August 27, 2019 Meditation

Morning - In the dark, I push aside the grass curtains and enter my little meditation room, which faces East. I turn to my cushion, and bow in gratitude for this phase of life’s journey. I turn to my altar, and bow in gratitude to the Cross, a simple hand-carved one with an embed of turquoise, which includes a bow to the Dine’, and then I bow to the Medicine Buddha.

I light the charcoal for incense. Using the incense Frankincense Serrata today to enter my prayers and sitting meditation. This varietal of frankincense, Boswallia Serreta, is also known as Indian olibanum. It has and continues to be an important resin in aromatherapy and Ayurveda medicine. At Hazelbrand we used it in our soaps for its’ healing properties. It feels like an old friend.

It typically offers a fragrance that tends toward woody and earthy, but this morning, with this particular harvest, it tilts toward an euphoric lemon and fills the meditation room with a sense of serenity. While the red-hot charcoal grows toward white ash, I start the coffee, feed the dog and cat, and enjoy the dark, quiet space. Frankincense is now a threatened plant, and as I settle in to the smoke, and the dark room, and the embers of red-white-hot sparks, I give thanks for this plant, and especially these 20-year-old yellow crystals as I spoon them onto the embers.

The world is here: Jesus, Dine’, Medicine Buddha, the Indian people who challenged the safety of their lives to harvest this Frankincense Serrata, so I could sit in my meditation room this morning. My prayers for the world rise as the (morning) incense (Episcopal Book of Common Prayer). My prayers for all people. For the beauty of the world.

It rained during the night. Rained hard. The card I pulled this morning, for reflection, spoke to me of this rain storm! My friend and colleague, Julie Hliboki (more about Julie here), created these prayer cards for the 99 Names Peace Project. you can purchase her book, “Cultivating Compassion in an Interfaith World: 99 Meditations to Embrace the Beloved” here. Here is to all of our magnificence!


O Beloved…

May I embrace my magnificence.

May all those I love embrace their magnificence.

May those in my community embrace their magnificence.

May those I struggle with or fear embrace their magnificence.

May all beings embrace their magnificence.

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Repairing the Goat Shed


The old goat shed needed a face lift; in fact, it needed just about everything. Our old goats - Zinnia, Arian, Butterscotch and Blueberry lived here. We built the goat shed in a hurry years ago when one of us unexpectedly brought the family of goats back from a visit with farming friends. We bartered the goats for a loom. The old milking stand is still here too, ready for a new job - to be revealed sometime soon.

It was a day made for building: Warm from the thinning winter sun, time off from school and work, and two excellent carpenters. We got several board cut in spite of having a rusty old saw, and Andrew and Micah fit them in place. Micah learned how to measure, and mark his measurements with his Dad. He was a greathelp at handing tools and even fitting the final boards in place. We will finish the restoration of the goat shed next time.


Fukuoka-style Natural Farming - Making clay seed balls

Our farm is already all-natural and with the beautiful weather here we are preparing seeds for planting in the rhythm of the season. We chose to make the balls with buckwheat - as it is time to sow those seeds. They will make a beautiful meadow of flowers for the bees, and hopefully, grain for us. 

Last Sunday, a few of us gathered to make clay balls with lots of seeds in the style of Fukuoka Masanobu in The One Straw Revolution. This is the best way to sow seed so that it doesn't get eaten by the birds or washed away. 
We had beautiful weather, some meditation in our upstairs meditation room. Then we served matcha tea and read excerpts from One Straw Revolution. 

"If rice is sown...and left uncovered, the seeds are often eaten by mice and birds, or they sometimes rot on the ground, and so I enclose the rice seeds in little clay pellets before sowing...The seeds are ...mixed with moist clay by kneading with hands or feet. They the clay is pushed through a screen of chicken wire to separate it into small clods. The clods should be left to dry for a day or two...In one day it is possible to make enough pellets to seed several acres....There is probably no easier, simpler method for growing grain. it involves little more than broadcasting seed and spreading straw, but it has taken me over thirty years to reach this simplicity. ...

Ultimately it is not the growing technique which is the most important factor, but rather the state of mind of the farmer."

(One Straw Revolution,  Masanobu Fukuoka, 1978.)