Garden (and Other) Updates

This has been a pretty busy week for me, going to work in the mornings and getting stuff done around the house and in the garden in the latter half of the day. Progress has been made on both fronts. Unlike at EF in China I had to design my own curriculum and course design for my present school, Satree Thungsong. This was a bit of an intimidating task for me at first, but ultimately it’s allowed me some creativity and I think I’ve got a good semester worked out. This week was all planning and I start teaching on Monday. Unfortunately my boss was nowhere to be seen my last two days in the office and so I’m completely in the dark concerning my schedule/room assignments/resource locations/pretty much any useful information, but I imagine things will work out.

view of the school’s courtyard from the 4th floor balcony outside my office

school was not in session this week but there were a ton of kids running around in all white and i often heard chanting when i arrived. i came to understand that they were attending ‘morality lessons.’ hopefully this means well disciplined kids!

The house is coming together slowly but surely. We now have a kitchen table, an oven, and some shelves and dishes we’ve purchased from our friend Ya, who recently shut down her restaurant and had lots of things to part with. We still need a fridge but we were able to have our first meal (bruschetta counts as a meal if you make enough of it right?) in our new place a few nights ago.

The gardening experience so far has been one of ups and downs. Neither Wayne nor I have much (read: any) gardening experience, so we’re calling this our experimental phase where we expect that some things will go right and others will go wrong. I mentioned in my last entry that I’d planted some wildflowers in a patch outside our gate:

Roughly a week later, this is what had popped up:

The biggest change you may notice is the eyesore of a new water system that got installed. That blue pipe doesn’t go anywhere (yet) since it’s still free to use the undrinkable groundwater, but maybe one day when I have more than 11 cents to my name we’ll take advantage of it. And maybe one day it will be hidden by a glorious bed of flowers, but don’t be fooled by those patches of green that have sprung up; the only thing I’ve succeeded in growing so far is grass.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Well maaaaaybe that’s just what the flowers look like at first?” I understand. I tried to convince myself of that at first as well. But it’s definitely grass. Of course, there are a few other things that have reared their pretty (or conceivably-one-day-pretty) little heads:

And I did my best to avoid these when undertaking the mission of tearing up the whole patch to rid it of grass once and for all. My dad has a favorite saying: Work smarter, not harder. This is a prime example of me not heeding that advice. I had “done work” on the patch before putting down the seed last week, but the discovery of an ancient Red Bull bottle (yeah, it comes in bottles over here) just inches below the surface was a good indicator that I might not have done quite the digging necessary to eradicate the intricate root network I’ve recently learned makes grass so tricky. It’s slow going but I’m making headway. Hopefully by next week I’ll have some more friendly sprouts to brag about.

Wayne’s mission with my Target dollar-spot seeds was in the tomato, sweet pepper, and strawberry department. The sweet peppers are being stubborn, but you can see two sprouts in the larger tomato pot, and I promise there’s one in the smaller strawberry pot that you can’t really see in the picture. In fact, there were two in there this morning. We were worried that Thailand’s too hot for berries, so we’ll just have to see what happens with that.

In addition to the stuff we’re starting (or at least attempting to start) from seed, we’ve rearranged the things we’ve had, made use of our local garden shops, and taken a few things from the wild.

poor guy after his second transplant… the original pot (on the right) was too small so we’ve put him in something bigger, but he was all kinds of droopy afterwards. still have hopes of bringing him back.

this will one day have gorgeous pink flowers. we thought it would be more gratifying (not to mention cheaper) to buy the tree before it flowered.

after our third trip to the same shop they rewarded us with a free rose bush! i’m quite excited for this.

my mom will be furious to know we got our orchid for only 40 baht ($1.33), plus a little extra for the pot and woodchips…

but hopefully pleased to know we named it mary jo?

i really wanted some viney things for our back courtyard as well as for the front gate, so i nicked a bit of this from the bushes in (what i think is) the no-man’s-land out front.

kung happened to inform us this morning that it’s good to eat (mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy?), but the portion i took was struggling this morning so we’ll see how that goes. there are actually all kinds of cool flowers growing on the sides of the road around here, so we’re thinking of taking a scavenging mission tomorrow.

after a bit of internet research we’re also trying to grow basil from cuttings. fingers are crossed!

And on that note it’s time to get out of this office and back into the garden. I have grass to get rid of!

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About Angela

I'm not actually a sleeping monk (though if I had my druthers...).
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