A glorious winter weekend was the backdrop for the recent Working With Nature Weekend out at Vijayaloka. Between 25 and 30 of us spent the time together. As we have found previously, these weekends attract lots of new people so we had a mix of introductory meditation and dharma activities focusing on the Four Reminders, as well as enjoying getting to know each other while engaging in activities each of us chose - for the benefit of others. Everyone had such fun!
A few photos capture a little bit of the inside and outside projects we tackled.
Where there is smoke...!
We burnt (with the proper RFS fire approvals, of course) the piles of trees and branches that have been accumulating in the car park and the dam for some years. The old caravan wood deck is no more.
Weeds and Wood
So we have now removed most of the coral trees and a staggering number of the aptly-named "mother of millions" weeds were pulled up and burnt. Lots of of dead wood - pruned from trees which have really been suffering through a long dry period - meant the fires lasted all day.
Of course we harvested the usable wood for our slow-combustion heater first! The new chainsaw was put through its paces and made light work of removing what would have taken aeons by hand.
The old dead tree which was taken down during the last Working With Nature weekend was chopped up with a great deal of effort and enthusiasm. No easy task, and, oh there would have been many sore muscles in the following days!
The wood pile tank stand has been re-stood-up and is now just waiting for split wood to be stacked in!
Compost and Camping
We tidied up under many of the trees in the car park and created some lovely new tent sites. We emptied a few of the full compost bins, used rich, new mulch for planting and tidied up that area. The picnic table has be re-located to a beautiful, new spot. The walkway from the car park is very different: for now, more spacious but also the home of many new native plants which were selected for screening as well as their shrine flower potential. Lets see how they survive! And do feel free to check if they need water when you are next out there!
Sprucing the Spaces
No one will now get lost on the walking circuit trail! Bright pink ribbon has replaced the scrappy bits of wool.
Gutters were cleaned under clear blue skies so the roofs are clean, fire-safe and ready to collect for our wonderful water tanks!
Amitabha looked really happy about the complete make-over that his surrounding bush garden received. People were crawling all over the place removing dead bits, digging holes, planting, fertilising, mulching and installing net protectors. Absolutely fabulous outcome! Just add water!
Doorways to the Inside!
The super inspired painting team took on a transformation of the library. The drab brown fake wood lino walls have now been eradicated! The room looks so much lighter and brighter.
To protect the Buddha’s head, and also the furniture, a blind has been installed in the picture window.
Many of you may have noticed that the back door handle was broken and it was difficult to shut the door. Not any more! A new handles was expertly attached. The kitchen door and the men’s bathroom door were sealed, undercoated and painted to prolong their life as they were quite rain damaged.
And, hey, cumquats were harvested and made into delicious jam. Cleaning products were re-organised and re-labelled!
Signing off and an Invitation
Its so rewarding having fun together in the fresh air and sunshine. First time visitors throw themselves into the activities with such delight and energy, really enjoying the benefits of being at Vijayaloka and being amongst the surrounding bush; and those of us who know Vijayaloka as a venue for retreat and depth, find new ways to be there in a more casual setting; engaging in keeping it nurtured and beautiful. It’s a fabulous opportunity not only to practice but enjoy yourself putting some much needed effort into keeping Vijayaloka looking its best for all who come.
Everyone who attended would be looking forward to the next Working With Nature Retreat - which is on Friday 10th to Sunday 12 August. So please - come along and add your ideas and energy and apply your skills to help create the best Vijayaloka we can! Remember, children, friends, family, and all are welcome.
Gillian, Anita and Ratnajyoti