Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Cows are Out!

Picture: Krishna the rascal

What a pleasant day. No one around, nice and quite. A good time to read and write. Then the phone call came and everything changed.

It was Balabhadra in Pittsburgh to say the cows were out. He had gotten a phone call from Madhava Gosh that they were in his yard, which is about a mile down the road form our farm.

Ray just came by and was still at the house so I knew I could employ him to help me herd them back to the farm. There was no one else on the farm at the time. Ray and I got in his truck and headed down the road to Gosh’s house. More than half way down the road, we came upon Krishna leading a small group of cows towards the farm. Ray said, “That’s a good sign.”

Then Ray remembered there was a gate at Bhakta Dave’s property that bordered the road and led into the pasture that was just behind Krishna and his band of renegades. As we opened that gate I gave the “wooo-ooo-ooo” sound, and I saw Krishna completely turn around and look at me like “What’s happening now!” I said to him, “Get up Krishna! We’re changing pastures.” Well he didn’t buy it but the others did and went right through the gate. Then another bunch came down the road and they saw their friends go through the gate and they followed. Now we were getting very lucky until Radhe Shyam went through Pusti’s property to try to get into the pasture where the other cows were going. Little did she know that there was no gate from Pusti’s property into the pasture, so she was stuck and scared and did not know where to go. Ray walked her back through Pusti’s and down the road to where the other cows went but she wouldn’t go through the gate.

I started herding Krishna, Dwadasi, Yamuna, and Radhe Shyam down the road and Gosh herded the cows in the pasture in the same direction. Ray rotated between the two groups. The idea was to move them to another pasture where there was more grass. By this time, my heart was pounding, and I am trying to do yoga breathing while I am running with the cows so I won’t collapse. I was thinking, “Wow! I am 60 years old and running around like a teenager after these cows. I better not get too confident.”

Well we managed to get them into the greener pasture. Then I realized we should do a count to make sure we got them all. Counting the cows can be difficult especially when they are all moving at the same time in different directions and it is getting dark. Ray and I came up with a count that two were missing. Then we looked over to the next hill and saw Big Shyam coming. By the time Big Shyam got in the pasture, it was dark.

As I looked around the top of the hill where the cows now were, I hoped that I would get a different count but there was still one missing. Then Janaka came home and said that there was a cow at the bottom of the hill standing by the gate. Sure enough, it was Radharani, the oldest in the herd (about 22-25 years old). She probably could not keep up with everyone as she is now moving quite slow.

Once she was in with the rest of the herd, it was time to rest. It took several hours for the adrenaline rush to dissipate and then I really felt 60 years old plus a few years.


Monday, September 25, 2006


What else is there to say. . .

Outrage and despair

The May 2006 issue of Discover magazine has an article about a train in Sweden that runs on cow manure. According to the article, the train "is billed as the most environmentally friendly train in the world." Wonderful!

But there is a disturbing second part to the article. "This summer, however, Svensk found a way to use the whole heifer. Now the company chops up the cows and converts their guts, fat, and bones into an organic sludge, which then gets processed as before. It takes about 30 cows to power the train along its 75-mile route from Linkoping to Vastervik, one of the countrysides's most beautiful stretches of rail."

The "rational" response to this is that the business of farming cows is anything but environmentally friendly. It uses a ridiculous amount of water and land and pumps tons of gallons of chemical waste into our oceans every day.

But I can't think about the "rational response" right now because my brain is spinning with questions of ethics. Morality. Spirituality even. In what moral system is it okay, even worthy of positive press, to breed and murder living, feeling beings to power your commute to work? How can I live in a world where scientists are actively pursuing more ways to brutalize beings who feel love, pain and terror? I'm sure that there is a nice explanation, that this technology uses the bits that are "left over," or "wasted" in the agricultural industry. Use their legs for dinner, their skins for a nice pair of shoes, and use their brains and guts for locomotive fuel. Does that sound the least bit repulsive to anyone else? Rationalizing the efficient, economic use of their bodies is beyond my comprehension. Have you ever been close to a cow? They are beautiful creatures with soft fur and funny tails, who like to graze in the company of others like them. They are not fuel. I don't even know what else to say.

