Friday, March 25, 2016

Bann Nah 36: Retrospective

My wife Thiphawan remarked the other day that in a few months we will have been in building mode, at Bann Nah, for two years. I laughed, because to me, we’re already pushing three. She’s counting from when work began on the structure. I count from the time we donated and sold land to the temple, for the building of the temple chedi (stuppa), and our decision to build a new “shack” out in the middle of the rice fields that were left (9 rai).

Here’s what the original lower part of 17 rai looked like, purchased for the family to rice farm on, back in 2000:

Pre-Bann Nah

2010 – 17 Rai video – “Love Shack I”

Bann Nah History to Date

2013 – 17 to 9 Rai video – the beginning of the chedi pool and Bann Nah pad

2014 – Bann Nah 1 – plan expansion; on the pad
2014 – Bann Nah 2 – history of previous structures
2014 – Bann Nah 3 – making way for the chedi
2014 – Bann Nah 4 – more on the plan expansion
2014 – Bann Nah 5 – electrical lines

Our “farm house” (aka “bungalow on stilts”) as of March 2016:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bann Nah 35: Water Tank

A temporary fix, we installed a 2,000 liter water tank on a metal stand about five feet high. Thip designed the stand, red oxide painted the metal and we paid a local crew to weld it. I connected the PVC from the well to the tank and created ports for multiple use. Our workers were away, so we are now in a mode where we are trying to do as much of the work at the farm on our own.

Eventually, we will move the tank to a much higher tower so that we will be able to have water pressure to the second floor of Bann Nah. The tower will have a roof to shade the tank, as well as a lightning rod.

The temporary tank set-up now gives us the ability to easily water plants and trees that Thip has put on the pad’s periphery; mango, papaya, doolean, mak mee (jackfruit), palm nut, coconut and other trees I’m not quite sure what they are. She’s doing well with the trees, but struggling a bit with the vegetables due to the exposure of the pad to the sun; little to no shade.

Having pressurized water also makes it easier in preparing and cleaning up in the outdoor kitchen.

This winter of 2015-2016 was not an exceptionally cold one, but it lasted far longer than previous winters I’ve experienced in the Isaan. For example, I estimate winter season, last year, went for about two months. This year, it was a solid three.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Bann Nah 34 - Stringer & Tred

Building stairs from scratch is not easy, especially if you’re using wood you’ve harvested, along with other milled wood – and all of it hard.

I had been correct about expecting a long work stoppage after Ohpensa. It turned out to be the second longest in the year and a half that we’ve been building: two months.

When Lott and Naht came back briefly around Christmas time, they resumed work on the stairs pad and began shaping the main support beams (stringers) and steps (treds). The stringers are made of teak (mae sot) and the steps are made of mae doo – both woods we cut from our farms.

Mae sot is a protected wood in Thailand, so in order to cut it – even if you own the trees – you have to get permission from the government. Even when you get the go-ahead, you are limited to the amount you can cut in a given time. All the main support posts and the stairs stringers are teak from eleven of our trees. Other teak, for the walls, ceilings and railings, were purchased. We just couldn’t cut enough of our own wood to cover all our needs.

(Mae Doo tred in-process)