Be Safe, Egg Calories, Low-cal Chocolate, Lent Lilies, Sow Shells & Dyed Out

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 15th April 2017

Be Safe

I make no apologies for repeating this warning each year – please take care in the garden over this weekend.   It is the first time back in the garden since last autumn for many and enthusiasm and obligation often outweigh ability at the start of the season.

A nurse friend tells me that is also the busiest time of the year and Accident and Emergency departments as a result of gardening accidents, from allergic reactions to severed digits and a whole range of things in between so take your time, take breaks and take care.

Go to Work on an Egg

A recent report stated that every child in the UK receives an average of 8.8 Easter eggs each year – double their recommended calorie intake for a whole week. Bearing this in mind, it will probably be a good idea to get them to help you in the garden to burn some of those calories off.

If you use a manual mower you’ll burn 3.8 calories per minute if you weight 125 lbs, 4.6 calories per minute if you weigh 150 lbs or 5.2 calories per minute if you weigh 175 lbs, according to “The Calorie Counter,” by Karen J Nolan and Jo-Ann Heslin. That compares to 3.4 calories per minute if you weigh 125 lbs, 4.1 calories per minute if you weigh 150 lbs or 4.7 calories per minute if you weigh 175 lbs. when using a power lawnmower.

If your lawn mowing job takes a half hour and you use a manual mower, that translates to 114 burned calories for a 125-lb. person, 138 burned calories for a 150-lb. person and 156 calories for a 175-lb. person. Using a power mower for a half-hour translates to 102 burned calories for a 125-lb. person, 123 burned calories for a 150-lb. person and 141 calories for a 175-lb. person.

To put all that in perspective, a Cadbury’s crème egg contains 177 calories. I’ll leave that thought with you.

Calorie-free Chocolate

Bearing the horrific calorific aspect of Easter, why not give a plant as a present instead. Apparently, the average household spends £75 on Easter treats, so that money could get a lovely lot of new plants for the garden. And you burn calories planting them! One of my recommendations for an Easter gift would be the Chocolate cosmos which smells like chocolate (though is not edible) Cosmos atrosanguineus ‘Dark Secret’ has fabulous, large rich velvety-maroon-to-almost-black, chocolate-scented flowers which open over a very long period from early summer right into the frosts of autumn. ‘Spellbound’ has the same chocolatey scent but a more reddish bloom.

Lent Lilies

Spring flowers are also associated with Easter, and although daffodils will have been blooming in our gardens for a while, it is still nice to receive a bunch of ‘sunshine’ to brighten up a windowsill indoors. The beautiful little wild daffodil is also known as the Lent Lily since it often blooms and fades within the Lenten.

Sow Shells

Staying with Easter eggs-amples, how about putting real eggshells to good use too? Get little green fingers to sow annual flower seeds in used eggshells filled with compost, let them germinate in an egg tray on a window sill and then crush the shell and plant the little root ball (complete with crushed shell) out in the garden once the frosts have passed.

Dyed Out

In 2012, half the states in the United States banned the dyeing of chicks on Easter to stop eggs being punctured with a hypodermic needle and a coloured dye injected when the chick was in its 11th to 14th day of incubation. The egg was then resealed with melted wax and the chick incubated until it hatched.

Shockingly, the chicks were bought and exchanged as Easter gifts and novelties. Florida overturned this law in 2013 but following a huge outcry, it was soon reinstated to prevent the dyeing of animals under the age of 12 weeks and especially chicks and rabbits for Easter.

Today, dyeing chicks for Easter in Florida can land you in jail for 60 days.

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