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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Thailand:- Life on the Farm is kind of relaxed

    I always enjoyed reading/watching a peek of others members life in Thailand and maybe it's time to show
    a little of where I live.


    Sunrise at the Farm ... but all that glitters is not gold.


    Not too much bla bla ... just lot's of images and videos with a few explanations.

    My Thai Partner and I don't actually own any land or dwellings, when we are there we live in a typical, 2 story
    Thai Farmhouse which belongs to her Parents.

    Various comings and goings within the extended Family but it's ...

    Thai Mum and Dad,
    their 2 daughters,
    their 4 kids,
    those kids 2 partners,
    myself and my Thai Partner (their 3rd daughter),
    our 2 kids
    and a disabled adult cousin who I've nick-named Miss Quiet.

    Next door, another building on the Farm is Grandma, Mum's brother and the other dwelling is Mum's sister and
    her partner who is also the brother of Mum's daughter's boyfriend

    All the neighbours are relatives, Aunts and Uncles and, of course, Cousins.

    Even though we are only a couple of hours outside of Bangkok, there is no 7/11 within 20, maybe 30 klms and
    the Mar n Pa is a 30 min walk if there is no bike handy.


    So, we are Fish and Prawn/Shrimp Farmers, below is the Farm and it's various ponds ...


    Water is everywhere at our Farm.
    This used to be the main access and mode of Transportation.


    Apparently the Klong/Canal is considered to be our 'road'.

    Indeed Klongs and access along them is standard around these parts.

    This one below is one access option ... after riding across
    the Farm's dirt roads and through a few relatives blocks.
    But when it rains, and it rains often, the bike can't be ridden on the Farm's dirt road.

    This is main egress to the Farm. Sometimes it's completely covered.
    Because of the Charcoal makers trucks comings and goings, it's now much worse then in the vid.
    That movie is before kids, so, maybe 5 years ago.
    It was the Kings Birthday night, hence all the yellow.


    Yes, shock, horror, I ride in the back of a pick-up. Back then the Farm Father owned the only car.


    Because we are so isolated, I might go a week or two before I see a fellow Westerner.
    Even at the local TESCO it's not the norm.
    I live, eat and shite Thai when I'm at the Farm ... and that's cool.

    No Air-Con here, no running water (to speak of), no flushing toilet, no hot water ... well, no showers.

    My Thai Partner lived this all her life and she turned out great ... I can also ... builds character.

    A down side is I don't speak/read Thai. I've tried, but my brain isn't wired that way.
    When at Uni, I topped my State @ Quantitative Analyses, came away with a Business Honours Degree,
    but I suck at Languages.

    The upside is that I read Body Language well. I muddle through.

    Also, unlike many on the TD, I'm not the Alpha Male in the house.
    I live with a number of Thai Adults and their siblings.
    I've learnt 'Thainess' ... I fight it, but, like the Borg assimilation 'resistance is futile'


    One of the kids is a Dee and watching her on again/off again relationship with her Tom is interesting.
    She has now left the Tom and has a BF and things seem to be working out for her. She's a sweetie.

    One of the other kids dropped out of School when she was 14 to move in with her BF.
    I like her also.
    Over the years I've learn't and try not to judge, not to compare what we would do in the West
    and overlay that to what we would do in Thailand.
    I'm not perfect at it.
    Sometimes my moral compass just says no and I spit the dummy.



    Lots more to post, just taking the time to go through the media.

    Fish and Prawn Farming next ...

    Our fingerprints never fade from the lives we touch

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Fish and Prawn Farming

    Several ways to feed the Fish, depending on the stock feed and the Fish's maturation stage.

    Overwhelmingly the Fish are fed by a pelleted commercial stock feed, the cost of which will vary according
    to the feeds protein content.

    That is except for Catfish ... they eat almost anything.

    ^ This is a Lake which the Farm Father rents, it's not like the other ponds.
    It's deep and never emptied.
    They are being fed powered Bran, the outer husk of the rice grain, cheap.



    Walking a pond and casting a pelleted commercial stock feed (below)
    Usually used with younger fish.
    The man is a Farm worker
    Worked for basic lodgings, rice, electic and BHT 8,000/month

    The most usual way of feeding.
    A mesh net filled with the pelleted commercial stock feed


    I'm amused when I read the comments re how 'Dirty' the fish are.
    How they are pumped full of chemicals/antibiotics etc.

    There is not enough margin in Fish Farming to buy the antibiotics.

    On the Farm, if they die, they die.

    The usual cause of death or, as we call it, a fish kill is depleted O2 levels.
    Oxygen levels drop to their lowest just before the Dawn.
    That is for Tilapia, big headed carp, snakefish etc.

