Journal November 2022

In our way of life we aim to acknowledge peacefully that ‘it is what it is’ and take it as a starting point. To embrace what happens and take up the responsibility to achieve the most harmonious situation for everyone and everything. The month of October is the month where our olive trees (we have almost 50 of them) have their fruits ready. This means we free ourselves from other tasks and plan a few days of picking olives, asking help from neighbouring friends and guests. This year we were hoping to collect more than 500 kg to bring to the olive press, so we would get our own pressing and our olives would not be mixed with others. We managed to bring 527kg of olives that was pressed into 107 liters of (home grown, organically produced) olive oil. Next to that, we pickled olives (dry cured as well as in salty water) so for the next few months, every day we can enjoy their nutrition and taste in different ways. The joy we experienced in harvesting and processing the olives together returns each time we consume the end product.

The garden of the Asharum Nijar: Back to the Roots

The fig trees are still producing fresh figs in our garden. From the start, somewhere mid-august, up until now and likely lasting at least until the end of this month, there are plenty of figs. We dried a lot of them, processed them into marmalade and have been enjoying them fresh as well, as a snack, in a smoothie or mixed with granola and yoghurt. Our neighbours also enjoy these fruits and are welcome to pass by and hand pick some for themselves. This versatile fruit has a long harvest season and when dried, can be stored for a whole year. 

We started in the vegetable garden with broad beans, potatoes, some tomatoes and bell peppers, eggplant, red cabbage, lady fingers (okras) and turmeric. There is still a lot of space left to grow more vegetables, but currently we have many grasshoppers and crickets that love to eat the young leaves of baby plants. Mainly the green cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli that we planted has been eaten by them, leaving nothing more than a few centimeters of the stem. The weather has been significantly warmer these weeks than usual, which keeps these critters happily roaming around looking for fresh leaves to chew on. We will try to plant more vegetables when the night temperatures lower, and meanwhile we ordered small tunnel tents to protect our plants from being eaten prematurely.

The banana circle, currently busy producing bananas, which we hope to bring to full fruition, gives such a beautiful lush feeling to the garden, we decided to create two new banana circles. One next to the first one and one on the far end of the land on the lowest terrace. We planted the same type of banana around one of the new circles, and around the one on the lower terrace we planted two papaya plants and also another type of banana. We hope they survive the coming months without much damage, so during next summer we can enjoy more of this lushness in our garden. Watching a bunch of bananas coming out of a banana tree is a miraculous and wonderful sight. At the moment three banana trees are bearing fruits and we hope the weather will permit these bananas to ripen.

More building and improving

The work on the Shrine (Meditation hall) has started. The wall facing the garden has been opened up to make space for a door, and the whole area around the building has been leveled out. On the garden side, the ground level around the Shrine has been raised and a wall separates this level from the lower lying garden. On this part of the garden a cactus garden was started and now it has become twice the size. We moved most cacti to this part and adorned the ground with red/brown lava rocks. The result is very satisfying, and this part of the garden breathes a calm and open atmosphere, which can help to remind us that we try to achieve a similar state through our way of living.

The paths throughout the garden have been created when the garden was mostly empty. This resulted in the paths being slightly lower than the rest of the garden. During a good watering round or the occasional torrential rains, the water collects on the paths, making a walk resemble an off-road hike through the wetlands. For this reason, we have been brainstorming about ways to raise the paths, and these works have started in the last month. With Edwin guiding the process and with the help of guests (so far Uli has done a great job) and residents, one terrace is almost done and walking on the elevated path gives an extra quality about it. Like a red carpet has been laid out, the path literally elevates you and this gears you to make the walk around the garden truly a meditative one. With the Triad of Nâm being the focal point of the walk, this instrument can be utilized more fully when all the paths are done. There are still a lot of meters to be done, but with combined efforts we hope to finish them early next year.

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