Posted by Heather McKenzie at the Ojai Post Blog and sent to us by Urvasi dasi, September 2, 2006 10:17 PM

Friday, September 22, 2006

CANNING - A Way to Preserve Your Food

Picture: ISCOWP root cellar

Before freezers were around canning was the most popular method of preserving. In many cold climate households, especially in rural areas, canning is still the primary method of storing garden produce. An obvious advantage of canning is that there is practically no storage problem. You may can until your basement bulges whereas your freezer space is definitely limited. And you need only invest in a pressure canner and canning jars, both of which can be used over and over again, through many harvests.

Many of the items needed for canning are readily available in a well equipped kitchen. Of course some special equipment is needed: home canning jars, two piece vacuum sealing caps, small canning utensils and the appropriate canner necessary for the type of food being canned.

Jars - Glass home canning jars, sometimes called Mason jars, are the only glass jars recommended for home canning. They come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. The jars are especially made so the home canning closures will seal well when the manufacturer's instructions are followed. The glass in the jars is tempered to withstand the heat of the steam-pressure canner. Jars are available with regular and wide-mouth openings in sizes ranging from 4 ounces to one half gallon. Always select the size jar called for by the recipe, and follow the recipe processing time exactly.

Closures - The home canning two piece vacuum cap, a lid and band, comes in regular and wide mouth sizes. The set consists of a flat metal lid with a flanged edge, the underside of which has a rubber-like sealing compound, and a threaded metal screw band that fits over the rim of the jar to hold the lid in place during processing. The lid is not reusable, the band can be reused if it is in good condition.

Boiling Water Canner - Foods high in acid (fruits) can be processed in a boiling -water canner. The heat is transferred by the boiling water , 212F at Sea Level, which completely covers the jar and two piece cap by 1 to 2 inches. They are made of porcelain -coated steel or aluminum. They are available commercially at a low price.

Steam-Pressure Canner - Low-acid foods (vegetables) must be processed in a steam-pressure canner. The steam in the pressure canner circulates around the jar, transferring heat and bringing the food to an internal temperature of 240 F. Although purchasing a steam-pressure canner may be costly, it is essential if you are going to can low-acid foods.

Small Canning Utensils - Specifically designed utensils for home canning, while not essential, help make the canning process easier and safer. Most pieces are available where home canning supplies are sold or direct from a manufacturer of canning products:
Jar lifter - Lifts any size home canning jar, is rubber coated for a sure grip and has a heat-resistant handle to protect hands.
Jar Funnel - aids in filling regular and wide mouth jars and is best made of plastic.
Plastic Spatula - helps remove excess air from the jar without damaging the glass.
Lid Wand - has a magnetized tip and plastic, heat resistant handle from lifting lids from hot water.

The process for each food varies but all have some similarities. Vegetables can be canned as part of a recipe with other vegetables or alone. Fruits can be canned alone or as jams, sauces, etc. To give you an idea, the following is a description of canning a vegetable alone.

Canning Green Beans , Step by Step
1) Read recipe instructions; assemble equipment and ingredients before starting. Follow guidelines for recipe preparation, jar size, canning method and processing time. Do not make changes in recommended guidelines.
2) Visually examine canning jars for nicks, cracks, uneven rims or sharp edges that may prevent sealing or cause breakage. Examine canning lids to ensure they are free of scratches and the sealing compound is even and complete. Check bands for proper fit.
3) Wash jars and two piece caps in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Dry bands; set aside. Heat jars and lids in a saucepot of simmering water (180 F). DO NOT BOIL LIDS. Allow jars and lids to remain in hot water until ready for use, removing one at a time as needed.
4) Select fresh green beans which are young tender and crisp. Wash beans in several changes of water; lift beans out of water and drain.
5) Remove strings and trim ends. Cut or break beans into uniform pieces. Prepare only enough for one canner load.
6) Cover beans with boiling water; boil 5 minutes. Remove beans from cooking water.
7) Remove canning jar from hot water with a jar lifter; set jar on a towel. Add 1 teaspoon salt per quart or 1/2 teaspoon salt per pint, if desired. Carefully ladle hot cooking liquid or boiling water over beans, leaving 1-inch headspace.
8) Run a metallic spatula between green beans and jar; press back gently on beans to release trapped air bubbles. Repeat procedure 2 to 3 times around jar.
9) Wipe rims and threads of jar with a clean, damp cloth. Remove lid from hot water with tongs or lid wand. Place lid on jar rim with sealing compound next to glass. Screw band down evenly and firmly, just until resistance is met.
10) As each jar is filled, set it onto the rack in the steam-pressure canner. The canner should contain 2 to 3 inches of hot water; keep water at a simmer (180 F) until all filled jars are placed in the canner. Check the water level; add boiling water, if necessary.
11) Put cover onto canner and turn to lock lid in place. Adjust heat; bring water to a boil, leave vent open until steam has escaped steadily for 10 minutes. Put weight on vent.
12) Bring pressure to 10 pounds for altitudes at or below 1,000 feet above sea level. Keep pressure steady during entire processing period. Process pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes. When processing is complete, turn off heat.
13) Let pressure return to 0 naturally. Wait 2 minutes to open vent. Unfasten cover; raise canner lid towards you, allowing steam to escape in opposite direction. Lift off cover. Let jars set in canner 5 to 10 minutes to adjust to the lower temperature. Remove jars from canner and set them upright, 1 to 2 inches apart, on a towel to cool. Do not retighten bands. Let jars cool 12 to 24 hours.
14) After jars are cooled, check lids for a seal by pressing on the center of each lid. If the center is pulled down and does not flex, remove the band and try to lift the lid off with your fingertips. If the lid does not flex and you cannot lift it off, the lid has a good vacuum seal. Wipe off lid and jar surface with a clean, damp cloth to remove food particles or residue. Label, store jars in a cool, dry, dark place.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Here Comes the Rain