    As for catfish, they are almost impossible to kill.
    They don't inhabit the same ponds as the usual catch.

    What do you do with the fish kill?
    Collected, cooked, bottled and salted ... apparently, folk from Isaan love them

    Prawns are usually caught every 3 months and fish, about 9 months.

    Nets are laid out for prawns in the afternoon and hauled in before sunrise.
    They are iced and taken directly to the wholesale market.

    ^ Prawns being sorted.
    From there, straight to the local market.
    Pond to your plate in under 24 hours.

    ^ Fish being corralled before being sorted (below)

    We used to take the fish directly to Bangkok's Wholesale Fish Market,
    but that meant catching at night-time to be there at dawn @ the Market.



    ^ Now, the buyers come to us and their team catch and sort the fish.
    We are paid @ the Farm Gate.

    If it's been raining, the catch is usually delayed till the rain stops the Farm roads dry.
    Why?
    Because the trucks are loaded to the hilt, tonnes overweight and 2WD utes don't go well on our
    Farm roads which quickly become a mud wrestlers dream


    I've been to a few Farmers meetings. No-one and I mean no Westerner reports a Farming profit.
    It's fun at the small scale, but not financially viable for an income.

    There is one guy I know through another Forum who grows and harvests catfish and apparently he does OK,
    but he's the exception.

    I wanted to work out the RoE for this Farm but drew a blank look when I asked about the Farms financials.

    As an aside, before I met my Thai Partner, going back more then a decade, they used to grow coconuts but,
    the dreaded coconut beetle stopped that being a viable business.

    Odds and Bobs around the Farm next ...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Utopian Expat
    Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    Interesting thread David, thanks for taking the time to share.

    You must have nerves of steel riding the bike on that wall/path.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post
    Interesting thread David, thanks for taking the time to share.

    You must have nerves of steel riding the bike on that wall/path.
    Thanks CCC. It takes ages to compile the media and most of stuff has heaps of the extended family in it
    and that's not appropriate for the Forum.

    It took me a little while to get used to the concrete path but, I used to be a Motorcycle Courier in London,
    so sort of used to being on a bike.

    That said, Mum has fallen off her pushie a few times taking the kids to school.

  5. #5
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    I used to avidly follow your posts on '' the other place'' . Do you allow/tolerate visitors? Beer will be provided.

  6. #6
    CCBW
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    AWESOME stuff David. We have bantered back and forth for some time now after we met on TV a long time ago. nice post.

    Thanks for sharing

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    A really interesting thread so far, David, thanks posting it up. As an ex-motorcyclist, I too was impressed with your balance skills!

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the positive comments.

    If the thread gets a bit boring, let me know, I just want to share what's it's like living on a Thai Farm,
    with all it's lumps and bumps.

    Quote Originally Posted by toslti View Post
    I used to avidly follow your posts on '' the other place'' . Do you allow/tolerate visitors? Beer will be provided.
    Mate, we have actually moved back to the West so I can earn some decent coin and so that the kids can be raised
    under a Western Schooling system.

    We only spend a couple of months a year in Thailand ATM and that window has passed for this year. Next year?

  9. #9
    CCBW
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    How is Life back West David? Hope the little ones are doing well.

    After retiring about 2 months ago, I got an email from a colleague wanting to me to join his company back in Calif. Sadly its an Ops Director position like the one I just left and If I was to ever to consider coming out of retirement it would have to be a small start up and my role would have to be some Engineering leadership position.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    ^ Mate, thanks, the boys are great ... I'll sneak in an image/vid a bit later.

    ---

    One thing I used to love about the Farm was the Boat.

    Klongs/Canals are such an integral part of life where we live and the boats come in all shapes and sizes.



    We have guys with big V8's and you hear them coming from a mile away ... my kids love watching them fly by.
    Some are powered by a little Honda 4 stroke and just quietly putt putt by.

    We are somewhere in between. Fairly sure it's an old VW motor. It's air-cooled.

    The shaft design is interesting, long tail shaft, propeller with a guard/rudder underneath it which does 2 things.

    Rudder allows the shaft to rest on the bottom of the canal but keeps the prop above it and, sometimes it's
    used as a paddle.

    Now they ride bikes to the main road, but before, we travelled by boat.
    I shot these after dropping the kids at the road and waited for the songthaew สองแถว to collect them.





    However, sometimes the water hyacinth beats you.

    This is the area's main Klong ... probably 80 metres wide.





    If someone could find a commercial use for water hyacinth, they'd clean up.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by David48atTD; 23-11-2017 at 08:51 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    I wanted to work out the RoE for this Farm but drew a blank look when I asked about the Farms financials.

