My Jugs Are Bigger Than Your Jugs

My Big Jugs

Water jars and water tower

We had been in Bangkok for several weeks anticipating the possible floods again this year. The remnants of two typhoons have passed through adding to the monsoon rains, but they past to the south a bit and didn’t produce heavy flooding in this area.

We’re back at the farm again and it rains every night but this is the highlands and flooding isn’t a problem.

As I walk around I’ve started to notice the things around me in a new light. Before I didn’t give it much thought as I’ve become accustomed to odd things about life in Thailand. When I first came to Thailand I rode my motorcycle around and saw these giant pots beside every rural house. They fascinated me because I couldn’t decipher their use. I wanted to see what in the world they planted in these monster jugs. And then I wondered how the people moved them about. Silly me. Even though I didn’t know their purpose, I wanted one!

As it turns out, they are to catch rain water to carry the household through the dry season. Many places around the world have cisterns for this purpose but they are usually hidden from view.

Now in a more modern age many places in Thailand have local water supplies that are piped to each house, but the large Tuums are still kept because the water supply isn’t always reliable. And, I guess, how would one go about getting rid of them?

On the farm, we had a well drilled down 40 meters and built a water tower to store the water, but my all-knowing wife wanted more water for watering out plants in the dry season.

We purchased a number of these giant pots and they each cost less than $30 US—what a deal. I was excited but wondered how we would get them to higher ground. The tuums arrived and the men just lifted them off the truck, turned then on their side and rolled them. These pots are incredibly strong. We piped water from our water storage tank and they fill by gravity. We also irrigate from the tuums using gravity feed. We do have a pump but only use it during the driest of times to water trees a bit higher in elevation. We now have a total of around 4000 gallons of water to use as needed. We also use this storage to supplement our ponds to keep them from drying out. The dry season here last for six months or more.

For me these exotic things only add to the wonders of life in Thailand. If we ever return to the States I will certainly consider catching rain water for plants and lawn—think of the savings in the water bill.

I hope you enjoyed this post about a writer’s life in Thailand.

Banana fruit and flower

Jugs for rainwater

Blackpepper ready to dry

orchids

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Monsoon Winds

Monsoon Winds

In the lower latitudes there is a particular wind that changes directions twice a year, almost as predictable as the phases of the moon. These are the monsoon winds. Most of us who hear this word think of torrential rains and hot humid days. This is only half true. There are two monsoons; the dry monsoon and the wet monsoon. I never knew this until I moved to Thailand.

In history these wind changes set the trade routes to India and Africa, then on to or from Europe. Even today sailing vessels are bound by the rules of these winds.

As a young boy I heard the word and it imbibed an exotic world that I longed to see. My first experience of the monsoon winds was many years ago in Vietnam, where I was a soldier. Even then the monsoons only meant wet flooding rains and an ease in the tensions of war. I witness Noah’s flood-like rains where 30 or more inches of rain would fall in a 24 hour period—amazing! On one occasion at night during one of these torrents of rain in which I could only see a few feet around me we were overrun by a small group of the enemy. Men moved past me that I could have reached out and touched. At the time I couldn’t tell who they were—only to find out later they were VC soldiers. The attack failed because they also couldn’t see and soon faded back to where they came from. Not one shot was fired.

Now, living in Thailand the word Monsoon still sweeps my mind with the exotic thoughts of the East. Some years you can feel the wind change directions and know that the cool dry or the heavy, hot wetness is on the way. My daydreams play on the wind and my muse sings of strange new things and then implants them in my every thought.

In the main part of Thailand the dry wind come from November to around March. Of course there are religious celebrations for both seasons. The dry brings the cooler weather and easy living to the farmers, but the wet winds bring a time of hard labor to grow crops and a time to endure the heat.

Here in Thailand I live dreams of my youth and it fills my mind with wonder.

Have you ever experienced the monsoon winds? I would love to hear about your experiences.