Ox Barn Renovation at New Vrindavan
by Vyasasan das
Back in August of this year, I began the overwhelming task of rebuilding the barn at New Vrindavan, West Virginia. As you will be able to see from the following pictures, the neglected barn was sadly in a state of disrepair and dilapidation. The building had been completely abandoned and neglected for over twenty years, and was filled with unspeakable garbage and debris. You could say it was a hazard and an eyesore. Actually the building was scheduled to be torn down…but then a remarkable thing happened. Male bulls started being born here at New Vrindavan. One after another, ten in a row, male bulls were appearing and the oxen program was born.
It was decided at one of the cow meetings that we should have a oxen program, and that teams of oxen should be trained up. It was all very exciting and devotees became enlivened by the prospect of an oxen program. There had been some talk in the past about doing something along these lines, but suddenly with new male cows being born one after another it was time for action.
Varsana Maharaja, asked me one day, if I would take a walk over to the old barn at Bahulavan, and have a look at the building with him. I gladly agreed, and together we looked at the existing structure, and both agreed it looked very good. The barn was built with rough sawn oak timbers, and planking, and it did in fact look very good. Of course there was a lot that needed to be removed, but the basic core was very solid and structurely very sound. So I began to draw up some plans for renovation to present to the New Vrindaban Board to see about getting some financing approved.
Srila Prabhupada and Krsna must have wanted this Oxen Program for New Vrindaban, because there were no obstacles in getting the project underway. So I quickly put a crew together and began the demolition and clean-up.
The Existing Building Before Renovation
The Clean Up
I would like to thank all the persons who helped in the clean up of the building. It was very nasty, dusty, dangerous, laborious work. It took over a month of demolition and clean-up before any actual construction even begun. Those I would especially like to thank are; Varsana Maharaja and Davada Prabhu for the heavy machinery operation. To the crew of dedicated workers, who shoveled and raked and swept up over 17 dump truck loads of garbage and debris, they are; Kevin, Tamala, Okey, and Josh. To Shyam Gopal Prabhu for joining the team for the re-construction, and adding to the spiritual flavor, and a special thanks to Pipalada Prabhu for doing such a nice job in finding a burial home for all this debris.
The improvements to the barn include, city water, 200 amp electrical service, new roof and siding, two decks and staircases, hay manger for feeding up to 16 cows or oxen, 5 individual stalls, tact area, machinery and ox cart storage area, and the entire 2nd floor which can later be developed for resident quarters.
For me personally, the most rewarding aspect of the project has been seeing the young oxen move into their new home before the onset of cold weather. The barn no longer smells of dust and debris, but rather the sweet smell of hay and manure is beginning to permeate the new space. Through the hard work, and dedication of the many who labored, a new home for the New Vrindavan Oxen Project has been created.
P.S. If anyone is wondering what I will do after the Building is completed…I would like to start construction on an Ox Cart in my shop this winter. Hare Krishna!
May cows stay in front of me; may cows stay behind me; may cows stay on both sides of me. May I always reside in the midst of cows. —Hari Bhakti Vilas 16.252
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!