Schedule

When you stay put for a while you tend to get into a routine. Being at Mysore to do Yoga is no exception to this rule. Over the past couple of weeks we have developed quiet a routine. The routine is as follows:

5:45      Alarm goes off
5:51      Get out of bed and use the washroom (those that know me know that this is an important and time consuming part of my day)
6:07     Get Tanya out of bed
6:15      Eat breakfast
6:49      Leave for Yoga
7:15      Start the morning session of Yoga
9:17      Go get a coconut (I like them now, especially after yoga, they are so refreshing)
9:21       Get breakfast from Mahesh Prasad (it is so good and for $0.42, you can’t go wrong)
9:45      Have a shower
9:52      Make coffee (this is new luxury that has been missing from most of my travels in India)
10:01    Read my permacutlure textbook and drink coffee
10:50    Practice tablas
12:12    Leave for Tabla Lesson
2:02     Arrive back at home from tabla lesson and eat lunch
4:37      Get ready for the evening class of Yoga (if I go, I find doing 2 classes of yoga a bit much for a guy like me)
7:16      Go get some dinner (at Mahesh Prasad, it is so good and for $1.50, both of us eat (a Masala dosa and some Naan, and get a drink, like fresh juice, grape or pineapple).
8:07      Arrive back at home
9:28       Go to Bed

Although this doesn’t sound like the most desirable lifestyle, it is pretty close. Life is good here. It is kind of like being unemployed, and traveling at the same time. The place we are staying at has a kitchen. In the kitchen there is blender (we made watermelon mint juice once, and cashew butter). The house is so nice, with a garden outside and good coffee that only thing that is missing is my computer.

Posted from Mysore, Karnataka, India
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Divine Nectar

Over the last weekend, Tanya and I went to a small village on the boarder of Kerala in the Western Ghats (near Coorg). There is a small village there that is starting to produce a biodynamic farm producing aromatic crops for essential oils. The activities ranged from getting to the village to making compost. This is how to make Amret Pany (Divine Nectar), an organic seed bank and soil that is packed full of great micro-organisms.

All the seeds (will the future seedbank)

This divine nectar is used to introduce micro-organisms into the soil which will increase the quality of the soil. A seedbank is important thing to have (as most farmers will tell you). A seedbank will reduce dependency on corporations to provide your seeds. Over time and a process of selection, a seedbank will have plants that have been selected for that climate and area and is a great resource. Micro-organisms in the soil are very important, if you think of the farm (or forest) as one big organism, the small part of the farm/forest/ecosystem (like the plants, insects, soil) are like the organs. If you remove some of the organs, the organism doesn’t do to well.This is the main arguement against using chemicals to fertilize and control pests, the are simplified methods that use one or two components to fix a problem. It is like take a multivitiam to fix a problem in the body, although it may work the best option is to eat right in the first place. Continue reading

Posted from Madikeri, Karnataka, India
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Biodynamic Compost

Over the last weekend, Tanya and I went to a small village on the boarder of Kerala in the Western Ghats (near Coorg). There is a small village there that is starting to produce a biodynamic farm producing aromatic crops for essential oils. The activities ranged from getting to the village to making compost. Here is how you make biodynamic compost.

You need a bunch of mulch: sticks (to provide air flow), dry leafy matter, green matter, cow dung, rock phosphate, lime powder, and some plant extracts.

Tanya Gathering Leaves

We went to collect what we could locally, and everyone helped out, it was great to see the villagers (and westerners) all working as a team. Raking dried bamboo leaves, chopping fresh green leaves and picking sticks, everyone helped out. With the piles collected we could start the compost. Continue reading

Posted from Madikeri, Karnataka, India
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Biodynamic Times

Over the last weekend, Tanya and I went to a small village on the boarder of Kerala in the Western Ghats (near Coorg). There is a small village there that is starting to produce a biodynamic farm producing aromatic crops for essential oils. The activities ranged from getting to the village to making compost. Here is the story of how the trip went.

Early morning roads (notice the Aum on the left side of the windshield)

I thought the alarm clock was set for 3:43am, however I mixed up the am and the pm. There was knocking at our door at 4:15. It was Kristen, a nice person who loves to help people, woke us up. Our ride was supposed to come at 4:30, which isn’t a lot time to get ready, especially when there is only one bathroom in the house. Our ride was late however, so we were rushed, and then we waited, for over an hour. We are picked up by a Tata Sumo, a diesel powered SUV, although there is enough to seat 8, you often 15 or more jammed into these things. There are no seat belts, and on the windshield OM is painted blocking the view of the passenger. Continue reading

Posted from Madikeri, Karnataka, India
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Berries

Once in while you come across something truly amazing. The other day it was literally outside our front door. It was these berries growing off of this tree. The name of the tree escapes me. But the taste of the berries will never leave my memory. Tanya describes the taste like cotton candy jelly bellies. This is not an exaggeration. These things don’t taste natural, they are so sweet and so tasty it is amazing, so amazing I thought I would do a post about them. One of the best things is that the tree grows outside our door, and every day I have one or two these berries.

It is like coming across a huckle berry stand. However in this part of the world there are so many things that grow so fast and produce so much that it really improves life (more so then an iPod would).

They are small but sweet

The flower of the tasty berry

Posted from Mysore, Karnataka, India
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New plans

As I write this e-mail I am reminded of the summer. Mainly because of the beer I am drinking (I have only had 3 beers in the last 1.5months) and The Black Keys playing on my ipod (those who know of the past summer will understand why this is essiantial summer music). The temp here is some around +30 which makes it feel like summer.

