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The long way to our dream in Thailand, Part 2

 
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
forest garden fish plumbing chicken pig
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Day 21 at lunchtime.

The Lake is completed.
128.5 meter long, 80 - 40 meter wide and 6 meter deep.

The surroundings of the lake have been compacted and smoothened for a good impression.

The lake and landfill was well within budget just way ahead my time planning.
I was not expecting to see 2 excavators, up to 8 trucks and 2 tractors. Hence before my holiday ends I'll take on some tasks that were planned for next year...

We got a white carpet now prone to erosion, but the order of 6000 pinto peanuts, 6000 Vetiver Grass slips arrived and our tree collection is waiting to get out of the pots into the dirt.
The drilled well will give us the water we need to get the plants through the dry season...

Here we go, after 8 years of planning, try and error on small scale, we are now raising the learning curve onto a new level... Happy Happy...

And again a BIG thanks to Khun Chainarong Lokhom and his team of professionals.
You all did a great job and left today two happy customers.
I will recommend your company for any landscaping jobs in Thailand, who might need a fair company, a good team and good reliable machines..

Start Farming? No, that would be too early but just for the LOL:
A collection of almost 2000 seed bags of all kind of veggies, pumpkins, tomatoes, name it we have it. (worldwide collected over the years and tested that they still geminate) will be broadcasted and raked in all over the soil and gives us a first indication what plant will do and what never has been seen...
Fingers crossed...

20221221_132524.jpg
The Lake is completed surroundings of the lake compacted and smoothed.
20221221_132550.jpg
The Lake is completed surroundings of the lake compacted and smoothed
20221221_132950.jpg
The Lake is completed surroundings of the lake compacted and smoothed
20221221_133209.jpg
The Lake is completed surroundings of the lake compacted and smoothed
20221221_133426.jpg
The Lake is completed surroundings of the lake compacted and smoothed
 
See Hes
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
forest garden fish plumbing chicken pig
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Day: 27

The Lake is completed and turned out much better than expected. The different soil levels are on the spot.

Today then the west part of the land with this very little slope all the way to the lake. Tailor made for a Creek with some Red  Claw Crayfish for the exclusive BBQ...
Looks like the Creek will be completed by tomorrow.

Because it's a water body for future plans where water plays a significant role the fishing part is put on 2nd priority. But Barras, Catfish, Gar, Siamese Carps plus tons of feeder fish are a must. Snakehead and Walking Catfishes will be unavoidable also migrating during the rain season where they travel over land.

To avoid erosion of collapsing of the steep slopes we install a shield (Root and Plant) wall which will (taking the burden of watering) be at due rain season in 5 month established.
We visited several places where Vetiver Grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides) was put into action and were stunned about the results.
Beside this Vetiver Grass has so many more properties that I highly recommend to Google it, if you have trouble with dirty ponds, water runoff and erosion, pests or bad body odor...

Of course also some pictures of the tasks until today.

to be continued..
20221221_132524.jpg
North East Corner
North East Corner
20221222_084953.jpg
South West Corner
South West Corner
20221222_085203.jpg
My Wife crawled on the Island
My Wife crawled on the Island
20221222_085608.jpg
East Side
East Side
20221227_084135.jpg
Jacaratia mexicana 'Maroon' (dormant)
Jacaratia mexicana 'Maroon' (dormant)
20221227_084156.jpg
Adansonia digitata (dormant)
Adansonia digitata (dormant)
20221227_171642.jpg
The swale river whatever you will call it but from my gut feelings and best knowledge consulting a geo expert...
The swale river whatever you will call it but from my gut feelings and best knowledge consulting a geo expert...
20221227_161816.jpg
Chen planting Vetiver Grass
Chen planting Vetiver Grass
 
pollinator
Posts: 144
Location: Udon Thani, Thailand
49
dog duck forest garden trees chicken building solar homestead
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Wow! You guys have done an excellent job there. Water is key to everything here as you very much understand and you should be sorted once the rains come. It's also good to see your land crew know their stuff - too often the sides of the pond (inland sea in your case!) are too steep, making for an unstable and dangerous structure, but your pond looks pretty much perfect.

The good thing about you going away to Taiwan next year is that the transformation will be massive from when you leave. I'm sure there are many Permies who will be following this project with interest!
 
See Hes
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
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Cheers Jase,
With all the equipment and manpower I had to be rotating 30 days with arms like an octopus.
The saying in permaculture: "do one thing after the other" is true if you want to do things alone.

