance to do these things then your cat is probably happy. Providing lots of toys to play with is a great way to keep your cat happy, especially if it’s a kitten.

Why Suburbs Are Becoming Increasingly Diverse

Why Suburbs Are Becoming Increasingly Diverse

Historically, suburbs have been considered as places which are less diverse than cities, particularly with regard to their racial and social class composition.

Animals Teach Us Spirituality and Heighten Our Capacity for Love and Joy

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That animals touch us in a deep, central place is not a modern-day phenomenon, but one that pervades the history of the human-animal relationship. We sense that we can benefit spiritually in our relationship with animals, and we are right. They offer us something fundamental: a direct and immediate sense of both the joy and wonder of creation.

It's Not About the Horse: The Horse Is A Mirror

It's Not About the Horse: The Horse Is A Mirror

If you want to deal with your demons, it's appropriate to make a pit stop at a place as hot as hell -- Tucson, Arizona, in the summertime. It's 100-plus degrees right now -- with dark, ominous clouds erasing the Santa Catalina mountaintops in the distance...

How Geese Know How To Fly South For The Winter

How Geese Know How To Fly South For The Winter

To be ready to migrate in the fall, geese start preparing in midsummer. Babies born in the spring are mostly grown up by then. Adult geese grow a new set of plumage after shedding their old feathers...

Is Bar Soap As Gross As Millennials Say?

Is Bar Soap As Gross As Millennials Say?

Mask-wearing has divided the country, but hand-washing – one might think – is something virtually everyone would agree on.

10 Tips For Avoiding Scams When Shopping Online

10 Tips For Avoiding Scams When Shopping Online

The holiday season is already a booming time for online shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic increases the likelihood that when people shop this holiday season, they will choose online shopping over brick-and-mortar stores.

Dogs Never Lie About Love and Happiness

Dogs Never Lie About Love and Happiness

Can anything be as joyous as a dog? Bounding ahead, crashing into the bushes while out on a walk, happy, happy, happy. Conversely, can anything be as disappointed as a dog when you say, "No, we are not going for a walk"? Pure joy, pure disappointment.

Why Wasps Become So Annoying At The End Of Summer

Why Wasps Become So Annoying At The End Of Summer

The sausages are sizzling, the burgers browned, and the beer is cold. You’re all set for the perfect end-of-summer BBQ. Alfresco dining, drinks in a garden of a country pub, ice-creams... And then an unwanted visitor arrives.

4 Reasons for Urban Farming to Flourish, Post-Pandemic

4 Reasons Urban Farming Should Flourish Post-Pandemic

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Honey Bees Stay Healthy In Such Close Quarters

Honey Bees Stay Healthy In Such Close Quarters

As many states and cities across the U.S. struggle to control COVID-19 transmission, one challenge is curbing the spread among people living in close quarters.

How Open Windows Help Stop The Spread Of Coronavirus

How Open Windows Help Stop The Spread Of Coronavirus

Over 200 scientists, including myself, signed a letter that was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases on July 6 2020 saying that COVID is not only spread by touch and droplets sprayed from the mouth and nose but, importantly, via a third route too.

Why We Shouldn't Blame Cats For Destroying Wildlife

Why We Shouldn't Blame Cats For Destroying Wildlife

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The Role of Animals in Our Lives

The Role of Animals in Our Lives

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Animal Perspectives on the Corona Virus

Animal Perspectives on the Corona Virus

In this post, I share a few of the communications and transmissions from some of the non-human wisdom teachers I’ve connected with about our global situation, and in particular, the crucible of the novel corona virus in our human experience.

Awakening to the Miraculous Results of Energy Healing

Awakening to the Miraculous Results of Energy Healing

By the standards set by modern medicine, healing shouldn’t work. However, we know that it does. We don’t quite understand how or why, but when we witness the miraculous results of simply the laying-on of hands, of herbal remedies or of...

How To Manage Plant Pests And Diseases In Your Victory Garden

How To Manage Plant Pests And Diseases In Your Victory Garden

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How To Make Your House And Garden More Tranquil

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Some Gardening Advice from Indigenous Food Growers

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Why More People Are Living In Tiny Houses

Why More People Are Living In Tiny Houses

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The Impulse To Garden In Hard Times Has Deep Roots

The Impulse To Garden In Hard Times Has Deep Roots During coronavirus lockdowns, gardens have served as an escape from feelings of alienation. Richard Bord/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has set off a global gardening boom.

In the early days of lockdown, seed suppliers were depleted of inventory and reported “unprecedented” demand. Within the U.S., the trend has been compared to World War II victory gardening, when Americans grew food at home to support the war effort and feed their families.

The analogy is surely convenient. But it reveals only one piece in a much bigger story about why people garden in hard times. Americans have long turned to the soil in moments of upheaval to manage anxieties and imagine alternatives. My research has even led me to see gardening as a hidden landscape of desire for belonging and connection; for contact with nature; and for creative expression and improved health.

These motives have varied across time as growers respond to different historical circumstances. Today, what drives people to garden may not be the fear of hunger so much as hunger for physical contact, hope for nature’s resilience and a longing to engage in work that is real.

Why Americans garden

Prior to industrialization, most Americans were farmers and would have considered it odd to grow food as a leisure activity. But as they moved into cities and suburbs to take factory and office jobs, coming home to putter around in one’s potato beds took on a kind of novelty. Gardening also appealed to nostalgia for the passing of traditional farm life.

For black Americans denied the opportunity to abandon subsistence work, Jim Crow-era gardening reflected a different set of desires.

