The fencing project has been on hold for the last 4 days. One day I spent at the temple giving moral support to Soma and Hari Bhakta while they were planting berries and now three days of rain.

Most of the deer wire is hung and stretched  but it still needs lots of staples, it is just tension from the braced end posts holding it up.  I have three gates to make, two of which are covered by makeshift means currently, leaving the one by the house still open, but this time of year the deer have plenty soft new grasses to eat so don’t come in close other than when passing through and the fencing already up will cut off their journey. Plus we have to staple up the rabbit fencing around the bottom but that is only 28″(.71 m) high and welded construction so no stretching will be involved.

I will get back on that horse again tomorrow.

The berry planting went well.  Soma went out before breakfast and had already spread the compost and rock phosphate before I even got there.  Hari Bhakta had come out also and even his 10 year old son Gopal made a cameo appearance.

The berries are planted in the garden of 7 Gates, so there was no need to cage them as they are inside a deer fence already.  Soma was remarking what a relief that was after planting 33 nut trees out in deer country around the Temple grounds and having to individually cage all of them.

Tapahpunjah came with his tractor mounted 3 point hitch rotovator and tilled up a 5′ (1.5 m) by 150′(46 m) stretch of ground. This is just below where the current terraces are that he uses for annual vegetables.  It is a little too steep for making wide enough terraces for his production methods but a narrow terrace is just fine for a single row of berries.

After he worked it up, we went along the bottom edge and used a shovel to throw up the loose dirt.  Then we used a rake to pull the loose dirt from the upper edge down.  This resulted in a level terrace to catch rain water.  I emphasized making an exaggerated lip on the lower side of the bed so it will catch water. It needs to be exaggerated because the earth is softer deeper there when finished and thus will settle more, so to have a subtle lip in the end it has to be a little bigger initially.

Holes still had to be dug as the tiller didn’t go deep enough in order to have room for the berries roots, and more compost and phosphate were added into the holes.

First we measured along and put stakes where each hole would be dug, allowing for different spacing for the different types of berries. Then once the digging started it flowed without having to interrupt the rhythm by measuring each spacing individually.

I brought the most important tool for myself for when the heavy work starts — a folding camp chair. My main function was to chatter along inanely to keep Soma and Hari Bhakta’s minds off the rigors of their toils.

After the 10 gooseberries, 3 shizandra berries, and 4 elderberries were in, Soma hauled water in his truck and we gave them all more than  5 gallons of water per each to settle the soil in around them.

As we were finishing the last of them, it was starting to rain and we headed back to the temple just in time to catch the end of the Sunday Feast.  There is still room on the terrace for the 8 goji berries yet to come, but that is for another day.

While planting the berries, we were envisioning where we could put a lot more terraces on the slope by these’uns, easily room for a couple of hundred more. Hopefully others will be inspired to finance or do hands on work getting them planted. If we could do 30-50 more per year in a few years it would be a lot of berries for Krishna and His guests.

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