December is dark, cold and sometimes snowy. We are warm and dry thanks to the forest and the abundant trees here. We are chopping down dead trees for firewood and chopping tree branches into wood chips used for various purposes. At the Govardhana Goshala wood chips are used keep the cow sleeping area and grounds dry and clean. The wood chips are also put on icy and slippery walkways at our homes, school and temple.
By chipping up branches and fallen tree pieces, we are helping prevent forest fires by keeping the forest free of combustible debris. A fire would "run" through cleared areas so quickly that trees will not catch on fire, causing a major blaze. Cleaning up the forest debris also clears paths for cows to graze.
Our winters can be either warm or cold depending on currents in the pacific ocean and polar jet streams. We are 400 km from the ocean and sometimes our weather systems come from the ocean giving us warm and wet air. A polar jet stream is almost exactly above us, so depending on small shifts, we are subject to either cold or warm air in winters. This week is around 0 celcius, but last year around minus 20 during most of December.
Fortunately for the cows of Govardhana Goshala, the weather has been warmer than normal. Their sleeping barn is body heated only. Colder days have taught us about the necessity of having a wood stove in our future Eco Village Goshala.
High up in the Northern Hemisphere, winter days are very short with the sun rising after 8am and setting before 4pm.
This provides challenges for our solar powered off-grid setup. Solar panels don't provide enough power on short or cloudy days, so we must use alternatives like micro hydro for power. Recently our internet service provider's solar powered tower's equipment stopped working due to lack of sunshine. This disconnected us from the Internet for 3 days, a good thing if you have lots of good books to read.
Through austerity, King Malayadhvaja in body and mind gradually became equal to the dualities of cold and heat, happiness and distress, wind and rain, hunger and thirst, the pleasant and the unpleasant. In this way he conquered all relativities.
In Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa advises Arjuna to conquer all relativities through tolerance. Lord Kṛṣṇa points out that it is the relativities like winter and summer that give us trouble in the material world. In the winter we do not like taking a bath, but in the summer we wish to take a bath twice, thrice or more a day. Thus Kṛṣṇa advises us not to be disturbed by such relativities and dualities when they come and go.
Purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.