Journal December 2021

During the course of last month the number of guests reduced and this gave us some time and space to reorganise and take a step back to focus on our priorities. The trees in the garden that don’t settle too well are getting some remediation and we are planning to sow flowers and greens for beauty and composting.

Some guests have been here for a longer period and blended in so much they didn’t really feel as guests anymore. Currently two of them are still around and last week we all made a little trip to the neighbouring Mojacar in the hope to find an antique market, but that wasn’t there anymore. Instead, we enjoyed the old village and took a moment at the beach to recharge.
Furthermore, an Asharum secret is being unveiled in this newsletter.
Read on until the epilogue to find out.

The garden of the Asharum Nijar: Back to the Roots

We experienced some days of heavy rains. The temperatures felt a lot lower these days, but the fields are turning green again. The oranges and tangerines are becoming more and more tasty. To our delight Yoginâm also enjoys the tangerines from time to time. The lower vegetable garden is growing well and looks very pretty from the higher terraces. We also created a second cactus garden, behind the big almond tree where some aloe vera was planted earlier. Angela generously donated a big cactus for this garden and was able to plant it herself.

We slightly enlarged the number of trees, as we are still waiting for some more trees that are on order. Also we are looking for specific palm trees that we can plant at the end of the last terrace, next to the two date palms and the five Washingtonias to create a nice palm garden. The cherry tree we planted last month and the carobe that was already present when we arrived are not so lonely anymore as now they both have a sibling in the garden.
We also planted a strawberry tree, two hawthorn bushes and three different species of thyme, next to the three already present species. We were able to purchase a whole tray of these, so we try to create fields of thyme. We now have thymus vulgaris (common thyme), thymus citriodorus (lemon thyme), thymus hyemalis (typical from the Murcia region), thymus baeticus (also known as ‘tomillo limonero andaluz’), thymus zygis (the mostly used thyme species fro oil production) and an unknown thyme species from Israel that we received from one of our neighbours.

Some plants and trees have been struggling to settle in the dry and compacted soil. They seem to be too wet; the leaves are curling up and/or turning brown, which could indicate an anaerobic environment in the soil. After careful consultation with our expert Chris, we are trying to improve the conditions of our soil. Through digging a circular hole around the plant of about 50cm deep and placing a drainage tube in there, we provide the root system with oxygen and also make sure no water is accumulating around the roots and thereby suffocating them.

More building and improving

As a big building project was about to commence, we needed to move our meditation space and our storage was becoming occupied with building materials. We have moved most of the tools, our cement bags, stones and plant supplies to the future shrine. Anna donated a very useful solar lamp that we placed against the outside wall of the future shrine, so there is some light there in the nights. As nights are becoming longer and start earlier, this light helps us find our way and hopefully it also keeps strangers away. The stray cats don’t seem to mind.

Over two weeks ago the builders started to create the new parking spots. As we have a lot of cars and there is a limited amount of parking space around the Asharum, we don’t want to occupy the scarcely available space. To make space for the parking spots, an ingenious plan is now being executed: half of the terrace in front of the newly built rooms is excavated, a big wall is built against the remaining terrace and now there is space for at least four cars.
The plan for the future is to build a (communal or guest) room on top of the parking spots as to create the look and feel of a typical Andalusian village.

Epilogue

We often find unknown pieces of furniture in one of our storage places. In the past months, many rumours of where these objects could come from were spreading, but none of them seemed to come close to what was really happening.
But now we finally know…
During sunset, when the twilight sets in, one of the monastery monks is scouting the garbage for ‘useful’ items. This time it was a very old cupboard from the ’30s that barely stuck together which was secretly moved from the local dump to our shed.

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