"The clouds, impelled by the winds, released their nectarean water for the benefit of all living beings, just as kings, instructed by their brahmana priests, dispense charity to the citizens". Srimad Bhagavatam 10.20.24

Spring was late in coming. It was cold and the last frost was a week late, happening in late May. Summer came with very little rain; possibly an official drought would be declared, but we just missed that designation. Now September is like October. It became cool immediately after the hot summer and the rains came. If only some rain had come during the summer! So many green tomatoes have not ripened! All in all the weather has been very poor for growing our garden.

Gardens need the warmth of the sun and water to grow. When the rains are insufficient so are the crops. While suburbanites do not care to see the sky darken with impending rain clouds, even after many long sunny days, gardeners are thankful for the sight. One’s whole perspective on life changes according to one’s lifestyle.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dentures Needed!

Take a look in this mouth and give us an estimate of the cost.

Remember this patient chews mostly grass, sometimes grain.

He can not be expected to dental floss regularly.

Leave estimate and references in this blog's comments and we will get back to you.

Your services donated to this ox's dentures will reap good karma and be greatly appreciated by all cow lovers.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Why September 11?

Ganga will never be slaughtered

The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do onto you," Is one of the uniting principles in the world's major religious traditions. In Judaism, it is taught, "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen." (Talmud, Shabbat 31a) Christianity teaches, "Whatever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them." (Matthew 7:12) The followers of Islam declare, "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself." (Sunnah, Hadith) In Confucianism it is said, "Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness: Do not unto others that which you would not have them do unto you." (Analects 15.23) Buddhism also teaches, "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.' (Udana-Varga 5.18) And finally, in the world's earliest religious scriptures, the Vedic literature, we find, "This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done unto you."(Mahabharata 5.1517)

The world of science echoes the world's religions with its own equivalent of the Golden Rule. Newton's Third Law of Motion says that "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." While Newton's law applies only to material nature, the implications run deeper still, extending to the most subtle levels of existence. In the East, this is called the law of karma.

In a very fundamental sense, too, this law relates to our treatment of animals. The violence in society is at least in part the result of our merciless diet and abuse of the natural world around us. In karmic terms, violence begets violence. In dietary terms, you are what you eat.
Food for the Spirit, Steven Rosen

Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission--to be of service to them whenever they require it... If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
Saint Francis of Assisi (mystic and preacher)

Prabhupada: [...] But in the western country the cows are specially being killed. Now the reaction is war, crime, and they are now repentant. And they will have to repent more and more.
Jayatirtha: So the wars and the crime are a direct result of the cow slaughter.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It is a wholesale reaction. All these crises are taking place.[...]
Room Conversation with Mr. & Mrs. Wax, Writer and Editing Manager of Playboy
Magazine -- July 5, 1975, Chicago

"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
Albert Schweitzer

In this age of Kali the propensity for mercy is almost nil. Consequently there is always fighting and wars between men and nations. Men do not understand that because they unrestrictedly kill so many animals, they also must be slaughtered like animals in big wars. This is very much evident in the Western countries. In the West, slaughterhouses are maintained without restriction, and therefore every fifth or tenth year there is a big war in which countless people are slaughtered even more cruelly than the animals. Srimad Bhagavatam 4.26.5

