- It takes a village to raise a child - African saying
- Nature is our best teacher
- we are the world, we are the ones to make a brighter day!..

- Natural farming, food forest

- We dig our grave with our teeth

- Freedom of expression is my birth right

- Freedom of speech comes with great responsibility

- I become what I see in myself. All that thought suggests to me, I can do; All that thought reveals to me, I can become. This should be man’s unshakeable faith in himself, because God dwells in him.

- The Mother said - it is not this OR that, it is this AND that
- Life is for living not to understand
‎"Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

rain, yes!

thank you, thank you so much

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moving the Shredder

I must admit, I enjoyed this far too much.

We had accumulated another massive pile of small branches for shredding... but they were stored on the other side of the forest. How to get the shredder within dragging distance? No tractor, no cows, no help. Just two boys, an Old Man, and me.


Use the boys as bullocks:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Water Tank

The boys came to change the Unicorn's flat tire. I greeted them smelling of B.O. and covered in a mucky substance that closely resembled diarrhea. The twelve-year-old mechanic looked at me strangely and asked for Martanda. "Oh," I replied calmly, "he's in the water tank."

Then the singing resumed. It started as a bubbling echo from no where and rose, slowly, steadily, to Jonas screaming in the belly of the whale. God knows what Martanda was singing, but all of the Greenbelt heard him.

Just another day at Lumière.

It's our third day without water, and while we're finding other ways to wash ourselves occasionally, the dishes are starting to get sticky and the bathroom pipes have that awful smell of stagnation. Martanda, who's even more hopelessly optimistic than I am, saw this as a brilliant opportunity--to clean the water tank.

So up the work tree he climbed, across the death-defying divide he jumped, and into the almost 20-foot deep tank he plunged with a bamboo ladder, a bucket, cleaning supplies, and a wire brush I sent up via rope. And, of course, he recorded it all on camera:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Shredder in Action

It's old. It's rusted. It's worn. The radiator leaks and it makes absurd noises. But, as we discovered today, it works.

Here's the shredder in action:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Space of Healing

It's indisputable that Lumière does something special to its residents. Even the dogs--who arrived angry, frightened, and ill--quickly grew into healthy, happy pups.

The latest case and point is Palani, who arrived with high blood pressure and deep anxiety on October 6. He changed his diet and habits and turned to the forest. He helped clear the path, prune the cashews, rake the leaves, and do whatever else needed doing. He read Paulo Coehlo and Grimm's Fairy Tales. He stayed home alone and listened to nature. He relaxed. And within one week, he's been healed.

It's official: The doctor says his BP's back to normal, and he seems a whole lot happier.

What he doesn't yet know is that Lumière can be like Hotel California: He may be physically ready to leave, but we have no plans to let him check out...


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tractor Ride

There are so many days in this place that I take a moment to look at my life and laugh. Things are wonderful, but they sure are different than I ever thought they'd be.

For example, while I grew up in a farm town in Massachusetts, I never actually thought I'd drive a giant tractor. I've ridden in the carts of hay they pull while apple picking or choosing Christmas trees, but the seat behind the wheel was always reserved for someone who knew what they were doing. Except in India.

Ex-Road Service Cavalier Martanda needed the monstrous John Deer to pull a shredder from a forest on the other side of Auroville to Lumière. Trusty side-kick Catherine thought it would be hilarious to join. It was.

Never have I been on something so uncomfortable... nor have I ever driven anything as powerful. What an adventure!

And now, perched randomly in the topes of Lumière, the rusty shredder waits to eat loads of branches and twigs from the cashew prunings...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome to the World, Batch #4!

It doesn't matter how many times we hatch eggs, I love the mornings that the chicks claw their way out of their fragile shells and into the world. Each time I hear the fresh chirps of the babies, I rush into the storeroom and bother the Mamma Hen until she's pecked me so much I'm afraid my hands will bleed. It's just too tempting to see those fuzzballs!

This time, from our second batch of Grace eggs, we have six healthy, happy, chicks and five rotten eggs.

Here's hoping each lives a long, healthy, happy life at Lumière...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Path Clearing

It's a big job. Kilometers of jogging paths once lined the fence and wound their way through the cashew topes, but years of unuse have turned the whole lot into an indistinguishable maze. So we three set out to clear the way.

Martanda, Palani, and I spent the afternoon tripping, taping, and drilling stakes into the ground to clearly designate a one kilometer jogging path along the fence. We still have some marking to do... but the way is fresh, clear, beautiful. What a place to run!

The final touches require a whole lot of feet regularly stamping their way between our markings... Anyone interested in coming for a run?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baby Cobra

Some weeks ago we discovered we shared the land with a rather large cobra.

This morning we discovered it's having babies.

Quite impressive, the markings on this little killer! (Unfortunately the pictures are less impressive...)

Friday, October 2, 2009

a new place to wash hands...and other things

Some people are surrounded by fancy things they purchased with hard-earned or otherwise acquired money. Some people need everything they own to be nice and shiny and new. Some people buy all the piece required for their vision.

We are not like those people.

We are more like scavengers. (I say that with fondness.) We roam from forest to forest, learning what we can, and implementing the best ideas at Lumière but with our twist--which usually means making the best of it with whatever we've already got to work with.

For example, the spice rack was originally created with termite-eaten window frames and donated wood. The pond is filled with plants from a bookshop, Forecomers, a friend's house, and I forget where else. And our latest addition is the Lumiere take on a drip/water-preserving/handwash thing. All that's required is a cracked plastic bucket, a chewed-through dog rope, some old rubber, and some creative thinking:

Two minutes of running water and not nearly as much waste as the tap!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sunshine Cashew Pruning

Thomas and Sabrine visiting from France after plenty of adventures around the world in the east, they heard of us from Tal, my very good friend from Israel.
Happily we welcomed them here in the forest. A lovely capsule to stay in. They committed themselves to helping on the land for the time they stayed!
Our main project presently is pruning the cashew trees for next years harvest.
Sou, a friend of theirs from Australia joined us. He stayed in a hammock attached to a cashew tree! Lovely to have over open, good hearted fellow beings of this planet on the land!
The pruned branches were taken on the oustide of the fence to be placed by the old man! A happy man he is when there are new people around :)
We visited Bernard from Aurobrindavan; a pending to-do since a long long time! His vegetable garden is made from many layers of soaked leaves, charcoal and a little of sand – their land is pebbl y and tough..
He uses everything from the land. Beautiful work!
Another pending to-do: Sadhana forest! Aviram took the group aroudn explaining their work. Aah, so inspiring. Lovely to see the dedicated work going on; on tough terrain with plenty of pebbles!
Grateful we are here higher up on the plateau where the earth has top soil and is fertile. There is 50m difference in elevation between Sadhana and Lumière. We are at the top of the water shed.