The Land is prepared and here we go:

Happy New Year to you and your beloved ones.
The first 50 Trees have been planted into their prepared habitats.
As this is our worldwide collection of fruiting trees, See and myself plant them into the soil.

This morning a newcomer took shelter in a ground hole. Instead getting the first pest on the land a predator came as first. A Sunbeam Snake (Xenopeltis unicolor), "hopefully" a welcome to Paradise. But as it stands now, we are more than optimistic to get the trees now planted through the dry season so, they are established when the rain season comes.

Right the Wetlands and left the Riverine/Lowland forest in creation..
Every tree gets of course it's right companions, in form of Nitrogen fixing and life mulch plants.
20230101_090324.jpg
Sunbeam Snake (Xenopeltis unicolor)
Sunbeam Snake (Xenopeltis unicolor)
20230101_094323.jpg
Right the Wetlands and left the Riverine/Lowland forest in creation
Right the Wetlands and left the Riverine/Lowland forest in creation
 
See Hes
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
forest garden fish plumbing chicken pig
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Update day 46,

The erosion belt around the river and lake made of Vetiver Grass is completed and mother nature paid our work with an almost 2 days lasting continuous and gentle rain which fully soaked the ground for the first time.

almost 300 trees, my wife prepared the last 3 years in our former backyard, went into the soil and show no signs of stress during the dry season.
Most trees came out of seeds received from colleagues and friends all around the world.
(of course entirely checked if those are invasive or in another way harmful)

I am now double-checking my plans and then publish it here later with all botanical Names.

Around every tree we planted Arachis pintoi (Pinto  Peanuts) which start germinating as live mulch, pasture and nitrogen fixer.

A first pollinator tree we also seeded, beside 5 Eucalyptus deglupta (Rainbow Gum) we spread 14 Schotia brachypetala (Drunken Parrot Tree) which are well known to be a nectar fountain for all kind of pollinators and visitors like birds, bats, mammals and a huge spread of insects.
I have seen it outside the flowering season (4 month) and it were still nice crimson red spots of flowers everywhere.
But the most impressive was the noise coming out of the tree with all the animals.
I could also spot a lot of predators hiding and ambushing prey (unfortunately also good insects but hey, that's nature)
Warning: This tree is not suitable for car parking area and terrace or porch due to the heavy nectar rain at every wind gust..

Below the stand of the land in Pictures:

- Phase 3, upper Canopy planting and installation of water lines.

- Wife and Housemaid are sick of walking into the Hinterland, so the pick up truck has a new purpose and I a new job.

- Schotia brachypetala (some info on www. available)

well, and this %$#@# fighting cock (which has been named by my wife and housemaid "Colonel Harland D. Sanders") was still bullying me whenever he likes to do so.  
I guess we didn't start right and after a melon treat and some "shares", when he sees me eating something, made us keeping truce since 4 days now.

Psssst ;-()
Neither my wife nor our housemaid have seen the size 10 boot I gave him 4 days ago.
I simply lost my temper and he attacked me as I was cornered between washing machine and kitchen door, so it was self defense against a predatory animal that hunts specific humans.
I hope we are cool now otherwise he will end up flogged onto a rotating bar by 160 degrees Celsius and 11 spins per minute..
20230109_094933.jpg
Upper canopy trees planting Phase
Upper canopy trees planting Phase
20230108_104325.jpg
The becoming farmer's girls carefully moved
The becoming farmer's girls carefully moved
20230109_094441.jpg
Schotia brachypetala (Drunken Parrot Tree)
Schotia brachypetala (Drunken Parrot Tree)
20230109_094456.jpg
Schotia brachypetala
Schotia brachypetala
 
See Hes
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
forest garden fish plumbing chicken pig
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Despite the dry season the trees getting their feet in the ground and set new leaves and branches.

It looks by now that only 3 of 380 went over the Jordan and this happened right after planting.

Now the only thing to do is waiting for the rain season to come and until then we water the trees every other day.
I enjoy just sitting down wherever I feel to and look around me.

What's more relaxing than listen to the silence in countryside.
The clocks ticking so much slower here, it is even no need to have one.
The rooster tells you when it's 5am so don't miss the beautiful sunrise and fresh scent of nature.
Do your daily chores at the pace you decide and soak in the pleasure when completed.

Two photos which explain the above written.

The time you are enjoying the evening sun and the neighbor brings his cattle home is called "Beer o'clock"

Willie our old guard dog came from a "backyard life" on the farm and there was no way to persuade him to go back.
He stays with the Uncle and Auntie and they love each other into bits.