    Thanks for the insight to your life very interesting. How about social life, how or what do the families do?

    I gave up trying to estimate how the profit is established for my wife's father's Durian and Rubber farms. The annual Durian sales seem to swing all over the place but they live very much hand to mouth. The children chip in where they can. Little profit means less fertiliser purchased. Little pest spraying chemicals is done.

    They have survived all their lives and Pa gets a bottle of Thai whisky occasionally. Ma gets her lottery tickets. There is always food.

    When I produced a spread sheet for my coffee bushes my wife showed it to pa who was greatly amused. The do always know how much a farm for sale produces every year. When I ask to see their "books" they look aghast as such a question.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the videos. There is nothing like being around the water in rural Thailand I love it. I have always wondered how it would be to ride a motorcycle down those cement paths looks a bit dicey.
    Seeing this reconfirms my desire to live in the river in my wife's village.

  13. #13
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    Really nice thread! Great life you have there! Something I want to do is rent some land and a house upcountry and live the good life as it were. Now if I could find such a property in Rangsit I would be very happy. Back to the old place of work- pays better than average but hardly close to the top tier stuff and come home everyday to my slice of paradise. I live in the city center these days- if I could click my fingers and be back in semi rural Thailand I would do it without a second thought.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    If someone could find a commercial use for water hyacinth, they'd clean up.
    There has been a project for collecting it up to a boat, then used for a composting. I saw once such boat on Payao Lake, with a special rake for that.

  15. #15
    Just centre of centre
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    Thanks for sharing Dave. Very interesting.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    I started the OP with a Sunrise, so I'll start this with a Farm Sunset ...



    Since we are generally devoid of mountains, we get to capture the sun from it's first morning's glow
    till it sets.

    There are all Sunsets ...



    Farm worker silhouetted doing his last rounds for the day.
    I think he had just finished the last feed and he's returning to the feed shed.




    Over the machinery lean to




    Over the Farmhouse




    Finally, from the perspective of the Pond



    Sunsets are awesome round the Farm, particularly during Winter when it usually doesn't rain.

    With all the water to act as a reflective surface, it's not difficult to capture a half decent image.


    Even the Birds were heading home



    Sometimes it's what you want to express with an image


    But the subject (the sun) and it's reflection or ...




    ... it's silhouette



    I've spent many a lovely afternoon sat in a Salsa over one of the ponds sipping a Leo.

    Or, with the boys and some of the extended Family at the Farm Father's shed, right bang in the middle of the Farm where
    he sleeps to guard the ponds from thieves.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
    Da Man stroller's Avatar
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    Brilliant thread, David!
    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    Prawns are usually caught every 3 months and fish, about 9 months.
    No antibiotics for the prawns?

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Thanks for the insight to your life very interesting. How about social life, how or what do the families do?
    So, our Farm is almost surrounded by relatives.

    The Farm Father's Mother held a fair bit of land and, on her passing, it was divvied up amongst the siblings.
    Some stayed and Farmed their lot, some rent their pond to the Farm Father.

    Farm life is really a 7 day a week job.

    Socially there isn't much doing apart from visiting the other Rellies.
    I'm cool with that.

    If I want a break, I head into Bangkok.
    Air-con, I can walk most places, food I want, no mozzies, English TV and
    when it was available, a quick catch-up with some members from 'that other Forum'.

    Plus, many of the fellow Managers (Thai) my Partner used to work with we socialise with.
    They speak some English, my Thai Partners ex-work was fairly close by, so a meet-up
    after work is often on.
    Plus, they are really nice people.
    They like me ... they love my boys ... helped, no doubt by the fact that, apart from the Male Manager,
    none of the other woman have had kids.


    Then you have what the Thai's do ...

    If the Farm is dry, then a quick game of Toy lee en ...


  19. #19
    Utopian Expat
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    Never seen that before David, look like a Thai version of hop scotch without the hop and the scotch.

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller View Post
    Brilliant thread, David!
    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    Prawns are usually caught every 3 months and fish, about 9 months.
    No antibiotics for the prawns?
    I've seen close to 7 years of Farming at the place and no-one uses antibiotics for the Prawns
    around these parts.

    A number of reasons why ...

    The ponds are about 5' deep and Prawns (shrimps) are bottom feeders.
    There would be no effective delivery system.

    I've watched a lot of media on other Farms and the large, corporate run ones which only farm
    prawns in shallow ponds ... maybe they do, but we don't, nor do any of the Farms around here.

    Another reason why also is, if there mortation with the prawn population, it is simply eaten by
    the other animals.

