Ephesians 6:12
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Thank you for visiting gratefulnavigator! My sincerest wish for you is that you seek Truth, and that your life is filled with joy, wonder & profound gratitude, always!
Hosea 6:6
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
September, 2016: my abode, my Dar es Salaam, my Shangri-La, mein garten eden, is now The Oley Valley of Pennsylvania (Berks CountyAlsace Township), an extraordinarily breath-taking, existence-enhancing area. This is paradise on earth, a region where waves of rolling, fertile and luxurious farmland extend to the horizon. Hex signspow-wow (folk magic), hawks and eagles soaring among the thermals, stone farmhouses with a welcoming lighted candle in each window, mountaintop vistas, pink and purple sunsets, silos and sunflowers, horses and buggies, Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, rich raw milk and fragrant honey, covered wooden bridges… Dream-like, hallucinogenic, sensual, magical…
Sacred Oak
The first European settlers in the Oley Valley arrived in the early 1700s. The settlers were primarily German along with French Huguenots and Swedes seeking religious freedom. One of the Valley’s early residents was Mordecai Lincoln, the great-grandfather of Abraham Lincoln the 16th President of United States. The Lincoln Homestead can still be seen and visited in what is now Exeter Township. The Moravian Church had a Congregation for a time in Oley and operated one of the first schools in the area. more…,_Pennsylvania
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Mark van Allen’s LinkedIn profile
Mark van Allen’s resume
celibate since: January, 2009
“The human being, whether he realises it or not, is trusting someone or something every moment of the day.” ― Idries Shah
Previously (today is October 04, 2016; I purchased my home, and relocated here, on September 01, 2016), there was only lawn, growing on a 1″ layer of soil overlaying solid impenetrable shale, throughout the property.
Immediately I built a raised garden; the border is composed of: antique farmhouse shutters, large rocks, glazed terracotta pots, stone slabs (set on-end). Then, over 2,200 pounds of peat moss, compost, manure, straw and top soil (all amendments are organic) were layered/placed. The varying depth of soil reaches two feet in areas. All created, with overwhelming transcendent love, inspiration, and anticipation, over a two week period. In April of 2017 an additional garden was built along the entire longitudinal area, to the right of the entry to the home, from the street to beyond the patio. More than ten thousand pounds of manure, compost, straw, hay and topsoil were layered, alternately. Because there’s more than a three foot steep slope from sidewalk to adjacent home, terracing was implemented to increase growing area. First, a layer of straw was spread. Then, antique farm crates, old wooden boxes, glazed terra cotta pots and thick corrugated boxes were placed, irregularly, in a meandering naturalistic configuration along the fifty five foot length. Additional structural and engineering solutions were to place large boulders, old wood barn siding and thick layers of straw,  for support against gravity. Depth of soil, in some areas, is about two feet. Once the lush plantings are established, the tangle of roots will provide stability; the wood will slowly decompose and add fertility.  Only very rarely may one see a bit of a crate or box at soil’s surface; otherwise, it appears that the topography has always been this way. This section was completed in about three weeks; the physical  labor was provided by ONLY me.



And here,  May 2017:


The soil is so rich and fertile, that in this very short time, plants are growing amazingly fast! Butterflies, bees and toads have already discovered it; they’re frequent visitors. The garden has figs, strawberries, roses, mint, tarragon, thyme, bay laurel, autumn clematis, flat leaf parsley, rhubarb, satsuma orange, basil, japanese anemone, hydrangea, ornamental grasses, a fantail goldfish and bullfrog pond, succulents, orange trumpet vine (campsis radicans), blackberries, blueberries…
Walking on the soil is similar to walking on a bed of thick cotton batting: the soil yields, gently, under-foot.
Other areas, throughout the property, will have similar gardens. An authentic prairie wildflower/grasses section will be placed, longitudinally, along the side of my home. A vegetable garden will be in the back, providing plenty for me, and my neighbors. This is my mini Oley Valley, within the luxurious, fertile and bountiful Oley Valley.

View: from street to shed.

View: from shed to street.
  The gardens have been created and/or transformed/expanded over a period of about five weeks… astounding and marvelous! More than twelve thousand pounds of soil and boulders have been moved to create an incredibly beautiful environment, for which I am profoundly –and infinitely–grateful! Carrying one hundred pounds of soil (or heavy boulders) several yards, repeatedly over many hours,  is completed with no exertion or strain.  Twisting, turning, bending, climbing or kneeling are effortless and extremely pleasurable. Throughout March and April, 2017, Manipura and Svadisthana chakras energized, cleansed and synthesized their associated work organs, transforming them to a scalar-energy plane.



041617foxglove copy

041617lilac copy

041617sidegarden copy

Side garden, begun 04/10/17, expands each day. Plum, fig, pear, lilac trees. Strawberries, blackberries,  Spring bulbs, begonias, lettuces, tomatoes… The feet pulse, and pleasantly throb with the fluctuating energies of the earth. These are the most profound and pleasurable sensations: the muscles, tendons and nerves of the feet rhythmically writhing in response to energies. Amrit flows more abundantly in anticipation of effortlessly  lifting a heavy boulder, for placement. As of 04/16/17, more than 6,000 pounds of soil and rocks have been placed on this side garden. The terrain of the longitudinal side garden slopes steeply, therefor terracing was employed in order to construct (approximately one-foot-deep) gardens. Retaining walls were built by placing old wooden boxes and crates, soil-filled burlap sacks, boulders and glazed pots along the lower slope of the landscape. Alternate layers of straw, compost, manure, hay, peat moss and top soil were then back-filled. The retaining wall  infrastructure isn’t seen in the end result; only a meandering, undulating, hilly natural-appearing landscape.


041217frontgarden copy

041217sidegarden copy



04/09/17: rocks in same position since 03/02/17, when delivered. Today, this anterior/lateral longitudinal area of the yard will change dramatically.

040617garden copy

04/05/17: begin expanding existing front garden, laterally.






 View from garden and bedroom window:


2 thoughts on “Gardens

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