The Life of a Farmer

Trip Start Jan 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 28, 2011

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Today we slept until 7 am. We ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant at 8am. We had a combination breakfast: Continental, American and Thai. We had a very nice selection of food. Food included rice portage, Thai noodles, eggs, ham, bacon, French toast, pancakes, fruit, salad, fried potatoes, breads etc. We ate out on an open deck surrounded by water fountains and running water.

We left the hotel at 9am and traveled about 1 hr to the organic farm. The farm is owned by the owner of Bangkok Airways. This farm therefore provides all of the food for Bangkok Airways. The manager is the niece to one of the BCNC faculty members. As soon as we arrived the students changed into navy blue farmer clothes and long rubber boots. We loaded into a truck and toured the farm. The first stop we made was to collect duck eggs. Every so many meters there is a fenced area that houses approx 300 ducks. The ducks are let free during the day so they can eat the snails that threaten the growth of the rice. Every day at 3 pm the ducks come back to the fenced area to eat. They are then housed there until the morning. Ducks would lay their eggs everywhere so this is the technique they use to make the collection of eggs easier. They lay eggs from 5-8 pm. They do not produce as many eggs as if they were running free because they get an attitude and do not like to be caged in. We did collect several dozen eggs though.

After the students gathered the eggs, we loaded back up in the truck and drove to see the machinery that sifts the rice. After the rice is sifted by a machine a human being sifts through the rice by hand to pull out the bad rice. The rice is stored in large trash cans before it is packaged by hand. The farm also grows vegetables and fruit. We were taken to the orchard where we saw several different fruit trees not native to America. The vegetable gardens were amazing. The vegetable growth looked so healthy and was so plentiful.

The farm has around 300 buffalo. Their buffalo look more like oxen. They do not use the buffalo for labor. They are used primarily for their fertilization benefits. We were given a tour of the orchid farm. Orchids are so abundant here in Thailand. The students loved this farm and many photos were taken.

Each student had time to work in the rice paddies. It was rather funny watching the students enter the muddy and soft soil. Fortunately no one fell but several were very muddy. The task at hand was to pull the rice grass out of a field that was full and plentiful and replant them in another area. For each bundle of rice grass that was replanted, 10 more would grow.  The field we were pulling from was 28 days old.

Following the rice paddy experience students rode a buffalo bare backed. You should have seen their faces. We ate lunch at the farm and all of the food eaten was grown and raised on the farm. I learned that there are many uses for rice. The rice greens were used to make a Frothy Green Chilled drink, Rice green tea, Rice green soup and Rice green ice cream. I ate so much chlorophyll that I believe I detoxified head to toe. The farm grows red rice, black rice, and white rice. Of course, I had to buy one of each.

Our trip home was broken up by short shopping stops. We picked up some fruit, shopped for clothing and jewelry. The student's van returned back to BCNC first because the students were scheduled to go with their buddies to the  Night Walking Street. They did not get back from shopping until around 11:30 pm. The Ajons were too tired to accompany them.

The Ajons stopped at Lampang on the way home. This is Jip’s hometown and is about 1 hrs from Chiangmai. Jig Saw, Jip’s oldest daughter, bought me 2 Thai outfits for Angel. They are absolutely beautiful. We saw the BCN in Lampang  and the public hospital where  Jig Saw works.

I noticed as we pulled up to the hospital in Lampang that there was a statue of the King's parents, a picture of the Prince's family and the picture of the King and Queen. As we waiting for Jig Saw I began to inquire about the Royal family. The King’s father was a physician and the King’s mother a nurse. The King has 3 daughters and 1 son. The Prince had one daughter from his first marriage, 5 children with his second wife and one son with his current wife. His second wife is American and lives in America with her children. I have attached a photo of the prince with his current family. The picture is only a few years old because the young child is now 5 years of age. The Prince will be the next heir to the throne. The King is 83 years old and not in good health. The Queen is 80 and is in good health. The Royal family is very much loved by the Thai people. The King has been a humanitarian and has improved the quality of life for the people in Thailand. He has been very innovative and progressive in improving the conditions of Thailand. The people are very grateful and indebted to him for all he has done. He has been in reign for over 60 years. Every province, city, village, business and home shows their love for the King by displaying his picture. I have enjoyed getting to know the Royal family through the eyes of my Thai friends.

We arrived back at BCNC around 7 pm. It was a long day so I was ready for bed early.
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