Who is that masked woman?

Nam takes a break from early morning work in the garden to point out some items she wants changed in the new kitchen.

All the concrete is installed — including a meter wide porch around the periphery — with the roof extending about six inches beyond that.

The ceiling interior and under the eaves is up and partially mudded.

Everything under foot will be tiled — a great pleasure to me.

We bought tile two days ago and supported a black and white theme — white paint on the walls, white ‘marble’ tile floors, black with white flecks ‘marble’ tile on the kitchen counter, and deep black tile running above the counter. Black deep dish drop lights over the sitting area. We chose the same brown, rough finished tiles as before for the porch surround.

The concrete counter extending around the west wall with the sink area under the window:

I’ve become adept at fixing the plastic pipe that carries our water and that was handy when a fire ruined the pipe that carries our garden water from the water depot above us and about 400 meters away.
The fire cleared out a lot of brush along the line:

And burned through one section that I replaced:

There were three lines running right next to each other. Our line services three users. It reminds me of the Thai approach to electrical wiring. There are huge numbers of individual lines running along the poles. A new service just puts up a new line.

Welcome to Thailand.


If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen

Our workers have been cooking for a week again.Pan and Khom, wife and husband, are the center of the team. They erected the concrete walls and then spread them with mortar.

Their son Cake is also on the team. THEY DO have a mixer that they brought in to pour the floor.

Preparing for one window over the sink and three sliding glass doors.

Today they are pouring the slab in front of the porch and putting a concrete path around the east side of the house under the screened porch.

There is a fourth worker named Noi who is barely visible in the last picture.

Thanks guys. It’s a helluva lot of work for what is for a farang a small amount of money.

And a shot of the dogs which may be a good-bye to Coffee. He is the whitish dog without a collar and he has been missing for two days now.

He was an annoying brat but he was mellowing a bit and he was part of the pack.

Also some pictures of our jungle cat Tuung Nunn who jumps into everything.

By the way I’m preparing to market Anchaleephorn Garden with a card

and a web site


The picture is a panorama shot by our daughter Khim.

Enter the Kitchen

We have decided to build an edifice reflecting the importance of food in our life.

A giant kitchen/dining room is being added to the south side of our house.

Our workers arrived yesterday, the 20th, and we had cleared the area of plants, in particular the six bougainvillea that had fronted the porch. We put them in large concrete pots that will make them easier to prune and keep flowering.

The roof will be extended four meters. The new room will have an interior of 4 x 9 meters. Three large beams will carry the center and two flanking beams will support the extended east and west wings.

Our present kitchen is the size of a closet and Nam has produced miracles but this new room will give her a chance to really go to work. Nam’s recovery from the colon cancer operation has been complete but she doesn’t feel she has the central body strength to perform massage steadily any more.

What she does have is an abundance of enthusiasm and energy for plants, herbs and food preparation. She has recently hooked up with a local woman who is part of a Chiang Mai vegetarian group. Through her we learned about a type of black mushroom that grows on tree roots. We have started the three month inoculation period on roots around one of our mango trees.

Nam is eager to make some product to sell. I am enthusiastic about the mulberry jam. She is trying lots of different ways of preparing bananas — frying them when they are green, coating them and frying them to make fritters, slicing them thinly or thicker and drying them and then frying, mixing them with flour to make a batter that you then slice and fry, and making them into a powder.

My current focus is compost. Our banana trees alone create a lot of organic matter to get rid of. Each time a bunch of bananas is produced the whole stem dies and should be cut out. Our culling of the Logan/lamyai trees and pruning of Mulberry trees creates another stream of green trash — they are problematic because the branches won’t decompose easily.

I’m pulling apart our hasty piles and making efficient compost heaps.

My work to produce good soil is my stolid Zen, chop wood, carry water, response to the rising tide of cataclysmic news.

Onward kitchen soldiers.


My only exposure to watercress had been from reading about it in English Literature where it appeared in sandwiches with afternoon tea. Imagine my surprise when I saw the vibrantly green, robust lettuce Nam has been producing.

She liked her small patch.

So she planted much more in the new vegie patch I’ve produced — and she asked me to make a Sih Lamb to protect it from the grueling sun.

I found some usable pieces of bamboo and plastic cloth from the old Sih Lambs that I have just taken down.

The work Sih Lamb and the Parking Sih Lamb were falling apart under the onslaught of sun and ant. I have replaced the bamboo with galvanized metal poles that will last until we can afford permanent buildings. I have to keep the space filled with structures and thus available for future buildings or Nam will fill every available inch with plants.

The work Sih Laamb now has more area covered with water resistant tarps. (I finally found strong tarps!)

The parking area Sih Lamb was finished this morning with intense ‘help’, ‘advice’ and supervision from Nam whose patience has been strained and aesthetic sense bludgeoned by the make shift Sih Lamb that has been in place for the last two years.

