Star jelly, sick horse, medicinal lichen

Here are some pictures taken this week at New Nandagram.  There is more detailed information about them below:

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  1. When Billy went into the barn to feed Dee Wednesday night, she looked sick and refused to even smell her sprouted grain.  Tummy aches in horses is called colic and most horses that die from disease, die from colic, so horse owners take this condition very seriously.  I gave her some pharma pain killer and made some tea from elm (it is very slimy and lubricates the stomach and intestines.  We suspect that her colic was due to parasites because her pasture has become a swamp.  So we wormed her and kept an eye on her all through the night.  She did evidently thrash around in pain and banged up her head, but she is now eating and seems to have fully recovered.
  2. Usnea lichen contains usnic acid which is a powerful immune system booster.  I like to collect my lichen before the insect season begins to make the cleaning process easier.  The lichen is crammed into a jar and covered with vodka for at least 6 weeks.  By that time the medicine becomes dissolved in the vodka and the lichen can be discarded.  I recommend taking about a teaspoon of the medicine 4-5 times a day when fighting a virus or infection.
  3. Star jelly.  The first time I saw this stuff was about 3 years ago and I googled, “transparent jelly found in the middle of a pasture” and came up with star jelly.  The internet claims that this phenomenon has been written about for hundreds of years and still no one knows what it is.  Apparently it is not organic–not a plant or animal product.  There is an interesting story about the “Oakville Blobs” that may or may not be related.  We live about 50 miles from Oakville.  This jelly looks like it was plopped from above, rather than oozed from the ground.  My last jelly was transparent and clear.  This one is brownish, but still translucent.
  4. Our seed incubator is made from a home thermostat, a computer fan and a lightbulb.  I’ve set the temperature at 80º to germinate tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and more.  They should sprout within a week or so, by which time I hope to have the greenhouse cleaned out and ready.
  5. Bantam chicks.  We keep chickens because they really keep the slug and bug population under control.  Plus they’re pretty.  This hen was orphaned last year when our dog, Gita beheaded her Mom.  This is her first clutch of chicks.  I do try to give the eggs to the dogs when I find them, but if a hen is able to hide them well enough, then we get chicks.  So far we haven’t had an over population problem.
  6. Torus is the herd leader and has been yoked with Makani.  Unfortunately Makani is about 4″ shorter, so we’re waiting for Shyami to become Torus’ teammate.  Shyami is almost as tall as Torus at 3 years and they are half brothers.
  7. Round bales.  We ran out of hay and bought some round bales that weigh about 500lbs each.  We rolled them against the fence and secured them with rope, tightening it as they consume the hay.  It seems to be working and next year we may figure out how to use these round bales because they are less work than carting around 50lb square bales.
  8. Their Lordships Giriraja and Balajii.  Giriraja is a Goverdhana Sila and Balajii is a Dvarka Sila.
  9. Tamale pie made mostly from homegrown ingredients:


2 cups masa corn flour

1 cup wheat flour

2 tsp. non-aluminum baking flour

1.5 tsp. salt

2 cups ricotta cheese (by product of making mozzarella)

1/4 cup oil


Mix all ingredients using enough milk to make the dough hold together.  Spread on a greased casserole and bake at 375º until done–about 20 minutes.  Let cool and layer with hung yogurt or sour cream, bean/veggie/tomato and top with fresh mozzarella.  Return to oven and bake until the mozzarella is melted.


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Rain, Flood and More Rain

Pictures taken this week at New Nandagram:


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“Puffed up by such a false sense of becoming God, the deluded living being increases his material strength by so many activities and thus becomes the burden of the earth, so much so that the earth becomes completely uninhabitable by the sane. This state of affairs is called dharmasya glāniḥ, or misuse of the energy of the human being. When such misuse of human energy is prominent, the saner living beings become perturbed by the awkward situation created by the vicious administrators, who are simply burdens of the earth, and the Lord appears by His internal potency just to save the saner section of humanity and to alleviate the burden due to the earthly administrators in different parts of the world. He does not favor either of the unwanted administrators, but by His potential power He creates hostility between such unwanted administrators, as the air creates fire in the forest by the friction of the bamboos. The fire in the forest takes place automatically by the force of the air, and similarly the hostility between different groups of politicians takes place by the unseen design of the Lord. The unwanted administrators, puffed up by false power and military strength, thus become engaged in fighting amongst themselves over ideological conflicts and so exhaust themselves of all powers. The history of the world reflects this factual will of the Lord, and it will continue to be enacted until the living beings are attached to the service of the Lord.”  SB 1.11.34

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Our own prosperity is connected with our treatment of animals, particularly cows

India, a country that formerly revered cows*, was also one of the most prosperous places on Earth.  In fact the discovery of the Western Hemisphere by Europeans occurred when the Europeans were trying to find a shorter/easier route to India.  Far from being a “third world country”, India was regarded as a place of high morals and prosperity.  Here is an excerpt from Lord Macaulay’s address to the British Parliament on February 2, 1835:

“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

Could this former prosperity be connected to the Indian people’s former treatment of cows?  Here at New Nandagram in Glenoma, Washington, we think it is.  We’ve personally experienced the peace and prosperity that comes from not only keeping cows, but from engaging them in contributing to our lifestyle.  From our sweet milk cow, Lani Moo, we get rich creamy milk that we make into yogurt, ghee, cheese, butter, burfi and paneer.  Our oxen act happy when they are asked to work.  And all of them provide affection and fertilizer. Because we try to treat them as family members and they know that they will never be sent to slaughter, we are able to have an honest relationship with them.  And the fact that they contribute means that our relationship with them is mutually beneficial.  Srila Prabhupada, a great proponent of cow protection says:

“For human happiness, one must care for the animals, especially the cows. Vasudeva therefore inquired whether there was a good arrangement for the animals where Nanda Maharaja lived. For the proper pursuit of human happiness, there must be arrangements for the protection of cows. This means that there must be forests and adequate pasturing grounds full of grass and water. If the animals are happy, there will be an ample supply of milk, from which human beings will benefit by deriving many milk products with which to live happily. As enjoined in Bhagavad-gita (18.44), krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma-svabhavajam. Without giving proper facilities to the animals, how can human society be happy?”   Srimad Bhagavatam 10.5.26, purport by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Most people have not experienced, first hand, the prosperity and satisfaction that comes from protecting cows.  In America cows are treated as a resource to be exploited. The people that keep cows act like tyrants, sending them to slaughter for profit and sense gratification.  Consequently the Americans themselves are being progressively exploited with the government being progressively tyrannical.

At New Nandagram, we are opening our farm to visitors who would like to experience a lifestyle that includes cows without exploiting them.  We have seven family members who are of the bovine persuasion: Dhana (matriarch), Makani (working ox), Lani Moo (milk cow), Torus (working ox), Tukaram (future working ox) , Ra (future working ox) and Precious (heifer).  Please call or e-mail to schedule your visit.  We’re looking forward to meeting you!

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*India ranks 5th in the world in beef production, 7th in domestic consumption and 1st in exporting, according to Wikipedia.

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