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Living with the Seasons

 

The clear skies, warm, sunny days have seamlessly merged into sleepy, overcast, drizzly days. For many, it may be that the carefree spirit of summer is over and “real life” begins again. It would seem to be gloomy news, but here at the farm, I feel quite the opposite. Now, the sudden burst of sun through the rare opening in the sky offers the most magical dazzle of color all around, reflecting in the red-orange trees, the young grasses, and freshly mulched garden beds. The rain brings a feeling of a second spring, where berries, herbs and weeds give a final spurt of productivity. I especially appreciate the quiet mornings after the routinely hustle bustle of outward summer life; we can now regain our center to reflect and create. This is the result of living with the seasons. As Mother Earth prepares to embrace the winter, she becomes more dormant; we too are in harmony and follow her lead.

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Our farm is going into rejuvenation phase: we are layering the manure and wood chip mulch onto the garden beds; the early sunset gives us time to be indoors in the evening to focus on herbal products, knitting, crocheting, spinning, and all the things we love to do but never had the time in the summer; the chickens are molting, putting on new feathers in preparation for the winter; a few building projects are underway, including a goat shed, a bungalow, and eventually a dedicated temple (still in the planning stages); we are attending classes and gathering knowledge in anticipation of another growing season. Sharon, recently completed a five day training at the Seed Academy at Seven Seeds Farm. Zach, Hailey and I are a part of the Raja Yoga classes at the Bothell Ananda Temple. Stanley took an eye-opening trip to visit Ithaca College. Dakshina is taking spiritual counseling class and has become an active participant of the yoga classes offered on Camano Island led by Sharon. We have all branched out to share our experiences with one another. Also, the farm team has launched into Tuesday satsangs with our spiritual guide Hriman, giving us inspiration and bliss to carry with us throughout the week.

The potatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, onions, garlic, apples and first small harvest of dry beans are safely stored, to be our main staples for the winter. The cans of apple sauce, pear sauce, plum sauce, tomato sauce and jams, frozen cider and berries, and jars of sauerkraut will keep us nourished and happy. I have never felt so excited to move into the colder wet season.

Enjoy this slideshow that wraps up the season! Bountiful Harvest Season

May everyone stay warm and happy through the beautiful winter!

 

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On Ananda Farms

One week on the farm and I feel like I’ve lived here forever! it’s amazing how I am constantly reminded of the abundance of nature and the gift of life with blooming flowers, ripening fruit, luscious greens, and happy animals around. IMG_0704

I feel so blessed everyday, walking through the vibrant lavender field buzzing with bees like the sound of aum on my way to harvest sweet peas, zucchinis, kale greens, fava beans or anything that’s ready for the Farmer’s markets or CSA. A few of the highlights last week include helping to make Ananda Farm’s signature Prana salad mix filled greens, herbs and edible flowers,

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Mixing the nasturtiums into the Prana Mix

running down the driveway with energetic Olive the black puppy, searching for eggs in the chicken coop, learning how to distill lavender for hydrosol and essential oil, weaving lavender wands, slashing spiky thistles to be mulched back to the soil, cooking and eating the freshly picked vegetables and berries, and peaceful sadhana early in the morning. We do so much everyday; time just flies by! We get into the zone of what we’re doing and often don’t realize how much time has passed and we end up calling it “farm-time.” I’ve been collapsing into bed every night with a smile in my heart.

Aside from the farm activities and chores, Peony and I were head chefs for Farm Supper, an evening open for 30 guest to come tour and enjoy the farm with a four course dinner made of fresh farm produce.

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Farm Supper menu and delicious dessert

I have found that the way of life here is simple and meaningful. As Yogananda said, “Simplicity of living plus high thinking lead to the greatest happiness!”

 

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Beginning a New Chapter

It seems as if three years has gone by in a wink! I still remember so clearly, three years ago, the feeling of excitement in my heart as I sat at the airport, waiting to get on my first flight alone and trying to imagine what college would be like.

It feels like I’ve been climbing up a mountain for the past three years, giving  my very best to every step . This past weekend was an opportunity to look back, and celebrate the many miles I’ve come.  It was special to have my mom and dad, Peony, Parto, Arya, and Hridaya come visit.

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Visiting my dear friend and internship adviser.

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After the Awards Ceremony

Along with graduating summa cum laude and being salutatorian, I was also honored to receive the award of Outstanding Student in the Sustainable Living Department. I don’t know how it happened, but I know I definitely could not achieve any of this without the help of my family, friends, and teachers.

This is the 2016 MUM commencement video, my salutatorian address to announce the class gift  is from 1:07:45 to 1:11:00. Also, 1:51:40 to 1:52:03 is when I walk across the stage and receive my diploma! yippee. Enjoy!

I am so thankful for all the overwhelming support, encouragement, and blessings throughout my whole life, and now I’m ready to explore and climb the next mountain.

On July 9th, I will be beginning to work at Ananda Farms in Camano Island. I can’t wait to see what this new chapter brings me.

 

 

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A Time to Reflect

I’ve had a couple of days of Thanksgiving break, giving me the time to reflect and write about some highlights of the past couple months.

It has been wonderful to have Peony join me for Thanksgiving. We made food – lots of it, laughed, talked, did spontaneous spur of the moment things – like walk around a deserted town for a few hours waiting for the first movie to show in the tiny theater, played violin together, enjoyed the luxury of being lazy and the bickering of getting to share a room, and slept more than we ever have since the past couple months. I would say that it was an ideal Thanksgiving break. 🙂

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Peony and I made a beautiful pumpkin cheesecake pie.

