Sunday, August 27, 2006

PhD = Post Hole Digging

Building a gate

The passing along of knowledge is very essential in all phases of life. In making a new fence line there are time tested procedures coupled with old timers "tricks of the trade" that are invaluable and make practical work much easier to accomplish.

The fence line we are currently working on was started earlier in the summer when the ground was not so hard and dry. I had hired two young men, Tulasi and Nirguna, to dig the new holes for the fence posts and too set the new posts. The holes traditionally are 3 feet deep and when the post is placed in the hole the dirt is slowly put back in the hole and "tamped" down so the post is secure with no movement. The "old timers” say the best time to "set" posts is during the waning of the moon, because then the moon is pulling downwards as it grows smaller and will pull the post down and keep them in the holes. These two young men are earning PhDs on the farm. PhD is short for POST HOLE DIGGING. They are becoming fully realized in the science of posthole digging and they will be able to use this knowledge anywhere throughout their lives.

Jason and Caitanya Bhagavt are learning how to do the next step, stringing the wire. There are two types of fence. One fence is too keep animals in the area and the second is too keep animals out of an area. The difference is which side of the post the wire is placed. Since we want to keep the cows in the pasture, we are stringing the wire on the inside of the post or the pasture side. Then if the cows push on the wire, they will also be pushing on the post itself. If the wire is on the outside of the post then when the cow on the inside of the pasture pushes on the wire they are only pushing against the staples that hold the wire in place.

We have already finished half of the fence and made "H BRACES" on the ends for extra strength. Slow work, as there are many little steps to complete the task. In between the two halves, we have left an opening with a simple gate. A team of oxen or a vehicle can pass through this gate to get to the wood lot on the other side of the pasture. If the job is done correctly, the fence will be sturdy and will last as long as the posts don’t rot away which could be as long as 50 to 75 years depending on the quality of the fence posts.

The choice of wood for fence posts in this part of the country is locust. Locust fence posts, when allowed to dry properly, will outlast several applications of wire over the years.

Weather permitting we will finish the new fence line today and facilitate the cows being switched back to new pasture on that side of the ISCOWP farm.


Balabhadra
ISCOWP Website
Life With the Cows and Land

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Spider and the Fly



As I was going to the barn for my morning check on the cows, I saw this spider web of intricate, artistic design. I appreciated its beauty and then saw the fly wrapped within. Just as the fly could not see the web as it winged its way through the air and was caught; we humans also have to be careful of the illusory nature of the material world.

The Spider and the Fly
An Apologue.
A New Version Of An Old Story.

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flatering words, came slowly flitting by,
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue--
Thinking only of her crested head, -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, in to his dismal den,
Within his little parlour --but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.

by Mary Howitt 1821

From Sketches of Natural History (1834) , Effingham Wilson: London

Balabhadra
ISCOWP Website
Life With the Cows and Land

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ox Training


Krishna and Balaram

This conversation was overheard in the barn. Krsna, the ox, is speaking with his herd mate Balarama, the ox.

Another day of training is upon us and we will be heading up the lane to our classroom where Balabhadra will be teaching us another directional command. So far, we have learned the command to "Get Up" which means to move forward.We have learned the command of "Whoa" which means that we should stop immediately.The third command we learned is "Ha" which means to come to the left.

Today we will start to learn the command of "Gee", which means to turn right. Balabhadra has been very busy and it’s been awhile since we had a lesson. It sure does feel good to be heading to class so we can learn more and become a valuable asset to the farm.

There is so much service to be done. In the spring, there is plowing, planting, and cultivation of the crops and gardens. In the summer when it’s dry enough there are fence posts that need split and then hauled to the various fencing projects or stacked by the barn for future use.

Firewood is needed for the three houses on the farm. Next to plowing, that is the most strenuous work of the summer because the weather is so hot and humid. But, allot of the firewood project is in the forest where it’s shady. It’s nice working in the forest. Besides being shady, there are so many neat places and the birds are all singing and talking to each other. There are also different tasting grasses and herbs that we don’t see or taste out in the pastures.

Balabhadra would like to get a small ground driven Manure spreader so we can spread manure on the fields and garden in the fall.

