Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Bucket List ---So far --Some things may change LOL


I know you've heard the ole saying "been there , done that ". well, I'm reminded of a song that a group of young men from Australia sang in a church service that I was in in Alaska in 1968, one of the lines was like this " I've been a lot of places and I've seen a lot of faces , but there's still a lot of things that I want to do ."They were know as the Gospel Firebrands .And I never forgot those words and I have tried to cram as much places and as many faces into this life of mine that I could . but at 72, I find that I have still come up short of all the things I want to see and do and some faces that I want to see before I leave this old world. I guess that was the idea behind the hit movie The Bucket List , staring Jack Nikelson and Morgan Freeman, two ole farts each dying of incurable diseases, and each regretting , that there were things that they always wanted to do, so they made up a list and set about doing and seeing all of them they could before the kicked ,THE BUCKET, so to speak.

"I've been there and done that", we hear people say that all the time ,and if they were really truthful about half of the time it's just wishful thinking and not reality. and the same goes for me . I think sometimes we all embellish the truth , when we are together with old and new friends and sometimes it gets into a Bigger , Better, Best contest and pretty soon a little exaggerating here and there, and down right tell of lies. Ever happen to any of you ?, be truthful now
I lived in Alaska for 25 years and there are two kinds of folks in Alaska , sourdoughs and cheechakos, the later being simply put , a newbie or a new comer to the last frontier , and life ain't easy being a tender foot in this great frontier land,and to be a full fledged sourdough you had to do three thing before you could claim this right of passage .Everyone after all those years of living there considered me a Sourdough ,and all thought for sure that I had done them all.

1.--kill a grizzly bear
2.-ride a caribou
3- take a pee in the Yukon River.

Well, before I die, I want to take a pee in the Yukon River , I want to walk , not just see , but walk on the Great China Wall, I want to go Camping in the Out Back of Australia, I want to float down the great Amazon River,I want to fly a ultra-lite airplane, I want to hang glide off a mountain top somewhere in Thailand or (anywhere). And last ,I want to get together with all my ,Sizzler, buddies face to face , and swap life's stories.

I'm not dying of any incurable disease that I know of, and I don't have one foot on my the grave and one foot on a banana peel as they say, and I'm not quite over the hill yet(getting close to be sure ),But from time to time I do find myself making a mental list of things I would like to do., call it a Bucket List , if you want to , I just hope I'm a long ways from kicking it yet.

But, if Ciejay has a say in any of this ,about as far as I will get will be out to the Hammock and with my mind and thoughts in the clouds over Wang Pho ville, and not in a ultra-light or a hang glider . So don't bother looking up.

Maybe , just maybe , I can skip down to the very bottom of my list and and get to see a Buddy or two, I hope so

Saturday, July 12, 2014

BAMBOO SHOOTS ---naw mai


I NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAM EVER THOUGHT I WOULD GET TO PEEL FRESH BAMBOO SHOOTS IN THAILAND ---LIFE IS FULL OF SURPRISES

HERE ARE THE BAMBOO SHOOTS, BOILED AND READY TO PEEL


THIS IS THE BLACK HAIRY LEAVES THAT COVER THE FLESH OF THE YOUNG BAMBOO SHOOTS



THIS---- IS WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AFTER THE LEAVES ARE REMOVED




A PICTURE OF THE LEAVES AND FRESH SHOOTS ALL PEELED AND READY TO SLICE ,






NOW ,THIS IS A LOT OF BAMBOO SHOOTS , WAITING FOR A GOOD COOK TO PREPARE A LOT OF WONDERFUL THAI DISHES.




HERES LUNCH, BAMBOO SHOOTS IN RED CURRY , PLA 2 FISH AND LAP MOO, AND FISH SAUCE. --------" YUM YUM "



Every season in Thailand ,brings with it a special fruit or vegetable that can be harvested during it's time, usually for a couple months.This time of the year is no exception (the rainy season) and with it comes two of my favorites.And additions, to use in cooking many Western and Thai dishes .Mushrooms and Bamboo Shoots are plentiful this time of the year , and can be found at every Tuesday and Thursday market here in our small village of Whang Pho , you can also find then for sell on roadside stands all along the highway between here and Kanchanaburi , with most of their customers coming from Bangkok, after a trip in the country ,to visit the many caves and waterfalls and the famous hot springs ,up the road from us .They love to stop on their way home and buy fresh veggies along the side of the road and from the country farmers , they just taste better than the supermarket veggies for some reason, maybe it's all in our minds.