Now Nam is in the kitchen making banana fritters. We harvested a stalk recently and we have 5 more ripening.

We have a number of different varieties of bananas. This is a Korat 50 and was given to us by the Wat Chom Kitti head monk for use during the house blessing ceremony two years ago.


Banana plants are not actually trees but large herbs with succulent, juicy stems that arise from a fleshy corm. Suckers continually spring up around the main plant with the oldest sucker replacing the main plant as it fruits and dies. Smooth, oblong to elliptical, fleshy stalked leaves unfurl in a spiral around the stem. A terminal spike, the inflorescence, shoots out from the heart in the tip of the stem. As it opens, clusters of white flowers are revealed. Female flowers are borne on the lower 5-15 rows and males upon the upper rows. As the young fruit, technically a berry, develop, they form slender green fingers which grow into a “hand” of bananas that droops due to its weight until the bunch is upside down. When to Pick Bananas The size of the fruit varies depending upon the variety of banana, so isn’t always a good indicator for picking bananas. Generally, banana tree harvesting can commence when the fruit on the upper hands are changing from dark green to a light greenish yellow and the fruit is plump. Banana stalks take 75-80 days from flower production to mature fruit.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Banana Tree Harvesting – Learn How And When To Pick Bananas https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/banana/banana-tree-harvesting.htm

Directions to Anchaleephorn Garden

We had a call today from a French woman, a former client of Nam, who had arrived back in Chiang Mai and wanted to take a class to learn how to give Bamboo Massage. We directed her to Wat Sri Goet where our friends are still giving massages and lessons. However, she expressed interest in visiting us and I thought I’d throw together the necessary information. Thusly:

We live 35 km north of Chiang Mai. The university town of Mae Jo is a half way point along Road Number 1001. Two tourist attractions near us are the Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club and Wat Phra That Chom Kitti.

This map shows our house/property and those landmarks.


When you leave Mae Jo University there is a beautiful route along the canal that is suitable for motorcycles or even a bicycle. It will take you directly to the front gate of the Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club. From there follow this map to our house.


If you want to come via public transit you can take a “song thaew” — literally a two bencher — a pickup truck with two benches that carries up to 12 people. They are color coded and the one we take is dark green and is located near Warorot Market — http://www.openchiangmai.com/warorot-market-chiangmai/

To find the song thaew parking area from Warorot, face the Ping River and walk left about 100-150 meters. Just past a jewelry shop two or three dark green song thaews will be waiting for passengers. Now it gets a little tricky — there are two versions of the trip, one is shorter than the other. Our longer version brings you to Huai Kaew (Hoo-I Kay-oh) near Rom Luang (Rome Lou-Ahng), just past Rom Pho Thong (Rome Poe Tahng). It will only cost 25 Baht.

Give us a call when you arrive and I’ll come and give you a ride on the back of the motor scooter over this route.


Busting sod

It’s raining today so I’m making this a blog day.

The soil down in what used to be the Chiang Dah patch is incomparably superior to the rocky soil at both east and west ends. I learned about it when digging a hole to dispose of cat litter. I could dig down 3 feet easily.

Beyond the eastern fence I have planted dozens of sunflower seeds but only two have grown up.

Nam’s ground cover flowers are having more success.

Just inside the fence I scratched out a small bed where the weeds I had piled up had disintegrated into a mulch. Nam planted our first corn there. She has a small number of each of a lot of different seeds that she bought and had mailed to us.She planted the dozen corn seeds there and now they are forming ears. We are concentrating on growing vegetables that we want to eat and can’t be sure of finding organically grown here.

The sak/teak trees in that area are shooting up.

While smoothing out the spoils from digging a ditch for the water pipe, I made another vegie bed just past the big Logan/lamyai tree. I put in some green onions and shallots that were lying around and Nam planted 4 asparagus she’s been grooming.

In the morning I did rush outside to finish breaking up the soil for a new vegetable bed.

In the foreground is a finished bed planted to corn. I’ve worked in 8 bags of rice hulls that we picked up at the local rice mill to start mitigating the clay soil.

We have now bought seed packets for three different types of corn — one yellow sweet (planted) and two with colored kernels that Nam calls ‘sticky’, in a reference to sticky rice. Huh??

They will be planted here and then I’ve marked out another area a little farther on to make another bed. I’d like to put in some more green onions and shallots — and some giant garlic that Nam characterizes as Chinese.

It’s late afternoon now, on a cool day with continuous drizzle ala the Pacific Northwest. Nam is unpacking a package sent from the south of Thailand with lots of special cooking material that she will use to make a vegetarian meal with Southern Style for the head monk of Wat Chom Kitti. He is having a house warming celebration on the 2nd of January and she is all agog.

I’ve taken you down the new garden path. Keep on truckin’.