20230122_165443.jpg
Neighbors back from a day grazing
Neighbors back from a day grazing
20230122_170711.jpg
Ol' Willie and Uncle on guard tour
Ol' Willie and Uncle on guard tour
 
See Hes
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
forest garden fish plumbing chicken pig
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The job is calling and I have to fly on the 15th back to Taiwan where I extended my contract till October.

The first Milestone on our land is completed as per plan and way below the budget but mainly because we got the right people.

I review now some issues we had because it's not always gold what is shining

It started with a family member, where my wife and I are always a bit alerted.
An Auntie found this land for sale and supported my wife also with the negotiations while I was working in Taiwan.

As all documents were signed I was also due to return home in November.
The first I did was giving her Auntie a good bonus which was equal we would have paid to a real estate broker feeling she was worth every Baht.
Also I brought back from Taiwan a huge bag full of seeds from a company that is specialized to breed heat resistant crops.

The Auntie got this somehow wrong and as usually started developing a common greed when money comes in the game.

A professional gardener I called to cut the eucalyptus trees got kicked off the land before I could meet him and Auntie sent her (obese and useless) kids. They started immediately to cut the trees and I had to stop them loading all the logs on the pick up trucks.
(Auntie called me that she wanted to build a new chicken coop and I replied I need the logs myself
These logs disappeared over night and we found out that the "so helpful" kids got advised by auntie to sell the logs to a buyer.

The first time I released a "friendly fire"

As the existing lake got pumped out we caught about 60 Kilo fish but never seen any in the kitchen.
Again Auntie remotely advised her kids (30 years and plus hence grown up and should be able to listen) to sell them to the night market.

This time I got loud but and warned them that I have 1 1/2 size boots and know how to kick a**es. I will not hesitate to kick the whole family off my land if they try to rip me off again.

Aunty connected us then to a family who has 2 excavators and the relatives have each 1 truck.
These people turned out to be very professional and it was a pleasure to work with them.
It is for me common when I hire workers who do a satisfying job, to provide good food to the mealtimes and a bottle Thai Whiskey for after work.
And I an always keen to ask in beforehand what they would like to eat for the day.

This seemed to be uncommon to them and the owner of the excavator told me, that Auntie charged a commissioning fee for every truckload of 20 baht (0.75 Cent) which adds significantly for almost 6000 truck loads.

This moment I grabbed them "family" by the neck and kicked them off our turf on a one way ticket.

The life and fate paid us for this action, very gentle back..

to be continued..



 
See Hes
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
forest garden fish plumbing chicken pig
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The Fate...

...or better the Excavator owner introduced me to an old man and told me his story.

The old man and his wife lost an inheritance case and so all their property to his relatives. (Yes, family again)
Now totally broke they had an old scooter with side car and a sack with clothes and crockery and lived in a shed at the excavator owner's house.

I got asked if we could use him as nighttime security and he would accept any kind of payment.

I used him a few nights and was stunned how the land was changing because he did a very good housekeeping after work, started watering trees we planted and I felt that he loved this project, beside he told us how great it is to see this right at the beginning.

I felt somehow reluctant because I paid him for night watch and not for gardening and as I have seen the shed he was living in I couldn't hold back.
We went to the builder's market and bought all what is needed to build a chalet with one sleeping room, outside kitchen, terrace and an external shower and toilet.
His son in law, daughter and stepson were building the little house without asking for any money.

He got offered free living, electric and food included and 5000 baht (150 USD per month).
ONE day later he came with his wife and she went into tears. I could not follow what was spoken as she was choking on tears but gesticulating and crying, laughing hugging my wife and housemaid who joined in..

The afternoon then the old man (we call them uncle and auntie) left with his wife and 3 hrs. later the scooter with sidecar returned overloaded.
Beside all their belongings he brought even the old huge loom for auntie and she started right away with the set up.
(Lucky I built the terrace bigger than they expected)

Now after 3 month all beside 3 trees survived and push out new green.
I didn't plan crops for this year, but we have now Melons, Pumpkins, Corn and lots of veggies growing.
Uncle and Auntie want us to become self sustaining by end of next year as far possible.

The village eldest and the major popped already 3 times up to see the progress of the new village landmark and of cause to see with his own eyes if this foreigner really built a little house for this old couple.

I asked uncle and auntie for anything they want to implement before I go back to my job but he said that he still lives in a dream and somehow cannot get it what happened to them.

