Our little pup Digger has passed away after a valiant fight against what the vet thinks was tick borne virus. After six days with the vet running a very high fever, plasma and blood transfusions and several courses of antibiotics the little man lost the fight.
Digger was a lovely little pup and showed huge promise . I seem to get very lucky with the dogs I choose or maybe I’ve just got a good eye. He was super gentle , fast to learn and at four months was already showing incredible protection traits which is incredibly rare at that age. It has broken all our hearts. .. my wife especially. …. that digger never got to grow with our family and he will be greatly missed. He now rests under a young coconut tree on our land watched over by a Khmer Angel.
Gone but never forgotten little mate.
With a long weekend up our sleeves we decided to nip down to Kampot as we have not been there in ages. Booked a house right on the river at Champa Lodge and it was a mostly very relaxing sojourn. The kids swam in the crystal clear river at the front which was a tad stressful for me as the resident life guard. Luckily I could stand so it made things a bit easier. Gracie made and immediate friend in the owner’s 5 year old daughter whilst Angus just went mental . We dined in Kampot one night and it was just gob smacking to see the change since we have last been there. Western owned bars and restaurants in every street and every one was full. 7 years ago there were two bars and you might get lucky and see another whitey down there. We also went to Kep which is the same. It is just exploding down there and I can see the way the area is now going. They have even dumped sifted white pure sand on the beach which Grace and Angus loved ! Hence…..I ahem….think we have purchased the hectare ( 2. 5 acres ) adjoining our land at the rear. I’ll expand on the story fully when we / if we close but it is a truly stunning piece of land that we could really do something with either privately or commercially. We also saw some land near the river in Kampot i rather fancy but one step at a time. I am still bloody unemployed !cking
Headed over to the block yesterday to inspect our $500 dirt installation. I was a tad nervous as when I left them the tractor was pushing dirt around and it looked like a UN exhumation site. I told them I wanted rectangle(ish), level and ëven edges. So when we pulled up yesterday I really had no idea what to expect. I set the family up under the mango trees nearby and as I walked over to the block I heald my breath……but……SUCCESS ! The guys have done an awesome job of preparing our site. I had to bang out a few bumps here and there with my pick but all in all……a sterling effort.
I then started marking out the shelter’s floor plan with help from the wife and we are both quite excited. We are thankfully almost o the same page with regards the “design” and whilst I would like to do something adventurous we are going to keep it simple but with a few nice little touches like a sunset deck and combined lock up utility shed / kitchen. Roof will be tin ( so we can collect rain water ), columns will be concrete ( to allow us to go up a level in the future if we want ) , all flooring will be solid hardwood planks. None of this cheap crappy split bamboo flooring for me. I am always afraid I will go straight through it. The other thing we have agreed on is the height of the floor. EVERYONE here builds elevated stilt houses. We are only going to have one step off the ground . This will mean there is no fall danger for young kids, no climbing stairs for old blokes like me and we can sit on the floor with legs dangling or on the step drinking beer and watching the trees grow. Roof will have extended eaves for rain and shade protection. Luckily we found a guy who built himself a cow shed that is basically exactly what we want dimension and style wise. I just need to project manage the finer points to get it how we want.Budget is $2,000 tops.
Similar to this but larger
Local cow shed that will serve as the “base model”
After marking out we then planted lemongrass all around the edges of the building pad for two reasons. It is such a beautiful smelling and looking plant and used everyday in Cambodian cooking so it was always going to feature somehow but most importantly, it has an extensive but relatively shallow root system so I am hoping it will act as erosion control on the edges of the elevated pad. We also relocated some of the frangipani trees we had planted. 6kg of lemon grass shoots = $1.50. Can you believe that ?
Planting is thirsty work
Fragrant erosion control that you can also cook with ! Perfect !
We have started on plans for the shelter on our land. First step – 20 trucks of dirt at $20 per truck. We did this ostensibly to raise the pad where the Kajok ( picnic hut ) will go by around a metre giving nice views of the surrounding paddocks.There was a bit of argy bargy when it came time to finalising the actual cost of the dirt including the bulldozing to flatten it out. This is usual over here in Cambodia . ” oh we didn’t realise it was so far /so hard / so hot / so many trees to get around/ so this / so that “…. I simply tell them we agreed to a price for a job and if they want their money……finish the job.