To be nonviolent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satan's philosophy. In this age there is enmity toward poor animals, and therefore the poor creatures are always anxious. The reaction of the poor animals is being forced on human society, and therefore there is always the strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or nationally. Srimad Bhagavatam 1.10.6

Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is--whether its victim is human or animal--we cannot expect things to be much better in this world... We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity. Rachel Carson

We are the living graves of murdered beasts, slaughtered to satisfy our appetites. How can we hope in this world to attain the peace we say we are so anxious for? George Bernard Shaw (Living Graves, published 1951)

As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love. Pythagoras (6th century BC)

We don't want to stop trade or the production of grains and vegetables and fruit. But we want to stop these killing houses. It is very, very sinful. That is why all over the world they have so many wars. Every ten or fifteen years there is a big war -- a wholesale slaughterhouse for humankind. But these rascals -- they do not see it, that by the law of karma, every action must have its reaction.

You are killing innocent cows and other animals -- nature will take revenge. Just wait. As soon as the time is right, nature will gather all these rascals and slaughter them. Finished. They'll fight amongst themselves -- Protestants and Catholics, Russia and America, this one and that one. It is going on. Why? That is nature's law. Tit for tat. "You have killed. Now you kill yourselves."

They are sending animals to the slaughterhouse, and now they'll create their own slaughterhouse. [Imitating gunfire:] Tung! Tung! Kill! Kill! You see? Just take Belfast, for example. The Roman Catholics are killing the Protestants, and the Protestants are killing the Catholics. This is nature's law. JSD 6.5

As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields. Leo Tolstoy

If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. We feel better about ourselves and better about the animals, knowing we're not contributing to their pain.
Paul and Linda McCartney

Panca-gavya, the five products received from the cow, namely milk, yogurt, ghee, cow dung and cow urine, are required in all ritualistic ceremonies performed according to the Vedic directions. Cow urine and cow dung are uncontaminated, and since even the urine and dung of a cow are important, we can just imagine how important this animal is for human civilization. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, directly advocates go-raksya, the protection of cows. Civilized men who follow the system of varnasrama, especially those of the vaisya class, who engage in agriculture and trade, must give protection to the cows. Unfortunately, because people in Kali-yuga are mandah, all bad, and sumanda-matayah, misled by false conceptions of life, they are killing cows in the thousands. Therefore they are unfortunate in spiritual consciousness, and nature disturbs them in so many ways, especially through incurable diseases like cancer and through frequent wars and among nations. As long as human society continues to allow cows to be regularly killed in slaughterhouses, there cannot be any question of peace and prosperity. Srimad Bhagavatam 8.8.11

To kill cows means to end human civilization. Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.9

The cow's calf not only is beautiful to look at, but also gives satisfaction to the cow, and so she delivers as much milk as possible. But in the Kali-yuga, the calves are separated from the cows as early as possible for purposes which may not be mentioned in these pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. The cow stands with tears in her eyes, the sudra milkman draws milk from the cow artificially, and when there is no milk the cow is sent to be slaughtered. These greatly sinful acts are responsible for all the troubles in present society. Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.3

According to Manu, the great author of civic codes and religious principles, even the killer of an animal is to be considered a murderer because animal food is never meant for the civilized man, whose prime duty is to prepare himself for going back to Godhead.

He says that in the act of killing an animal, there is a regular conspiracy by the party of sinners, and all of them are liable to be punished as murderers exactly like a party of conspirators who kill a human being combinedly. He who gives permission, he who kills the animal, he who sells the slaughtered animal, he who cooks the animal, he who administers distribution of the foodstuff, and at last he who eats such cooked animal food are all murderers, and all of them are liable to be punished by the laws of nature. Srimad Bhagavatam 1.7.37

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Apple Harvest Party

Today we had an apple harvest party in the cool root cellar that is part of our house. Much of our house is built into the hillside. The root cellar is into the hillside, basically mostly underground, with no windows. It stays cool in the summer and makes a comfortable place to work.