In her essay “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,” Alice Walker recalls her mother tending an extravagant flower garden late at night after finishing brutal days of field labor. As a child, she wondered why anyone would voluntarily add one more task to such a difficult life. Later, Walker understood that gardening wasn’t just another form of labor; it was an act of artistic expression.

Particularly for black women relegated to society’s least desirable jobs, gardening offered the chance to reshape a small piece of the world in, as Walker put it, one’s “personal image of Beauty.”

This isn’t to say that food is always a secondary factor in gardening passions. Convenience cuisine in the 1950s spawned its own generation of home-growers and back-to-the-land movements rebelling against a mid-century diet now infamous for Jell-O mold salads, canned-food casseroles, TV dinner and Tang.

For millennial-era growers, gardens have responded to longings for community and inclusion, especially among marginalized groups. Immigrants and inner-city residents lacking access to green space and fresh produce have taken up “guerrilla gardening” in vacant lots to revitalize their communities.

The Impulse To Garden In Hard Times Has Deep Roots An immigrant tends his plot at the South Central Community Farm in Los Angeles. David McNew/Getty Images

In 2011, Ron Finley – a resident of South Central L.A. and self-identified “gangsta gardener” – was even threatened with arrest for installing vegetable plots along sidewalks.

Such appropriations of public space for community use are often seen as threats to existing power structures. Moreover, many people can’t wrap their heads around the idea that someone would spend time cultivating a garden but not reap all of the rewards.

When reporters asked Finley if he were concerned that people would steal the food, he replied, “Hell no I ain’t afraid they’re gonna steal it, that’s why it’s on the street!”

Gardening in the age of screens

Since the lockdown began, I’ve watched my sister Amanda Fritzsche transform her neglected backyard in Cayucos, California, into a blooming sanctuary. She has also gotten into Zoom workouts, binged on Netflix and joined online happy hours. But as the weeks stretch into months, she seems to have less energy for those virtual encounters.

Gardening, on the other hand, has overtaken her life. Plantings that started out back have expanded around the side of the house, and gardening sessions have stretched later into the evening, when she sometimes works by headlamp.

When I asked about her new obsession, Amanda kept returning to her unease with screen time. She told me that virtual sessions gave a momentary boost, but “there’s always something missing … an empty feeling when you log off.”

Many can probably sense what’s missing. It’s the physical presence of others, and the opportunity to use our bodies in ways that matter. It’s the same longing for community that fills coffee shops with fellow gig workers and yoga studios with the heat of other bodies. It’s the electricity of the crowd at a concert, the students whispering behind you in class.

And so if the novel coronavirus underscores an age of distancing, gardening arises as an antidote, extending the promise of contact with something real. My sister talked about this, too: how gardening appealed to the whole body, naming sensory pleasures like “hearing song birds and insects, tasting herbs, the smell of dirt and flowers, the warm sun and satisfying ache.” While the virtual world may have its own ability to absorb attention, it is not immersive in the way gardening can be.

But this season, gardening is about more than physical activity for the sake of activity. Robin Wallace, owner of a photo production business in Camarillo, California, noted how the lockdown made her professional identity “suddenly irrelevant” as a “non-essential” worker. She went on to point out a key benefit of her garden: “The gardener is never without a purpose, a schedule, a mission.”

As automation and better algorithms make more forms of work obsolete, that longing for purpose gains special urgency. Gardens are a reminder that there are limits to what can be done without physical presence. As with handshakes and hugs, one cannot garden through a screen.

You might pick up skills from YouTube, but, as gardening icon Russell Page once wrote, real expertise comes from directly handling plants, “getting to know their likes and dislikes by smell and touch. ‘Book learning’ gave me information,” he explained, “but only physical contact can give any real … understanding of a live organism.”

Filling the void

Page’s observation suggests a final reason why the coronavirus pandemic has ignited such a flurry of gardening. Our era is one of profound loneliness, and the proliferation of digital devices is only one of the causes. That emptiness also proceeds from the staggering retreat of nature, a process underway well before screen addiction. The people coming of age during the COVID-19 pandemic have already witnessed oceans die and glaciers disappear, watched Australia and the Amazon burn and mourned the astonishing loss of global wildlife.

Perhaps this explains why stories of nature’s “comeback” are continually popping up alongside those gardening headlines. We cheer at images of animals reclaiming abandoned spaces and birds filling skies cleared of pollution. Some of these accounts are credible, others dubious. What matters, I think, is that they offer a glimpse of the world as we wish it could be: In a time of immense suffering and climate breakdown, we are desperate for signs of life’s resilience.

My final conversation with Wallace offered a clue as to how this desire is also fueling today’s gardening craze. She marveled at how life in the garden continues to “spring forth in our absence, or even because of our absence.” Then she closed with an insight at once “liberating” and “humiliating” that touches on hopes reaching far beyond the nation’s backyards: “No matter what we do, or how the conference call goes, the garden will carry on, with or without us.”

About The Author

Jennifer Atkinson, Senior Lecturer, Environmental Studies, University of Washington

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Using Basic Feng Shui for Your Health, Prosperity, and Happiness

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Karmic Animal Connection: From Attachment to Detachment

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How to Live with More Than One Dog

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Living with more than one dog can be a rewarding experience. Dogs love the company of other dogs. Knowing how to prevent problems and teaching dogs how to share resources so they do not bully each other, or pester you, is pivotal to having a harmonious...

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Here Are Some Tips For Feeding Wild Birds The Right Way

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Millions of Americans enjoy feeding and watching backyard birds. Many people make a point of putting food out in winter, when birds needs extra energy, and spring, when many species build nests and raise young.

8 Things We Do That Really Confuse Our Dogs

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Dog behaviour is extraordinarily flexible – this is why we can keep them in our homes and take them to cafes with us at the weekend.

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