Updates and Projects
Hi, this sign-up is to receive occasional email updates and project announcements about the New Mandir (opening on July 13th 2019). These announcements will also be posted here to the blog.
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram Caretakers
Given the size and scope of the upcoming Opening Ceremony and Guru Purnima festival (July 13th-17th), we’re using a new seva sign-up system that will allow people to select when and how they would like to volunteer during the event.
To see available seva projects, both before and during the event, and to select times you’d like to help, visit the sign-up tool here.
Ram Ram Everyone,
There is lots of excitement as we get closer to the new mandir opening and Guru Purnima which will be July 13th -17th. As we move closer to that time, there are many projects and changes happening at the ashram, which we want to make sure the Satsang is being regularly updated about. This first post will contain as much background as possible on the upgrades happening here, and it will also include notes about projects that could use additional hands. Future updates will be shorter and more focused, but for this first one we’re including everything, even the kitchen sink.
Jai Guru Dev!
New Mandir Related Projects (asterisk indicates seva opportunities):
- Lighting in Parking Lot: The mandir construction crew is currently setting up the new light poles in the parking lot. This is a requirement for new construction and will improve safety and visibility in the lot. The lights are low-power LED and in accordance with Taos’ Dark Sky protection.
- *Bumpers in Parking Lot: New parking lot bumpers will need to be added to indicate spots. If you’re interested in helping pound these in, contact email@example.com
- Concrete Pad for Accessible Parking: A paved parking pad was added for accessible parking by the new mandir entrance. The current accessible spots will be converted to spots for expecting mothers, mothers of small children, and the elderly.
- Fence Around Trash Cans: Enclosed waste bins is a requirement for the occupancy certificate and a fence is in the process of being built.
- Landscaping Around Mandir: The landscaping crew is making lots of progress installing the irrigation systems and preparing the land around the mandir for new plants and trees.
- *Sanding Pillars: There is a considerable amount of sanding that needs to be done to smooth the pillars and vigas outside of the mandir. If you have experience using power sanders and are interested in helping, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
General Ashram Projects:
- Entry Gate: A new, automatic entry gate is nearly finished. It will have a keypad entry system to allow for late night dharmsala guests. The gate was supported by generous wishlist donations.
- *Outdoor Showers: Designs for outdoor showers are being drawn up and we’d like to have construction done by the andir opening to allow for tent camping sevaks to easily shower. We’ll need help with construction, if you’re interested contact email@example.com
- *Moving Freezers: We have plans to move the two outdoor chest freezers and add storage to where they are currently. We need help pouring a concrete pad and extending the roof. If you’re interested contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- *Shelving: There are three separate shelving projects that we’d like to undertake. If you’re interested in building shelves contact email@example.com
- Sign Update: We’ve been assessing the signage around the Ashram and are updating and refreshing signs to make them more clear, welcoming, and beautiful.
- Website Refresh: The website is currently undergoing revisions to update the text and make the site more mobile friendly. A larger upgrade is being explored for the winter.
- *Re-grade and Gravel Entryway: We need to re-grade the ground in front of the kitchen entry and add in a french drain to prevent pooling and ice build-up in the winter. If you have experience and/or equipment to help with this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Festival Storage Shed and Monk’s Cells: We’ve completed the initial design for a new storage shed and 4 additional Monk’s Cells that will be built in place of the current festival shed. This project will begin in early fall.
Farm Projects: Michael, Madison, Shivram, and Janaki, our new Farm assistants, have been quickly learning the nuances of farming in Taos and is working with sevaks and the local satsang to prepare beds and ensure the greenhouses are producing. They’ve begun forming connections with local farmers and we’re in the process of updating this year’s farm plan.
- Root Cellar: Construction on the root cellar has accelerated this summer, and the rock walls are over 80% completed. We’re on target to have this finished by the end of season.
- Acequia Lateral Expansion: There has been an abundance of water this year, which has been a blessing but has also led to some marshy conditions in the back field. We expanded the drainage ditch system on our property and are exploring ways to prevent plant loss from the high water table.
- Pond: We’re working with Jessie to identify a leak in the pond and hope to have it holding at capacity by the end of summer.
- Memorial Grove: Plans for improvements to, and expansion of, the memorial grove are underway.
- Moving Greenhouse: We’re exploring options for optimizing the placement of the large greenhouse and adding a waste oil heater to reuse our spent-fry oil.
- *Weeding and Edging Front beds: We could use assistance weeding the front garden beds and preparing them to add metal edging.
- Roof Repair: There are currently a number of leaks in roofs around the property. We’re getting estimates to repair them.
- *Replace Skylights: We received a generous donation for new skylights above the kitchen and sunroom and are looking for a skilled sevak to help install them.
- Fencing Repair and New Gate: Upgrades to the latilla fencing around the parking lot is nearly completed and an entry gate will be added to the current entrance.
- New Stove: One of our stoves was leaking gas and has been replaced.
- Removing Dead Aspens: The aspen trees along the acequia unfortunately didn’t survive the drought and had to be felled. This has been completed.
- Leaking Kitchen Sinks: The ceramic handles in the kitchen sinks are prone to leaking due to the high mineral content in our water. We’re exploring moving over to washer based faucets which are significantly cheaper to repair when leaks occur.
- Marking Lines: We recently completed a project to have all of the sewer, gas, water, and electric lines on the property marked and drone footage and an official survey done to note them, which we’re hoping will prevent accidents during digging from now on.
- Bathroom Update: We’re exploring plans to update the bathrooms by the current temple, as there is significant wood rot in some areas.
Projects we could use help with: We could use lots of assistance with many of these projects and, of course, will need many helping hands with festival prep and during the festival. If you’re interested in helping in any way, please stop in or contact email@example.com. Below is a list of projects pulled from the areas above that need sevak help. Thank you!
- Finishing work on mandir, particularly sanding pillars
- Weeding and edging front beds
- Installing bumpers in parking lot
- Constructing outdoor showers
- Re-grading and graveling entryway
- Replacing skylights
- Building shelving
- Laying concrete pad and moving freezers
“Work is Worship.” ~ Neem Karoli Baba
Ram Ram! It’s beginning to feel like spring in Taos and Baba’s Ashram and Farm are in full swing as we get ready for the summer season.
The Ashram has a lot of Seva projects for people who live in Taos or those who want to help with a project while visiting. If you have specific skills or interest, please come in and talk with a Caretaker if you want to help, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. A list of projects we’re starting is below.
We also have 8 tent plots available for people interested in immersing themselves in seva (selfless service) and Ashram life for an extended time during the camping season. If you are interested in serving and tent camping at the Ashram and Farm, please email email@example.com for details.
- Guest chefs to prepare prasad, especially for Saturday or Sunday lunch and Tuesday dinner
- Sanding and oiling the pillars on new Mandir
- Mowing the lawns (we’d love someone interested in dedicating 3-4 hours a week to this on an ongoing basis)
- Assisting Farm (big and small projects available)
- Chimney sweeping and wood-stove maintenance
- Edging the flower beds and weeding
- Roof repair: We’re in the process of collecting estimates from contractors for two major roof repair projects, if you’re a roofer or know a great one, please reach out
All of our seva and His grace make all of this possible!