Balabhadra was talking to his daughter Lakshmi, and said that if we learn the command "Gee" quickly, he would like to Yoke us up in the very near future so we can learn how to walk together and then start pulling a small load.

Soon the fall season will be upon us, and the undergrowth in the forest will thin out and we will go practice pulling a small load through an obstacle course of trees and stumps and fallen branches. It’s so exciting to be in training again, so we can be of service on the farm. Vraja and Gita, the senior ox team, are retired and we will be taking up their service.

Vraja and Gita


It’s so nice to know that as trained oxen we have value and are not just looked at as a potential hamburger or considered as a burden because we just eat and sleep and don’t pull our weight around the farm.

I can’t wait until we are fully trained and we can show everyone the value of a team of trained oxen. After all, the conclusion of Bhakti Yoga, is to render service to Lord Krsna, with love and devotion. I can’t wait Balarama. How about you? This life won’t be wasted on just eating and sleeping.

Balabhadra
ISCOWP Website
Life With the Cows and Land

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dear Srila Prabhupada


nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svaminn iti namine

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine


Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to you, Srila Prabhupada!.

The experience I am about to relate happened on the ISCOWP farm. I was in charge of the cows during the winter when my parents were away in the mall earning enough money to pay our personal bills. They are disciples of yours. They have taught me how to care for cows. I am most thankful to you and them for this cow seva knowledge because of the happiness that I, and others, can experience while caring for the cows and oxen.

When I went to check the cows Saturday morning (December 3), the first thing I noticed was that Balaram, Gouravani, Visaka, and Radha Shyama were out eating hay in the hay barn and grass in the driveway. As I looked for the break in the fence where they got out, I looked up and saw a cow lying down and not moving in the barn. I cried out to Krsna and started praying that whoever was down was just sleeping.

When a cow is dying, we like to give them some holy water and have a tape of Srila Prabhupada singing bhajans 24/7. I did not have time to do either. I am also very attached to all the cows.

I rushed into the new barn where the cow was down and discovered it was Veda. He was barely alive. This spring the vet said that Veda had a wasting disease called Johne's disease and it would just be a matter of time before his demise. The vet knows we do not put any of our animals down, but I thought he would last longer. The day before he seemed okay, not well but ok, not at death's door. I started singing to him the Nrsringa prayers and checked to make sure that he was not stuck, in fact was actually down, and nothing else was stopping him from getting up. At this stage, he was also very weak and could not lift his head. I went and got bedding to make him more comfortable and also hay and water to see if he would eat or drink which he did not. I could do nothing more at that moment.

After I did this I gave Vraja his medicine for his arthritis, fed the cows in the loafing shed and old barn, went back outside to fix the fence, and put the four cows back inside. After calling my parents to find out where the CD player and blankets were, I collected these items and I covered Veda with the blankets and turned on the CD player to continuous play. As I was doing this, I noticed that Krishna and Visaka were sniffing Veda. Then they each went to stand on either side of Veda and stand guard.

To read the rest:

Dear Srila Prabhupada



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Krishna is a Cowherd Boy



sri-suka uvaca
go-vipra-sura-sadhunam
chandasam api cesvarah
raksam icchams tanur dhatte
dharmasyarthasya caiva hi


TRANSLATION
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, for the sake of protecting the
cows, brahmanas, demigods, devotees, the Vedic literature, religious
principles, and principles to fulfill the purpose of life, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead accepts the forms of incarnations.


PURPORT
The Supreme Personality of Godhead generally appears in various types
of incarnations to give protection to the cows and brahmanas. The Lord is
described as go-brahmana-hitaya ca; in other words, He is always eager to
benefit the cows and brahmanas. When Lord Krsna appeared, He purposefully
became a cowherd boy and showed personally how to give protection to the
cows and calves. Similarly, He showed respect to Sudama Vipra, a real
brahmana. From the Lord's personal activities, human society should learn
how to give protection specifically to the brahmanas and cows. Then the
protection of religious principles, fulfillment of the aim of life and
protection of Vedic knowledge can be achieved. Without protection of
cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical
culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled. The Lord, therefore, is
described as go-brahmana-hitaya because His incarnation is only for the
protection of the cows and brahmanas. Unfortunately, because in Kali-yuga
there is no protection of the cows and brahminical culture, everything is
in a precarious position. If human society wants to be exalted, the
leaders of society must follow the instructions of Bhagavad-gita and give
protection to the cows, the brahmanas and brahminical culture.

