Circles. I am going in circles. And more circles- spinning, dodging, dancing. Stopping now so quickly the stomach keeps going while the backbone wonders where his neighbor went. Backing up, going forward, missing some things. Ouch— nailing others. Crawling, when possible , over Mother Nature’s booby traps of grassed over left over tree roots. Ahhh, there lies Grace incarnate – a straight shot with no obstacles, only grass on Hawaiian steroids begging for a haircut.
It has been an afternoon in the orchards on the Husquavarna ZTR mower. ( ZTR= zero turn radius= extremely nimble and efficient = above described mowing gymnastics.)
Just down the street from the Sanctuary ( Da Love Ananda Mahal Renunciate Sanctuary for any welcome newbies to this LIP) is the “140 Property”, which although isn’t physically connected to the original Sanctuary, is considered and feels very much a part of it. It is eleven acres on which sits an extremely humble 900 sq. ft. home that is the staff house for we who serve the Sanctuary full-time ( me in particular). It also doubles as a retreat house for those who make pilgrimage across the Big Waters to drop out on retreat here at Da Love Ananda Mahal. As you can imagine, a 900 square foot house does not take up a lot of space, leaving a helluva lot room for —-trees, lots and lots of young, reaching for the sky trees of many varieties. Mango, macadamia, cherry, grapefruit, avocado, papaya…… on and on. And gardens….gardens where kale, chard, bok-choy, basil and squash, yard long beans and dandelion greens keep company with zinnias and gardenias, marigolds and orchids. And of course there is a healthy volunteer force of of weeds, rebellious grass and hungry bugs.
One would think there is a battalion of young, strapping transplanted mid western corn huskers out there, making all this happen. Boy, you got that one wrong. It is the “A” team of Vern, Jennifer and Jim. Vern is 83. Jim is 73, and Jennifer is younger, not sure exact;y how much younger, but I can assure you she is not texting on her Iphone while skate boarding in the banana patch. These three are amazing and I have to sing their praises loud and clear. Even if mowing around all the stuff they planted is a colossal pain in the butt.
Jim is big into “no till” gardening. He started working the earth behind the house about five years ago, wanting to experiment and prove his theories of how the tropical soil can be built and brought to fertility without amendments and tilling. He is of the persuasion that tilling does more long-term harm than good and is actually a disruptive force in what can be a more natural cycle. I don’t know. I mean, I mow lawns for crying out loud. And paint. But I know I do enjoy and am grateful for the rewards of his endless labor in the gardens, as I go out every morning and pick vibrant organic greens for the day. He rides a little putt-putt scooter to and fro. Aaron and I want to get him a black leather jacket with a big nasty skull and cross-bones on it. Emblazoned beneath that would be the words: ” NO TILL“. Maybe for his birthday. Jim doesn’t get a lot of help in the gardens. His wife Christine, helps out from time to time, heroically weeding out unwanted intruders. Jim’s passion is his service.
He has a blog site where he shares his theories and his considerable knowledge of gardening: http://notillgardening.com/
Vern is a miracle. He is a retired Boeing engineer. He had a serious brain anurism two years ago at 81 years of age. He shouldn’t be here. But he is. And with a weed whacker in his hands to prove it. He and his intimate partner Jennifer, have between the two of them, cleared some very gnarly property, dug too many holes to count, grew seedlings, bought, begged ,and stole saplings, and planted what I call our “foodular IRA”.
Vern most likely won’t be around to enjoy the full fruits of his labor. Jennifer will, barring any comets in 2012 or other unforeseen ill-humored universal events. They too have been working the 140 Property for the last four years or so. It is indeed a labor of love. There are now well over three hundred trees planted. Some won’t make it. They know that and so overplant to compensate. Most if not all are two or more years from really being independent and not needing so much work. But for now they are like a so many baby birds, mouths open and wings fluttering for mom and dad’s giving care and attention. Jennifer isn’t a socialite. Doesn’t drive. Doesn’t really like to be in the same room with a lot of people. She suspiciously wasn’t around for a photo-op. But she sure loves Vern, definitely loves trees and devotedly takes good care of them. This is a good thing.
Aaron and I are the “B” team and show up periodically to mow our lemus off. Otherwise you know what happens here. It sure looks good when it is done. Some people count their blessings amidst such beauty. I count my fillings to make sure they’re all still there……. It is indeed a vibrational universe in more ways than one.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,