Water Woes

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 12, 2018

The Monastery – From left to right. Animal cottage and chicken pen, Old house, pump house, tavern building/our house.

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Oh, the glories of country living…


Today, about 10am our water stopped running. Our pump house that I built is 15ft square and 4ft high. It is well insulated and we put a light bulb inside when the temp drops below 20 degrees, and put a space heater in when it drops below 10 degrees, just to make sure the pipes inside don't freeze. It is located down our pasture, across a frozen creek, and down the old driveway about 200 yards from the converted tavern to house we live in. Misa walked over to check the pressure gauge, came back and said we have 0 pressure, and the space heater was still on. We figured that the pressure regulator device had gone bad. She drove 20 miles to town and got a new pressure regulator and some fuses, while I gathered the tools necessary to take the bad one off and replace it with the new one. I took a short nap and when I awoke she was back. It is 16 degrees here with a wind chill of 9 degrees.  We trekked over to the pump house and began the operation.

  When I unscrewed the pressure regulator, the last of the pressured water came spraying out. It got everywhere. Then we attached a small hose to the spicket inside to drain the rest. If the pressure drops to far we have to pump up the tank with air with a small electrical air pump, so I was working fast. I couldn't get the the regulator off the pipe it was attached to. While trying to do so I broke the pressure gauge and she had to go back into town to get a new one while I went back across to try to get the regulator off the pipe. In doing so I smashed my shin with a hammer as deflected off the vice grips I had attached to the pipe while holding the regulator stable on the floor. I still couldn't get it off. I decided to go put it in the table mounted vice in the garage, which is connected to the tavern building, and use a small piece of rebar to turn it, it came off. Now I had to go back over to the pump house to get the new regulator to place it on the pipe. Put teflon tape on each end of the pipe and screwed the new one in place. She returned with the gauge at about the same time. We walked over to put the two new gadgets on, plus two new fuses. On the wet floor I began to work, but my glasses were fogging up so bad I had to take them off, and it is hard for me to see anything in detail without them. So basically working by feel, I attached the new gauge, put the wiring back on, which Misa diagrammed on her cell phone, and put on the gauge. Put one fuse in, and the other refused to cooperate for 10 minutes, but finally did.

    I flipped the electricity back on and WAH LA, it worked, and not only worked but she happened to get a higher pressure regulator and our water is blasting out the faucets. I haven't taken a shower in two years because the pressure is so low . I hand wash my whole body about once a month. I think now the shower will work great. Yahoo!

  If we had called a pro to fix it probably would have cost about $300, we did it for $40, plus we would have had to wait for a day or two to get them here. As many of you know I am taking Prednisone, and I drink about 12 glasses of water each day.

  When I woke this morning I had the strangest song running through my mind. It was frantic and made little since to what I normally create, but I did my best to create the obscure song, and called it "Forced". Go figure!

  I chose this life style in a monastery because I desired to know what life and our universe/s "are" the best I could. With a vow of poverty, and bailing wire and duct tape, we have kept this place going for 34 years. I wouldn't have it any other way.


A Buddhist Farm Pictorial Essay

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Published on Open Mind on April 16, 2016

Photographs in this collection have been produced by Alison Lowrie, Heather Do, Liz Dolinar, and Adriana Haro at request of Michael Ashley for the UC Berkeley Anthropology 136e class, Spring 2011. The purpose was to digitally document the cultural heritage of Green Gulch Zen Center with the objective of gaining better insight into the Zen Center's cultural history through the use of photographic technology. Green Gulch Farm Zen Center (Latitude 37.86657, Longitude -122.56528), also known as the Green Dragon Temple, is located in Marin County, CA, in an idyllic valley overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Green Gulch is located on 115 acres within a large region of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, approximately 10 miles north of San Francisco. Green Gulch is one of three locations constituting the San Francisco Zen Center, founded by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi[1]. In 1972, Green Gulch was purchased from George Wheelwright, co-founder of Polaroid, as a part of SuzukiÕs vision to establish a farm near San Francisco where a community of Zen Buddhist practitioners could live and together practice their faith[2][3]. Green Gulch now serves as a Buddhist center in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, focused on awakening the Bodhisattva spirit of kindness and realistic helpfulness within the people residing, working, and visiting the center[1]. Green Gulch is comprised of a temple (called the Zendo), organic farm and garden, guesthouse, and conference center. The center offers training and practice in Zen mediation through workshops, retreats, and apprenticeships emphasizing meditation practice, Buddhist teachings, and organic gardening and farming methods[4]. Photographs in this collection were captured on Sunday April 24, 2011, between 11:30 AM and 2:15 PM Pacific Time, under sunny conditions. Nixon D80 and two-Canon XSI cameras were used. A tripod was used for HDR shots. The photos were post-processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.  Description written by Adriana Haro, foll

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One of our regular Diners Knarf recently started a Blog for his Buddhist Monastery called Open Mind.  He shared with us on the Diner Forum some of the pictures taken on their farm, which are quite beautiful and I asked him if I could share them with the Diner Readers.  He was cool with this, so here you have a photo essay of the farm of a bunch of Buddhist Monks currently operating down in the Lower 48.

A wonderful vision of a more peaceful life working together with nature, which really you do not need to be a Buddhist to enjoy.  You do howeer need to learn cooperatively and in peace with others if you are to do so. -RE

Here are some pics of our farm.


Homestead hogs in portable pens till a garden plot.



Handmade footbridge over intermittent stream.



Three-point farm implements.



This garage was used as a filling station in the 1920s.



Reversible garden frames to keep critters from disturbing seedlings.



Yellow groove bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata).



Farm cat rests in the shade.



Compost pile.



A green insect we thought might be an emerald ash borer.  It isn’t.



This tree isn’t doing well.



Layer pullets and guinea keets.



Grown laying hens.



Barred rock rooster.


American guinea hog gilt, Binkie.



Preparing for winter.



Homegrown sunflower seeds.



Newborn Kinder goats Eliza and Alexa.


Binkie, shortly before farrowing.

binky and the pumpkin

Binkie vs The Great Pumpkin.



Dipped candles are clipped to a pasta rack.


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Kinder goat herd.  (disregard date)



Banker, Binkie and their first litter, preparing ground for sowing red clover and alfalfa.



Piglets grazing on wheat grass.


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Corn thrives, thanks to liberal application of composted, manure-rich hog bedding. (disregard date)



Eggs collected daily are dated in pencil to ensure first-in, first-out rotation.



An aggressive but non-venomous little snake.


flash flood 5 -07 2_0001

Flash flooding takes a toll on the footbridge.



A home-butchered 18-month-old American guinea hog boar, ready to be wrapped in freezer paper.


Hogs rooting up the field again.



The creek on a snowy day.



An oven-ready wild gooseberry pie.



The homestead blanketed in snow.



‘Nuf said.



Livestock guardian dog Snowball studies her new charges.



Chicken coop and footbridge.



Starter trio of Kinder does — left to right, Lori, Lacy and Harriet.



Guinea hog pork, ready to serve.



Years after discontinuing its use, we sometimes find scraps of this landscape fabric in our vegetable garden.  Ugh.



The footbridge and the back of the chicken coop, as seen from the other side of the creek.



Boosin the cat took the raccoon bait.



We found Snowball offered for free on Craigslist.



Black walnut logs for the wood stove.



Apple trees in bloom.



A snapping turtle on the marshy forest floor.



A morel mushroom in the leaf litter.



Expect the unexpected.



Bass from a nearby farm pond.




Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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