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Monday, June 23, 2008

Simple Living, High Thinking #4

For the week of June 16th-June 22nd, 2008

Oh, the fun and challenges that Mother Bhumi gives us. Here's what went down in the Dham this week...

What we got done
-With the seeds in the ground and the harvest far ahead, now is the time for careful cultivation. Hard to do when those darn groundhogs keep crawling in and chomping down on our hard work. We weedwhacked (more on that below) around the Garden of Seven Gates in order to clear out brush and weeds so that we can find exactly where the groundhog holes are. Once the holes are found, then various strategies (some highly classified) can be implemented. One such strategy is the laying of floating row cover over our beans and squash to deter and confuse the little furry ones. The Battle of the Groundhogs rages on!

Covering our stash from the groundhogs hands with floating row cover

-We'd like to welcome a few new arrivals to our garden team. HG Parama Karuna Prabhu and his wife Jackie, Bhakta Mike Miley from California, and Bhakta Patrick from Chicago. Please give them a warm hand for lending their hearts and hands to the inspiration of our seva.

Mike, chillin with his shovel

-Work has begun in earnest on our new pavilion in the Teaching Garden, which will host a first-class bread oven for the pleasure of all. Devotees this week began digging out the foundation for the new facilities, which will be based on a unique construction style based around the concept of the earthship. On that note, you will be definitely seeing us packing lots of dirt into lots of tires this week. Those with a desire to build some devotional muscles are welcome to help us out.

Dig that diggin

-In dirty hands news, we filled in some gaps up top at the Garden of Seven Gates in our green beans patch. The beans, tomatoes, peppers, and kale are all coming along very nicely, despite the groundhogs and inclement and inconsistent weather.

What we realized

And now, for something a little different

A stream-of-consciousness excerpt from the latest issue of Weedwacker's Digest, by Bhakta-Chris

The grass was high and so was the thinking. It was the latest phase of the year-The Battle of the Groundhogs. Cuddly little things. Sweet and innocent. But they didn't put in the sweat, the dirt. They didn't spend the hottest day of the year pounding posts into the deep, dark plastic which reflected all of the Sun's heat right into your face, into your soul. What makes them think they can just waltz into the Garden of Seven Gates and munch away on the tender, young peppers, the soon-to-be succulent summer squash. This meant war. The weedwacker was fired up.

Six hours. My hands vibrating. That unmistakable high-pitched sound. Onions. Wild onions. I began to smell like wild onions. Shards of weeds, flying at my face, hitting, stinging. War means sacrifice. After a little cussing even, the job was done. The fenceline was clear. I had flattened a large swath, like Arjuna mowing down the Kuru soldiers, behind the fence, into the forest, where those little buggers eat, sleep, mate, and defend. Let's just say they won't be having a midnight snack in the garden....we hope.

Amazingly, on my way out, I saw one of the little buggers chomping away on something leafy and green. I uttered a primal growl and chased after him. He squeezed through the fence and plopped down into his hole nearby. As I came up to the hole, he popped out for a second to say "nice race." I didn't have kind words in return. Some can't be printed here. He went back underground to do whatever he did. I put a cement block over his hole and hoped for the best. That is all we can do in a time of war. Hope for the best.

-We were graced this week by the presence of HH Sivarama Swami, who guides New Vraja Dham in Hungary, which is one of ISKCON's most successful farm communities. As befitting his sober and realized personality, he was very straightforward in saying that the restoring of the rural responibility ethic must be a key concern in our society of devotees at large, or we will fully miss the boat, and perhaps not be able to even provide for ourselves or for devotees in urban communities if the need may arise. Maharaja also gave practical advice and encouragement to a group of devotees who are planning to restore farm life at the Gita Nagari community. We hope to have a full transcript of the talk soon.

Please help us out! Your hands, heads, and hearts can help us restore Srila Prabhupada's vision of self-sufficency here at New Vrindaban Dham. We're out shining and even in the rain in the Teaching Garden across the street from the RVC Temple, or up the hill at the Garden of Seven Gates. See HG Tapahpunja Prabhu for all the details.

Click here for more info on the Small Farm Training Center.

Stay tuned for next week's update! Hari Haribol!

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