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A Tribute to a Rice Hut

Six months makes a difference

We had friends visit the farm last week and comment was made at how impressive the ‘resort’ area surrounding the rice hut is in real life, as opposed to just seeing the images on the blog. That made me think about what we started with and I found it unbelieveable that it was six months almost to the day that we started this project. I thought that having recently updated the blog on our tropical garden that it was appropriate to give you a six month review of one of our other gardens 🙂

What we started with in November 2018 and yesterday.

This is the hut itself in bits ready to be reassembled and you can see that the whole area is pretty well a blank canvas.


Now. Rice hut installed and Gaun’s garden well established.

This photo was taken 27 November 2018.

I left the green blind down in this photo. I bought this and almost immediately the rains started. The hut is mostly open on the side facing the pond. Note that the water level has increased somewhat from the original too.

Six months ago


Before and two ‘now’ photos below.

Gaun hand digging her pond. Mama watching.

It has improved.

Six months ago.

And the vibrant colours of today.

Spot the butterfly.

Gaun has carved a moat around the rice hut to stop water flowing underneath in heavy rain. She has made wooden bridges (saphans) over the waterway leading to more flower beds lining the pond.

Rows of bushes and trees now well established and getting bigger by the hour!

The combination of Gaun’s vision and energy with the amazing soil and climate makes for a winning team. Can you imagine it in another six months after the wet season?

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  1. Greg Carroll

    We continue to be inspired by the changes and additions both you and Guan make to both your garden and at the farm Tony. It continues to provide plenty of ideas. Just the images of the rice hut being built has solved a problem we’ve been discussing for our place – how to replace Yuri’s father’s cow shed. Each post always provides something not only interesting and enjoyable but useful and informative too. Many thanks once again Tony.
    A small concern is the Lantana. As pretty as it is, are there natural controls for it in Thailand to keep it in check? We were up at Mount Mee last weekend and saw many acres of pasture affected. It has been in the news here a bit lately due to the cuts made to eradication campaigns. We saw first hand what the articles were saying.
    Yuri says it has been the best rainy season in years in her village: the rice farmers there are all walking around with big smiles. No doubt Yuan & Lud’s farm will be the same if conditions have continued from a couple of weeks ago. By the looks of the dam level it looks like it may have. Guan will be working overtime with the trimmer back at your house!

    That hammock under the tree looks so inviting – it adds to the overall affect of a tropical paradise. Are there plans for one back at your house? We’ve already added one to our plans.
    Cheers…Greg & Yuri

    • Tony in Thailand

      Great to hear from you Greg. We spent some time recently with Jon and Tha, the Australians who built a small place close to you, and it reminded me of your 2020 plans and I was wondering if all was still on track.

      Jon bought a rice hut based on our experiences so we have started a trend. I hadn’t realised Lantana was a problem here. Natural controls aren’t big in Thailand I am guessing. If you can’t hit it with a chemical it isn’t going to happen.

      We have had a better start to the wet season but it has only been light rain. Good for the garden but nowhere near enough to flood paddy fields. This has happened every year I have been in Isan. You’d think that Si Bun Ruang was in the rain shadow of a large mountain! Yuan is using bore/well water to flood the fields yet again this year. We have been away most of last week with two road trips to Chiang Mai to settle Peng into university there. We had to run the sprinklers when we got back each time as the gardens were looking very dry! I always thought a wet season meant that everywhere was wet. Not so. It is so local. Udon Thani, which is only 80 km away has a whole different weather system from us and they get days of rain when we get nothing. Weird.

      I have to say that I never expected retired life to be so busy, in a relaxed way, and that hammock rarely gets used. I don’t wake up with a schedule but somehow the day fills in with things that aren’t big jobs, but enough to keep me from sitting down with a drink and book. Catching up on comments on the blog after a week away falls under this category. Two full pickup loads of garden cuttings in the last day is another. Gaun is in full maintenance mode after our time away. I stay well away from her operating the hedge trimmer. You never know what’s going to get lopped off 🙂

      All the very best.


  2. Nobby

    We remember visiting your good selves in December last year, the transformation from then to now is amazing, well done both of you!


    Chris and Nong

  3. Jim Busby

    Well once again you have shown how with a little imagination and hard work, you can create your own beach paradise. Who needs Phuket? A lot of hard work that has paid off immensely. Thanks for the wonderful party time dance video. Gaun dances as hard as she works on the garden, and that’s how it should be! Too bad Elon Musk can’t figure out how to make batteries as good as Gaun. Funny, you just got your dick saling off your mind, to have a picture of a Giant Cockscomb (celosia cristata) Ha! Paradise is getting sweeter by the day. So, when was the last time you took Isan Grace out for a spin?


    • Tony in Thailand

      I am always amazed myself at what has been achieved in such a short time. These developments just seem to fall into place over a period and then are absorbed into the everyday. It is only when I go back to review progress with a post like this one that I realise what a wonderful transformation has taken place.

      Gaun is a party animal and thrown herself into enjoying herself in that environment with the same enthusiasm as everything else. In Australia (also the US I believe) we had an advertising campaign for a long-life battery and they used a children’s rabbit as the example and called it the energizer bunny. It just kept on going when other battery toys ran out of puff. Gaun reminds me very much of that character. She is all go with such vitality and energy and then as soon as her head hits the pillow at night the switch is turned off and she’s asleep.

      Giant cockscomb – so funny. Another to add to that update Jim. Thanks. The duel dicks are on the road this weekend as they are being included in a float for the main Si Bun Ruang Bun Bang Fai procession happening Saturday. Photos to follow for sure.

      Isan Grace has been a bit neglected ever since the beach hut came along. Too many places to sit and not enough time to do the actual sitting!

      Cheers Jim.


  4. Janet Barwick

    So beautiful Tony. One day I might take the trouble to get a passport and come and visit you

    • Tony in Thailand

      That would be a treat. I think you’d like it here Janet. $1,000 will get you here and back and the rest is free!

      Maybe one day.


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