28 February 2008

2nd storey! Feb 27th

They've finished all the crossbeams between the floors and are beginning on the concrete uprights for the 2nd storey. It's suddenly looking like it's going to be a very big house! (You'll all have to come and stay some time...)

Once again they put up these metal moulds...

...and then pour in the cement. Actually, this guy is just passing up the cement, but you get the idea.
You may have noticed the cigarettes - they just roll tobacco in a banana leaf! It has that great tobacco smell of a pipe.


We had a mini-landslide the other day at our land. Early on the team dug a big hole - more than 3m deep. They then dug a further couple of metres and put in concrete rings. This was all to get to the ground water. As it turned out, a couple of metres down they found excellent sand (which they've been able to use for the cement). The sand meant that the water was very clean - they've been using it even for drinking water.
This first picture was taken on Monday when we arrived, looking down into the hole - you can see the pump set up.

A bit later on we all heard the noise and everyone came running to look.

One side of the hole had been underdug too much and had completely collapsed. Thankfully noone was down there at the time. Those blue buckets from the first picture got completely crushed. The top cement ring got pushed aside (but not broken). The pump was fine.
Victor was most indignant - he'd warned them when we arrived of the risk. So he had them all busy preventing any further damage. They cleared the mud out of the well (not an easy job), then lowered in three more cement rings and built up the earth around them.

They then re-set the pump (Victor's there in yellow). No more drinking the water for at least a few days!


This is where we were at on the 22nd Feb.
Victor made them this table and benches on one of his visits. Beats eating on the ground. You can see that they're up to building the cement cross beams that will support the 2nd floor.

Pouring in the concrete.
Our resident poser! He's always looking for the camera!

Other views at our land

Mark and Tara

Last Friday we met up with Mark and Tara Hanslow who were in Chiang Mai on their holiday around Thailand. It was so delightful to see them. Victor met Steve and Anne (Mark's parents) several times on his trips to Australia (most memorably on the night before our wedding...)

We took them out to see our house in progress. (Something that's not on the regular tourist trail.)

And then we had a delicious meal at a vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai. How great to catch up with long-time friends and fellow-Aussies! Come again!

24 February 2008

Hello from the team!

Here are the workers saying hello to YOU!

21 February 2008

21st Feb

I just tried to put a great video on from this morning but couldn't make it work. Never mind.
Here's where we're at now... starting to look like a house!

Here Victor is sitting next to his brother - at the little table and benches Victor made yesterday! They are sorting out yesterday's receipts.

The workers are preparing to build the horizontal cement beams.
Here they are giving you all a wave. (They're very proud of the fact that their work is featured on our blog!)
Victor with his Dad. His Dad is going regularly to the hospital for treatment of his arthritis, so he's going to stay at the land tonight.

19 February 2008

15 February 2008

Enough holes ... now let's fill them with cement!

In Bangkok with Eddie and Wombat Stew...

In January we had a wonderful 4 days in Bangkok with Tom, Anita, Eddie and Sebastian. One of the many delights was reading "Wombat Stew" with Eddie...

11 February 2008

The workers

At this stage they are preparing for the foundations. Digging holes...

That's Victor's nephew in the cowboy hat.

...bending pieces of metal...
...and putting together the metal pieces that will form the main support structure.


On Saturday we went to the wedding of one of Victor's cousins.

I played the piano for the wedding. What a delight! I haven't played a real piano for months.
Here we are at the rehearsal on Friday.

Victor's sister helped with the flowers.

During the service this Karen choir sang. It was SO beautiful!

With the happy couple after the service.

Planting Trees- 4th Feb

Last week we planted the first (of many, I hope) trees on our land: 5 coconut trees along the front edge above the canal.

Actually, Victor did the planting. Can you see all 5? And our little car up on the road.

I sat in the shade of the mango tree and had my first-ever cup of tea on our land! Equally important, I think! It was such a beautiful day (unseasonal rain last week cleared the air and settled the dust) and made me really excited about the prospect of LIVING here.

Isn't it beautiful? Our bedroom will face this direction so that we have this view of Doi Suthep, the big mountain that lies alongside Chiang Mai.

Our house is begun!

Work on our house has begun! I took this first photo last week from the bridge near our land. I will take photos from this same spot regularly so you can see the progress. In this picture you can begin to see the mound of earth in the centre of the picture, between the mango tree and the banana trees.
This next photo was taken on Saturday afternoon. The workers have set up camp and dug all the holes for the foundations. (Close up pictures will follow in another blog.)

This is the team. They are all Karen, several are relatives. Victor's brother, Chi (in red), is sitting behind Victor. His wife is next to him. She's here to cook for them all.