Lately

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A couple of weeks ago we had a little storm. It was short and had a very windy start. Ben was at the house site and the girls and I were at home. As Ben was returning, his workers who had left earlier came back and told him the road was blocked. There must have been a micro burst in that spot and about 50+ metres of trail was covered by trees and vines the main culprit being a huge huge fig tree, which now lay on its side. The girth was about as tall or taller than Ben.
I shall insert a picture when I get some better internet.
The tree had pulled down all sorts of vines and other trees so the trail was indeed quite decimated. We are using one of the trees that fell for floor boards on our house so that is the only benefit of the blow down. They cleared a detour and also took a good couple of days to clear the road again.

Some local carpenters (from the village right by us) came to work with us on Monday to help us finish off the house-which-is-taking-forever. All that is left to do is some decking, flooring our bedroom, roofing our bedroom, a few odd wallboards around the house, finishing off the floor and walls in the girls room and then the bathroom odds and ends (plumbing etc.) – Oh, and the steps. So not really that much is needed before we can move in. They half finished the deck as of today and most of the floor to our bedroom. The roofing supports are up mostly on the bedroom too. And that is just two days of work.

The weather has dried up and the rains from June and July have abated – good at the moment for us but the rice and gardens of everyones are drying up which is not good-including our garden. So hopefully the weather will hold up for a little while but maybe just a few little rains would be appreciated.

Ben went and visited the Forestry Administration who we are working with for permissions and all that horrible red tape necessary. He had a long 4 hour meeting with the director for the province (who only had 10 minutes as he was going out the door). The guy has always been very supportive and helpful but just always busy and has much much bigger fish to fry or whatever you do. But it was a very useful meeting and some paper work which was buried was dug out from people’s desks and put back together again. They are also working on a community forest (CF) ADRA’s Jombok Hoas site. One village is planning on enclosing Jombok Haos within their CF and then ADRA will make a continued use agreement with the village. But another village which is actually really close to Jombok haos are fighting it because they want the forest free to claim and cut. They already had their own protected area demarked and have since sold it all off or cleared it all of any valuable timber. So now they are looking at the land that JBH is on and thinking that they should have rights to it. So there is a village meeting this week between the village, the Forestry Administration and the Community Forest Committee from the other village to hopefully iron out some of the issues. Ben is attending to clear up some of the rumors that have been circulating (“Ben said this.. Ben said that…”)
So, our roll on the house will stop again.. hopefully this carpenters will come back next Sunday to keep on going and hopefully they don’t get another job in the meantime.

I have been working .. trying to work … on some ADRA work over the last couple of weeks. Slowly putting together a proposal. Meaning kids are free to school themselves.. or not. Jarrah just brought me up some edible leaves… so they are learning survival skills. They walk to the garden and pick veges. They just had their bath at the creek. They have their new puppy, Mikey to keep them playing. I think they are having fun. Amelie baked bread the other day. Jarrah made up a recipe for pancakes – ‘pleasure pancakes’ she named them – basically flour, baking powder, salt and water. They don’t taste bad at all. And Amelie and I have gone on runs for the last three mornings. They were not very long runs, but long enough for people who are not fit. The three legged Mikey followed us the first two days but this morning he made it as far as the creek (20m) and turned home.

Another thing I did lately.. I made my own laundry detergent. I had been importing this wonderful, natural powder from the US called Charlie’s soap. It was only about $13 for 1kg which lasted me about 6 months at 1 tablespoon a load as recommended. Way cheaper than the junk that they use here with all its chemicals and not too impossible to throw in our suitcases. However are trips to the US are getting fewer and fewer so I thought I needed to find a more sustainable source of good cheap and natural powder. i had found a recipe of some detergent and a lady had written up how to make it and where to source the borax and baking soda in the labyrinth of Orussey Market in Phnom Penh. for $1, I made up about enough for ten or fifteen loads. It smells good and seems to be doing the trick. Nothing in my opinion can get our stains out of our clothes and I am lazy to spot wash absolutely everything – stains don’t come out but they never did with anything I use – so I am quite happy with my home made detergent. Next to try is some home make liquid hand wash and then I need to tackle soap.

So we are still alive and life is good at the moment. I am approaching this life at present as an attempt at homesteading and living off the land. Need too see how much our grocery shopping can go down as we get ourselves more and more set up. Only when we get a cow however will we be happy as we all love our dairy. I did just read a book on stopping sugar so that should be one item less to buy (The Year of No Sugar by Eve O Schwab) .. a good book by the way. We should all stop this little additive if we want to be healthy.
I digress here from ending this post. I shall end here! Now! And get back (or start!) my computer work for the day. Oh, it is 5pm.. maybe I’lll get to it tomorrow. Sorry Ann!

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