31 March 2008

Easter eggs

I'm a bit late getting to this post but...
On Easter morning I realised that this would be the first Easter in my life without any Easter eggs. I realise there is more to Easter than chocolate, but traditions help mark the important days (and the chocolate is really yummy).

I mentioned this fact to Victor and he said, "Don't worry. I'll make you some Easter eggs." And he did. So here we are on Easter Sunday with our Easter eggs...

Maybe this will be a new tradition?! (I'm still not sure if he realised I meant CHOCOLATE!)

It's starting to be beautiful...

Here is our house! You can see that the undercoat of paint is on. And the balcony is on the way to being completed. Victor's brother, Chi, is doing it all himself. We went with the cheapest way possible (that was still safe) and it's tuned out to look really lovely.
Today the ceiling is going in upstairs, and the bathroom is being tiled.
Slowly but surely we're getting there!
The garden is coming along too. Here is Victor planting our little Christmas tree...

...and our bottlebrush. This photo is taken from the kitchen window.

And this is looking out the front, upstairs window.

17 March 2008

Frog story

Last week I was walking at the edge of our land and I heard a strange squeaky sound coming from the banana trees. I could see something moving and thought maybe there was a monkey there, but when I got closer I could see it was a frog. Strange. I didn't know frogs squeaked or ate bananas. I watched him for a while and then realised he seemed to be stuck. In fact he was just holding on by one arm. Maybe frogs squeak when they're stuck?

Then I noticed that the poor fellow's arm seemed to be stretching. Can frogs stretch their arms out like that? Suddenly the 'arm' was way too long to be an arm - and the truth was very clear. The frog was being eaten by a snake! The snake was gripping the frogs neck and the frog was struggling to get free! That explained the squeaking. (I've lived here long enough to know that snakes squeak.) Poor frog!

I called Victor over and he immediately began throwing clumps of soil at them to try to free the frog. (Victor hates snakes. And is rather fond of frogs.) He succeeded, the snake recoiled, the frog fell... we don't know whether to his death or to freedom. You can imagine whichever ending you prefer.

Only in Thailand, hey?

It's a house!

Last week was a busy week for us so we didn't get any blogging done. But the house was still growing and here's where it was at yesterday. I can now believe we will live there! The roof and external walls are all finished. Downstairs you can see the dining room in the front, the kitchen at the back, and a small bathroom will be in between. (That's it for downstairs.) Upstairs at this end of the house are 2 bedrooms and a bathroom in between.

The 3 palms on the left used to be outside Victor's home in his village but noone liked them very much so we have transplanted them to our land. I love them!
This is from the back of the house and shows our bedroom upstairs. You can see the view we will have to the mountains. Downstairs will just be open (the little bit of wall you can see was a mistake but we'll leave it there.)
Upstairs: our bedroom is at the right, the living area will be closest to the viewer, with 2 more bedrooms at the far end. Downstairs you can see the diningroom at the left.
When they finished putting on the roof they realised they had no way of getting down, so they had to lean across to the closest branch of the mango tree and climb down that way! I'm very glad that there have been no injuries so far!

This photo is taken from the open area under the house looking up into our bedroom. They haven't put the floor in yet.

7 March 2008

5th March

Those long metal beams are going up now, ready to support the roof. It will take a couple more days until the roof is up. This is slow work because they're so high up and working with such long beams. And they have to get it right!

We had a discussion about garden plans. Victor is pointing to the area where we've decided to excavate to get soil to build up around the house. We'll then have a kind of sunken garden of sorts. You can just make out the mountain in the background. The air is pretty bad right now from burning off rice fields combined with lack of rain or wind.
Looking back towards the house from the same spot...

The smoky air can make for beautiful sunsets...
And our gum tree is getting ready to flower! How lovely!

4 March 2008

Our special visitor...

We have a very special visitor staying with us at the moment. Her name is Flat Eowyn. She is a very lovely girl on a very fun adventure!
Here she is with Uncle Victor and Ranee. She loves Ranee.
And here she is with some friends she made. She LOVED riding on the motorcycle with them!

That's nothing Becca, take a look at this!

3rd March

They are putting in place all the wooden cross beams which will form the main support of the upstairs floor.

And here you can see them putting in place one of the wooden upright beams. All the outer upright beams are cement but the 4 central uprights will be wooden. We bought a whole lot of wood 2nd-hand and this included 4 beams good for uprights. Btw, the bamboo is just support scaffolding. None of it will stay.
At the same time they are preparing the metal beams which will support the roof. This is Victor's brother, Chi, welding together 2 metal beams to make one long enough to stretch the length of the roof. We bought the welder as part of our payment for the team. They will be able to use it in their village. Whenever any building is done it's a communal effort so the welder will benefit the whole village. Chi has already made us a rake and a trivet from some left over bits of metal. He's very clever.
Victor's Mum was visiting yesterday. Here she is helping prepare dinner. (She asked me to take a photo of her!)

3 March 2008

Us right now

Here we are right now at Bakerista, our favourite coffee shop in Chiang Mai. Victor is drinking iced Thai tea, I have strawberry tea. They have free wireless and great music and beautiful, comfy chairs.

We first came here on our first day in Chiang Mai (nearly one year ago) and we met Kit (below right) that day. He has become our friend. Last year he became a Christian and he has joined our church. He is from Burma and of the Shan people group. On the left below is Tik. He is becoming our friend.