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Isaan Farm News

Everyday stories from an Isaan Farm 24 – 27 February

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.

24 February:

A few photos mainly on the same lettuce subject but with a different point of view plus a couple of updates.

These are the stored sticks used for making long bean trellis. 

Excess timber that has been sitting on Bear and Tham’s farm for a while was turned into usable pieces yesterday. I have my eye on a few of those to use as table legs. I have wood for the top already.

Bear and Tham are having built a new bathroom at their farm. Basic that does the job. Once the guys are finished here they are building a new storeroom for Yuan and Lud.

Lud working away washing lettuce. Excess leaves are given to the fish.

Not a bad work environment.

Yuan got a phone order for another 100 baht of lettuce so Gaun hopped in to help pick and wash.

Gaun and Yuan. This lettuce is to fill an order from a regular customer. Each bunch holds five stalks of lettuce. and is sold for 10 baht. The buyer then repacks them into three leave lots and makes a profit that way rather than increasing the price.

Dee Doh was off his lead this morning and decided that a lettuce bed was more comfortable than his normal bed. Lud was trying to stop him, which Dee Doh thought was good fun.

Long beans are making steady progress.

The seas were calm so I went for a sail. I wish I was back working in a an office doing something useful for the Australian government. Oh well, I make do.

27 February:

A mix of photos as always that reflect the daily events of farm life in Isaan.

Morning watering of new seedlings while the iron buffalo takes a rest in the shade of its very own umbrella.

A farmer’s fashion statement.

The green dusting of new seedlings sprouting. Morning glory, coriander and dill.

Harvesting Manila tamarind was on the agenda for this morning too. Picked for Yuan’s stall at the Friday street markets tomorrow.

Yuan cutting fruit from the ground.

While Gaun climbed the tree for a closer experience.

What an Aussie would call a gutsy lady.

Even in the dry brownness of the current landscape splashes of colour give some relief to the eye.

Gaun in action.

Lud, who had left to deliver vegetables that had been ordered, returned and then it was Gaun and Lud up the trees while Yuan collected at ground level.

Searching for fallen fruit.

Covered up when not being used but a peaceful rural scene even though.

No Chance Missed:

Yuan made 900 baht selling her Manila tamarind at yesterday’s markets so her entrepreneurial spirit, which has her grabbing any opportunity to make money, had her back up the trees at the farm this morning. I love seeing this sort initiative that reflects a personal drive to make the most of any situation.

Lud did the first harvest and then had enough. Not to be stopped Yuan saw that there were more to be got so up the tree she went.


Looking for more fruit.

Another few hundred baht in the basket.

Today are the big Friday street markets and Yuan always has a stall there. Celery, basil and dill in this basket. A photo of freshness.

Lettuce of course. You will be used to this by now being the main vegetable being harvested. Called ‘salad’ in Thai, one word you should remember.

Spring onions neatly wrapped up in a damp cloth to keep fresh.

Yuan always goes the extra mile to present her crops at their best. Here she inspects every Manila tamarind and cuts off bits that are dry or don’t look good. We called into the markets this afternoon and these bags of fruit were selling well. Good job Yuan and Lud.

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



  1. Matt

    That’s a really interesting project you’ve got here. I still have yet to go to Isaan but will try to stop by when I do. Maybe work with you on the farm for a few days. Would love to see how’ life in Isaan.

  2. Village Farang

    Congratulations on keeping this page going for so long. As you know, my muse fell silent several years ago. I only post of FaceBook these days. Keep up the good work.

    • Tony in Thailand

      You were my inspiration many years ago as THE blog on the ‘real’ Thailand. I am absolutely thrilled to have that comment from you. I must say that the blog has been very quiet in recent months. I have switched to sharing stories on several Facebook groups that I have established as you have. These allow me to continue to record the everyday that I enjoy so much and gives me a forum for my photography. Our love of tropical gardens HERE: my enjoyment of Isaan rural life lived through the beautiful farm my wonderful family run HERE: and Isaan Life and Culture HERE

      I so appreciate your comment from one of Thailand’s great bloggers. Cheers. Tony

  3. Noel

    Hi Tony ,I too am hooked on Thailand ,i have only been there twice and met an Issaan girl in her 40s whos family have farm 40ks out on Korat BuriRam road where she grew up ,she too is like your girls ,is a worker and lives in Bangkok ,has a fruit stall that she works for barely survival money ,but thats all she knows and now with covid is doing it tough.After reading some of your story ,which i love makes me want to go back and help her farming and fix her house that needs repair and do something similar to what you are doing.Just divorced after 43 years married,still only 65 yrs i think this could suit my future path.I love their food and their simple way of life .I cant wait now after seeing a few of your snippets .Thank you for making me consider it more .Cheers.

    • Tony in Thailand

      Thank you for your comment Noel and the insight into your situation. It is a good life here if that style of living is what you are looking for. I enjoy the combination of having a comfortable farang type of house and gardens to base myself and then the engagement with Isaan life outside my gates when I want it. I couldn’t live Thai-style as the villagers do or some westerners but the mix of the best of both worlds is achievable and balances things nicely. If you find yourself a decent Isaan lady you will have found something special. I have been totally lucky with my wife Gaun and her family. They have transformed my life and are the very best human beings you could ever find. It’s not always like that and as long as you are sensible with expectations and money you’ll be fine. You will find heaps of information on every aspect of life here on the blog. It is a huge resource for new expats. Let me know how you go and if you have questions you know where to find me!

      Cheers Tony

  4. Greg Carroll

    Hi Tony,
    It is interesting to watch Ayong’s community react to the self-isolation rules. So good to see the level of importance the villagers are giving this. They know than just one case of COVID19 and half the village would be wiped out given an average age of > 60+
    Yesterday we needed to visit the local clinic after I parted company with the bike I was riding. A more professional and high quality level of treatment would not be found anywhere in Brisbane. While I was being stitched up we listened to a briefing from an RN to the local community nurses on COVID19 preparedness. The level of detail was top-shelf. When we asked the RN whose initiative it was to get all the nurses together he said it was something they decided to do themselves. The plan is every shop in the district will be visited. I believe this is one of the reasons why Thailand’s overall level of infection is so low: community-driven awareness and individual responsibility.
    The level of interest in your blog is stronger than ever – preparing to build plus how the land will be used around our home dovetails nicely with your posts, so please keep those posts coming.
    Cheers mate

    • Tony in Thailand

      Back on-line Greg so seeing your comment for the first time. I will reply to you separately.


  5. Greg Carroll

    It’s a lot more tangible to read your farm posts Tony. Very much part of life now we are living in the thriving metropolis of Ayong. The daily ebb and flow of life revolving around the surrounding farms and local market makes it a very easy pace of life despite the hard work everyone puts in, starting at the markets at 2:30 every day. The social cohesion is so much stronger than urban life. A real sense of inclusiveness and cooperation extends through every level of the village.
    As always your photos and words capture this so well.

    • Tony in Thailand

      I missed your comment Greg. Thank you as always. I have gone quiet again on the blog but will do some catch-up as I have time on my hands as we are isolating ourselves as much as possible.

      It must be such a pleasure to have a real-life blog open up to you everyday with your observation of daily life there. I hope I can keep your interest.

      I will quickly add a couple of posts just to give you a bit of variety over your morning coffee 🙂

      Warm regards to you both.


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