Haha, I have old posts too! Was just looking through my old Storehouse blog for some photos, and this one with our “new dog” on the cover photo seems like a heartwarming enough glimpse into our lives at the learning center. We had funny names for the dogs – the one who was there when I was is called Number Two, because it was a second dog there – the first one was called Number One. I still cannot remember the Cat’s name! A norwegian neighbour leaves her dog at ours sometimes, and he enjoys a whole different treatment altogether – proper dog food, a real name, and real showers. The farang dog is a scaredydog who freaks out at little things, and J had to carry him down the mountain one time. 😀 Jobwa is someone I really respect for the kind of strength and optimism even after going through so much scary things in his life. He is so friendly and beaming with positive vibes that everyone in the community (all species) knows and encircles him pretty much all the time. I can write an entire book about his little antics that showed me so so so much about the little things that matter in life.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou

* * * three years ago, but here we go * * *

An impersonator.

Ohmoody in Karen means survivor. We named Number Two’s only surviving puppy (out of five of them) that, but he finally disappeared too and nobody seems to know what happened to it. One fine morning we saw a puppy (top right corner of photo) with Number Two and started calling it Ohmoody, even after J clarified that it is a friend Number Two picked up at Nohbo house (I still do not know what / where Nohbo House is). It was quite fun to watch the dynamics between the dog, the puppy and the cat, and they appear to be getting along better now. Not the chickens though, one pecked Ohmoody on the head, causing a super gross infection. I do not like the chickens, they went into the nursery and pecked on my tomato plants! Without eating them. Eeeks.

The basket is made to be a roosting place for the chickens, and where we will be getting eggs. J got one of our neighbours to teach us how to make them, and it looked pretty easy. The hard part was getting the bamboo. The students hiked up to the pagoda and brought some down along the way. Unfortunately it was not what J was looking for (long, straight, not sure what other requirements failed the test) so he went up the next morning on his own to get more. Splitting bamboo seems to be innate to Karens, they all did it with such swiftness and accuracy. I have never even seen a machete my whole life until I got to GG.

Manual work is not for everybody. The most I can manage is to try my hands at it, and boredom / tiredness / scared-ness takes over. Guess I was not the only one! While C teaches his animal husbandry, aka constructing animal habitats, all of us just went on to do our separate things – K on her admin / planning, P on his English / computing, and me in the nursery tending to baby plants. Having spent three weeks digging hole, laying bricks, and mixing / pouring concrete for the water platform, I think I pretty much had enough of concrete work (pun!). Plus eating frogs is totally not my thing… neither is raising them.

Brain work is exhausting too, in a different (more worthwhile) way. Looking after seven students is no joke. I am very thankful that they are Karens who are used to doing many things on their own. They cook all the meals, clean up, and are content with our rudimentary amenities. For one, if it had been students from the developed world, they would be complaining about our internet speed. The students are so happy to get to use a computer, and they even asked for extra lessons! P was so wonderful, helping them set up email and Facebook accounts. It was rather draining though, and we took turns to conk off at 10pm. Which also explains why I have not had the good sense to write anything thoughtful in the last week. Brain cells consumed by full time class!

Afternoon breaks was spent checking on the tomatoes, and more recently, repotting them. I had to make potting mix from scratch (seeding mix was from scratch too), including harvesting humus and compost. Vermiculture was fun! Never had I imagined myself farming worms, and trying to breed them! While I harvest the humus out of the stinking food waste pile, I dig around for the red worker worms to start a separate small contained wormbox, hoping that keeping it clear of ants and other insects can enhance their performance and breeding. They do look healthier (fresh red instead of dull brown), and I found a couple of baby worms in the box this morning.

Our conventional compost heap did not do as well, and it just proves that halfhearted efforts do not work. Well it did serve its educational purpose of how to do it, but not a good example of how it is done. Anyway, it will not matter once we get our composting pig pen built next week! The pigs will do our work of turning the compost, while they enjoy their natural instinct of snouting around and pooing into the pile. How exciting! Effortless compost after six months! Haha!

That will not be in time for our vegetable plots, so we may still have to bank on the (human) composting toilet. K sounded rather nervous, cos it has not been opened before… So we do not know what lies ahead… Crossing all our fingers and toes.

Hope the worms breed fast over the weekend, while I enjoy iced coffees and non-rice meals in Mae Sot. We just got back this evening, and I have yet to get my dose of good iced coffee. It has been two weeks!! Double dosage to make up for last week! I am so happy after the thorough, clean, peaceful shower, and I fell asleep on the bed soon after. Peacefully, without having to worry about not setting up the mosquito net. I heart civilisation. I am awake at 2am typing this blog, and the air in the room is controlled, not flooded with humidity and dewdrops. I am grateful for all those conditions in GG in a different way, but for now, I am just very thankful to have a little break and enjoy the man-made environment. Life is great when we get a balance / best of both worlds.

Oula’s four orphanages are coming together at the youth centre tomorrow for Christmas. I will be cycling there, wonder what time I will wake up tomorrow. My guess is that I will wake up around 10, get breakfast, and slowly run errands along the way and finally getting there after lunch. We shall see how K turns out too… The other possibility is that I will get distracted by the shopping (my last chance to hunt for Karen items before I go back to Singapore next week for Christmas break) and end up there late afternoon or not appearing at all. We shall see. In the meantime, good night and sweet dreams!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. MNL says:

    Wow! sounds like a lot of work. why were you breeding worms?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. leapingtoes says:

      Earthworms eat up our food waste and pass out fertiliser! So we can maintain zero waste (no municipal facilities in the village) and have compost (no chemical fertilisers).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MNL says:

        They are very useful. hmmm. I used to see them a lot in California when I had a garden but not here in Arizona. I wonder if the ground is too hard

        Liked by 1 person

      2. leapingtoes says:

        We had to keep turning the vermicompost so they can do their job~
        Here’s an interesting article – apparently these are specialised earthworms and the heap has to be separate from the garden https://www.gardenmyths.com/vermicompost-is-it-great/

        Liked by 1 person

      3. MNL says:

        I didn’t know compost was that complicated. I read a article on it that made it sound easy — layer brown/leftover fruits&veg with green and turn it over once in a while. So I am trying my first compost experiment in a leftover cat litter bucket.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. leapingtoes says:

        It’s pretty easy when the earthworm population is high! 🙂 have funnnnnn~

        Liked by 1 person

    2. leapingtoes says:

      Oh oh oh, I must brag this snippet of info: to boost the dwindling earthworm population at our place, we carried a tiny plastic bag of new earthworm friends all the way from Chiangmai!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MNL says:

        wow! I didn’t realize earthworms needed that much help

        Liked by 1 person

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