Monday, November 3, 2014

Home Alive 3

And now, it’s time for “Home Alive 3” !!!

No, it’s not the latest Hollywood blockbuster sequel, but a break from all the construction posts so you don’t get bored.

I thought an annual update on the state of our relationships with the creatures around us – the non-human kind, that is – has been overdue.

Back yard, looking up.

Our home in the village still notably features the presence of a half dozen gap gays (tokays) of different ages. They are somewhat reclusive, but on any given night, you can easily spot the big one and usually one other; probably his mate. Occasionally, they make their signature call and these can be heard not only in the house, but from the neighbor’s roof and the big strand of bamboo that overhangs from Gam Gnan’s property.

Backyard looking south.

Nyoong (mosquitoes) will always be a problem for me, but at least I have incorporated strategies to deal with them effectively.

Rats and scorpions are pretty much history; at least in the house. A couple of times a year I might have to trap one or two rats (where there’s one, there’s always two and if there’s two, it’s likely there’s some babies around, as well); nothing like the nightmare that greeted me when I first retired here in 2012.

We had some “city slickers” visit us a while back; a friend we knew back in Santa Barbara and her sister, both of whom live in Bangkok. They were a bit repulsed by the slimey-looking lizards that roam around outside but also get into the house, sometimes. We take them for granted. Like the tokays, their biggest downside is their poop. You can’t smell it unless you get close to it, but it does stink.

A big surprise continues to be what I call the “fast runners.” They are thin, dry skinned lizards who, Thip tells me of the ones that climb, are related to the iguana. These do not come indoors, but have proliferated around our one acre ever since I put a ban on their being hunted on our property and the installation of a chain link fence in the back to halt cross-property pedestrian traffic.

Another big surprise continues to be the birds. Each year, we have more and more of them and different kinds, too. It’s probably the fruit trees that attract them, but it may also be that we have a large parcel and don’t hassle them. The longer they stay, the more they get used to us and, consequently, the closer they come.

Besides the mosquitoes, the one creature that has been the biggest problem when I look back over these past 2.5 years has to be the soi dogs (street dogs). Most every Isaan dog is either a farm dog or a street dog or combination of the two. They are loyal to their owners to a certain extent and there is some love there. But many are just left to fend for themselves, so they go and do whatever. Especially problematic are soi dogs who like to nip at the legs of motorcycle riders. Our dog Imbune became one of these and we had to commit him to tht family farm where he often stays on a chain to keep him away from the traffic of the village.

Another problem dog has been Heng Heng, who “came with the house.” As he grew out of being a cute little puppy into somewhat of an ugly, scraggly soi dog, his owners basically abandoned him. Since he grew up at our house and property before we bought it, this is where he gravitates to most of the time. Also, he loves Thip; I can understand that!

I’ve gone back and forth with him so many times I’ve lost count. He’s a good dog in some ways, but causes me extra work by digging holes, spreading fleas and sometimes going after motorcyclists. I just tolerate him, now, and occasionally feed him scraps that would otherwise be thrown out.

I would run him off and never feed him a single scrap if it weren’t for the fact that I’m working on opening my heart more. I can’t help but think of myself as a kid when I think about Heng’s situation. For a good portion of my childhood, I could be considered to have been a “street kid.” Not that I hung around the streets, but I bicycled through all of them in my small town and hung out in the woods and beaches most of the time by myself. This ended when I was taken in by another family (Gault) on request of my dying mother (Williams). So, I know about estrangement and despite Heng Heng being a pain in the ass and causing me extra work, my heart goes out to him.


Christian Layow said...

Love the tokay video! Cool looking gecko. Weird call. Sounds like creeking doors.
Heng Heng is your guru. Gurus make you work extra hard to have more compassion.
I'm enjoying your blog. Always fun to read.

Malcolm Gault-Williams said...

So good to know you are reading this regularly, Christian... You're right about Heng Heng. He's making me learn yet another new way...