Balabhadra

ISCOWP Website

Life Wirh the Cows and Land

Monday, August 14, 2006

Vraja's Flashback

Vraja is having a flashback on a sunny morning in the shade of the ISCOWP barn at New Vrindavan.

Back in the day...............................

.......................the life of a traveling ox on the fair/festival summer circuit. We are in Los Angeles after slowly bumping across the United States in our 1979 Bluebird school bus. We have met so many people and made so many friends along the highways and byways.

One memorable friend is a young Krishna devotee girl in Los Angeles by the name of Ananda. The year is 1992. We arrived late in the evening and Balabhadra set up our temporary camp between the Tulasi house and the temple building itself. Gita and I have spent a restful night with Tulasi Devi on one side and Rukmini Dwarkadish on the other side...............what great neighbors.

The word is out that the oxen are back in town for Rathayatra and again will be leading the Rathayatra procession of Lord Jagannatha.

How do I know the word is out? The children start coming to see us. We will be loved, hugged, brushed, and fed many wonderful treats like carrots and apples and mangoes. Where are the kids getting all of these treats? It appears that they know where the walk in cooler for the temple is located and are helping themselves to the bounty of Rukmini Dwarkadish's stash of goodies. Shades of pastimes from the Krishna Book where Baby Krishna is a butter thief. Baby Krishna steals butter from His mother, Jasoda, and feeds it to the monkeys, so he is called a butter thief. The devotee kids are stealing Krishna’s fruits and veggies and giving them to us,Vraja and Gita the traveling oxen. How sweet of them to be playing the pastimes of Baby Krishna.


I feel a presence on my back and immediately I know who it is.........................it’s Ananda. She loves to hug me, lies on my back, and gives me long soft hugs that seem to last forever. She speaks softly to me and tells me how much she loves Gita and waits all year us to return to Los Angeles for Rathayatra so she can come and hug and brush us and feed us special treats. It’s so nice to see her again and to get those great hugs from this young cow lover.

Back to the present moment..............................

...............................it’s the summer of 2006 and I'm in the shade of the ISCOWP in New Vrindavan barn chewing my cud during the heat of the day.
Balabhadra is coming into the barn with a young lady who looks very familiar. My goodness it looks like Ananda from Los Angeles. Is it really her? It’s been so long, so many years. It can't be...........................but wait.........................that hug............yes, it is Ananda..................I will always remember her hug. It’s the hug of a 100% genuine cow lover.



Lets sit and talk awhile Ananda, my dear friend, and catch up on our realizations of this life...............it's so good to see again, my dear friend, its great to see you again..........!!!

Balabhadra

ISCOWP Website

Life With the Cows and Land

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Garden Katha



The ISCOWP gardens are on a timetable, which starts in spring when oats can be frost seeded. Potatoes can be planted 30 days before the last frost as they take about 30 days to start emerging from the confines of the ground. Peas, spinach, lettuce all like cool weather as does cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli which can be planted in early spring. Most everything likes a warm soil (70 degrees plus) to feel comfortable enough to germinate and grow.

Allot of veggies we start inside in a small greenhouse in March so they can be already up and ready to go into the ground as seedlings when the ground is warm enough and all danger of frost is past. Historically in this area, the last frost is around May 15, but this year we had a frost on May 22. Tomatoes and peppers, tomotillos, eggplant, Swiss chard, bitter melon and many flowers are just a few things we start early in the greenhouse.

Many veggies prefer to be direct seeded into the garden. All of the different types of beans like to be direct seeded as do carrots, beets, okra, cilantro, and summer and winter squash, just to name a few.

We stagger many of our crops or succession plant. Every 7 to 10 days we replant. This ensures that as a particular planting is being harvested a new crop is just about to mature. In this way, there is a continuous supply of fresh veggies throughout the summer months. It also means that canning, drying, and selling of garden produce can go on side by side without interruption of any of these three programs.

Another aspect of the garden is saving seed for the next year’s garden. Sometimes if a particular plant such as a tomato plant shows exceptional qualities, we will tag that plant and save seed from some of the fruit.

