(4) 2008 Chicken Tales and Wings

Hi Everyone and thanks for all the good emails and comments.  Our camera is broken but one of the interns has let me access her pics so illustrations are courtesy of Clara – whose camera and skill level are better than mine anyway. 

Life has calmed down a little here.  No critters this week.  And yes, we did have the spare rooster for lunch on Thanksgiving.  Dinner was a joint effort by all the residents, giving Gae and Porn (hey, those are their names) the evening off from cooking.  It was mostly desserts with the exception of mashed potatoes, passion fruit jam, and stuffing made with fresh bread from the pizza oven and cashews.   I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner 2009.   On the subject of food, Lillette wrote and asked what we were eating, here’s my reply to her:  

THe rooster made both soup and laarb.  Laarb is a meat salad – the raw meat is chopped into small bits and cooked in a small amount of liquid with lots of spices and lime juice and then served cold with chopped veg.  It’s really good.   That is the only meat meal served in the month we’ve been here.  With the Thai cooks here (only for 1 more week, then we’re back on our own) the food is varied and tasty.  THis morning they made soy milk from scratch, boiled barley in it for a kind of porridge and also served a huge platter of fried rice with pieces of squash and greens in it.  Also papaya and bananas.   There are no distinctions between what is served for the various meals.  Breakfast is often a soup or rice dish with veggies.  Last night we had a curry of bamboo shoots and a few other veg over rice.  Occassionally they have made some noodle dishes, phad thai once.  I’m shocked that I’m not missing meat or alchohol or coffee, all things I eat daily back at home.  I feel fine on the diet here and don’t think I’m either gaining or losing wieght. 

So that’s the food report. 

Monday and 1/2 of Tuesday are our ‘days off’.  We have had to use them to go to Chiang Mai for errands until this week.  Yesterday we stayed home and I went for a trek in the woods guided by Porn, one of the women who is cooking for us for a few weeks.  She is well versed in local flora, with a lot of medicinal and folk medicine knowledge.   She showed us edibles and orchids, wax exudes from termite hills which can be used as torches and so on.   My favorite thing all week!!

And, as to milk and eggs.  The milk project was scrapped early on.  There is no one here year-round to take care of large animals so it was a non-starter for this year.  We are getting 1 egg a day consistently from the mother hen.  The 4 daughters have yet to earn their keep.   Meanwhile, the flock causes daily trauma by getting into the newly planted garden beds.  We have devised a really strange temporary run out of old shade cloth and anything else we can get our hands on but I am called several times a day to come and get the chickens out of the seedlings.  Yesteday I decided to clip wings and today was much quieter but I feel really apologetic towards the poor hens.  They’re just doing what hens do.  I do not advise starting a large scale garden and a chicken containment system simultaneously.    BUT, the new chicken coop is progressing quite beautifully, see the pictures!

All formed up, partly plastered and Take 1 on the roof (we re-did the roof)

All formed up, partly plastered and Take 1 on the roof (we re-did the roof)

The Egg shaped window, just above the nesting boxes

The Egg shaped window, just above the nesting boxes

A few of us women set off on a forrest trek

A few of us women set off on a forrest trek

Porn shows us the waxy exude from a termite mound makes a torch

Porn shows us the waxy exude from a termite mound makes a torch

I'm so happy in the jungle!

I'm so happy in the jungle!

How is this for set design?  A natural bower showing us the way into the woods...

How is this for set design? A natural bower showing us the way into the woods...

This is the reservoir we swim in if its still warm and light when we finish work for the day.  It's a 20 minute walk from Panya

This is the reservoir we swim in if its still warm and light when we finish work for the day. It's a 20 minute walk from Panya

The Interns are building a ferro=cement sauna at the top of the property.  Here the group is erecting and wiring the walls.

The Interns are building a ferro=cement sauna at the top of the property. Here the group is erecting and wiring the walls.

Safety first!

Safety first!

Julia rocks at wall wiring

Julia rocks at wall wiring

A working hand. (Artsy, huh?)

A working hand. (Artsy, huh?)

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