Shelda came from Marietta, Ohio to help. Chaitanya Bhagavat and Jason came, and Kevin showed up too. Shelda attended our Harvest Workshop last year and ever since then has been coming to the farm to volunteer her services. She really likes cows and cow protection and has adopted Dwadasi. Chaitanya is now living in the cabin on our farm and is being trained by Balabhadra in self-sufficient skills. Jason has been living at New Vrindaban for the summer and is coming to the ISCOWP farm to learn what he can from Balabhadra. Kevin stayed with us 10 years ago; training with Balabhadra and helping us get established here at the ISCOWP farm. He has now just moved back into the area.

We had two apple peelers operating. You stick the apple on the prong, turn the hand crank and the peels fall away and a beautiful spiraled apple is left. You can adjust the hand machine for different sizes of apples. Then you put the apple in a solution of water and lemon to prevent discoloring. Cut the apple spiral and either put the apple pieces on a drying rack or in the cooker to make applesauce or apple butter. We made a lot of dried apples because you can use them later to make apple pie and other baked apple preparations during the seasons when there are no fresh apples. We also made 48 pints of applesauce.

Of course the best part is when we offer the applesauce and dried apples to Lord Krsna and then taste the FRUIT of our labor!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Future Belongs to Organic Gardening

Round zucchini is very popular with ISCOWP's organic produce customers.

Sales of organic foods have grown at an annual rate of 20 percent or more since 1990, making organic farming one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture. This rapid growth is all the more impressive because, unlike conventional agriculture, organic farming is not heavily subsidized by taxpayers' dollars. The rise of organic agriculture is consumer-driven, not subsidy driven, and indeed organic farmers market their food directly to consumers much more frequently than conventional farmers. Market share for organic producers will continue to expand due to rapid growth in consumer demand. In contrast, conventional agriculture is not sustainable because it depends heavily on petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides. An important policy implication of this article is the need to discontinue government subsidies for conventional agriculture, since organic farming is the only sustainable form of agriculture and will be the only alternative in the long run.

Agribusiness conglomerates, such as Monsanto, Du Pont, Dow, and Novartis, incorrectly argue that organic yields are low. Based on an ongoing long-term comparison study at UC Davis, organic yields were at least as high as conventional farming for all crops tested: tomato, safflower, corn, and bean (Clark, 1999). A recent study comparing organic and conventional apple production in California’s Central Coast showed higher yields as well as higher returns under the organic systems (Swezey et al., 1994). And another recent study compared organic, conventional, and integrated apple production systems in Washington State over a 6 year period, and found that the organic system was more profitable, had similar yields, better tasting fruit, and was more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient than the other systems (Reganold et al., 2001).

Organic agriculture can play an important role in averting future crop failures both in the US and in the rest of the world. The Rodale Institute compared conventional and organic systems for corn and soybeans in a study know as the Farm Systems Trial. Although yields were comparable during years of normal rainfall, the key result is that organic practices markedly improved the quality of the soil, thereby allowing soybean yields to remain relatively high even in the face of a drought. Unlike conventional farming, organic practices allow the soil to retain moisture more efficiently, while the higher content of organic matter also makes organic soil less compact so that root systems can penetrate more deeply to find moisture (Rodale Institute, 1999).

Not only is organic farming better able to withstand droughts, but it is also relatively immune to the inevitable shortages of petroleum supplies. Conventional agriculture is heavily dependent on petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides, while in contrast organic farmers are more insulated from volatility in energy prices. Therein lies an important competitive advantage of organic. For example, corn yields would fall dramatically from 130 bushels per acre to approximately 30 bushels, in the absence of chemical (petroleum-based) fertilizers, pesticides, and petroleum powered irrigation (Pimentel, 1998). The world is moving relentlessly towards this scenario, as conventional oil production could hit its maximum (peak) before the year 2010 (Campbell & Laherrere, 1998). Moreover, it is important to note that even before we reach this maximum, the costs of extracting petroleum would rise sharply, as oil companies are compelled to tap into oil deposits that are less accessible. Finally, the costs of extracting oil will exceed the benefits, implying that further production is not economical.

While organic production continues to grow rapidly in a competitive free market, conventional agriculture is heavily subsidized through direct farm payments, counter cyclical payments, crop insurance, and a network of research institutes and extension agents. These handouts, which are critical for the survival of conventional agriculture, tend to keep farmland and resources tied up in our highly mechanized, chemical-based farming systems, thereby inhibiting the growth of organic. It is reasonable to conclude that organic would have grown even faster if it had not been for the subsidies that conventional agriculture receives.

