Here are some pictures of the first harvest of the ridge gourd we planted in the ashram goshala. The plants were growing too much so we had to add a trellis roof to stop them from going over the compound wall and give them a place to expand to.
We had planted ridge gourd in two separate places. The ones in these photos are inside the goshala area, where the soil has been naturally mixing with the cow’s dung for a few years. These immediately flowered and already have fruit.
Meanwhile the ones we planted in another part of the land, far away from the cows, still haven’t flowered yet, what to speak of have fruit.
That is the power of the “black gold” we get from cows in the form of manure.
Rain Shed for Ratha Yatra Chariot
We completed the rain shed for the newly built Ratha Yatra chariot to protect it from rain. In the meantime some wandering street cows use the shed to shelter from the rain and sun.
This mother cow (below) comes twice a day and stares at me till I feed her. She is owned by someone, but they leave her in the road to eat garbage. She figured out she can get better food if she comes to the temple and stares at people. Now she comes every single day without fail and will stand silently waiting for me to feed her. After eating, she roams outside and again comes back in the afternoon for one more meal before going to her home.
Two weeks ago this 1 month old kitten showed up in our temple all alone with no mother. I have no idea how they manage to find their way here, get past our 10 foot tall compound wall and make it to the temple. All sorts of animals just wander in when they need some help, sometimes cows or dogs or cats.
Unfortunately there is no way to get him back to his mother, as I know there are no mother cats close to us, and none come around our property. So it looks like we will have to keep him and take care of him till he is big enough to decide what he wants to do.
It was sad to see him crying for his mother constantly. The first three days he was calling for her constantly till his voice became hoarse. Afterwards he started to make friends with another female cat here, thinking it was his mother.
Since then the orphaned kitten has adjusted and made friends with some of the other temple cats. It took around four days for him to forget his mother and then take another female cat as his new mother. Now he fits in and seems to be happy. He is eating three times a day and has a nice little cave room to sleep in. Lucky for us he is a boy, so there will be no other complications when he gets bigger (17 cats here is already too many to take care of). Some one has given him the name Ashwatthama, because of the mark on his forehead.
This month we had more animals show up to the ashram in need of help. One street dog came to our temple with a very severely infected bite wound on the top of his head that was dripping puss and blood. It was very deep and if left untreated I don’t think he would survive.
We started feeding him antibiotics mixed with food twice a day, which he was eating without any hesitation. After 15 days of treating the injured street dog, his head wound has fully healed. He still has quite a scar that will need to heal up, but the infection and the deep hole are gone.
From Orphaned Puppy to Beloved Temple Visitor
Last week we had to bury one of the street dogs we helped as a puppy. We heard she had been hit by a car, so we went out and found her body and brought her back to bury in our goshala. She had no external injuries or blood, so I guess it was a brain injury. Someone told us a car had hit her, after she walked for a minute and then died.
We put ganga water on her, and charanamrita, as well as flowers from the temple, and then buried her in our temple goshala.
Her and her brother Tunglu survived parvo disease when puppies, and then we also treated her when she was hit in the head with a brick by someone. It seems like years ago, but it all happened in just 9 months, and now she is gone.
For the last 9 months she came every single day to our temple 5 or 6 times a day. Every day she ate kichadi prasadam after the morning offering. Her and her brother both would wait outside our gate in the night for the temple to be opened at 4am, sometimes disturbing the neighbors by yelping, calling for us to open the gate and let them in.
When they would see me first thing in the morning they would go crazy, jumping all over me and biting at my clothes nonstop. Finally I came up with a way to defuse them. Every morning when I would see them first, I would sit on the ground and let them jump on me and do whatever they wanted for a couple minutes. They would usually climb up on my lap, sit there like a king on a throne, and then after two minutes they would be satisfied and mellow out for the rest of the day.
Her brother, Tunglu, is still there and will continue the tradition.
Harvesting Napier Grass for the Ashram Cows
This month we started harvesting all of the Napier grass we were growing for the cows. We plan to remove all the roots (except for a couple plants) and will switch to growing dual use vegetables like cabbage and others which can be fed to both cows and humans. It would be nice to grow both, but at present we don’t have enough land for both. We will try to grow vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli that produce large amounts of excess leaf wastage, which is perfect for cows, so they will be just as happy.
Darshana of Lord Jagannatha at Bhadrak