.........well not the real Izzie but a good substitute if you are too far away to give the real Izzie a hug in person!
This is young Aden a recent guest to the farm who misses our Izzie so much and who can blame him? Izzie is such a sweetheart!
So when Aden and his family returned to Singapore there was nothing to pacify him except a substitute Izzie from IKEA!
Have you ever seen a youngster who is so content? The thing is Aden, Izzie does that to us all!
Recent young guests Sarah, James and Eve gave Izzie the beauty treatment at the Car Wash….I mean the Dog Wash…down in the river and then they even managed to catch Sam who hates ear cleaning, nail clipping and especially shampoo and conditioner and put him through the treatment as well!
Two very clean dogs and three very tired guests ‘Workin’ at the Dog Wash’!
Ducks love Thung Dong!...and we love our ducks! Here’s a perfect snap of the latest arrivals all 14 of them. ‘Cute’ cannot even begin to describe them can it?! Nature is just so amazing!
Just after leaving my folks home in central Thailand after driving them from their stay on Thung Dong I saw an old lady selling duck eggs at the roadside. 50 Baht for a tray…and she had dozens of trays! After being reassured by the old lady that they were fresh that day I bought a tray. After reaching Chiang Mai my aunt, who was already incubating 20 Silkie chicken eggs for me, took 3 of the duck eggs from me and placed them in the incubator. She said that they would take 28 days to hatch. I would never have believed it but 28 days later she presented me with two of the most cuddly ducklings you could imagine!...and these were from eggs bought from the side of the road to make into omelets! I will never ever look at a tray of eggs, even in the supermarket, the same way ever again!
Very few aircraft fly over the farm which doesn’t sit below any main air corridor. There is a Laos Aviation flight from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang that routes south of the farm; it’s a small propeller airplane and you can just about hear it at 3.20 pm every day! Other from that very rarely do we have aircraft over-fly us!
So the other day when I was out on the farm I heard a jet quite high pass over and so I took a quick snap with my mobile hoping to identify it and I was pleasantly surprised by the resulting snap! If you zoom in you can see the aircraft which I now think was Air Asia on the way to Changsha in China! I just thought that the snap was too good not to share!
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!
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.