Barking Up the Wrong Tree – Farm 2, Part ONE

Wednesday, June. 24, 5:03 PM
Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Just arrived a couple hours ago at Thai Farm #2: Amee Doyer’s Organic Farm, 103km north of Chiang Mai. I think I’m the only volunteer here! A Thai woman welcomed me, but the formalities didn’t go beyond showing me to my room and asking “Only you?” Due to our language barrier, we didn’t say much else, and next thing I knew she was chasing chickens off the porch and was gone.

After getting situated in my room, I went out on the porch and took in the scenery. It’s beautiful, green acres spreading endlessly in every direction, over the hills and up to the nearby mountains. An hour passed and nobody new showed-up. Since I’m basically here alone, I felt it my duty to get acquainted and to show myself around the house and grounds, so I went off snooping – I mean exploring.

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Mt first impressions are a little peculiar… at the moment I don’t really know what all they do here, so the place is shrouded in mystery. It’s very different than any of the organic farms I’ve visited so far. First off, this place is Nice! I have a posh bedroom with rosewood furniture, marble tile, a bed with a spring mattress, and my own bathroom… there are 4 other such rooms which are all vacant. In the living room is a tv, dvd, stereo, a wi-fi router, lots of books in piles all around, and a Harley Davidson motorcycle! The kitchen is nice too, with a refrigerator, microwave, juicer, an oven AND a Toaster Oven… so basically it’s a lot like home (but no home I’m used to anymore!) Outside is a car, and over by another house there’s a pickup truck. I believe this place is 60-acres, and from what I can see they’re really well kept… there are (fish) ponds, banana and rubber trees, orange and pineapple orchards, rice paddies, vegetable and flower gardens. (Can it really be Organic? I’m so accustomed to the weeds taking over!) There are also Animals: pigs, LOTS of blackchickens – which I’ve never seen before, really beautiful in every shade and hue combo between black-brown-and-tan – and a few of pet dogs.

Harley_7329

In one bedroom it looks like a pharmacy or a lab. Hundred of little bottles filled with mysterious liquids in a corner… I recall they have an oil press and crystalized ginger production as well, so maybe these are the products. In the fridge are only condiments and more of the little medicine-looking bottles. I’m so confused!

I must have misunderstood the email from the owner as an invitation to come, despite his not being around. It said:

“Amee and I will be absent, but the Lisus [hilltribe] living on the farm are used to WWOOFers and they are smiling and friendly, enjoy learning english as much as possible. Here are instructions on how to get to the farm by bus, you decide your way! … [Instructions] … You have arrived! Welcome!”

Now it’s just me and the Lisus… time to break out that Thai language book! I went and tried to talk to the Lisu lady again, but she seems not to want any help, and she doesn’t know the English.

I think I’ll leave in morning. Nearby are some cool caves, hot springs in a National Park, and the tallest limestone mountain in Thailand; I ought to explore the area a little before heading back to Chiang Mai. Now I’m off to the garden to pick some veggies so I don’t starve tonight!

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