Introduction. This is for those who don’t know me. Those who do, please skip to paragraph following this one.
My name is Maggi and I am building a B&B in northern Thailand, at the base of the mountain Doi Chang Dao. I am going to be using natural materials as much as possible, such as earth, straw, rice husks, bamboo etc. and building domes and roundhouses. I have been planning this endeavour for 7 years now, while working in the UK to get the money together, and have been on a number of workshops, read a lot of books, and had a lot of fun and met many wonderful fellow natural builders!
It is November 28th and I am sitting on a bamboo bench under a tree on my land looking at spectacular Chiang Dao Mountain. It is not even nine in the morning and already quite steamy as we appear to still be experiencing the Monsoon Season – which should have ended late October.
In this climate everything grows at a tremendous rate and the first job is to cut down the undergrowth. We are clearing the areas for the domes, so that we can remove the top-soil – not to be wasted as it has been fallow for 7 years and must now be very rich.
I have been playing in my mind over the years with positioning the buildings, and thought I had everything beautifully positioned. But my friend Tukta, a Feng Shui expert, came to visit last week and told me I had it all wrong! The gate could not go where I wanted it, and should be in line with the proposed natural swimming pool and my house beyond. Back to the drawing board! Only this time I could plan on the actual site, and guess what, it’s a much better plan!
My first job when I arrived in Thailand a couple of weeks ago was to find a pick-up truck. This took some doing and I sampled some real old wrecks! Finally found what I wanted at the price I was willing to pay. It is a proper working no frills truck – well, almost no frills. It does have airconditioning, and I also had power steering put in, and took it to a garage for that. I picked it up the next day. And the truck shuddered to a halt 50 yards down the road. I went back and complained, loudly. A couple of the mmechanics came to check it out. Uh oh! I had run out of fuel!
Truck fueled up and filled with stuff, it was time to pick up my puppy and head off to the mountains. This was a pup Tukta had heard about, and asked if I would take it as it wasn’t wanted and was being badly treated. I had visited the little fellow once, and he seemed to be very sweet, but very weak in the back legs and horribly skinny. He seemed to be limited to a concrete area about 10 feet square, high walls, no walks. He had been born with no tail, and this is why they had not been able to find a home for him. Tukta’s grandson had named him Toni – pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, Thai style. As I picked him up to put him in the truck, Tukta told me she had just found out that he had spent most of his young life in a cupboard, and was only out in the area I had seen occasionally.
Toni and I arrived in our new home an hour and a half later. We have settled in happily. Toni is delighted and amazed at everything, but very nervous. He is eating well, including his calcium pills which should help to get his poor legs working properly again.
Our little wooden house is in a small orchard by a stream, squashed between jungle covered hills. From my porch I can look up and see Doi Chang Dao appearing through the mists, as I sip my early morning cup of tea. The house is so peaceful and the setting spectacular. We are going to enjoy living here until my dome home is built.
Next step – do I need to use a tractor or not? Research needed! I don’t know anything about tractors…