It’s been a very busy month. Spring is finally here, and we are planting away. Your presence is always welcome, but particularly the weekend of May 9-10 when we’re putting up fences for the berries, and May 11, 12 and thereafter, when we actually plant the orchard and berries with the guidance of the Ecological Gardens permaculture teachers.
We are now in our first Zen practice period. For the past two weeks three of us have been sitting morning and evening, eating and working together, and living as sangha. Federico went on yesterday to visit Sanshinji and other American sanghas, while Ki remains for another month and then also goes to visit other Zen communities. Although I’ve sat sesshin here before, having three people for the entire five days was wonderful – and a first. (We did have work periods, getting ready for orchard installation work.)
Last weekend we had a whole bunch of people working here, mostly volunteers. We hand dug near the power lines in the future berry patch area, and rototilled the rest – including borrowing a new rototiller when the first borrowed one had trouble. We moved fencing to be ready for the next work weekend, saved sod for future uses, bought a lawn tractor and mowed where needed…. On Monday the professionals came, laid out contour lines and strip tilled in keyline designs, in both the orchard area (east field) and the berry area. Tuesday we started seeding, ordered new seeds, created a water wagon with a pump (after trying gravity feed – and that’s wholly thanks to Ki’s creativity). Wednesday we finished the water wagon, did a bit more seeding, and today as I write Ki is watering and seeding. The seeds are clover under the trees and berries, and a pollinator mix in the buffer strips.
The next projects (should you wonder) will include putting up fences around the berry areas, planting orchard trees inside tree tube protectors, planting berries, and planting native-plant buffer strips which will grow into deer barriers.
Meanwhile, we’ve been eating great food – Ki and I have different recipes for nettle soup, both wonderful – and loving watching people fall in love with the land and work.
Personally, today is the tenth anniversary of my ordination as a Buddhist priest – called shukke tokudo, homeleaving. It seems like I’ve always been thus. Gratitude wells up at being able to practice with spiritual friends, both Zen and other.
Much warmth and respect to you all.