One of my dogs actually is a trained and well respected guard dog who only allows my wife, our housemaid and myself to touch him.
The first day he came to the land, he closed up to auntie, placed himself under the loom and didn't want to leave anymore.
He put his paw on the arm of auntie and looked at us like "They are old and I have to stay here to protect them"
So it shall be, he is an old dog and it's time to retire give him a happy evening of life.

I finish the story with uncle's words.

"We lost everything at the last step of our life and now we cannot die so early anymore, because we want this farm being a Landmark in this district. Also there are so many "Farangs" planted (Actually "Foreigner" but also the name for a Guava) we never have seen neither heard of, which we need to eat first, before the ferryman comes."




20230122_165416.jpg
Uncle's hut
Uncle's hut
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Walk around - happy uncle, happy Willie
Walk around - happy uncle, happy Willie
323122702_860833541811309_7894902775588906247_n.jpg
No chance to go for a ride without Willie in the sidecar
No chance to go for a ride without Willie in the sidecar
 
See Hes
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Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
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...and so the day came where I had to return to my job in Taiwan. The new offshore season started and all hands are needed on our sites and on deck.

A last walk around checking the signs of survival on our trees.
From 380 trees only 3 died right after planting.

The others started sprouting new leaves and branches and didn't mind the dry season at all.
Happiness everywhere.

Before I leave here a few examples of the many trees we have now planted in our Food Forest.
My wife will feed me with info as available and I will keep  the updates coming...

20230207_084308.jpg
Pouteria campechiana (Canistel)
Pouteria campechiana (Canistel)
20230208_155453.jpg
Araucaria bidwillii (Bunja Pine)
Araucaria bidwillii (Bunja Pine)
Sclerocarya-birrea.jpg
Sclerocarya birrea (Marula Tree)
Sclerocarya birrea (Marula Tree)
Eriobotrya-japonica-Loquat.jpg
Eriobotrya japonica-Loquat
Eriobotrya japonica-Loquat
Araucaria-bidwilii-Bunja-Pine.jpg
Araucaria-bidwilii-Bunja-Pine
Adansonia-digitata-Baobab.jpg
Adansonia digitata- Baobab
Adansonia digitata- Baobab
Euterpe-oleracea-Akai-Palm.jpg
Euterpe oleracea-Akai Palm
Euterpe oleracea-Akai Palm
Nauclea-Latifolia.jpg
Nauclea Latifolia - African Peach
Nauclea Latifolia - African Peach
 
See Hes
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
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We also had some struggles like everyone does, not everything was Honey and Mead

An Auntie and her Kids got the boot from me big time.

She actually found this Land after searching for about two years for us and negotiated the price which was very low.
We gave her for her efforts 50.000 Baht = 1500 USD
She replied very happy that this was way above her expectations and she thanked us a lot.

Then she sent her kids and they wanted to cut the eucalyptus trees around the existing lake
We agreed to share 50/50 because they wanted to build a chicken coop.
As we cam back on site there were laying some crook poles and all good poles were gone.
We found out they sold 6 pick up loads to the market... = yellow card and some serious words from my side.

Next the lake had to be emptied and we agreed to share the fishes (approx 100 Kg) under all involved people.
The old man and our father in law got each 1-2 snakeheads, the workers on the land nothing and we got one thick as an eel.
Again we found out they sold all fishes to the market = I started yelling...
...and before I could finish my rage the excavator owner came (who was introduced by Auntie) and told he pays 20 baht per truckload distributed over the land as commissioning fee to Auntie...

Multiply by 6000 Truck loads she would have made a fortune on me and my wife.

My wife used the phone and went absolute berserk on her while I distributed a set of 10.5 size boots fair, one kick for every a**.
My dogs always hated the family and now I know the reason.
Dogs obviously seem to have a better gut feeling than humans.

Lucky the old man and his wife was loved by my dogs from the first day on and we are proven right.
Their son in law, daughter and a man who grew up by the old couple, give them all support they need, help them watering and landscaping and now we created a strong bond.
Money was never asked and if we buy food as agreed the in laws bring still their share from the little they have.
We stared to hang out together and joined free time activities like fishing or stingless bee hunting

The last day before I went to work they made a BBQ and served me a couple of pints..
Without asking they came all and brought me to the airport and I have seen tears running..






20230123_153529.jpg
Old lover (all for a free scooter ride)
Old lover (all for a free scooter ride)
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Little critter but good pollinators, quite maintenance free
Little critter but good pollinators, quite maintenance free
20230125_102946.jpg
Stingless Bee hunting
Stingless Bee hunting
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Farewell Party with the dream team
Farewell Party with the dream team
 
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