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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Simple Living, High Thinking #7

For the week of July 14th-20th, 2008

Grab a shovel, plow it into some dirt, and smash it into a tire. Then you'll know it's time for our weekly update on the Small Farm Training Center here at New Vrindaban Dham.

(Apologies for the late post this week. A heavy-duty lightning strike wiped out our servers for a few days.)

What we got done
-We would like to first welcome Jude and Kelly, our latest interns coming to us from Florida. They'll be joining us for two weeks to get a hands-on, dirt-and-all education in organic farming. They've already been blissfully harvesting away up top at the Garden of Seven Gates, bringing down some nice okra and chard. Tapahpunja Prabhu has been spending much quality time with them on the educational aspect, even giving them exams! Let's hope the essay questions weren't too tough.

-Our first crop of lettuce and chard was firmly uprooted and harvested. Certainly not the best batch, due to the wet weather, but by quantity there was surely enough quality. What has been harvested is appearing now in the salads during lunch prasad, and the surplus heads into town with Tapah to various soup kitchens in Wheeling.

HG Parampara Das of New Vrindaban enjoys the bliss of simple village life

-On that note, with the last real planting window of our season at hand, Tapah continued his efforts in order to get one last good crop of lettuce and chard before the main harvest, which is going to begin in the next few weeks. Tapah worked with his hands in this regard, hoping that the careful hand-planting will make a difference in getting the seeds to catch hold and sprout in a healthy way.

HG Vyapi Prabhu, with his good wife Rasa-Priya Gopi Devi Dasi, maintain the flower beds in front of the temple, to beautiful effect, but it is exhausting work.

-It's the talk of the town! Led by the efforts of Tom, devotees have been stacking tires and filling them with lots and lots of dirt, laying the foundation for the extension to our tool shed. Once finished (hopefully in the next few months) the extension will serve as a place for workshops, demonstrations, and nice, warm, fresh bread (courtesy of a bread oven).

"Smashing" dirt into tires is not as unscientific as it sounds. It requires a careful and determined meditation, avoiding the mode of passion to prevent getting tired or fried in the formidable heat. Because we are using the good'ol soil of West Virginia (full of rocks and clay and worms), the process takes a bit of time per tire: 30-60 minutes per tire (as opposed to sand, which would only take 15-20 minutes).

Also, as we have different sizes of tires we have gathered from local sources (from truck tires to smaller, ATV tires) it requires a steady check of leveling to make sure the foundations stays consistent, considering the whole building will go on top of it.

Tom and Chris, in the ecstasy of the "smashing" have been coming up with some pretty sure-fire ideas for the final product. We hope to open an organic pizzeria called "Pizza Punja" (heaps of pizza), with an all you-can eat salad bar (give em some scissors and tell em to pick whatever they want from the garden). Some ideas are more serious than others.

Next week we'll have a interview with Tom for ya, as he'll give the full details on what is going on and what is to be done with our workshop extension project.

Tom fixes Chris's croc, keeping it real by using a nut-and-bolt

What we learned
Actually, the delay in this week's blog was meant for us to hear a wonderful class this morning from HG Advaita Acarya Prabhu, who told us that we must flex our spiritual muscles by performing acts of tolerance, forgiveness, and gratitude. He said we should be inspired by the example of Mother Earth, who tolerates so much, and yet she still keeps on giving and giving us the life we live on.

Of course, this is no excuse to act the fool. We shouldn't let anyone trudge on us, and then blindly give away our most vital gifts. The Earth's compassion is based on a selfless love that is but a twinkle of Krsna's divine love, and we should respect and return the favor to our blue, globular Mother by appreciating her gifts and using them in a way that keeps the cycle going and growing.

Unfortunately, it seems as if it will take some kind of comfort-shaking crisis for us all to begin to realize that that we are giving our Mother Earth more than she can tolerate. When she reaches that point, which may certainly come sooner rather than later, she will let us know by her grace and will. But she will be quick to forgive and continue to give if we can show we are willing to continue on in a more respectful, organic, spiritual, natural, and dynamic way. We are laying the groundwork for this better future now by making our ideas come into practical reality.

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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