My Trio premiered a piece that Parkle arranged, from Laputa: Castle in the Sky. It is one of my most favorite movies, and I love to play music I love!  You are welcome to watch it here.

My previous block was a plant biology class. There were only 3 people who finished the class, and if felt a bit like homeschooling at times. It was a contrast to come from an artistic ceramics class in October block to this very scientific and memorization type of class. If you didn’t get a chance to see my ceramic pieces, here it is. This is the first college art class ever; I spent many hours in the art studio and had no idea how demanding an art class could be.

The temperature is getting to be about freezing or below, and this is when small rodents and animal try to come into homes. There has been some mice drama at our house. One morning I found one that jumped out of my cereal box. One night they came into Jennifer and my room. Another time, I saw two on the shelves! We’ve had to transition everything food into plastic boxes or jars and almost everyday I need deal with the traps. It was kind of a nightmare at first, but I think everyone must go through it once, and I’m slowly getting used to it… maybe.

Here’s something exciting, I started a lasagna garden bed outside the house and finally covered it before the first snow. There was newspaper, wood chips, egg shells, straw, compost, and manure. Layer by layer every weekend, I gathered materials, spread them evenly, and slowly built up something like a raised bed. I covered it so that it could cook down a bit during winter, and when spring comes, I hope to plant all sorts of yummy vegetables!

These are just the things that stick out in my mind right now. In all the craziness going on in the world, I can’t even imagine how lucky and blessed my life is. I mean, everyday, even the small things are highlights for me.

 

 

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Full Days Ahead

It’s been one month, and now I’m fully adjusted to my new schedule, home, and friends. I wanted to share my weekly schedule outside of the daily 10am to 3:30pm class. I think that you might get exhausted just reading it, so get ready!

Wednesday’s and Friday’s, I have started to intern at Ideal Energy. This is a growing solar company that was started by two MUM alumni. They are one of the oldest and successful solar companies in Iowa. I am hoping to work there after graduation.

Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, I have work-study in the Sustainable Living Department. I am the renewable energy monitor, which means I get to keep track of the solar and wind data and create coherent charts and spreadsheets to display to the campus. I also do odd jobs here and there when I’m on top of the energy stuff. Like last week, I got the flow-forms to start working in the little pond again.  It’s even powered directly by the sun.

My trio and I have begun rehearsing twice a week for our upcoming concert in mid-October. These practices are the highlights of my week. Cy, Asaad and I have a lot of fun practicing, talking, planning and hanging out. We are working on Moszkowski, Shostakovitch, Bach and more.

Starting this weekend, I will be playing with the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra. They have a concert once a month, plus a few Monday rehearsals in between. This weekend is the Pop’s concert, with popular music from Pirates, Titanic, King and I, Downton Abby,  etc.  We have one rehearsal before the concert, I hope all goes well!

To top it all off, my friend who is pregnant asked me if I could help her with some house chores and have dinner together once a week. She is a good friend and I really couldn’t say no. It’s going to be great to spend time with her, and a little extra income is always good. Nothing too difficult.

If you’re wondering if I do my homework, I do. I get it done before class starts in the morning, after packing my lunch. It works out well because I’m very focused at this time and usually finish within the hour.

Anyway, the greater the will, the greater the flow of energy, right? I am confident that I can tackle all this, and I think this is due to the fact that I have really established a regular sadhana routine every morning. A couple weeks ago I took two weekends to experiment with myself. I felt the difference when I decided to sleep in. Things just didn’t go as smoothly and I was absentmindedly forgetting things that I never us Continue reading

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Enjoy Solitude

I found this quote recently and it resonated with me very much, especially since I live in a house by myself now. I just moved from a group house of 5 people, which was where I lived last year, to a 15 room house, where I am now house-sitting for my friend.
“Be alone within. Don’t lead the aimless life that so many persons follow. Meditate and read good books more… Once in a while it is all right to go to the movies and have a little social life, but mostly remain apart and live within yourself… Enjoy solitude; but when you want to mix with others, do so with all your love and friendship, so that those persons cannot forget you, but remember always that they met someone who inspired them and turned their minds toward God.”
                                                           –Paramahansa Yogananda, “Man’s Eternal Quest”
Lately, I have been going on long bike rides on the Fairfield Loop Trail. Since the weather is so perfect, I can’t help but stay outside as long I can when I am not in class. I am happy to have completed my first class today and next week I will begin a Natural Building Class. I can’t wait!
Here are two of my latest drawings. The first one was done during one of the many Maharishi videos that we watch in forest block, and the second was done by the lake on a bike trip.
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Tri-Dosha Inspired

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Fall is coming!

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Back to School

After a daze of travel and unpacking, it finally settled on me that I have left the peaceful comfort of my home, of Ananda, of my family. In a moment of sadness, I thought of all the countless blessings I have received this summer and throughout my life. I know in my heart that Master is with me all the time.

I made a promise to myself, and I want to make it official by making a post on my online journal, that I will be steadfast in my sadhana and meditation practice, just as Diksha and Sudarshan kindly advised: twice a day, an hour and a half total. This will be my challenge.

It has been wonderful to see my school friends again. Everything is so green and the air is quite humid. Already there has been a thunderstorm! The school garden is doing so well, and I just harvested a purple sweet pepper, a fat zucchini, some cherry tomatoes, lovely basil, and even potatoes that I help plant in the spring. It is finally decided that I am taking a class called Higher States of Consciousness for my two week Forest Block, since I was still on wait-list for Aryuvedic Cooking. Anyway, I already know how to cook! 🙂

I want to stay connected with anyone who wishes it, so I will try to post something with updates and photos hopefully bi-monthly.

Joy to all!