Long days but very rewarding to have good quality organic produce all year around fresh, dried, or canned.



Salad offerred to Lord Krishna made with all ingredients from our garden.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Moving to Greener Pastures



The sun’s warmth changes the Earth
To bring green, luscious grass to birth.
The cold, dark winter is over,
Again, the cows will eat fresh clover.

From the hilltop barns the cows descend,
Eager to see the full streams bend.
Old Vraja, the king, leads the way,
Not a defiant word the cows say.

Noble Vraja’s concern is the herd,
Riding on his back, a bluebird.
They pass through the red gate
To be together without hate.

Kicking their hooves in the air,
Jumping, and chasing on a dare,
New to the pasture and not so calm,
Young oxen are Krishna and Balaram.

The pasture meets the pale blue sky.
Green grasses sway with a sigh.
Warm sunny days bring pleasure.
But, winter we do not treasure.

Beloved cows move on, move on,
To the transcendental land beyond.
Where Krishna a cowherd was born,
His youth spent herding cows each morn,

Deep in fragrant Vrndavan’s grove,
Ox carts Krishna and the cowherds drove.
Enjoying eternal pleasure in the glen,
His red, yellow cows and some that blend.

The cows and Krishna love each other.
Each calf has an adoring mother.
Their cow barns palaces of gold,
Srila Prabhupada to us you told.

To protect cows gives a higher taste
To see Lord Krishna with great haste.
Secret knowledge only for a few.
Thank you for this point of view.

Srila Prabhupada, with you our bond,
To the cows of whom Krishna is fond.
You taught us the joys of loving cows.
To you our repeated, respectful bows.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Agriculture and the Post Petroleum Era

Plowing paddy fields with ox-power at Labangalatika's farm (Govardhan Trust) in Raigad, India

By Chand Prasad PH.D. Agricultural Economist
Written for ISCOWP News VOL 15 Issue 2

Oil is the lifeblood of industrial economies and modern agriculture throughout the world. But oil is also a finite, nonrenewable resource that is being rapidly depleted by Western societies and less developed countries that aspire for higher consumption levels. The United States alone uses approximately 20 million barrels per day – about one-fourth of global consumption. Oil production will peak at some point and then decline, leading to sharp price increases and painful adjustment costs, particularly for those who are strongly attached to the amenities provided by petroleum-based production and transport systems. One bright spot is that these difficulties may encourage an increasing number of people to question the values and assumptions upon which society attempts to sustain opulence and prosperity through dependence on finite resources.

Rising energy prices will impose economic hardships well before the earth runs out of economically accessible supplies of oil, and perhaps even before oil production attains its maximum daily (peak) amount, after which it then declines. The International Energy Agency (1998) estimated that conventional oil production could peak between years 2010 and 2020, while Campbell & Laherrere (1998) put the year before 2010. It is important to note that even before we reach this maximum, the costs of extracting petroleum could rise sharply, as oil companies are compelled to tap into oil deposits that are less accessible. The result is higher energy prices charged to consumers and businesses, which is equivalent to a massive tax that drastically reduces economic growth, particularly in countries that depend heavily on imported energy. Moreover, it takes a certain amount of energy to produce oil. Higher energy costs will therefore increase the costs of extracting oil and natural gas, implying a self-reinforcing, albeit decaying, feedback effect in which rising petroleum costs calls forth still higher energy prices. Finally, the costs of extracting oil will exceed the benefits, implying that further production is not economical.

To read the rest:

Agriculture and the Post Petroleum Era

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Vraja.....................where are you?


IMG_0864
Originally uploaded by iscowp.
This morning was quite unusual as the herd was fragmented into several small groups. Vraja, Gita, Shyam, and Surabhi were in the big barn. Yamuna was all the way back by the end of the pasture by herself. The rest of the cows/oxen were in small groups spread out over a 10-acre pasture. Quite unusual. All right, I thought, I’ve counted 23, which is the number of cows/oxen that we currently have under our care at the ISCOWP Farm.

It’s not that hot of a day so far and it’s only forecast to be in the mid eighties for the high temperature.

I have to go to town today as the errands have accumulated and taking the truck to town and burning the gas can be justified.

