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Daily Stories – 8 February

Everyday stories about an

expat’s life in Isaan, Thailand

In this unique blog You will find hundreds of stories about my life in Thailand, the good and bad. Not just a list of tourist destinations but stories about REALLY living here. I hope you enjoy sharing my experiences of settling into a new country and culture as much as I am living it. 

To visit my main index page click below.

To read today’s stories please scroll down.

Building in Thailand eBook

When my wife and I bought some land in Isaan, which is a region in the north east of Thailand, and then started to build our house I wanted to record the daily events of construction life. For twenty six weeks I wrote a weekly blog update about all the aspects of the build and included as much detail as possible for others who might be thinking of going down the same path. I was surprised by the number of readers I attracted as a result of writing on this subject, many of whom followed the entire build from beginning to end. 

Based on this continued interest I thought I would revisit my original words and bring them all together under the one heading in the form of an eBook. Included in this process has been some extensive updating and expansion of many of the original posts and the addition of the many COMMENTS, which are designed to expand your knowledge and save you time or money or both!

Read more HERE and find out how to obtain the eBook.

I am loving your book – just on my second read at the moment, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything first time around (which actually it turns out I did!).  

Just a note of thanks at this point ……. I am a fairly methodical sort of bloke, but there are many issues which your book highlights which I just wouldn’t have thought about – or if I had, I may well have assumed they were “standard” building practice [U-bends, drain positioning, barge-board alignment] – if it hadn’t been for your excellent descriptions!!  I will probably still “miss” something – that’s the nature of building/design – but thanks to you, it shouldn’t be anything too mission-critical.

The income from my eBook pays for the upkeep of this blog, which is otherwise commercially free unlike so many others.

NEW: Search the blog:

My stories of the day – 8 February 2020

My life in rural Isaan revolves around three main topics of interest. Firstly there is the family farm situated about 1 km from where we live. I love learning about and sharing aspects of farming in a different country. Read my stories and you’ll become a virtual Isaan farmer in time! Click HERE

Secondly is our enjoyment in developing the best private tropical garden in Isaan. We also have a small but still beautiful garden at the farm. In this section I write about any aspects related to gardening in Thailand, illustrated with photos taken in our gardens and locally. Click HERE

And finally I share everyday stories as I see them relating to life in a small rural village. This could cover anything from personal events to festivals and local attractions. Anything that doesn’t fit into the other two headings ends up here. Click HERE 

Or of course read them all in which case just scroll down!

I am a keen photographer and all my photos are shot professionally and edited. The end result is far better than most blogs and social media and I will publish my favourite shots from time to time, which will almost be a fourth topic.

The stories I share here are reflected in my very active social media exposure and you will find me on Facebook as follows:

Tony Eastmead HERE 

Thailand Tropical Gardens HERE

Rural Isaan, Thailand HERE and;

Isaan Photography HERE.

Farm News:

Today’s Update:

Yuan’s dedication in finding exactly the type of long bean seeds she wanted has paid off with this batch sprouting nicely.

I took this photo at another farm and Gaun tells me this is the result Yuan DOESN’T want to achieve. Evidently this variety puts more energy into growing leaves and the beans are smaller as a result. I can understand that theory from this photo.

Lud found this climbing plant when searching for ant nests in a local treed area. Google Lens identifies it as maybe Miner’s Lettuce or Sorrel, but I am not convinced on either. Anyway, they were bundled up and sold at the markets for 20 baht each. Yuan made 400 baht from a free source!

An addition to the breakfast table. Sour evidently. How unusual 🙂 An example of the wonderful foraging nature of Isaan people. Evidently it is the Asiatic pennywort… called ใบบัวบก (bai bua bok) in Standard Thai, ผักหนอก (pak nork) in Issan dialect…More information HERE

Tropical Gardens News:

Farm Garden Update?:

With not much to report on in the garden I thought I would share a few photos I took yesterday of the farm rice hut area because it was looking so settled a year after being moved into its current position.

