A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

Donations to a Forest Wat

The small forest temple close to the family farm is having their end of Buddhist Lent celebration this weekend and there is frantic activity to get everything ready for the event. This is a story about our contribution.

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts or I would have if I hadn’t donated them to the local forest wat as a contribution to the set up for their end of the Buddhist Lent weekend celebration. The morning was spent coconut hunting while the afternoon Facebook friends dropped in to say hello and inspect the farm. Thanks guys. Nice to meet up again. This post is one of some miini-stories I will be sharing, which record a small event as it happens rather than wait to publish a group of happenings. 

Locals donate whatever is growing this time of year and the produce is used both to decorate the wat but also at the end of the ceremonies there is a free-for-all where people can literally grab whatever they can lay their hands on to take home. This is Lud getting ready to harvesting some of our coconuts at home.

The bunches a very heavy so pulley system has been arranged to lower them to the ground. Gaun and Lud teamwork here.

I hope to grab back one of my bunches at the temple on Saturday 

A lovely photo of three of my favourite people. 

Gaun, Lud and Yuan. Jackfruit are also being cut, some for the temple and a couple for Yurt, Gaun’s older sister who works in Udon Thani. We are driving there on Wednesday and she has placed an order for some.

Our next stop was Vansutha Farm

Rice turns yellow like this when ready to harvest. Yuan has a team booked next week to harvest her rice.

Bore/well water being added to the pond as a bonus for the fish. As you can tell my floating raft is no more floating than it has been most of the year!

Despite low water levels the fish are growing well. These were tiny when first added.

Lud is ‘being monkey’ as Gaun calls it. Up the coconut tree at the farm thanks to my bamboo ladder.

No way would I be up there.

Quite a drop.

The Aussie in me loves rusted iron. This is the farm’s storeroom. Ultra security.

I am not just a spectator and I have the photos to prove it! Here Yuan and I lower the coconuts while Gaun records the event. 

Well done Lud. Lot’s of Buddhist merit points.

And here is the result of our ‘lowering’. It is actually a two person job. A large bunch like this is pretty heavy.

Coconuts, jackfruit and now sugar cane.

That’s me – all show and no go 🙂 Lud sometimes frustrates a super organised Yaun but she loves him to bits and this photo shows why. Such a nice man and a smile that represents the best of Isan.

Add sugar cane and off to the wat we go.

It is unusual to get a photo of Bear, Gaun’s older sister who runs the other half of the farm. She is shy and we don’t see as much of her as we do Yuan and Lud. A lovely, hardworking farmer.

Next…..off to the wat to deliver our goodies

On the way we pass this yai (grandmother/elder). She and another elder have done most of the planting around the wat. The hedge you see in the background is formed from cuttings taken from our hedge at home.

It was all go today as local villagers and also some from the moo ban that supports Wat Pa Silawa, a temple I wrote about recently, arrive to help prepare for the weekend. The abbott at this temple (Dit) was number two at Wat Pa Silawa so is well known and respected in the area.

Some of our donations being unloaded. Plenty of Buddhist merit points being accumulated.

The lady in red wanted a photo taken with me to show her daughter (I have that effect on people!) She asked Gaun if it was OK for her to hug me i.e. put her arm around me, in a funny display of correct Isan protocol. This is a very conservative society on the whole and best not forget it.

The new Buddha shrine building will be the focus for this ceremony and it was lovely to see a Buddha statue actually moved in for the weekend. This is a forest wat, so simplicity and extensive use of beautiful timber is the theme.

This will end up a small but delightful temple building set in peaceful farmland.

The monks here are workers. They have done a lot of the heavy physical construction work on this building. Bare feet and robes – essential construction worker safety gear.

A photo into the sun but what I wanted to show was this magnificent tree trunk. A beautiful natural colour and super straight and smooth.

These forest wats are often full of beautiful donated timber, much of it hardwood, which is increasingly hard to source.

Got the headgear happening too. A reader described it as a soft-hat rather than a hard-hat!

As a lover of timber a piece like this really makes my day. The guy working on it is an uncle of Dit (the head monk).

Yuan checking out a marvel of modern engineering. This will still be going years after our modern vehicles have given up! Gary Emms one for you.

Yak (meaning ‘giant’ in Thai) was a worker on our house and is here demonstrating the off road capability of the Isan utility vehicle. We will be attending the Sunday festival at this wat so no doubt there will be yet more photos then. What a fun way to spend the morning.

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