The real reason why I am writing this post is tell you guys about something new. We have changed Plans, it is official now. We have purchased a ticket to Singapore and we will being going to Malaysia to take a PDC (Permaculture Design Course). Which is a two week course in which you learn all about permaculture and become certified. Then in the middle of July we will head to Thailand (near Chang Mang) to volunteer on a permaculture farm/garden.  From the time we take our PDC (until the end of April) to the time we are to spend at the permaculture course we will tour around SE Asia, or do some volunteering.

It is pretty neat, changing our plans like this, but it isn’t without it sacrifices. We will have to send out bicycles home. We also won’t be able to see Petra, Egypt, Israel (a new addition to our plans thanks to the friends we met at Sadhana) and Europe. However we will see SE Asia and we will save money (I hear that it is good to have money in a recession). The last couple of months have been a growth period for us both. We have realized that traveling can be rewarding (in more then just pictures) and that a chance to learn something is better then a chance not to learn something. As we head to the unknown, we look forward to the new experiences in the future.

So far Mysore has been a lot of fun and been great. We have been slack at posting lately but that is mainly due to a really slow internet connection and the fact we have not been doing a lot. This is an update and there is some more post comming in the next few days that provide you with some good reading (I hope).

Posted from Mysore, Karnataka, India
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Holi

The other day was the Holi Fesitival in India. It is to celebrate something (like so many things) that I don’t understand about India Culture. This is what happens. A bunch of people (mostly early teenager to mid 20’s India Boys) get some dye (powdered or mixed with water) and they throw it at people in the street. I saw it once in a commercial and thought it looked pretty cool.

As I was riding my bicycle down an alley, I saw some people covered in dye (red, yellow, purple and pink). I looked ahead and there I saw a couple of eager boys holding something in their hands. I was riding my bicycle and as I passed them, they threw the powder at me. I was covered in many colours. It was crazy, but funny, and when I got home, Tanya had quiet the laugh at my multicoloured face/shirt/feet/shorts. I wish I had some ammunition to throw back, but I didn’t. A day and a shower later and I still have some evidence of festival on me.

 

Posted from Mysore, Karnataka, India
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From Pondycherry to Mysore

For the rest of our stay in India, we will not be riding any more. We have signed up for a yoga class and that is where we will be spending the rest of our days (about a month). As such there will not be as regular posts. There will still be posts, but when you are staying in the same city for a month, there isn’t a whole lot to see. There will not be a post every two days (as I’m sure you guys have noticed).

Over the past few months we have had an average of 72 people visit our site a day (which is amazing, I didn’t know I knew 72 people), and I thank you all for reading (or viewing the pictures) on the site.

Mysore Palace

Before arriving in Mysore we spent some time Pondycherry. After leaving Sadhana forest (which was a great experience) we booked into something a little more luxurious (which means there was a toilet and privacy). It was good and we enjoyed eating the French food.

As there is not a lot to see between Pondycherry and Mysore, and it is getting hot we opted to take a bus to Mysore. We booked on a sleeper and we both got a bed. Having a bed on the bus is great, you can sleep in comfort and time flies by. Before we knew it we were in Bangalore, hoped onto another bus and we were in Mysore in no time.

A window in Mysore

We signed up for our yoga class and have been to a few classes. They have been great, two classes a day at two hours a piece. A total of four hours of yoga. It isn’t the relax and try to touch your toes yoga, you hold a pose and every breathyou push with your hands (usually towards your feet or the ceiling depending on the pose) on the inhale and the push with your feet on the exhale. The result is a constant stretch for 5 long breaths. Then you switch sides and do it all over again.

For anyone who wants to say that doing yoga isn’t a real exercise, I challenge you to come to India and sign up for one of these courses. Within 30 seconds of the warm up I am sweating and within 5 minutes my shirt is saturated with sweat. My muscles are extremely sore, every time I move I am reminded of lactic acid that has taken residence in my muscles.

Posted from Mysore, Karnataka, India
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Sadhana Forest – Tanya’s Perspective

I thought I’d write another post about our time at Sadhana Forest. Kelly, as you’ve read, was busy everyday working on a specialized project because of his mad Forestry skills.  I, on the other hand, got to learn and do a wide variety of different tasks:

  • Developing an irrigation system in preparation for the upcoming monsoon (aka – digging trenches!)
  • Working on the creation of new garden beds and plots (aka – digging dirt from one location and moving it to another)
  • Helping to create organic, vegan meals in the kitchen (aka – peeling and chopping 100 cloves of garlic or de-seeding 30 or so pomegranates at any given time)
  • Maintaining the composting toilet system (aka – poop scooping)
  • Processing mulch (aka – breaking branches and twigs)
  • And more….!

Working

It has been so much fun though doing this work and I’ve learned a lot!
Our day basically went like this:
Wake up call at 6:00 am
First work is at 6:30-8:30
Breakfast from 8:30-9:30 which is usually porridge with fruit salad
Second work from 9:30-11:30
After that it’s time for a nice bucket of cold water to wash up, then its lunch, which is typically Brown rice, Dal (lentil stew) and one or two salads.
After lunch is mostly free time (unless you’re helping to cook dinner), in which there are often activities you can do if you want to.  A few times a week we’d go into town on our bicycles to use the computer or get additional food.  Dinner is at 5:30 which varies, but is usually something like a soup, a grain, and a salad, sometimes a desert!

After dinner there is always something going on, often there will be a movie or even an open-mic night which is really fun.

Alternative Power

Oven

Washing Station

The Kitchen

We’ve met so many great people and had a fantistic time at Sadhana Forest!

Posted from Pattanur, Tamil Nadu, India
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