Bore/well water topping up the pond.

The rice hut garden.

And the view I never tire of.

Village News:

One for tropical fruit lovers. I haven’t taken much notice of these fruit thinking they were mandarins, which is what they look like face down. Gaun bought some yesterday at the markets, because they are reduced in price from 10 baht each a coupe of weeks ago to 5 baht each. They are of course (he now says having become a recent expert) persimmons and obviously currently in season. One to add to your list. More information HERE: 

The basket in the background holds tamarind picked form a tree in our garden. Gaun is making more chutney today. She wants to have it more sour than the last batch so will only boil it once (a double boil before) and put in less sugar.

I don’t normally either shoot or share food photos but I liked this one from this morning because of the colours and clean look. It could be restaurant presented but was Gaun’s breakfast eaten with sticky rice – of course.

An update on the construction of the new village store. I only add these photos because Jan is finishing the building using that polished concrete look you see in modern cafes and restaurants, which is so unusual (in fact I have never seen it) for a village corner store. Although the application takes longer obviously no paint is required so it probably ends up being cheaper and no longer to do time-wise.

You know the look from this photo, but it still needs to dry to give the final polished result. This is achieved using a final layer of concrete and water applied with a metal trowel and worked hard to get a super smooth finish. The other thing I really like about this lady is how immaculate her building site is. You won’t see this order with a bunch of Isaan guys.

Once dry it will be varnished to seal the surface and give a truly polished finish.

I replied to a comment on my Facebook page and said that this look made a nice looking floor too, and then came across this photo totally by chance. I think it needs a couple of rugs to cheer it up but the base concept is great and I would have thought cheaper than tiling, which will cost you minimum 150 baht per m2 for the tiles and 80 baht to lay. Concrete is 120 baht a bag and the varnish coating would be the main cost.

Jan on the final two walls. The exterior has been done the same. I was fully expecting a bright pink or purple paint finish, which is so standard here.

Jan’s mum has been helping all the way through. Jan has worked solid every day since starting.

Friends visiting us from Australia last week were kind enough to both top up my wine supply and bring these Aussie beer chiller glasses. Today was our first trial run and I am happy to report that they work as advertised. Thank you Matt and Nana.

Thailand Photography

Showcasing some of my favourite photos taken around Thailand during my time here. Last updated 2 February:

Thank you for reading and please leave a comment. It’s the only payment I ask for.

Tony

February 2020 – new stories

2 Comments

  1. Jim Busby

    Glad to see the Feb 8 story is now intact. I had a friend up in the Northwest part of the US that was an expert at going out and finding wild plants eat. He and his family rarely went to the grocery store for vegetables. My old Korean girlfriend made a salad and added pennywort, which reminded me of a more bitter parsley. What would go great with Jan’s polished concrete would be some concrete countertops. Here’s one video for a smaller one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7mYB6x68DY) Of course she may be too tired by now to add that extra labor to her project. On another note, you say your friends brought wine over from OZ, so how many bottles can you bring into Thailand on a trip before getting stopped and fined by the Thai Import Officers? I have heard of horror stories of people carrying in several bottles of wine with a large group of people, and each person being in charge of one bottle each, but were stopped and had to pay exorbitant fines.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      I am catching up on comments Jim. With perfect weather outside, sitting in front of a computer, even replying to you, seems like a waste of garden appreciation time 🙂 The roller doors have gone on the shop this morning so it will be interesting to see to what level of quality the internal fitout will be. I suspect no polished counter tops though! You wait until I open our cafe/restaurant in the garden (only joking – I hope).

      I believe the limit on alcohol being brought into the country is 1 litre per person. A discrimination against wine, which in Australia anyway is in 750 ml bottles! I have friends who regularly bring me wine (within the limits) and have no problems. As always it depends who you get stuck with on customs. This time my friends Matt and Nana were lucky. I still have five bottle left!

      Reply

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