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Daily Stories – 16 February

Everyday stories about an

expat’s life in Isaan, Thailand

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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 – 16 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:

We have been busy so I haven’t been to the farm for a few days. Still not a lot to report but here are a few photos from this morning that I hope you virtual Isaan farmers will enjoy.

Mama was cooking breakfast when we arrived. Freshly caught from the farm pond. Not such a great morning for these guys!

The long beans are making progress. A photo especially for Lung Bannork who asked how they were going. My ‘TONY’ shrub sign in the background has had a recent haircut.

New planting on the right of the beans. Four rows of celery with more rows of mixed vegetables to be added today. Yuan is aiming for the Songkran (Thai New Year early April) busy period but it really doesn’t matter as she can sell whatever she grows.

Just an early morning landscape taken because I liked the lighting. Smoke not mist as usual this time of year. Better than last year and it is clearing as we do get hazy sunny days. Warming up too although this morning was cooler.

Breakfast was served as we left to go home. Simple, fresh food and mostly free!

Tropical Gardens News:

A NEW PLANT SHOP:

We called into see friends in Si Bun Ruang main street, for a coffee and chat yesterday afternoon. Doug and Pu had a shop there selling clothes but Pu has changed direction and is now specialising selling small cacti and succulents as well as a few garden display plants. Beautiful colours and shapes in these miniature plants. The shop is around 50 metres down from the 7/11 heading towards the traffic lights.

No tropical garden is complete without plenty of these sort of colours.

3 for 100 baht.

Breakfast was served as we left to go home. Simple, fresh food and mostly free!

Doug and Pu’s gift to us.

BROMELIADS:

Having written about bromeliads in the story above talking about Doug and Pu’s shop in Si Bun Ruang, I put my money where my typing was and bought a few from Pu today.
Many of our display plants are not looking their best this time of year because they are hanging out for the monsoon starting May/June with more humid and wet conditions. These bromeliads are the same and will only improve as the year progresses. At around A$6.50 for plant and pot how can you go wrong for this sort of beauty?

Five new plants bought today from Pu.

The oyster plants, the green ground cover, is great but it needs a bit of colour and different texture to break it up. These bromeliads are perfect for doing that.

I wanted to add extra colour to this path.

The next few photos are of bromeliads we already have in the garden.

A PHOTO FOR FRANK:

I had a comment from a keen reader asking if the blue irrigation pipe that feeds bore/well water to the pond could be moved. I actually like it as a reminder of the agricultural essence of the farm but I did make a slight adjustment just for Frank Bond. It is now a perfect balance between purpose and looks. Thank you Frank.

Village News:

Noi’s Kitchen Re-opening:

Friends of ours reopened their popular eatery called Noi’s Kitchen after six months closure due to some health problems with Noi. There is a post on my timeline from Greg and Noi so I am repeating what you may have already read (or not as Facebook works in mysterious ways).

Noi’s is the main meeting place for farang in the Si Bun Ruang area so has been missed during it’s closure. All happily back in action today. You can find Noi’s on Google Maps here: https://tinyurl.com/tann3ou Welcome back Greg and Noi.

A farang carpark.

A full house of mostly farang and their partners. Noi and Greg get a lot of local Thais calling in as well, which you need to get the numbers.

The chef herself.

Just in case you forgot where you were.

Gaun helping out.

Noi hard at work as was Greg but no evidence of that captured today 🙂

My favourite photo with Peng was taken at Noi’s!

On the way home from Noi’s Kitchen I stopped at one of my favourite photo spots to update my shots of the Isaan fishing houseboats that are moored there. A longboat arrived just as I started to photograph so great timing. These are the best photos I have taken of this scene.

A classic Isaan view – when rice is being grown. This is the 2019/20 crop. A batch will be planted in June. Two crops can only be achieved where there is lots of water.

Houseboat on the left and longboat on the right.

This is a modern steel version, which are replacing the timber ones, an example of which we have in our garden.

Not being used because they normally have long bamboo poles in place to haul the fishing nets up using a leg powered winch, which is inside the cabin. They sit on large bamboo poles that have been sealed at both ends to keep the water out.

I can see a timber fishing boat on the bank. Worth a look next time.

You don’t get more rural fishing than that!

One more on the other side of the bridge and another out of sight around the corner.

