Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Three Weeks in March

I started a post about two weeks ago while the girls and I were at the forest.  It was our third week straight being in the forest (with weekend trips home).  However I didn't finish the post and now it is old.  So I shall rewrite what I wrote, to sound a little bit more current.

By our third week, the place was becoming more and more liveable.  Having the house to stay in made a huge difference.  Not having to sleep in the hut where you crawl up onto your bed where the roof is about 1 to 1.5m above your head is so nice! Having a place to sit and draw and play and do some schoolwork helped too.

I bought four red plastic chairs for $5.50 each  which are really nice since they are light and easy to move around.  We don't only have stump ends to sit on anymore!  Then Ben made the table and a bench for upstairs which I think is beautiful. 

And a shelf.  I’m always excited when I get a new shelf and this one is particularly exciting.  It is holding batteries which are attached to three solar panels that bring light and power to the place!  We don't have to haul the batteries out every day to charge anymore.

The workers cleared under the house and next to the house.. oops, I should be saying Office, since it is the Community Forest  Office.. but yes, cleared next to the Office, for the kitchen, wash area and toilet block.  That is also very exciting.  Then they dug a septic tank and poured the concrete pad for the toilet/kitchen/wash area block.  They also poured half the pad under the building.

All four of us went home on the second weekend of mine and the girls three week stint at the forest – for three nights, and came back on the Monday morning.  Our workers who were guarding told us they had seen the Silver Languars (the leaf monkeys) two times at the garden.  So my first morning out there we all troop off to go looking for monkeys.  Naturally we don't see any.  The previous week I had seen my first monkey run across the road in front of our car.  He was just a Macaque so not too exciting, but still the first monkey that I saw.  So I went walking further and further to look for these monkeys (after ditching the girls at the house site where there is water to play under).  The monkeys weren't where they were supposed to be.  I kept walking up the trail and heard gibbons hooting, so kept following the sounds hoping to find someone up there.  And I finally got to the spot where I knew for sure that the gibbons were on the other mountain.  So I went back not wanting to cross country to the other mountain!  And stopping to take little pictures of flora, since no fauna would come out to greet me.  

Like this.

And this.

When I was taking the latter picture, I heard a scuffling sound and looked to my left and about 20 feet away, was this little guy.

He was busy getting bugs from the tree and didn't notice me for a long time.  Then when he saw me he stared and stared.  When I moved, he realised he should probably not be there and quickly scurried off.  I wasn't sure what he was.  Thought he was probably a civit cat but then I posted some pictures on the Natural Cambodia Facebook page and someone quickly identified him as a juvenile Yellow Throated Marten.  So finally, I see something I haven’t seen before. 

Here are some pictures of the place as it is developing:
View of The Building walking up from the creek

The Bathing Spot or The Waterhole - slowly drying up!
The Office

Toilet Block in Construction

So, finally I got to see a mammal or two.  We heard peacocks daily.  The girls enjoyed themselves playing in the non-stop water and are becoming little jungle people.  We will soon have a toilet.  And I think I can be content moving out there finally.  I returned home after the third week.  And frantically started packing stuff.  I had planned for an 18 day trip to Phnom Penh and Ben was threatening to move (literally move) our house during this time.  So I packed up all my breakables and whatever I could in boxes ready to haul.  Still lots more to do - we'll see what happens next!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I wanted to add a bit about the wildlife that we didn’t see this last week.  We heard peacocks, gibbons (not too far away) and lots of other unidentified birds (sorry birders).  Ben actually saw macaques and the peacocks but we did not.  I just don’t have any luck with seeing wildlife – they run away whenever we are around.  I didn’t go out looking too hard as I had bunged my toe and didn’t feel like walking too far.  Ben was enjoying having the peacocks around and then today he called me to tell me they had just messed up his seedling bed.  They like to take dust baths in the nice fine dirt.  Ahhh.. we will need to learn to live with our wildlife.  He asked me to buy a fish net to put over the garden.  Also evidence of Banteng tracks really close although we need to verify that with our broken camera trap – they could be just cows.