ISCOWP Cows In the Winter


Hare Krishna,

This has been a harsh winter. Due to heavy snow fall we did not have electricity for one week and the road to our farm has been snowed in 3 times for a few days each time. Just walking to the barns through the snow in the cold temperatures tests one’s energy levels and fitness.

We bought a generator to pump the well that feeds the cow’s barn since we needed the water for the cows. This made us think of revisiting the idea of windmills as we have the hills to catch the wind.  But we also have to revisit the idea of replacing the barn roof for the old barn. Most of its tin roof is 45 years old and leaks due to holes.  And the way it was constructed creates a dip in the center of the roof where heavy snow can collect. When we priced the roof in 2008 its cost was $9000. Balabhadra suspects it will be a bit more now but will research it when he gets back and we will let you know.

Speaking of harsh, cold weather, Balabhadra visited some even colder locations where cows are being protected. Read about Belarus and Ukraine in this e-newsletter or our facebook page.

(Irene M. Dove)
ISCOWP Co-Managing Director

ISCOWP Cows In the Winter

Cows in the Snow at ISCOWP cow sanctuary
Thank you so much for your help in rebuilding the old barn roof!
Due to your help, the roof rebuilding began. We ran into more structural damage than we anticipated. Once we took off the old tin we could see it. The rafters had sunk weakening the purlins (the wood going horizontal to the rafters). Much of the purlins had become bent and cracked which made the platform to lay the metal roofing upon not level and unstable.

To correct the problem we first thought of leveling the roof by jacking up the rafters from underneath the roof, but due to the weight of the roof it was not possible. The solution was to cut square blocks, (2″ thick, by 8 inches wide, by 18 inches long) and nail them to the rafters at varied heights to level the roof platform and then nail the purlins to the blocks. The metal roofing then had a level platform on which to be laid.

This meant added expense to what was estimated. Please help us meet this additional expense and send what you can so we can finish rebuilding the roof right away!

You can read more about the rebuilding of the old barn roof, how you can help and our gifts to you at our website. Remember, a gift of a $1000 gives special treats to the ISCOWP herd of 20 with prayers for the well being of you and your family and a picture of the event! Thank you in advance for whatever help you can give.

ISCOWP barn in the snow
The cow barns with the old barn in the middle. It is connected to the new barn on the left.

Cow eating jaggery treat

Yamuna received some special treats of jaggery and black sesame seeds sponsored by Dipesh Sidapara. Actually the whole herd received the same treats. They were the most popular treats yet. Even Rudra wanted one.

The cows eat only hay in the winter and it is not as tasty as the clover, herbs and fresh green grass of spring and summer. So to get treats breaks the monotony for their tongues’s taste buds. They also love their water, and as we have excellent water they are quite happy to drink.

Rudra, the dog in the snow at ISCOWP
The road out of the farm after it was plowed. Rudra loves the snow.

Ukraine, Bezvodnoe Village

Cow kissing Nina - Balabhadra's secretary
Nina(Balabhadra’s secretary in Belarus)receiving a kiss.

Bezvodnoe is a small village close to Nicoliev. On good roads it takes a little over 3 hours from Odessa. The weather was very cold and the roads were basically a sheet of ice and snow with many pot holes. It took us 6 hours to reach Nicoliev safely but very tired.

The cows are of of a local breed and friendly. There are 2 small barns and one big barn. When the big barn is completely finished all 22 cows will move into the big barn

Mostly we talked about developing rural Krsna Conscious communities and devotional cow care and working the oxen. Bhakta Oleg and his wife Bhaktin Tanya and daughter Godavari are the driving force behind the development of their village. They have 26 cows and oxen. I think there are 16 devotees there and they are trying to fix up old village houses and build some new ones. They have one green house which produced a huge amount of vegetables last year, plus many fruit trees and berry bushes which are well established from days of yore. They are slowly buying up properties in the village and eventually plan to have a school. Bhakta Oleg is a business man and is the one financing everything….he is also a cow man and has a heart of gold.

Dhanesvara das had invited me to come to speak to the devotees about cow protection and training oxen. If you are interested in knowing more about the development of Varnashrama (development of village life based on Vedic principles) in Ukraine or wish to attend the Varnashrama Festival March 26-28 you may contact Dhanesvara.

Ukranian Devotees
The enthusiastic Ukraine devotees.


Barn in Ukraine
The big barn.
Milking cow in Ukraine
One of the milking cows.

Belarus/New Vraja Mandala

Written by Balabhadra das

Walking the farm in the bitterly cold winter
Walking the 800 meters (1/2 mile) to the farm in -30 celsius temperatures (-22 degree fahrenheit)

From the old village we had to walk the last 800 meters to the New Vraja Mandala farm as the snow was too deep and the devotees didn’t have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. It is beautiful country, but very cold…..-30 C. Despite the harsh conditions the 56 cows are in good health and cared for nicely They are very friendly due to being taken care of with lots of love.

I spent some time with Ananda dasi to give her some more hands-on tips on working with oxen. Since my last visit in 2008, I have been working very closely with the devotees in Belarus to encourage them to become more and more involved in their cow program. Several festivals have been held at the farm and now the devotees own 3 homes in the village close to the farm with other devotees negotiating to buy more of the old village homes. Repair work is ongoing in the barn as well as added shelter being built for the cows. The electricity is now back on and water is now available for the cows on site. Without electricity to run the pump the cows were just left to fend for themselves while out grazing. The devotees have started an Adopt-A-Cow program with close to ½ of their cows being adopted. The men meet on a regular basis and are laying plans for 2010 development at the farm. I am very pleased with the progress.

Working with Oxen in Ukraine
Its so nice to work with young oxen who are well behaved. They are very loving and receptive.
Lunch at the Radharani house in Belarus
After a cold morning with the cows and oxen we returned to Radharani house in the village for lunch. About 20 devotees came for dinner after a cold day of serving the cows. During dinner we talked about setting up a Facebook page for the farm.

That evening Vishwambhar Prabhu set up a page under his wife’s name….Prabhavati devi dasi. Check it out.

Cows staying warm & keeping their bellies full
The herd keeping warm while getting plenty to eat.

20 years later

Balabhadra with Oxen Team
Balabhadra giving a hands-on seminar with our first and most famous team Vraja and Gita on the grounds of the NV temple.

Twenty years ago this coming March, ISCOWP incorporated for the purpose of spreading the knowledge of cow protection and related agricultural practices. During this year, we will have a random picture from the past with a description in every monthly update.

This picture is one our most published photos. It was taken in 1996. We were invited to come to New Vrindavan to give a demonstration of ox power and to speak about cow protection. We were excited as we were also checking out the possibility of joining forces with the NV cow program. It was Memorial Day weekend which traditionally attracts many guests to NV.

We arrived in our school bus towing Vraja and Gita in a trailer behind us. I remember the hilly winding road specifically from Moundsville to the temple which can be a bit scary when you are hauling 2000 pounds behind you with an old school bus. It was always a gargantuan effort to bring the oxen to different events but in those days Balabhadra had the strength of an ox and Baladeva and Lakshmi (our teenage children) traveled with us giving more experienced strong hands to handle the huge oxen.



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