Journal January 2022

The month of December passed quickly and a lot of work has been done in the garden and around the houses. There were some guests that have been here and we enjoyed their presence and contribution to the overall atmosphere. Melvin left for a visit to the Netherlands, as well as the long term guest Edwin. Both will return around the first week of January.

The garden of the Asharum Nijar: Back to the Roots

The weather improved somewhat compared to last month. We now enjoy the daily sunshine to warm us up after the colder nights. The sun makes all of the difference as it shines more bright and warm on the Andalusian longitudes, so when it shines, it warms. The potatoes are harvested and we are planning the next potato field on a different location. On the current potato field we will grow beans and peas to make sure the soil stays healthy. The broccolis and turnips are full-grown and the cabbage and cauliflower are growing well. We obviously planted them too close to each other, so we will harvest some small ones soon, to make space for the rest to grow bigger. Most trees have lost their leaves and we started to sow seeds of grasses and flowers typical of the Mediterranean, selecting nitrogen fixing and fast growing species to be used for improvement of the soil. And off course some are selected for their beauty.

Just last week more palm trees arrived, and we have planted them at the end of the last terrace, together with the other palm trees. There are now six different palm tree species. We hope they will love the place just as much as we do and they will grow well. Yoginâm mentioned he would like to have different berry bushes on the terrace of the large almond tree, and we coincidentally stumbled upon a wide variety of berry bushes that were offered in one of the stores we frequently visit. We immediately purchased ten bushes, to accompany the already existing ones. We chose a corner in the garden that has some more shade and protection from the wind. There are now red, white and black currents, gooseberries, red and yellow raspberries, cranberries, blueberries and a tayberry (which is a cross breed between a raspberry and a blackberry).

Lillian, one of our friends since the start who now lives close by in San Jose, generously donated a pavilion to be placed in the garden. Our Romanian builders are preparing a tiled terrace where the structure will be put up in the beginning of next year. The pavilion will be more or less in the middle of the garden and we could use it for summer concerts or meditative moments by ourselves or in a group setting. Asha might show us other uses and in the meantime we are very grateful for this wonderful addition to our garden.

The neighbourhood is curiously following our activities. The other day we were working in the garden and some Spanish people passed complementing us on our work, as we designed and created our own benches and water taps throughout the garden, and they could also see the paradise that is slowly being manifested in Níjar. Maria and Andrée prepared small Christmas gifts for our neighbours; Andrée made marmelade from our oranges, Maria baked cookies (!) and with some chocolate these will be packed and shared with our neighbours and friends.

More building and improving

The new parking spot has become much larger than we all expected. Two stairs are created to reach the guest rooms and the showers from the communal kitchen terrace. It is a wonderful improvement and from the entrance gate a small village-like compound is becoming visible. With these works, we also created a space for the storage of wood next to the entrance. As the monastery and our temporary meditation room now have wood stoves, we also were in need of a space to store the wood. The final touch of this part of the works is the floor from the entrance to the kitchen terrace which will be newly constructed.

The big stairs that we made last year from wood will be replaced by a stone one, designed by Yoginâm himself, covered with white plaster-like the rest of the houses. These works have started in the last weeks just before Christmas. The wooden stairs were not built to last and as the stairs are quite high the risk of injury is too big to wait for an accident.

Yoginâm has already indicated the newly designed stairs will become a pivotal object in our garden, having a special function in our contemplative way of life.

To be continued…

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