    If the Prawns are small and get sick, they float to the surface, the birds get them.
    If they are larger, the fish, which co-inhabit the same pond eat them.

    The most common disease which Prawns get is called white spot which causes no ill effects in,
    either other fish or humans*


    • So, apart from no effective delivery method,
    • Natures natural vacuum cleaners,
    • There simply isn't the margins in Prawn Farming to buy the antibiotics.



    * Effect on other species:- Fin fish are not affected by the disease and are not a carrier of the disease.
    * Risks to human health:- Prawns infected with white spot disease do not pose a risk to food safety or human health.
    Here

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Thais also fish the canals ...

    ALL methods are used.

    Some use a line and a rod.

    Some are sneeky buggers and slowing travel the canal in a boat and place electrodes in the water,
    stunning the fish, which then float to the surface and are gathered in.

    Some use this common method.



    And I've seen guys, with a smaller version of this net walking the canal and trying his luck.
    He manually lowers the net, waits a while then pulls it, tilts the net towards him and what he
    catches he put in a shoulder bag.
    Last edited by David48atTD; 29-11-2017 at 01:58 PM.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    The canals, like the road, need basic maintenance.

    This is the big unit who both dredges and he has some poles as our electric and phone come down the canal.

    It's a 2 person crew. The assistant has a long stick which she lifts the power/phone lines up and down and ...
    when the opportunity presents itself, to grab some tree fruit.



    Above ... sometimes we get the guy who just dredges.
    He takes great car with his work.
    I wonder if he's ever tipped it?

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Great thread David.

    Wheres the nightlife vids?

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Nice one, missed this thread at the start.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Prawns/Shrimps ...

    In a typical pond the Prawns and Fish, usually Tilapia live a symbiotic relationship.
    The Prawns are harvested usually around 3 months after being released into the Pond.

    The day before the harvest, the nets are placed into the pond, under a light bulb which is used
    to attracted into the net.


    Farm worker setting the nets out.
    Pond is about 5' deep and
    the slope is quite steep.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    Great thread David.

    Wheres the nightlife vids?
    Nightlife ... I'll give you night life!

    Sometime after dinner, it doesn't really matter, the lights are turned on.


    Apologies for the crappy photo, but it's pitch dark out there and I'm using the 'Fireworks' setting on the
    camera plus the mossies* are biting and sucking like little Draculas and ... there is a live powerline around
    the pond and you are tring not to touch that.
    The power line feeds the light bulbs.

    They stay on all night and come dawn, the power is off and we are up.


    ^ ... and the harvest begins
    Usually 3 days and nights


    ^ The crabs are never put in by us,
    they just arrive.

    ^ Moving to the next net
    There about 20, maybe 25 nets set.


    I've attended a dozen or so Prawn Harvests. They are usually low key affairs.
    Essentially they don't need me. the rellies/workers are organised in advance,
    until ...

    Until, one morning we had a massive storm @ the Farm. Lightening everywhere.
    The dry dirt roads turn to mud, thick mud.

    No-one turns up for work except the Farm Father and those he can rally.
    Meaning me and the man I call the 'drunk Uncle'.

    In a storm you usually get FLASH .................................................. ....... KABOOM
    That morning it was FLASH ....... KABOOM
    We wern't near the Storm, we were in the Storm.

    Sitting under a verandah I love a storm. Boom Crash, like an Opera.

    But out there, in the storm, pissing down, squelching the mud through your toes.
    Oh, I'd plan to wear thongs. She, who I've learnt knows everything about living on this Farm said ...
    Hun ... thongs won't work, bare feet only.
    Nah, you're wrong on this.
    Yep, I was wrong on this.

    I got 8, maybe 10 steps before the mud build-up before the thongs maybe weighed a pound each.
    So, I had no choice to kick them off and 'go native'.

    FLASH ................. KABOOM
    FLASH ................................... KABOOM
    FLASH .... KABOOM

    Fuck ... that last one was close.


    The prawns had to be harvested.

    Unlike the pretty vids above, this morning they were dead.
    Why?
    In a storm, the O2 levels drop drastically.

    Unlike the Prawns which are caught, iced and their metabolic rate reduced.
    Dead Prawns attract about 1/2 what their iced cousins do.

    I earnt my keep that morning and, early on in our relationship gained a little respect that morning.

    ---

    mossies*

    Never underestimate the power of the humble Mosquito.

    Come sundown, I am dust.

    I get the first opportunity to throw 4 litre ice-cream buckets of cold water and attempt to bath myself.

    Then, a bee-line for the bedroom and it's beloved insect screens.

    How many mossies?


    ... and that was just in a few minutes.


    Anyone got a recipe for fried mossies, I could fill my boots.
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