A wise man once said....

"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new." Dalai Lama

Monday, 29 June 2009

A Weekend away at Ban Muang..............บ้าน ม่จง

Had a really good time this last weekend. We had intended to go to Ban Muang and relax. As usual things did not quite turn out as planned and it was not to be. We got to Ban Muang but it was just plain hectic as always.
We took the over night bus on Friday evening from Pattaya to Khon Kaen. It was a real VIP bus, complete with luxury wide ‘business class’ seats with massage switch. Dinner was simple just a sandwich and fruit juice. Departed 9.30 pm and arrived fresh and rearing to go at 06.00am in Khon Kaen. All for Baht 420. Fantastic value.
Met on arrival by Sai, one of Wanna’s cousins. We had on one of our earlier trips last month to Chantaburi bought about 20 small trees, or saplings, mainly fruit and some Thai peppers. They got packed and came up on the bus with us. We had planned to plant them on the farm. They traveled without any damage and on arrival in KK were promptly put in the back of the pickup along with yours truly.
Got home to the farm and had a walk round the place. Felt really good to be back. The bread fruit tree had got two fruits on it. We had planted 5 trees and the other 4 had dies so to be getting fruit as well and just surviving was a big deal. We then fed the fish and decided it was time for breakfast.
Off up to the village and bought some rice, chicken stew and assortment of kebabs.
Took them round to Wanna’s parents and tucked in. While there we watched the new puppy getting a bath! Sort of side show while eating….
One of the things I had been planning on doing this time up was visit the Governments Bee Keeping Extension Programme. It serves the whole of North East Thailand and amazingly, or fortunately it is situated only about 5 kilometers from our house.
Really great little set up in such a tranquil location, where you can have a good look round and get advice, very helpful couple of guys there, and also you can go on a bee keeping courses. All courses in Thai of course… Wanna booked herself in for January 2010. The bees up here are quite docile and very unlike any I’ve kept before. If anything, they are a bit smaller and as I say harmless. One very interesting set of hives had ‘miniature’ bees. They were about the size of a match head. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.


So that was that, or so we thought. I rushed round to get a few photos etc. And sure enough there was more. They also running an insect breading programme. So we had a chance to look into this as well. Seems a straight forward thing to do, and might work well on our Farm. We had had a couple of tries several years ago and ended up with some excellent grass hopper curry. Really good.
Basically you get the insect eggs and put tem in a storage area in this case round concrete sections, and add food and a few egg boxes Yes Egg boxes as something to ‘play’ on. Leave them for however long than harvest them. Straight forward and lots of protein.
While there we saw a 2 meter long snake which crossed our path and disappeared in the bush. I ran after it, and they can move fast! Could not get a photo as it kept hiding in the bushes or the longer grass. But not to worry I was told it was good luck to have seen one so close like that. Sure?.. Really?.. OK if you say so.
Following on from the Bee Keeping we went on to the local petrol station as this the place to buy fish and prawns. I know strange but apparently the chap has been selling here since the place opened years ago. We have last year bough about 300 fry to stock our pond. Now we’ve got 2-3 kilo Cat fish swimming around so it was a good investment. 300 fry cost 100 Baht. That’s USD 2.5. Ridiculous really.
Earlier in the morning we had been to see Steve, a chap in the village who breeds fish. He has some floating nets and we wanted to buy one and see how it would work for breading prawns in our pond. Well we bought one frame and netting and needed now to get some fry.
Hence ending up at the fish shop. Well of course, you guessed, he did not stock the small prawns. Need to go into town for that and Khon Kaen is about 10n kilometers away and necessitated wearing a helmet on the bike. Here in the sticks it’s OK but there in KK, lot of Police and all waiting for ‘Khun’ Alan to turn up and pay a fine. No way. So the prawn farming experiment will have to wait till next trip. We did buy some fully grown ones, about 2 kilos. The ones that survived the trip back to the farm we put in the pond and others put straight on the Bar B Q. No wastage there….
(As an after note we saw one dead prawn in the pond this morning).
As if that was not enough we rounded the afternoon off with some Som Tam and cold beer.
Sunday saw us plant the 20 trees we had brought up with us. Also bough along hose pipe so that they can get watered properly every day. Wanna’s Sister ‘Mem’ has this job and looks after the place in our absence. Works well.
We again tried to sit for a while but t here always seemed to be something to do.
The garden was alive wiht Butterflys. Big ones at that. I tried to film one as you can see but the effect is not so good. There must be some special way to catch these beautiful creatures on film.


Well after all the running around on a borrowed motor Bike, we decided to either buy one or buy an ATV. ATVs are much more fun for sure. So I rang Steve to enquire where does one buy an ATV in KK. “You don’t need an ATV, I’ve got an old motor bike I’ll sell you. Will do all you require up here”. Sure enough, quick inspection and done deal.
I’m exhausted just writing this and realize yet again what we had planned for, was a quiet weekend, but was again just go go go. All good fun.
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