Thursday, April 21, 2011

Glass kitchen and outdoor shower

We designed a glass enclosure for our kitchen downstairs to keep out mosquitoes and other unwanted slithery critters. A crew arrived just around 8 am for the window installation.

For the front door of the kitchen, we designed a double sliding glass door. The sides are also double sliding glass doors to allow for cross ventilation.
At 6:30 pm, they were more or less finished. The two thin trees in front are called moke, and are used around Bangkok as a nice hedge, with fragrant white flowers that dangle downward. We planted them a few days ago; let's see how they look in a few months after the monsoons begin.

And finally, after two visits to the metropolitan waterworks office, we got hooked up to the water main.

 Finally, a shower, making our house comfortably livable. We'll add a few finishing touches to the outdoor shower, and will also try to create a simple solar water heating system to up the temperature of the water just a notch.

Friday, April 15, 2011




We're building storage space now, and starting with a little organization of tools and materials so we do less searching and more building.

The closet and shelves for our clothes.

Preparing the lower level of our shelves, attaching the pipe stand.

Lower tier done.

Attaching the top tier.

On a tree in front of our big glass window, the little crook of a branch to the far left is a lookout perch for our bright blue kingfisher friend, who visits regularly. We plan to buy books on the birds and flora of Thailand. In our other house in central Bangkok, the only birds we see or hear are magpies, sparrows, pigeons and the koels. In our jungle cabin, in addition to the kingfisher, we've seen a green-billed malkoha (like this here and the second and third pictures here, too).

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Phase II

The picture window in Landry's office/darkroom.

Our shrunken pond here, with some dirt filled in around the periphery.

For the time being, we have an outdoor kitchen.

We may hang bamboo screens for privacy. The plan is to glass it all in, with sliding glass doors and mosquito screens.

Our composting toilet barrel will go here.

The cement foundation under the stairs cracked because the side of the ponds was eroding, eating away at the earth around the foundation.

We have some mangroves with good roots along the canal in the back to hold back the earth, and we need to plant lots of grasses -- lemongrass and vetiver.

Also, speaking of strong roots... At our place in Bangkok, we raised a sickly little bamboo plant that grew quite large and healthy over two years. It took us several hours of digging, tugging, pushing, cutting and scraping to unearth the bamboo rootball, but we did it! Our lovely gold bamboo (with delicate green streaks) will move with us to our jungle cabin.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Outdoors and under the house

We have started phase II of construction at our cabin in the jungle. We are shrinking the pond with a retaining wall, which we will cover with some vines or some such. The pond (here are some pictures from last May) did not have a lot of plants around it to prevent erosion, so erode it did, doubling in size over the past year of rains and threatening to steal away the earth under the stairs at our entrance.

We have a six-meter footbridge, so we no longer have to sneak in through the neighbor's bridge or inch along the muddy sides of the canal to get home. Now to grow hedges and plants to better define our grand entrance.

And (drumroll)... we are building our traditional Thai kitchen under the house -- the area known in Thai as the "tai thoon." Most Thais living in homes on raised stilts keep their pigs and chickens in the tai thoon, as well as their outdoor cooking area. When their kids grow up, the pigs move out to make way for the adult kids' room.

The tai thoon, underneath the house, is typically cooler, and it is where Thais spend the hot tropical days. Also, as I learned from the Barefoot Architect, it is typical in the tropics to build the upper floor first with a good sturdy roof to protect from the rains, and then when budget permits, expand under the house with a floor and walls.