 Ciejay and me grabbed a bucket and a long knife and headed up to the mountain just a few hundred yards, from our house. Ott, our neighbor always goes there every few days during the rainy season and ,always comes back with a rice bag full of bamboo shoots for the meals she cooks for her family , and she always shares fresh bamboo shoots with us . We wanted to give it a try for myself and also to be able to write home to my family back in the USA , that I had cut,boiled and peeled and cooked bamboo shoots fresh, right out of the jungle , what an adventure. And what a adventure it turned out to be , noone warned me about all the mosquitos, that we would encounter while cutting fresh bamboo shoots, I thought they were going to eat me alive, we got a bucket full and then got out of there . I did it one time and that's enough for me , now it's Market Day for my bamboo shoots from now on. We haven't given mushroom picking a try yet because, most of the places where they grow are closely guarded, and also a secret known only to the gathers, because mushrooms are a real money crop for lots of the Thai families in our area,lots of mushrooms grow around our mountains and jungles.



Today ,while we were visting a neighbors new home being built , the workers were taking their lunch break and they were eating fresh bamboo shoots , they invited me to share (and you know me when food is offered ) so I joined in and what a wonderful tasty dish they had prepared right there on the construction site , fresh bamboo shoots and scrambled eggs with thai chilies and onions, of course. WOW, was it ever good.. When we were leaving the boss came up to me and gave me a bag of fresh bamboo shoots to take home and cook and enjoy, which I did .



A bamboo shoot is the start of a young bamboo plant,if not harvested, it will grow into a tall bamboo plant.The leaves that cover the shoot are black and covered with tiny hairs. The black leaves are peeled off untill you can see the off-white meat inside.The white meat turns yellowish after it is cooked.When the shoot is cooked on the day that it is harvested it is very sweet.



There are many different types and sizes of bamboo shoots depending on the plant. Big ones are usually sliced and used as an ingredient in a main course dish.The little ones (half a inch in dismeter) are cut into finger size pieces and eaten as a vegetable with sauces like nam prig gapi.



In Thailand, bamboo shoots are available during the rainy season,May through October.Otherwise,they are available in cans and jars . In the US,bamboo shoots come in cans and glass jars, pickled or sour, non pickled.



When I lived in America ,I never saw fresh bamboo shoots for sell ever, but then again, I was not married to my sweet Thai wife ,except the last few years we lived there .And I had never visited an Asian Market until , I married Ciejay, and even then before ,moving to Thailand ,I was not use to the spicy and smelly (sometimes)Thai dishes, or their way of cooking things .Ciejay's sister would come for a visit and bring all kind of strange stuff with her and when they started to cook , most of the time ,I would leave the house until all the smells were gone ,and I would try and eat a little of what they had cook and act like I was enjoying it , some things I did , but some things I endured, for my sweet Ciejay's sake .



Now I am happy to report , that after 10  years here in the LOS , that, I not only love the Thai food (almost everything ) , but I also love all the strange and wonderful , spicy and pepper, smells that come out of the kitchen when Ciejay is cooking .



One of my favorite dishes of course ( the reason for this post ) is FRESH BAMBOO SHOOTS, added to many Thai dishes and also to eat as a fresh veggie dish with various sauces that Ciejay mixes up, I love them hot ,drizzled ,with fish sauce and served over a steaming hot cup of Jasmine rice . Wow I'm making myself hungry, glad dinner is almost ready , and of course there will be several dishes made with the fresh bamboo shoots from our friends, the builders. For those of you living here in Thailand, do you like fresh bamboo shoots? and do they grow in your area and do you or your Thai family or neighbors harvest them for cooking at home or as a money crop ?



