Skip to main content

Opps, I ate some bone meal!

I've been transitioning to the farm since Wednesday. I've left the beautiful guest house, where I tiptoed barefoot, folding delicate hospital corners on beds and delivering warm bread to Green Gulch's guests. Now, aesthetics are out the window! Our farm manager pointed this out from the ridge, where we stood at our first reservoir; the garden has neat, beautiful beds. We don't.


We cultivate approximately 10 acres of the 110 that houses G.G. We use a biodynamic/French intensive approach, which means planting close hexagonal patterns and using a lot of organic material for our soil ( 1/16 of the definition). Soil composition is our first objective! We don't use petro-chemicals and look to plant cover crops and use symbiotic relationships with bacteria and other organisms to lock nutrients into "bodies" and therefore stabilize those nutrients so they doesn't wash away. This looks like planting a cover crop of legumes, which pull in atmospheric nitrogen, and feed that nitrogen to bacteria on the roots, which then excrete nitrates into our soil. We're working toward a looped system of agriculture, one that won't require us to import nutrients for our land, like kelp or bone meal.



Our farm manager is amazing. Mother, wife, recent Shuso- She has a wealth of knowledge about farming, Zen, and life! She's direct, thorough, and has a sense of humor. I think that's what I like best about being here- I'm surrounded by these amazing people with extensive past lives- sports medicine doctors, Hungarian merchant marine captains, psychologists, musicians, artists- and all of us strive to live upright, side by side, filing into the Zendo every morning, under the watchful eye of the Ino, who reminds me of a mountain lion. Beautiful, but I'm not sure I want to do practice discussion with a mountain lion that is Ino...that's a protective mountain lion.



There are all kinds of silly mistakes to be made. The stories are oral, so I won't write them all here. But one unfortunate apprentice ate a hemlock carrot. Another set the field on fire while sneaking a smoke break. Me? I was thinning baby plants, found a lettuce out of place, and popped it in my mouth, breaking my vegetarian vow with big clump of bone meal!



Tasted like a fried fish eye. Not too bad.



Comments

  1. Great description of our first day. I was having trouble putting it into words. La dolce vita. Or "pura vida" as they say in Costa Rica.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love thorough, passionate gardening...dirt, I believe, is in our blood.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How To Become A Zen Monk (or die trying)

"Now, if you have decided to become a monk because you think that life in this world is too hard and bitter for you and you would prefer to rather live off other people's donations while drinking your tea - if you want to become a monk just to make a living, then the following is not for you." -Kosho Uchiyama
So you want to be a Zen monk or priest? Unsui, which means clouds and water? Good on ya. Me too. 
Having googled that very aspiration for the first time in 2003, I was convinced it was impossible. I'll admit I am as thick headed as they come. I was also resistant to meet some figure in a robe. I heard my father's voice when I begged him to get my fortune read in Jackson Square, New Orleans, "I'm not paying some fat asshole in a bathrobe to tell you lies." Instead, for the first four years of my Zen practice, I committed as little as possible to my local sangha, left when they started chanting, and never talked to the teacher. I was so unapproacha…

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…

Vows and Compass

Being in new Orleans reminds me that my way seeking mind ripened here. Maybe it was the level of maturity my father's recovery actualized. Maybe it was the Ben Wren book I found at Beaucoup Books on my lunch break. Maybe it was my step mom's copy of things fall apart by Pema Chodron sitting in the bathroom.

Later I would witness the host of suffering post-katrina offered to a young public school teacher. How could I help? I took my first set of vows not really knowing where they would lead, like the old black metal compass my dad put in my Christmas stocking when I was about ten. Beautiful to hold, difficult to understand.

Now, years later, I feel a bit subdued as form,sensation, perception, impulse, and thought tag everything, beckoning some purchase for the price of belief. I'm home, but a home leaver. People wonder when I'll move back and being a home leaver means being ready to leave home again and again, which could mean coming back.

How will I actually engage all…