Thailand Photography

Showcasing some of my favourite photos taken around Thailand during my time here. Last updated 16 February:

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

Tony

February 2020 – new stories

4 Comments

  1. Jim Busby

    Hi Tony,
    Sorry for the late reply, but I’ve been super busy of late, and while I seem to be very busy, in the end, nothing seems to get done! Looking forward to a more relaxed retirement future. See what bad influences you and Gaun are on Doug and Pu, now they’ll never stop trying to collect new plants. Succulents are wonderful plants, because unlike green leaf plants that bloom with flowers, look nice for a while, the flowers drop and the plant goes back to being a boring green leaf look alike plant in the yard. Succulents have continual color and texture that is unique, and you just pinch off a piece, put it in some soil, and you have tons more. Bromeliads are very strikingly beautiful and very tropical looking plants, and at 3 for 100 baht, a steal! Good on Frank, I always thought about encasing the blue plastic pipe in a larger piece of bamboo to fit into the surroundings, but never mentioned it. Oh well, problem solved. Great to see the local farang meeting place is back open for business, and I wish Noi and Greg all the best. Didn’t he make the sign for your rice hut at the house? You’ve only got a few weeks before Peng comes home and maybe you can try to get a new favorite photo of the two of you. Great photos as always, and maybe you can see if Gaun would give a go at making a Tomato Chutney using the more tomatoes, to go along with her Tamarind Chutney. Ok, back to doing something, that might, or might not, resemble something worth doing in the first place.

    Best wishes,

    Jim

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      What – you have a life?

      I can vaguely remember the immense relief at hitting Thailand after the stress of packing and selling up everything. Thailand had its own stressors but anything after that period seemed easy. Your time will come.

      Doug set up Pu in a lingerie shop in SBR main street but that never really took off. I have no idea how anyone survives on that street as on the few occasions we have been there it is a potential customer wasteland. Since Pu changed recently to selling cacti and other smaller plants online, she has been flat out. She gets orders for several thousand plants at a time, which she wraps and packs to be sent out by courier. Well done her.

      Greg and Noi are quality people doing the best they can. Greg has just posted a new menu on their Facebook page, so it may end up with you or you can see it if you click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/NoisRestaurant Nothing too exciting but just good solid food for low prices.

      Peng is booked home on the 8th. As she is now the air flight expert she is helping a friend of hers who is flying from Chiang Mai to Pattaya that morning for the first time. Nice to see her confidence and knowledge of the world expand. A joy to have her home. One of the conversations Gaun, Yuan and Lud were talking about as they harvested Manila tamarinds this morning was spending some of the measly sugar money they got this year on a buffet to welcome Peng home! There’s nothing like a good family.

      Good luck with the continued task list.

      Cheers. Tony

      Reply
  2. Mark

    G’day Tony, another interesting and informative read. I’m a bit of a water lover, I really like the heading picture change. My first thought when I saw it was can I drop a line in or do everyone just fish for purpose with a net. Mama has cooked a breakfast I’d like to eat. Fresh fish on the bbq. I’m pretty cautious of what I eat, I’m used to western food handling, how do you go eating out local style? Whenever I see grilled fish or meat I want to eat it, but then see it sitting raw no ice no refrigeration. The colourful bromeliads do make a bright splash in the greenery.

    In the past two weeks we have just had a cat3 cyclone hit our little town in WA head on, I know you are no where near the ocean but do you get anything similar e.g. tornado?

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Thank you Mark.

      A lot fish with a new but plenty use lines too. Mind you they will often set up with say ten lines in the water so it’s not all about the sport 🙂 We don’t eat out much at all. I am not a fan of Isaan food and Thai is OK but not regularly. The other problem is that our house a garden is such a lovely space that I feel no desire to leave it and sit on plastic chairs in some eating place on the side of the highway. Character restaurants are not part of the Si Bun Ruang scene! However, I do eat a bit from the stalls at local markets and have never had a problem. A degree of lucky I guess but generally things are cooked fresh and Thais are pretty good about cleanliness and chilling food that needs it.

      I haven’t experienced a specific event like a cyclone so far in Isaan. I am not sure if we get them. We had a huge tropical storm last year that came in from Vietnam and dumped a lot of water further south from us that caused flooding. Almost zero where were are. We do get brief tropical thunderstorms and they are fierce with sheet lightening, high winds and super heavy rain. They tend to hit in the hot season April/May. They can do damage but they are very local. One village gets hit and the one next door gets nothing.

      Cheers mate.

      Reply

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