#66 – October 2, 2018 – Mitti Seva – Morning Workout!

Dear Friends,
Today’s blog is Part 2 of a 5-part series on the ISHA Mitti Seva event of September 24, 2018.
On mitti seva day, enthusiastic sevadars arrived at the ISHA land on a gorgeous Wisconsin morning.
This year, the mitti seva tents were set up in the excavated hole for the basement of the Meeting Hall Dome on the top of ISHA Hill. 
Upon arrival, people were treated to hot bread pakoras and fresh chai and coffee.
A total of 235 people attended, representing at least 20 countries, and spanning 6 of the 7 continents (only because Antarctica has no permanent residents!).
After eating our fill of pakoras, an organizational meeting was held under the “big top,” whereupon each person chose a seva team. The teams were: 1) Trail work; 2) Signs; 3) Maintenance Shed; 4) Greenhouse terrace; and 5) Garden.
Nearly 80 people chose to work on the Trails. The group broke into four smaller teams, each of which had the responsibility of clearing and improving some part of the trail system that exists between the Dome site and the Chippewa River. These sevadars used clippers and saws on the foliage, and shovels, picks, and rakes to smooth the paths.
Performing trail-clearing seva with love and devotion in the beautiful woods of the dera!
This small-but-mighty team of sevadars chose to work on installing several new signs on the trail system. Each trail was creatively and lovingly named by volunteers who worked on the trail system earlier this year.
A number of skilled carpenters chose to work on the new ISHA Maintenance Shed, located near the Garden. This team installed all of the remaining rafters on the highest part of the building and then proceeded to install the 4×8 foot panels of roof sheeting on top of the rafters.
This team of shovel-wielding sevadars volunteered to construct a new terraced garden between the Maintenance Shed (Greenhouse) and the Garden. Their morning task was to dig out a perfectly level line along which they could later install bricks for the terraced wall.
More than 100 sevadars worked on the Maintenance Shed, Terrace, and Garden teams.
The nearly 80 sevadars who swarmed the vegetable garden were divided into four teams. Their jobs were: 1) Remove and store the garden fence and posts; 2) Harvest vegetables, pull out plants, and put in compost bins; 3) Pick up stones from the garden and deposit in a pile; and 4) Clear brambles on south end of garden so that garden can be expanded next year.
These volunteers are rolling up the garden fence and removing the fence posts — both of which will be stored for the winter. In the spring, helpers will be needed to fence and plant the new-and-improved vegetable garden, which will be nearly twice as big as this year’s garden!
The vegetable plants were dug up and tossed into compost bins. These lovely tamarack bins were built by volunteers to hold all of the organic waste that is generated by our gardens and kitchen. All of the material put in the bins will slowly break down into nutrient-rich compost that will then be added back into the garden soil. A perfect cycle, that will feed many sevadars in the years ahead! 
Even though the soil in the garden is rich and fertile, it contains many small rocks. A team of workers removed thousands of these rocks from the garden, placed them in 5-gallon buckets, and deposited them in a rock pile near the garden.
As Ishwar says, carrying even a single brick is precious service to the beloved. This stone seva will continue for the life of the garden, as the Wisconsin winters will continuously move stones upward through the soil to the surface by the process of “frost heaving.” So, we can expect this pile to increase in size at every mitti seva!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog, when Ishwar arrives at the Meeting Hall site in a golf cart!
With warmest regards,
Paul Bauer
Chair of ISHA Building & Fund-Raising Committee