Every year since Meher Mount’s founding in 1946, volunteers are tasked with making sure that brush is cleared away from all buildings to help protect Meher Mount and the environment from the threat of wildfires.
In May 2015, there was an extra effort to make the meadow – the Prasad Orchard – below Avatar’s Point more accessible to mowing equipment.
Meher Mount is a place in Ojai, CA, sanctified by Avatar Meher Baba's visit on August 2, 1956 - and it is also a focus on Him that is not constrained by location.
In honor of Meher Baba and in remembrance of Him, individuals from all over the world stayed engaged with and support Meher Mount.
Here is a snapshot of how they stay engaged.
The idea for the patio first came about when the Board was planning for the Workshop. An early concept called for a workshop/garage built into the side of the hill with a rooftop patio in view of the Bluffs.
That concept proved to be too expensive, but the idea of a patio with a view of the mountains stuck.
It was a major storm! Starting on Friday, February 28, we had a wonderful and wild storm with high winds.
We woke up to find one door had been blown open by the wind, and rain was coming right into the house. And rain was coming under the doors in the living room.
When Avatar Meher Baba visited Meher Mount in 1956, He asked about Meher Mount's boundaries. He was particularly inquisitive about the southern boundary corner post.
Meher Mount discovered that the property of the neighbors to the south, Larry and Maj Hagman, encroached on Meher Mount's land with footings for their solar panels, a couple of other small structures and a road. The fence line was actually on Meher Mount’s property.
Interestingly, that boundary line starts from the very corner Meher Baba inquired about.
On Monday, March 4, 2013, I received a call from Alex of Rock Hard Paving. His company has just finished laying an asphalt driveway at a neighbor's property, and he had two truckloads of surplus asphalt.
He had seen that Meher Mount's driveway was in disrepair and offered to lay the asphalt, including all grading and preparation, for a discounted price of $2.90 per square foot.
Yellow Starthistle (Centaurea solsitialis), is an invasive, noxious weed found in range lands, some wild lands, and along roadsides and walking trails.
There are an estimated 19,761,201 acres of Yellow Starthistle in the US. Some of that acreage includes Meher Mount.
The barn was basically meant to be temporary. At that time there was no money and no shelter for anything. What I did on the barn was triage: meant to be basically a tent to protect the few things that survived the fire. At the time, we couldn't even afford a tent.
To repair that structure is no longer a wise investment. Please: just tear it down. It's time.
In the beginning of the planning process for the Workshop, a number of ideas and building sites were discussed. All of these ideas were eventually determined not suitable for Meher Mount, its needs, and its finances.
The Board and Manager/Caretakers went back to the basic criteria for the Workshop.
The need for the fireproof garage/workshop sparked a series of discussions which led directly to the development of a long-range master plan for Meher Mount.
Meher Mount had earlier begun long-range planning discussions by holding two community meetings – February 7, 2004 and May 22, 2004 –to brainstorm ideas that would help guide the master plan.
When the $40,000 donation was made, the donor specified that $20,000 be used to purchase a new tractor and $20,000 be used to build a "fireproof" garage/workshop to house the tractor.
The reason for the "fireproof" request was because on October 14, 1985, a fire had swept through the Upper Ojai Valley destroying all the buildings, equipment, and vehicles at Meher Mount.
In May 2012, the Board of Directors of Meher Mount adopted a Master Plan. Planning for the future of Meher Mount is a careful, thoughtful and daunting process.
The master plan provides a framework for planning, operations and future development of programs, activities and infrastructure.
It is designed to be broad enough to encompass all elements and aspects of Meher Mount, while also being focused enough to provide consistent direction and guidance over the long term.
John Bryon had just finished building a fence for Agnes near the main entrance to Meher Mount. He then saw a man accidentally drive into the fence knocking it down.
John completely lost his temper and ran as fast as he could to catch the man in the car. He yelled and screamed at the man. The man apologized, and said he would fix the fence.
After the initial fire inspection in Spring of 2009, the Fire Department of Ventura County required Meher Mount to clear the shrub growth at least another 30 feet from the "temporary" workshop. That was in addition to the 70 feet that had already been cleared.
Manager/Caretaker Ray Johnston told them that Meher Mount had never been required to do this clearance in the past. And, since Meher Mount doesn’t insure the garage, fire fighters were not expected to try and save the building in a fire.
Meher Baba had stood out at the point near Baba’s Tree and asked Agnes Baron if she knew where the property corner was, pointing to Meher Mount’s southeast corner.
Her response was that the corner was down that rugged canyon, but she could not specify the corner exactly. Meher Baba “looked displeased,” Agnes said.
After the October 14, 1985, New Life Fire at Meher Mount destroyed all the buildings, new living quarters were needed for Agnes Baron, the then caretaker. As an interim solution, a trailer was brought on the property for her residence.
However, with time, pests and use, the trailer deteriorated. In September 2007, the trailer was removed before it became a safety hazard at a cost of $4,000.