At this time of year we carry out a lot of maintenance work around the farm and especially this year as we have had early rains and the vegetation grows so quickly!...after all we are surrounded by National Park and jungle-clad mountains and if we didn’t organise our annual counter-offensive we would surely be overrun and disappear into the country-side!
The trees have been pruned, creepers retrained, wood-work varnished and now over the past 2 weeks we drained the lower lake so that we could sadly, but very necessarily, cut-back on the glorious Papyrus that surrounds and enhances the lower lake.
Now the lower lake is filling-up coming to it’s previous levels, (maybe in the snap below about one quarter full) and soon most of the rocks will be submerged beneath its’ waters again and the waterfall cascade will resume in its’ flow down to the river.
This was all quite a mammoth task for us and the first time in all these years that the lower lake has been emptied…the larger, upper lake will also have to be drained at some stage but we think it wise to have a cup of tea and catch our breath first!!
…also known as Dang’s mother! Just over 15 years ago when I acquired the first plot of land, which now forms about one quarter of the farm, I was in the village and noticed a truck with a pretty brown cow in the back. She was being taken into town to a very questionable future. I bargained a price for this beautiful looking animal with long eyelashes and the truck diverted to Thung Dong. After she was unloaded and just before the truck departed the driver shouted out that he thought she may be pregnant and maybe give birth in a month or two. We settled her into a comfortable stable with plenty of hay and being one of my first large animals was very much pampered. Low and behold 2 days later she went into labour and produced our Dang. We never really gave her a name we just called her ‘Dang’s Mother’ and over the years has produced four calves and enjoyed the most wonderful carefree life on our farm. She looks a bit frail these days but loves a hug and is amazingly friendly. She is totally spoilt and enjoys fresh corn and lazy days in the lush grass by the upper lake. We will always take the greatest care of ‘Dangs Mother’ as she certainly is the 'Grand old Dame of Thung Dong Farm'!
It’s that time of the year when we have to trim some of the trees especially around the farm buildings to stop branches lifting roof tiles or even breaking them. We always think it’s a pity but one of our guests told us to think of it like a haircut! It tidies-up the grounds and lets much more light to the other plants and the grass beneath especially….besides it will have all grown back by this time next year and another ‘haircut’ will be in order!
Do you remember when Henry’s mother laid his egg in a Guinea Fowl nest and he hatched, on time, a week before his fellow eggs? Here’s some snaps to remind you!
Henry grew-up with his Guinea Fowl friends and even now he prefers their company to his kinfolk!
So here’s a snap of our Henry now, fully grown, still very tame, and quite the handsome fellow around the farm!
We have been wanting to build an additional staircase at the far end of The farm House for about 2 years! This will make it easier for our guests to reach The Thai Kitchen instead of using the main staircase and then having to walk all the way around the building. So we went over to Ban Thi to buy second hand teak and the stairs themselves. We also built a roof over the stairs to keep them dry during the rainy season. I even say it myself that we’ve made a splendid job, very Lanna and blends into the house perfectly! Right, what’s the next project?!
My mother took this snap of Oscar joining me in a short afternoon respite! A definite case of a ‘Cat-nap’!!
We built the sala on the lake when we dredged the swamp, which was fed by four natural cold water springs, and turned it into the upper lake. That was 15 years ago!
The sala stands on concrete stilts but all of the upper structure is made from an old tree that had to be cut down when we bought the land on which the farm now stands. We cut planks from this hardwood to build the sala and for 15 years it has stood the test of time through hot and rainy seasons. So we thought it about time to replace some of the original wood and renovate this peaceful resting place on the upper lake. It now looks like new but still blending into the general farm landscape and hopefully the new gate will prevent the buffaloes from using it as a spring-board into the water!
Anna and all of her family, guests on Thung Dong, recently celebrated her 11th birthday with us. We hope that she will remember her birthday on the farm!
Here’s wishing Anna many blessings today and always!
Happy Valentines to the ladies of Thung Dong!
Chocolate Roses all round!
(From the left : Banchop, Sai & Mai)
To all of our many Chinese friends and Guests
'Gong xi fa cai!' Happy New Year!
May the year of the Dog bring you good fortune,
much happiness and many blessings.
From Sam & Izzie and all of us here on the farm!
Thung Dong Farm, Thailand.
Joanna (Jo) Lodge & Joel, (Seth, 12 years Martha, 3 years and one year old Bertie their three children ) came to stay with us on the farm over the New Year. It was a delightful stay from every angle!
Jo is a contributing columnist for BKK Kids publication - Making it easier to raise Children in Bangkok and has written a masterful piece about their farm Stay on Thung Dong.
Thank you very much Jo! You certainly have a way with words; we couldn't have put it better ourselves!!
Thung Dong Farm – Stay & Leave Project!
We really enjoy the company of guests to Thung Dong and a chance to show them some real Thai hospitality!...but we are only a farm…not a resort, smart hotel, home-stay or guest house!...so we like to encourage our guests not only to dress very casually but please bring your very oldest clothes to wear around the farm, those clothes which you were about to throw out or give away; those with holes in them or gravy stains, we do not have a dress code so they would be very fine for the farm where you are bound to get a little grubby anyway!...after all we are just a farm!
Then when you leave us can you please leave these clothes as well? We will repair and clean them like new and then when we have a good size bundle we will take them high into the mountains to donate them to needy hill-tribe folks and if we have kids clothes we will do the same and give them to local children homes, orphanages and charities.
Now just think how much extra space and baggage allowance you will have (if you are flying!) to shop around the markets in town!
So please if you can help us to help some of those less fortunate by going ‘rural’ and dressing in your oldest, throw-away clothes when you come to stay with us (you can always dress more smart if you wish, of course!) that is much appreciated but not essential and please do not worry if you have no appropriate clothes to throw-out…so our pleasure when you come to stay and feel free to leave any unwanted, damaged or used clothes with us!
Thank you for your kindness in dressing down if you can!!
Best wishes. From Ae.
Today is almost the end of this year, 2017 and today is the day that our dearest Merry passed peacefully away.
Merry, (KCT name : Santa Belquest Paradise), the most perfect, endearing Labrador Retriever you could ever wish to know, was the daughter of the Thai Champion, Best of Breed, 'Belquest Braveheart'. She came to us from kennels in Ratchaburi, just outside of Bangkok, when she was 10 months old back in early 2006.
She was the most lovable girl from the moment she entered our lives.
We entered Merry for several shows in which she behaved well (after being bribed with her favourite snack!) and she won numerous awards and trophies.
She was the most amazing, loving companion with a wonderful temperament and never had growl or snarl for anyone or anything. With Bongo she had a total of 27 pups and who found homes not only in Thailand but in
The U.K., Australia, South Africa and even Ethiopia!
She loved water so much and swam regularly with her friends, just like a typical Lab’, in one of the lakes on the farm whenever she had the opportunity.
She had regular ’holidays’ in town where she was pampered at the vet Spa and commanded the sofa to laze away her day but she missed the farm and her friends where she had such a wonderful life from the very beginning; she never wore a collar and had free range on the farm and to chase away any predators.
Her ashes will be interred and laid to rest beside those of her beloved Bongo on the hill overlooking her home, Thung Dong Farm.
Farewell our lovely girl we are going to miss you so much.
Map Of Thung Dong Farm
Here’s a map of the farm situated in a valley surrounded by National Park and jungle-clad mountains. Zoom in on the satellite-view to see the farm in more detail; the house and out-buildings, the lakes, the rivers and our own valley that winds its’ way through the jungle.