...you will be happy and prosper.” So does the psalmist describe a life of blessedness. Genesis also reveals that God gave the care of the earth to Adam and Eve, and it was only after the fall that their work became a matter of penitence and sweaty labor: “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…”. It seems then, that the gardener has one foot in paradise and one that tramples the thorns and thistles!
We at Bethlehem Monastery do our best to eat by the work of our hands and it has been great fun as well as muscle toning penance to be able to work up a bit of perspiration this first week of Lent tilling our vegetable field in a surprise day of 80 degree weather.
The novitiate garden crew has been busy during the cold and rainy days of February doing the first steps of shoveling rows of raised beds.
Cardboard boxes, flattened and piled for mulch and pine needles to cover them at last are being put in their proper place on the paths between the rows. Our trusty Troy built tiller churned up 4 rows so that the soil can start composting the spring weeds. Soon these beds will be ready for planting peas, beets and mustard greens!
Although we do our best, we cannot possibly grow enough to meet the needs of our big family. But that is lovely too, as it makes us dependent on the goodness of our kind benefactors whom God inspires to support our way of life, not only by monetary donations, but by gifts of food as well. Soon we shall be adding a page on our website that will inform visitors of our immediate needs so that if anyone is dropping by, and feels the breath of the Spirit upon them, they may know where to direct their love! Some of our friends now use Amazon to order their gifts on-line.
We do landscaping work as well. Here is a picture of some pre-spring beautifying activities in the cloister courtyard.