Select Page

Daily Stories 21 January 2020

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 story 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.

My story of the day – 21 January 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:

Broadbeans are the focus at the farm now. Planting the beans themselves is easy but they need pretty extensive ‘infrastructure’ to be in place first. They grow on a trellis and have black plastic with holes cut in to reduce the weeds. We will follow the process over the next week or so.

The black plastic is held in place with small stakes made from cut bamboo. Here Yuan has started work on making them.

These are soaked in water, which makes them more bendable, and then the sharp end are punched through the plastic to hold it in place. In a western situation we’d probably buy commercial stakes from a farming supply shop. Here time has no cost so it is economical to DIY. 

Broadbean seeds.

Yuan had some seeds left over from last year so she is testing them to see if they will sprout again. Good idea.

Yuan has just cut some more bamboo to make stakes while Gaun has just cut lunch!

Yuan back at work. Lud is having a nap.

I watched Yuan and Lud culling this lettuce last week. Here is the result of all that meticulous back-breaking work.

A charcoal mound in the front. Wood is slowly ‘burnt’ and then used in cooking fires. Yuan cutting bamboo in the background.

Free food. That’s a blissful Isaan face. Yam leaves and stems I believe.

So neat as always. Grass cut and everything in it’s place. Rice husks piled up used for mulch. 10 baht a bag.

Gaun’s lunch. This is made into a soup. Isaan basil (the lemon smelling version)

Tropical Gardens News:


The subject of tamarind trees was raised by Geoff Mulder yesterday and so I thought I would cover this tropical fruit today.

That tree on the right is a tamarind. It is growing on Gaun’s land at the farm. She tells stories of climbing it when she was a girl so it’s an old one (well not too old so as not to upset Gaun).

Tamarind is a hardwood tree known scientifically as Tamarindus indica. It’s native to Africa but also grows in India, Pakistan and many other tropical regions.

The tree produces bean-like pods filled with seeds surrounded by a fibrous pulp. The pulp of the young fruit is green and sour. As it ripens, the juicy pulp becomes paste-like and more sweet-sour.

Interestingly, tamarind is sometimes referred to as the “date of India.”

This information and more can be found here:

Last year’s fallen tamarind dried underneath. Seedlings to come.

These are in our garden at home. Having seen the pods you will recognise them from every local Thai market in season. You can also buy the pulp that has been processed into black blocks at stalls as well. Used in Asian cooking.

Ours are a good size. They get watered regularly so that might be making a difference.

Our tree is small, maybe five metres high. We won’t let it get too high as the last two we had in the garden were blown over in big storms. I wonder if you knew that tamarind is an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce (I didn’t before today). Gaun makes the sour pulp into a beautiful chutney that goes so well with cold meats. She’s working up to do some more so I will share the recipe when it happens.

Manila Tamarind:

Gaun is a keen hunter of the fruit from this tree. Today after her ‘fruitless’ search for some I decided to search for the name and now we all know:

Pithecellobium dulce commonly known as Blackbead, Camachile tree is a genus of flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae that is inhabitant to the Pacific Coast and adjacent highlands of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. It is an introduced species and extensively naturalized in the Caribbean, Florida, Guam, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines. It is considered an invasive species in Hawaii. Known by several other common names such as Blackbead, Camachile tree, Madras thorn, Manila tamarind, Opiuma, Sweet inga, Manilla Tamarind, Guayamochil, Monkey Pod and much more, in the region of Hawaii, it is considered as an invasive species. The genus name is derived from the Greek words pithekos (an ape) and lobos (a lobe), alluding to the pods, shaped like the human ears. This species was named and described botanically in 1795 from Coromandel, India, where it had been introduced. The specific name, meaning sweet, doubtless refers to the edible seed pulp.

Heaps more infromation on this helpful site:

This is an old tree and is in full flower like the mangoes. I presume it will fruit the same time as them too meaning i the next couple of months.

These are the spiral fruit. Unripe in this case.

We have one in the garden behind one of the bougainvillea mounds. Gaun never gets the fruit from this one because we have so many birds that call our garden home and they get to them first.

Another off-topic photo. These are dried papaya. If you shake them you can hear the rattle of seeds inside. Each pod must have 100 seeds and they will easy grow if planted. No wonder they are cheap to buy at garden centres.

Village News:

I have been following this house being built mostly by the team that constructed our house in 2014/15. Sometimes an initial concept is lost as a house progresses but to my mind this one just gets better. I think the mix of rough and processed timber with normal building materials has worked really well. I presume that open area is going to be left as an undercover outside space, which as you will be bored of hearing me say, is totally appropriate for this climate.

A bit of an artistic interpretation of the sky as we are under a smoky grey cover most of the time, but I liked the look. Small but well beyond the normal for an Isaan village.

Quality detailing.

A carport to the right and that outside area I think will work so well, if it’s being left like that.

Now that’s pretty impressive seeing they have milled that timber themselves on-site.

Good work guys.

Some serious power for cutting or maybe planing wood.

And heading the other way from our house this small local shop is taking shape too. A steel frame where the uprights have been filled with concrete to add strength. A concept I haven’t seem done before.

All work was cancelled due to a funeral in the village. The workers has just returned when last night three more people died and so this is a empty building site again. Bad timing for all involved!

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