December 2008


While I was visiting Laxmi Honest in Florida she gave me some pictures of when a lot of devotees had visited her home in Meadeville, Pennsylvania, in 1987.

A couple of ashrams of boys were visiting for a week. A women and a men’s sankirtan parties stopped by as well as Radhanath Swami.  As the winter gets deeper and I have energy, I will be posting more from that occasion but for a little taste here is one with Hladini dancing in a  kirtan.

I think Hladini pictures are a bit rare so hopefully this is a treat for her fans.

hladini-1987

This is the woman’s party. Pictured are Lalita Kundi, Hladini, Rati Manjari, and Jyotistoma dds.

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You believe in Santa Claus.

You don’t believe in Santa Claus.

You are Santa Claus.

You look like Santa Claus.

My friend from Asia has powers and magic, he plucks a blue leaf from the young
blue-gum
And gazing upon it, gathering and quieting
The God in his mind, creates an ocean more real than the ocean, the salt, the actual
Appalling presence, the power of the waters.
He believes that nothing is real except as we make it. I humbler have found in my
blood
Bred west of Caucasus a harder mysticism.
Multitude stands in my mind but I think that the ocean in the bone vault is only
The bone vault’s ocean: out there is the ocean’s;
The water is the water, the cliff is the rock, come shocks and flashes of reality. The
mind
Passes, the eye closes, the spirit is a passage;
The beauty of things was born before eyes and sufficient to itself; the heartbreaking
beauty
Will remain when there is no heart to break for it.

I didn’t get to the computer yesterday as it hit 67 deg (19 C) and so used what energy I had available  outside doing some belated fall cleanup. I also chopped some cook stove wood and wheelbarrowed that to the kitchen porch stash and also refilled the basement stove wood bin, which is about a face cord of wood in each location.  We have the main wood pile but on good dry days refill the stash by each stove so it is more convenient.

Tulasi went up on the roof and cleaned both stove pipes. It is recommended to check your stove pipes monthly and clean as required, so we do this a few times a season even though we burn cured, dry wood and let the fire roar for at least a half hour a day even when it isn’t needed.

I am behind on the trip postings. One thing I learned: bring your own USB cable along if you want to post pictures on the road at others’ computers.

Here are some pics from Alachua. “Go” in Sanskrit means both cow and land, ergo the title as this is about cows and living close to the land.

The first thing I saw on entering the temple property was this array of solar panels, showing someone has the right idea.

alachua-solar-panels

They were installed for Y2K and aren’t currently working because the batteries got old and are very expensive to replace.  They are investigating net metering, where instead of using batteries you feed excess electricity back into the grid and get credit.  Apparently Gainesville has just passed a very workable net metering law but Alachua is just outside their jurisdiction so it will take a little more work to get it set up.

Nearby is an old cane mill that rust tells me hasn’t been used for some time but will come in handy if anyone ever decides to do cane or sorghum.

alachua-cane-press

The temple has gardens, mostly greens and brassicas this time of year. We saw Shanka (winters in Alachua, summers in NV) and he was planting a succession crop of broccoli and cauliflower.

alachua-winter-garden

There is a flea market type deal at the Sunday feast with devotees selling prasadam, books  and crafts.  There was one devotee selling produce whose name I have spaced out.  He was the one devotee at Alachua I could relate to the most as I used to do farmer’s markets so we had a nice bit of shop talk.

alachua-market-gardener

I didn’t get invited to see any private gardens but Kapila said he had about a hundred fruit trees on his property so I assume others have gardens also.

Vidya was joking that we could come down one winter and plant a gourd crop. Then we could go there the next winter and craft the gourds (it takes a year from planting to have a cured gourd) and spend the winter planting the next crop and selling crafted gourds.

We ran into an old New Vrindaban devotee, Jagannath, at the Sunday program.  He lives in Alachua now and cares for 20 cows that are protected by an individual devotee whose name I didn’t catch (see a pattern with the names?).

alachua-tulasi-with-dexters

Here is Tulasi being checked out by the cows. When we went and saw the cows  Jagannath wasn’t there, but I am guessing they are Dexters, an old heritage breed.

The temple also has 20 cows.

alachua-old-ox

This group was the old oxen.  While we got a skewed version of Alachua as two busloads of young people were gone on a trip to Mexico (unfortunately for Tulasi), it does have kind of an old, retired vibe about the place, and these guys exemplified it.

If I had Photoshop and knew how to use it, I would stick my image into this photo and feel quite comfortable about looking at it.

We are home and the trip is officially over.

I had a great idea for a blog post but didn’t put the energy into developing it.

If I had, I would have posted it here.

Just thought you’d like to know.

We are leaving Laxmi and Dave’s this morning so we are officially on the return trip. We are going to take a different route home for the first part of the journey.

We are going up the Gulf Coast an hour to another beach then crossing over to the Atlantic Coast where we will take Route A1A which goes up the barrier island so we will be at a beach whenever we feel like taking a a break.

We have a fire stacked in the woodstove so all we need is a match when we get back because the house is going to be cold.

Checked the weather at home and the day after we arrive home the forecast is for a 50+ deg F (10 C) day so apparently Krishna is having mercy on us so we can transition back into the cold.

We will be home in plenty of time for our New Year’s Eve party so keep that in your plans.

After arriving from Alachua yesterday I spent today building up a need for aloe vera to avert the sunburn I would have otherwise acquired on a Gulf Coast beach in Florida.  Endless clear sky over ocean to the horizon.  Watching the pelicans fish and every time they  dove in and struck a sea gull was right by them waiting to steal or cop a remnant.

No card reader or correct size USB cable here at Dave and Laxmi Honest’s but hopefully I will have a few pics once home. Ate oranges from the back yard for breakfast and donuts bought at the Sunday feast at Alachua temple from Tamohara’s stand. Don’t be fooled by his day job(s), his avocation is donuts.

Before the Gulf coast we were  in Alachua. We arrived there Saturday evening and had dinner at Sabjimata’s. Read one version of events here, including menu.

Sunday morning went to Greeting the Deities at the temple, and the first devotees I saw were Kapila and Puskar, former New Vrindaban residents, so got to shoot the breeze with them.

More on Alachua later, just a short update today so no one thinks I died recently.

Two and a half year old Sydney arrived with Manjari and 5 year old Deva Gracie drove in with Clint and Vraja so we doing the family thing.

Not recommended for preaching programs but we have been playing Apples to Apples which is a game based completely on subjectivity so you learn about people and pass time. An alternative family fun thing to TV.

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