Journal April 2023

With temperatures well above the seasonal average life in the Andalusian Asharum could be worse. Trees are coming back to life, green is popping up everywhere, flowers start to appear and the birds keep sharing their songs.

While life confronts all of us with our specific challenges and tasks, it is too easy to close oneself off for their surroundings and become mainly concerned about internal, individual or personal affairs. We often forget that we cannot be considered without considering our environment, and disconnecting in this way is neither healthy nor helpful. And Asharum Nijar, as a place of beauty, with its intent geared to overcome such limited states of being, provides the atmosphere, tools and methods that are extremely helpful to neither hold on to anything, nor reject anything. To live life adapting to life as it happens and finding the best way to manage the challenges and tasks life presents us with.

Here, in our daily rhythm with space for silence, every day life offers opportunities to contribute optimally to the experience of all, and in this act overcoming personal worry and concern. To see we constitute the whole, not as separate, but as resonant beings. With a plethora of communal tasks to lose oneself in, which do not serve any personal gain. With continuous service towards each other, as well as to whoever and whatever passes by. In trust that life will take care of life. We are grateful that the opportunity to establish this place is here and whoever feels the call, is welcome to come and live life with us, is it for a day, a week, or for a lifetime.

The garden of the Asharum Nijar: Back to the Roots

The last week of March Chris, our permaculture design expert, visited the Asharum again. The timing was great, as the garden just started to come back to life after winter, considerably sooner compared to last year. Coinciding with the visit of Uli, who was happy to come and do some heavy work here, this proved to be a good opportunity to start the creation of a mandala food garden on the most eastern terrace, where the latest young trees have been planted.

To improve the soil conditions to enable the garden to sustain a healthy food forest and vegetable garden, a whole truck with manure was delivered. The truck was a bit larger than the second entrance to the garden, so the pile of manure was delivered on the street! With the help of the residents and other visitors, some shovels and some wheelbarrows, this nutrient-rich organic animal waste product was moved to several locations throughout the garden.

Besides this improvement, many other trees received specific care and/or cuttings and a variety of very welcome ideas and suggestions were shared on how to enhance the soil structure, the plant growth and the overall diversity and attractiveness of the garden. This month, the vegetable garden has given us broad beans, beets, cauliflower, broccoli and herbs. The potatoes we harvested earlier this month already finished, and they were delicious. Currently, we still have some cabbage growing, plenty of fresh onions that are ready to be harvested, more broad beans, and kale and lettuce. The coming week we will starting to germinate some vegetable seeds like pumpkin, corn, spinach and peanuts.

More building and improving

The terrace in front of the kitchen has been covered with a roof, and the open parts facing the garden are covered with glass from the bottom up to two-thirds of the height, leaving space for air flow through the upper parts. During the warmer months this will serve as the space where guests can have their meals and we will see how we will be able to use this area in the colder months as well. For now this creates a beautiful space in front of the kitchen where one can enjoy views of the garden and the mountains, while being protected from the sun and the wind.

The newest building on the premises, next to the meditation hall, has been completed. It consists of three parts; the part closest to the main building is ‘El Almacen’, the storage for items related to the house, like for example extra beds and heaters for winter. The middle part ‘El Taller’ is the new workplace. This week most of the tools were moved there. The last part is the tool shed for garden tools and supplies, something that would be called a ‘cobertizo’ in Spanish. The building beautifully extends the enclosure of buildings around the garden and we are sure we will make good use of it. In one stretch the builders proceed to work on the next part of the Asharum, which is the renovation of the old workplace, located next to the temporary meditation room, into a new guest room. Together with the temporary meditation room, these two new guest rooms will become extra spacious, equipped with a private shower and toilet.

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