The errands take longer than usual and by the time I get back, it’s past 2pm. A quick lunch and a little quite time follows and now its time for the evening herd check.

I go to the barn as the cows are still in and are just getting ready to head out to pasture for their evening meal. Once, twice, thrice I count the cows/oxen and the number is the same each time.................22. Who is missing, who is missing? Vraja is missing!

Vraja is 15 years old and the twin brother of Gita. They are my personal team of oxen. When we lived in North Carolina, we saved them from going to the SALE BARN when they were 2 1/2 months old. We have spent a lifetime together, working side by side to plow, plant, cultivate, and harvest the crops. We have hauled in firewood to keep many families warm for the winter. We have pulled in numerous fence posts to numerous fencing projects. We have traveled across the United States 3 times participating in numerous fairs and Rathayatra festivals.

Side by side, we have led Rathayatras in front of the ever-merciful Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe: Vraja and Gita as the representatives of DHARMA, and I walking at their side as their servant.

Vraja is suffering from severe arthritis and has a hard time getting up from a sitting position.
Vraja is never separated from the herd. He is the herd patriarch, the headman, the boss; in short, he is the head of the herd. Sometimes just Vraja and Gita are together, but today all are present and accounted for except Vraja...........?

Vraja, where are you? Have you gone down and can not get up? Are you in the hot sun? Vraja, where are you?

When doing a pasture check I usually go on the top of the hill as I can see two pastures from that vantage point. But today Krsna, as Supersoul, the Lord in the heart is telling me to go to the lower pasture first. I'm in a panic state in my heart and mind. Vraja, where are you my dear old friend and companion?

I go around the first bend and no Vraja; then through the first pasture and no Vraja. My mind is going crazy and my heart is pounding. Vraja where are you? This is so unlike you.

Around the trees at the edge of the field and there you are standing in the shade of an apple tree, chewing your cud. I am over whelmed with tears of happiness to see my old friend STANDING in the shade and not down and disabled in the hot sun.

There you are Vraja. You are safe. Thank you Krishna!

My realizations on this episode are that I need to become more grateful of the service rendered by other living entities in their service to God. To take their association for granted and not to relish their association until death has taken them away is a great disservice to their very existence.

For now, Lord Krishna is letting you stay with us but one day He will take you to be with Him. Vraja, head of the herd, you are a great soul. I offer repeated obeisances unto you, the representative of Dharma and devotee of Lord Krishna. It has been an honor being in your association, working, and serving side by side with you.

Thank you for your association and the many lessons you have taught me.

"Nanda Maharaja was a big protector of cows, and Lord Sri Krishna, as the most beloved son of Nanda Maharaja, used to tend His father's animals in the neighboring forest. By His personal example Lord Krishna wanted to teach us the value of protecting cows. Nanda Maharaja is said to have possessed nine hundred thousand cows, and at the time of Lord Sri Krishna (about five thousand years ago) the tract of land knownas Vrndavana was flooded with milk and butter. Therefore God's gifted professions for mankind are agriculture and cow protection."
-Light of the Bhagavata, Preface



ISCOWP, Inc.
balabhadra.iscowp@earthlink.net
www.iscowp.org
Http://iscowp.blogspot.com

Monday, August 07, 2006

Nanda's Apples


Good Morning. My name is Nanda and I have been a resident ox here at the ISCOWP Farm since 1996. I am trained to basic voice commands for working. I'm just on a leisurely stroll through the pasture checking out my favorite clover spots and low and behold what do I see...............APPLES. I hadn’t seen them before today but I guess that’s because every time I passed this way I was grazing and looking for some tasty grasses and herbs to eat, which means my head was down and my vision focused on the ground.

Wow, this is great!!!!!!!!!!

I know Balabhadra and family like to make applesauce and dried apple rings for winter use and to give to ISCOWP members like Amala Bhakta prabhu in Los Angeles, but I don’t think they will miss a few. They don’t mind sharing.

I know I can reach the lower branches so I guess that will be my quota by natures arrangement.


Ah yes, I can reach the lower branches and yes these apples are quite tasty. In fact, they are PURE NECTAR and a welcome treat.

I will have to tell Vraja and Gita about this apple tree, as I know they are tall enough to reach the apples. Im sure Balabhadra won’t mind a few more apples going to the cows.

