Toon & Leigh's Farmstead Blog #2
Here's the second of our Farmstead blog of 2020. This monthly blog is to keep you bang up to date with events here on Porpeang farm in Thailand. February has been mega busy so let's have a butcher's at what's been going on.
Making & using homemade shrimp traps
The start of the month saw Toon making a few simple DIY shrimp traps.
Made from our old recycled plastic bottles, all you need in addition is a stick to secure them in place.
We use these bottle traps to collect freshwater glass shrimp from our lake & ponds on the farm.
They are also a good backup when we are out fishing away from the farm & run out of bait.
The great thing about using unwanted plastic bottles this way is when the trap eventually splits & becomes useless, you can still recycle it.
Even better than this, you get paid to recycle here in Thailand!
Our goat herd continues to grow
I don't know how we are so blessed with our goat births at the moment.
Previously four doelings & only one buckling had been born (the does are far more valuable in goat farming.)
So you can imagine our surprise & joy when two more doelings joined our herd's ranks!
The first was born while Toon & myself were away at the immigration office. We let the guy who was looking after the farm name our new addition.
Nam Oi was the name he gave her. Nam Oi means sugarcane in Thai (she was born in the sugarcane & she looked sweet he said.)
She is a strong well-set kid like her mother Saam, has beautiful markings & jumps around like she's swallowed a box of springs!
On the 13th of the month, the second of the doelings was born. Covered with short, shiny hair & brown from top to hoof, the name of Coffee was soon given. He's a slender, long-legged girl like her mum Donner.
That leaves us with just two remaining pregnant does in the herd.
Our first sick goat on the farm
We had our first ever vet call out to the farm! He came & had a look at under-the-weather Donner. She had gone downhill badly after giving birth to Coffee.
She has always been a slim lass since we got her, but this was a whole new level. To put it plainly, she was off her food & crapping herself to death! Combined with her body trying to produce enough milk for her kid, we feared the worst.
Thank goodness for knowledgable & kind vets in Thailand. The chap who came out to us was fantastic.
He gave Donner a vitamin booster which also helps to stimulate an appetite. To be fair, there wasn't much difference for about 36 hours, but then she slowly began to pick up & regain her strength.
We had also put Coffee on two bottle feeds per day to ease the strain of milk production.
Now, mum & kid are doing fine. I don't think Donner will ever have to worry about being overweight, but she's looking much more healthy & happy these days.
A sweet side note of these worrying chain of events is that we have now experienced the joy of bottle-feeding baby kid goats . . . it melts your heart. We still feel fortunate to have started goat farming.
Our buck goat is not performing
Mr Tumnus is currently on borrowed time. He's had able opportunities with the females but doesn't seem to be up for the job.
We are now trying to secure a Kalahari Red buck to replace him. Kalahari Reds are a large reddish-brown South African breed mainly used for meat production.
The one we are after is a proven Sire, meaning he's a proven goal scorer lol.
Leigh was in the dog house . . . again
I somehow managed to delete all the video footage of Toon doing her goat midwifery duties helping Donner give birth. Needless to say I got the 50 yard stare!
Hunter-Gathering on the farm
Although Thailand is currently suffering from a prolonged period of drought, it's not all bad. This dry spell means there are ponds & ditches drying up, leaving small pools holding fish, shrimp & crabs.
They become very condensed & relatively easy to catch (under Toon's supervision.)
We found such a place in our drainage ditches. The fish we managed to catch included snakehead, barbs, gourami, perch & various catfish.
Along with thousands of glass shrimp & a few crabs, they were all released into the main lake.
Doing this should help to create a real mixed-stock fishery when we are finally ready to open.
The place where we collected all the fish from is now totally dried up, but the fish & their eggs are still there. Not dead, but deep under the mud waiting for the next rainy season (if we ever get one again that is!)
The fishing lake & goat island dig begins
Digging a fishing lake dig was by far the most anticipated of all our projects on the farm. And what a fantastic experience it has proved to be.
We were fortunate to be blessed with an incredible digger driver who we nicknamed MacroMan. His skills & work ethic are just fantastic to watch. We also witnessed him catch seven rats with a single sugarcane stick (he basically twatted them on the head!)
We had two trucks to carry the enormous amounts of excavated soil & tractors to spread it all out. The project flew along with hardly a hitch, amazing.
A new road was constructed to make getting too & from the island much more accessible.
Slopes & shelves were created all around the island which gives it a lovely shape (we didn't want one of those square, featureless lakes commonly seen here in Thailand.)
To witness day by day, the realisation of a dream becoming a reality feels very special. There was a lot of pinching ourselves & saying OMG.
The majority of the dig was carried out in February & finally completed in early March. Once greened up, it's going to look stunning!
Update of Toon's health
Over the month, Toon's health has continued to improve (after being given incorrect treatment for her hypothyroidism the previous month.)
She's bouncing back well & becoming more involved in the farm again . . . Thank goodness because I was at breaking point.
Thailand farmstead visits are on the up
Porpeang farm is gradually becoming more known over time. Mainly down to the YouTube videos, Facebook page & now our website.
With this increasing online presence comes visitors to our Thai farmstead.
Toon & I feel fortunate that in the vast majority of cases, these visitors leave us as good friends.
We have got to meet lovely people who have been some of the most caring & kind individuals we've ever come across.
For all the concerns & online negativity these days, it's great to experience the positive side of the internet & the good souls out there.
We hope this will continue to be a reoccurring theme for years to come.
As the farm continues to develop, there will be more & more things to keep future visitors & friends occupied.
Fishing, camping, BBQs, feeding goats, & plenty of freshly made organic smoothie cocktails will all feature heavily at Porpeang.
And don't forget, there's always the karaoke in the evenings. That's if you can get the microphone from Toon!
Stay safe out there, & we look forward to letting you know about what happened in March on our next Farmstead Blog.
If you missed our last month's first-ever Farmstead Blog post, click here.
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Cheers Leigh & Toon.