The misuse of taxpayers' dollars to subsidize conventional agriculture is symptomatic of a misdirected society. Even in the current situation, in which economically accessible supplies of petroleum are still largely available, conventional agriculture depends heavily on subsidies. The subsidy bill will have to grow sharply in order to maintain conventional farming systems in the face of rising petroleum prices and dwindling supplies. But we have to put these issues into the proper perspective. Although organic farming is a sustainable alternative, the human race will, on many other fronts, continue to experience an array of social, economic, and environmental problems unless we accept the spiritual principles that were enunciated by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada. All the difficulties of material existence have a common source, i.e., we want the Kingdom of God without God. Fortunately, these problems also have a common solution, i.e., a society centered around the Supreme Lord.

Campbell, Colin J. & Jean H. Laherrere, "The End of Cheap Oil", Scientific American, March 1998, pp. 78-83.

Clark S., et al, 1999. "Crop-yield and economic comparisons of organic, low-input, and conventional farming systems in California’s Sacramento Valley." American Journal of

Written for the ISCOWP News by Chand Prasad PHD.

Alternative Agriculture v. 14 (3) p. 109-121

Pimentel, D. (1998). Energy and dollar costs of ethanol production with corn. Hubbert Center Newsletter, 98/2 M, King Hubbert Center for Petroleum Supply Studies.

Reganold, J.P., J.D. Glover, P.K. Anrews, H.R. Hinman, 2001. “Sustainability of three apple production systems, Nature, 410: 926-930.

Rodale Institute, 1999. 100-Year Drought Is No Match for Organic Soybeans, (

Swezey, Sean, Jim Rider, Matthew Werner, Marc Buchanan, Jan Allison, and Stephen Gliessman, 1994. “Granny Smith conversions to organic show early success,” California Agriculture, Vol. 48.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Two Brothers Reflect on a Protected Life

Hay Gita, its looks like the real hot days of summer have again passed and the cooler days of Autumn are upon us. I can’t remember sitting in this spot and ruminating after a morning of grazing. This summer was so hot we were in the barn most mornings by 7:30 or 8:00 and stayed there till late afternoon. Those high 90's days were hard to handle. The humidity didn’t help either, but lucky for us Balabhadra has 3 water tanks in the barns and we have shade and cool, clean water within easy access.

That’s right Vraja, this summer was harsh and the rain has been a lot less than usual. Balabhadra is moving us from pasture to pasture quicker so we don’t overgraze the pastures. I remember one year back in the 1990's we were having to eat hay in the middle of August as the drought was so severe there just wasn’t any grass in the pastures to graze.

That was a really harsh summer Gita, but those drought summers do happen occasionally. We’ve seen a couple of drought summers in our 15 years of protected life with Balabhadra and family on the ISCOWP farm. We were just 1 day away from going to the sale barn when we were bought by ISCOWP and given a protected life.

We were trained to voice commands so we could work the land under Balabhadra's direction. Balabhadra had us doing so much service on the farm we were able to stay in great physical shape. We Plowed up fields, worked them down for the planting of grains and other crops, and hauled firewood and fence posts. Sometimes, we even had college classes come for visits and demonstrations.

Do you remember that one class that come from Hanover collage with Dr. Bob Rosenthal? We were giving a plowing demonstration and Balabhadra had us stop in the middle of the field and unhooked us from the plow with it still in the ground. He then asked the boys in the class to pick up the chain and pull the plow for the rest of that furrow. They couldn’t even pull the plow one foot to finish that furrow.

Balabhadra explained to them that a good team of oxen is the Backbone of the family farm and not the Soupbone.

Vraja, besides the farm work do you remember when were younger how we traveled for 3 months each summer? We traveled three times across the United States so we could lead Lord Jagannath in many Ratha Yatra parades and participated in many Festival of India programs. We met so many nice people across the land, both Americans and visitors, who we were able to discuss the concept of a vegetarian diet and OX POWER, an alternative to petroleum dependent agriculture.

Yeah Gita, those were the days. Traveling from place to place every couple of days and sleeping under a different tree every night. There were so many sights, new experiences, and new friends. It’s been a great life of service and teaching opportunities on the ISCOWP Farm for a team of protected oxen.

Hay Vraja, these purple flowers are sure beautiful and in a week or so the golden rod will be in bloom. Won’t that be a sight to see?

What a great and meaningful life its been for us on the ISCOWP Farm...!!!