Hay, it has been nice sharing with you all this morning. Got to go. I have more grazing to do on the way to the barn where I will have a good long drink of water. Its going to be a hot day so I will just stay in the barn in the shade until it cools down a bit this afternoon.

Moooooooooving on.

Nanda the ox

Friday, August 04, 2006

Changing Pastures and Fence Check

The cows responding to my call
Changing the cows from pasture to pasture occurs approximately every 30 days. I have the farm divided in half. On one half there is about 40 acres of pasture and on the other half there is about 40 acres of pasture plus the cows have access to about 40 acres of forest which gives some grazing and lots of shade during the heat of the dog days of summer.


One of the fence lines on the far end of the farm


Before changing pastures, the first thing that needs done is to check the fences to see if any are broken. If there are broken fence lines then they are repaired. If a tree has fallen across the fence, it needs cut up for firewood. If the tree happens to be a wild cherry then it is imperative to make sure that all of the wilted leaves are removed from the pasture so the cows cannot eat them. Wild cherry leaves in a fresh condition straight from the tree will not harm the cows. The problem arises when the wild cherry leaves are in a wilted condition. In a wilted condition, if eaten by the cows, there is a high likely hood that the cow will come down with a condition called BLOAT. BLOAT is the build up of gas in the body of the cow, which happens quickly with wilted wild cherry leaves, and can kill a cow in a matter of hours. The actual cause of death in a bloat death is suffocation as the build up of gas in the cow’s body hinders the lungs from doing their job of bringing oxygen into the body.

The second thing that needs done is to make sure that all of the gates to the new pasture are closed. No matter if the gate is 1/2 mile away or further, if it needs to be closed it gets closed, no guessing or speculating.

The third I do is go to where the cows are and call them first with a sound like a conch shell.

Whoooooooooooooooooooooo

They immediately respond with moooooooooooooos as their heads turn towards me and they start walking to me. As they come along, I call out some of their names like Vraja, Gita, Bhumi, Bhima. Come on Asha, come on Radharani, Ujvalla come on girl lets go and then more conch shell sounds

.whoooooooooooooooooo...........................whoooooooooooooooo

It is now possible to move the 22 cows/oxen with just one person who speaks the language of these cows.

As they come through the gate into the new pasture, I call each by name, count them, and take a close look to see that they are all all right.

It’s pure nectar to see everyone partaking of the fresh grasses and herbs in the new pasture

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Vraja and Balaram


Dear Friends,

Good afternoon everyone, My name is Vraja, Im a 15 year old Brown Swiss ox. When I was 2 1/2 months old my twin brother Gita and I were saved from going to the auction barn by Balabhadra and his family who run ISCOWP. That was back in 1991 when we all lived in North Carolina. Since then I have traveled across the United States 3 times with ISCOWP doing different programs and helping people, young and old, to learn about the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Another aspect of our travels was to speak and give demonstrations on OX POWER.

Behind me is Balaram who has been here at the ISCOWP farm now for about 1 1/2 years. He and another young bull calf named Krsna were up in a petting zoo and were getting too big for the young children who came to visit the petting zoo. They were both saved from going to the auction barn by a Krsna devotee Nada devi dasi.

Im showing Balaram where all the berry bushes are and all of my secret stashes of super sweet grasses and herbs. Im getting old and life has been sweet here at ISCOWP. I know I’ve had a blessed life and gave thanks every day to the folks at ISCOWP who have taken care of me and many other cows/oxen in a kind and loving mood until death do us part.

Thank you one and all at the ISCOWP FARM

Sincerely,

Vraja the ox

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Both by Rising and Setting of the Sun

SUNRISE

"With every rising and setting of the sun, a day passes and is lost. Then, why do you remain idle and not serve the Lord of the heart? This temporary life is full of various miseries. Take shelter of the holy name as your only business. To penetrate the darkness of ignorance and bless everyone's heart, the holy name has risen like the shining sun"

This is the translation of the fifth, sixth, and seventh slokas of Arunodaya-kirtana by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Both of these pictures were taken on the ISCOWP farm this summer. Our days start before sunrise and last past sunset. From the start of the day to day’s end Lord Krsna never ceases to amaze us with His choreography of nature and Natures bounties.

SUNSET