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Like rain, dirt is a good thing

From the Farm

October 12, 2012
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

I was feeling a little bit inadequate the other day.

Several rather large fuzz bunnies blew across the floor as I was giving Roger, the bearded dragon, his water and worms. I somewhat expect to have fuzz bunnies in that area of the house since the cats love hang out in that area. (Yes, I have another cat named Hector.) Who wouldn't love to have a personal hammock in front of an east facing window?

After Roger hissed at me like I was trying to harm him, against public warnings, I touched Roger and said, "Be nice."

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

I didn't wash my hands.

I was off to the laundry room to clean the litter box. On my way to this messy job, I turned around the gorgeous morning sun was starting to shine through my many east-facing windows. What was I thinking when I decided to put a ton of windows in my house during our remodel?

I observed many specks of dirt and dust.

I once had a friend of mine tell me that's why she keeps her curtains closed you can't see the dirty floors.

I may have to adopt that policy.

I cleaned both litter boxes and I didn't wash my hands.

As I mentioned earlier, I was feeling a tad bit inadequate because of the condition of my house. Who has time to keep her house spotless, much less wash her hands after every task? I was feeling about as low as that speck of dirt on my dining room floor.

Then my cell phone beeped telling me I had a message.

A friend had posted the story, Is it possible to be too clean? Researchers say yes.


One study found that Amish children raised on farms had fewer instances of allergies and asthma. The theory is that children that are exposed to dirt and microbes build up a bit of immunity.

According to the study, "exposure to pathogens that allow the immune system to become fine-tuned as it learns to differentiate between harmful and harmless irritants."

Neither Joey, Russell nor I suffer from allergies. Oh, my eyes get itchy once in a great while, but it's not bad enough that I have to run to the doctor. With our insurance policy, only extreme bleeding or an exposed bone warrants a visit to the doctor.

Steve has allergies, but he insists it's a cold. It's funny how that cold appears twice a year, every year, in the spring and the fall. He gets all congested and stuffy and yes, whiny. He doesn't go to the doctor either.

No blood; no doctor.

When I read that posted story, I thought of the ginormous fuzz bunnies on my living room floor. It was OK. In fact, maybe I should just leave them there to work their health benefits on my family.

Steve's going to be the first one to appreciate it!

Like rain, dirt is a good thing.

I always felt a bit guilty for not making my children wash their hands every time they grabbed an apple or other goodie from the snack drawer in my kitchen.

I remember asking them as they fed their face, "How can you eat with hands like that?"

They always assured me that it wasn't a problem. Who was I to argue? It was their choice.

I have a photo in one of my many albums. It's a picture I took one day during harvest many years ago. As a treat, I purchased a Happy Joe's pepperoni pizza and delivered it out to the field just south of Searles.

Joey, Russell, Steve and our nephew Mike were in heaven.

They are dirtier than a dung beetle living in a fresh cow pie and each one has a slice of pizza in their hand, a colorful stocking cap on and smiles that go from ear to ear. (It's a rather endearing photo!)

Little did they know they were super-boosting their immune systems.

Gosh, I am a good mother. I let them eat with dirty hands! I think I am going to go relish the fuzz bunny and build a sand castle with the dirt on my wood floor.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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