Our Sacred Farm Update

Planting, growing and harvesting our greenhouse produce is now a normal part of the monastery schedule. As the structures for hydroponic farming, aka climate-controlled agriculture, expand and settle in we find new varieties of foods that we never thought could come from our own gardens. The monastery's first successful harvest of hydroponic zucchini barreled into the kitchen just yesterday and became a delectable fare. Our cook for the day sautéed the zucchini in a sage/rosemary and black pepper butter sauce and piled on baked sweet potato, garlic and onion. hmmm good.

Of course this is only the beginning and many more foods are to come. But the real question on everyone's mind is, when do we try our first homegrown tomato-basil pizza? Oh my.

Morning Walkabout

The past several days have been overcast and rainy here on kauai, but today everyone was out enjoying the sun in all its glory.

Our Sacred Gardens; The Ivory Palm

This is the amazing Raffia ruffia palm tree, known in common parlance as Ivory Palm. The pure white seed inside the crocodile-like shell, about 2" in diameter, is so hard carvers use it instead of elephant ivory. It is flowering, and giant columns of seed hang from the tree. Each infructescence (the official word) is about 15 feet long and 10 inches in diameter, and each holds about 500-800 seeds. There are 12 of these natural packages hanging from the one tree. It's one of the most jaw-dropping events in our garden this year. The palm (not a tree actually) is known to have the longest leaf structure in the entire plant kingdom, reaching a length of 20 meters (60 feet) when mature....

Professors & Students Visit the Garden

Sadasivanathaswami hosted a group of botany professors and students from the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly for short) a few days ago, as he does almost every year. They visit to learn about what kind of plants the monks are growing nowadays. There was lots of talk about plant and animal mitochondria. On their walkabout the students were stunned to see some of the wild, big-leafed creatures that live in Siva's sacred garden. They also shared lots of knowledge, visited Iraivan and got wet. Yes, it rained throughout their trek, but no one seemed to notice much. This photo was taken by Paramacharya and Matt Ritter, the leader. Swami started the pano and then Matt Ritter finished it as Swami took his place on the far right. The university is organized into six colleges offering 64 bachelor's and 32 master's degrees. Cal Poly is known for it's "learn by doing" philosophy that encourages students to combine research theory with experiential practice to solve real-world problems. This practical philosophy, as well as a technical scientific education, enables Cal Poly to rank in the nation's top colleges for student's return on investment.

The End of Sadhu Paksha; The Beginning of A New Season

As the monks enter into a retreat we leave behind our wandering weeks in the early morning hours and begin a new three-month period or ritau. Enjoy this timelapse made by one of the monks and appreciate Siva's Land with us while we enter a new phase. In the days ahead we will have a flag-raising ceremony to usher in this new ritau.

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