Looking through the hundreds of same same work pictures that are cluttering my photo library, I got a lot of satisfaction seeing how things have moved on in little over a year, it also gives me energy for the work ahead, which is still a lot.
The site was bought in two stages, first about three acres in January 2011 and the rest in September, all the area was formerly used for rice and corn growing on the existing terraces.
Most of the work has taken place on the first bit of the property, we have excavated waterways and ponds, planted trees, built a house for us to live in. At the same time we have started growing our own veggies, harvested a small rice crop and peanuts also, without chemicals of course.
The pond was excavated and the excess soil was used to make the raised area the house now stands on, a lot of work went into making the pond hold water without a liner. We used banana trunks, rice husks and pig manure which, the theory goes, provide a good source of food for bacteria to develop and gradually fill the gaps in the soil and help retain water. The system has been quite successful and now, after one year, the pond loses very little water.
The area around the pond is supposed to be a bit of a garden, as it is near the house. In reality the ducks seem to be eating the shoots of most flowers growing there, so we’ll just have to wait and see, and find something they don’t like. We are introducing fruits and veggies here also, papaya grows quickly and has nice foliage, sorghum also looks good, as well as bananas and the still small coconut trees. Eggplant and guava are very easy, as they don’t need looking after at all, ginger, turmeric and other similar roots grow nice leafy stalks very quickly. In the pond itself we have water hyacinth that we take out every two months or so and use for mulching under trees.
In the last month we have also (finally) completed the roof of the new guest room, it doesn’t matter how slow we go from now on, this is a good feeling after months of almost continuous work. The room has to be ready for November, when Nok’s mum will come and stay to help us cope with the new arrival.
I am pleased with the end result, the uneven lines that the bamboo frame creates have a very natural look and the roof is definitely waterproof and stormproof, the recent weather has given us a chance to test it quite thoroughly.