Category Archives: Udon Thani

Down on the farm making charcoal.

A mud charcoal making house.

This is the mud charcoal house where the charcoal is made primarily for fuel to cook…no mod cons here at all. Well not yet pretty much everything is done how it has always been done through the generations. The skills passed down and that is what I like here so much tradition still and in the main so much happiness.

But the lifestyle is hard there are some concessions to this and progress is slowly coming but much is still done the old way and by getting your hands dirty.

Making charcoal is an art…me I just said do you just throw the wood in and light it?….The look this crazy English lady got was a look of I suppose bemusement.

Of course you don’t, for a start the charcoal house cannot be built on or close to the water table or where the drainage is poor.

The wood must be properly stacked so that when it burning the air can circulate correctly but the beauty of it being on your land is that you can stack over a period time as you come across the wood.The wood must of course be dry and the time needed to complete the burn does depend on the moisture content of the wood and also the evenness of the stacking of the wood so this is all very important.

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WOOD DRYING PRIOR TO BEING STACKED.

Once it is correctly stacked it must be stacked vertically into the charcoal house then a fire is started or burning coals are put through the air vent at the top of the charcoal house once this has taken then the door must be sealed effectively to ensure proper air circulation.

The initial smoke which comes out through the top air vent and the air holes around the base is dense white smoke  which after a few days turns to a blueish colour finally it becomes practically clear smoke.

Once the burn is complete then the opening at the top of the charcoal house is sealed as are the bottom vents.

This then takes 2-3 days to cool down, when the earth kiln is cool it can be opened but there must be a supply of water available in case there are any  red fires still burning as they need to be extinguished.

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Once the charcoal is completely cold then it is bagged or put in baskets for home use or sale.

A typical fire for cooking on.

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Cooking the steak

This is a time-consuming and back-breaking task no one has an easy life here as I am finding out but kudos to them I am often just amazed and it has made me realise what an easy life I have had. With my running water, gas, electric all the mod cons and it has changed me and I hope for the better. When the house is built here yes there will be some luxuries but you know what I am not so bothered anymore.

 

I won’t be cooking over a small charcoal fire unless it is a BBQ but lots of things I used to have no longer hold the same allure for me it is definitely an eye opener and maybe not the life for everyone. Just for  this crazy, whimsical English lady  it is the life I have adopted and I love it!

If you missed my previous posts on Down on the farm I have added the links below. I hope you enjoy these posts please let me have your thoughts.

Down on the farm Jambulan Plum

How to make traditional Thai Pancakes

How to make your own Coconut Oil

Thank you for reading about my life in Thailand I do hope you enjoy it 🙂

 

Wat Pa Phu Kon, Issan, Northern Thailand

Standing proud on top of a hill in 400 acres of lush green fields and forests  surrounded by other hills  is this beautiful little known temple, unless you have a Thai connection or live in Issan many people are not aware that it even exists. It has a stunning aqua blue roof and literally sparkles in the sunlight and the blue of the roof reflect of the blue sky so there this is shimmering bright blue aura around the temple, it is sight to behold.

It is very popular with Thais and we arrived on one of the busiest of days a holy Buddha day luckily we had left early but even so the queue for the trucks to take us to the top of the hill was fairly long but we were shaded by the trees which surround this lovely temple.

You can drive to the top of the hill but on busy days like this they have trucks to ferry you upwards as the car park at the top is very small for the amount of cars there would be.

The dress code is very strict here. No sleeveless t/shirts or blouses, No shorts or skirts above the knee. Thai style skirts or trousers will be lent to you in the event your dress is unsuitable.

It is quite a new temple and very clean and bright it has spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and although very busy on this holy Buddha day has an aura of peace and calm.

Nga snakes guard the entrance to the main temple and inside is a stunning white marble reclining Buddha which is made out of 43 blocks of exquisite Italian Carrara marble each weighing 15-30 tons each block. The cost of building this  was in excess of 50 million baht and was a generous donation by an elderly Thai lady in honour of the king.This temple also houses  lots of carvings and numerous other Buddha images in gold and marble. The wall painting show a story of ten reincarnations of Buddha. It is beautiful to see.

We were met with the sight of many people holding prayer mats and walking and praying as they circled the reclining Buddha, it is lovely to see people laying bare their faith and love for Buddha it is something which always humbles me here wherever people feel the need to pray  they do…..

If you live in Issan or ever travel to here it is a beautiful temple and worth the visit.The isolation and peaceful natural environment makes this an ideal place for meditation so if you crave solitude and tranquility then this is the place for you.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour around this lovely temple.