Some of my info came from a site that has lots of recipes using fresh bamboo shoots , visit them sometimes if you have a chance or need a recipe for a Thai dish, you can find them at http://www.thaitable.com/ . Thanks for the read and hope you get your fill of fresh bamboo shoots before the rain stops . Malcolm

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Great care for one sick man Hospital care and treatment is great

Well, I'm finally home went to the hospital for a check on what was troubling me and 7 days later they let me come home , It turns I had a bad infection in my kidneys and bladder and was causing a fever and headache too soooo in the room they put me hooked me up to a few IV's and started me on hospital food , Ciejay stayed with me every night and most of the day except when she went home and cooked care packages for me , I have to say that having her there with me was like having a angel in the room she knew what I need ed before I even ask , I was in a lot of pain for the first five days and needed her soft prayers and support to help me make it thru the night ., and I always felt the presents of the Lord round about , lots of folks were praying and they filled the room , Thanks to those who remembered to pray, it made a difference. Home now, they sent me home, for home care and support , and a round of Meds for 7 more days and then back for another check-up. Feeling 99.99% now and am sure everything will be just fine . I took a couple shots of the room ( PTL they had a private room for us, a/c ,tv, private bath meals and private nurse and a place for Ciejay to sleep and rest ), the first 2 days was on a hard bed pad , and I felt like i was on the torture rack with William Wallace , finally they brought me a air bed and with a big shout I closed my eyes and cried FREEDOM along with William




Saturday, May 10, 2014

A How to do --The art of Hammocking

HAMMOCKING-- bringing back a oldie

















After 10 years of trail and error , I now consider myself and expert in the Art of Hammocking . You don't just jump in a hammock and lay down and think that you have mastered it , hammocking is like riding a bike , learning to canoe, or kayak you can't just jump in, you might just fall right out , it takes control , thinking, and planning and a little common sense. First you have to come to a understanding that a hammock is a piece of canvas, ropes platted or, bamboo strips interwoven to make a banana shaped container to hang between two, trees , poles or ,on a frame which ever one you have available( myself I like it somewhere with lots of shade, a tree if possible .This banana shaped basket is tied at either end with some kind of rope or chain, and will swing easily in the breeze, and being banana shaped and swinging in the breeze you don't just jump in , you have to walk up slowly and turn with your back to the hammock some where near the middle of the banana shaped swing (that's what a hammock really is ) and slowly lower yourself down in a sitting position as close to the middle as you can figure out , and then with one sweep swing a leg over the other side like you were riding a horse and then very slowly lay back and then bring your legs up onto the hammock , remember that the hammock is banana shaped and your head and legs are going to be higher that the rest of your body, (now you are in), this takes a little getting use to and some folks with back problems just can't get the hang of it . All the while you are laying there enjoying the rocking motion of you hammock , you have to be careful, not to make any sudden moves ,or over you head looking as you might just roll out of the banana shaped contraption you are laying in .Many folks I know have fell out and bruised or some have even broke a wrist or fingers trying to catch themselves , some like me have landed on their elbow and bruised or cut it pretty bad and required a hospital visit. When I told the nurse how it had happened , she told the others and they had a big laugh , my friend said I should have told them some macho story , like I fell off my motor bike trying to avoid an accident with a dog or something , anything BUTTTT I fell out of my hammock . ha ha ha .
If you have followed my advise and instructions very carefully , you too may someday become as good as I am at the art of napping in a hammock or just relaxing and watching the world go by in front of you , remember don't try to look to much to the sides and especially not behind, as you might just roll out. OH I almost forgot , if you like the rocking motion you have to learn how to hang one leg over the side from time to time to give yourself a push to get the rocking going , and then bringing it back up into the hammock , you can't leave it hanging over as the side of the hammock will cut of the circulation to your leg and it will go numb and when you get out of the hammock, very slowly just like you got in but in reverse, your leg will be asleep and you will fall on your face , I almost did that one to , BUTTT now I'm and expert and that comes with , time and experience and being Retired in Thailand and Loving It . 
I am posting a few pictures of the Art of Hammocking for your viewing and hopefully enjoyment. Malcolm