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot and if you want to share this post with your friends I would be honoured.

What a weekend!

 

After the normal..you know.. Weekend food shopping etc

We decided to take a trip out and just 15km from Udon Thani Town is Wat Tung Toomkam …well we went round the houses a bit and then were pointed to this little, very little soi….Big Red men Working sign across entrance….

So we travelled along  a bit and thought nought here… so went back just as said workman was removing his barrier…Ah ha so down this track we went ..just one car wide and now we saw signs …so we followed the signs through a little Thai village and there it was…. Looking a bit in need of some TLC….not a bit like the pics in the tourist brochure..

It is a charming temple ..we were the only visitors and the only human life we saw were 2 lone monks and 5 laughing children… as well as Buffalo grazing in the field..it was lovely!

 

Some of the many Buddhas here are covered in Thai coins, both old and new and with the sun on them they glisten and this is made even lovelier as the temple is among the trees… it was so calm and peaceful.

Beneath the temple is a spirit ball and holy water seeps through the floor..this is little church is only opened during important holy days so people can collect some…  the water is said to bring good luck.

The roof and walls of this church  are adorned with over 8,400 images of Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang ( Amulets) it is very beautiful.

Close by is also a Thai Silk Village so if you like traditional Thai clothes then it is the place to shop.

By this time we were starving so headed back to Udon Town and joined the hordes who were eating seafood along the front of the shops it was very busy and then I had my first fried ice cream??? No pics I afraid… too hungry… will take them next time as it was all lovely, freshly cooked succulent mussels and ?….That’s just your taster for another time…I am kind to you guys … Ha Ha

 

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot …..Love you all x

 

Our Journey to our New Home with Saangchai.

We are now safely moved in and it was not without last-minute panics etc. Initially we were going to be flying with Saangchai as I thought a 18 hr plus journey would be too far for him. Just before we were going to embark..well 3 days before the airline wanted us to sign a disclosure as the ground temperatures were so hot…we all know that dogs left in parked cars in the heat don’t survive very long so sitting in a carrier on the runway for maybe an hour before he was loaded didn’t sound like a good plan to me…..then the airline decided that they didn’t either and were suspending flights for animals.

Conundrum… do we put him in kennels for a yet undetermined time…not an option.

So we decided to drive  and made him a nice bed in the back of the Fortuna which was fully air-cooled .

Woof, Saangchai here……what a nice comfy bed I got I reckon I had the best seat and we stopped lots of times so I could stretch my legs….it was a long journey 865 miles and then they got lost in Bangkok..sat navs are rubbish…but I showed them the way to go…don’t you think I am a star? WOOF

Woof… got to go, mistress is back from drinking her early morning cuppa….she will probably tell you now what a little or not so little angel I was…woof

Well looks like Saangchai has snuck in with his version of his journey….ha ha…I will say he was a perfect angel far better than I thought he would be and better than any kids I have travelled with cos at least he couldn’t say numerous times and at 5 minute intervals ” are we there yet?…how much longer?” Bet we can all relate to that..lol

Finally we arrived..well..arrived in Udon Thani…..then the ” fun” began. After picking up one’s grandson    we headed for the house….the agent said…” I will meet you and take you there”…..mmmmm…..well all the info we could get was ” I have a white car”  all the driving round and round and trying to get a make or find this ” white car” to say tempers were frayed is an understatement.

Finally we located her…..by now I was panicking… am I going to like this house……I love it!

It has so many cupboards and shelves( all glass)…oohhhh polishing……but even I cannot fill them…..but I have found a lovely place for my rocking horses….my office mmmmmm….desk is being moved again today…..I can’t think why hubby has that look on his face…..can you ladies????

My bedroom has a lovely hand painted mural above the bed

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and I have a prayer room…for those of you who practise Buddhism you will know what I mean.

The garden is smaller but we have a fish pond..it needs some tlc but will be lovely and a pomegranate tree so it has promise…..My plants and herbs which I transported are unscathed unlike the rest of my goods and chattels…but we won’t go there..needless to say if I ever move again I will not be using THEM.

We have survived our first storm aka downpour after many months of drought, found all the leaks..mmmmmm and did the high street flood…Oh Yes!

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That’s it for now but I will in future blogs be showing you the area which we have made our home… it is flat unlike the mountainous Phuket….no beaches but lakes and waterfalls and temples.

Until next time lots of love from Carol and Saangchai..Woof