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Christian Shearer
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Chiang Mai, Thailand
Climate Zone:
Wet/Dry Tropical

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The Panya Project

The Panya Project

Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, TH

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Stone Ridge, US


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Our summer thusfar in Missouri

Posted by Christian Shearer about 11 years ago

This is an post from my bride-to-be taiga about what we are up to in Missouri.

Written by my bride to be, Taiga Marthens:

Are you all ready for an update from the sweltering back woods of Missouri? Yes, we are alive and have not melted away and at least we are not evacuated from our homes due to fire or threat of. There is so much to be grateful for, and in this moment I am grateful to the air con, peach pie, and internet of a little coffee shop, La Plata's one and only.

The last few weeks have flown by, it seems I wake up on a sunday and go to bed on a friday. Fortunately, before the heat wave set in, we completed our wood storage shed, with all the timber we have milled at this point neatly tucked away for it's year of curing. That is after we milled it, swept the sawdust off, and hand painted this borax based solution to kill powder post beetles over every board foot.
There are still piles and piles of logs that are needing to be milled, or picked through for post use on somebodies house. We are going to offer our neighbors whatever logs they want if they will move them!
Christian has admitted that the novelty of saw milling is waring off, so the logs may just sit there a bit longer.
We have set up gutter and rain water catchment on our shed roof, and the last rain filled our two 50 gallon barrels no problem! We even have a simple filter system set up of gravel and sand that the water flows through before going into the barrels.

So, since all that is done, we are just kickin back drinking cheap beer and playing cribbage!
Just kidding. There is still lots to do, so much that my eyes cross when I gaze around the property. My favorite thing is to fire up the chainsaw and chop and clear. And then, pile up all that brush and have a huge bonfire. I am definitely my father's daughter. To incorporate a more balanced method of dealing with our "waste" material and cut back on the amount of carbon we are sending into the atmosphere, we are weaving the branches and shrubbery through the living trees to create "eclectic" hedges. This is actually pretty fun and satisfying work, may keep deer out of the garden but definitely not raccoons, which there are many. We also have a possum that loves the compost pile and also likes to get into the kitchen.
The birds are amazing and I constantly feel like I am in the tropics from the sounds and sightings we have, not to mention the dense green forest, oh and the heat and humidity.

With this onslaught of heat though, we find ourselves retreating to the shade, swimming in the neighbors pond, making peach shakes with the vita mix, and hanging out in air conditioned cafes.

Every saturday is auction day which is always exciting and we drive home with the truck piled high with some treasure that we never would have dreamed of purchasing if had not have been for pennies. So, you can guess where we will be tomorrow!

I must say that the Amish culture in amazing here. Where else in the U.S. can you regularly see a team of draft horses plowing the field, horse and buggy driving down the road with little kids in blue bonnets and dresses hangin out the windows. Or little kids galloping their paint ponies down the dirt road barefoot (sounds like me when I was young).

The Amish homesteads are such an example of self-sufficiency. Huge gardens producing everything from veggies, to corn to grains. Fruit trees shading the house. Cattle and goats in the field. Small businesses based right from their home. Driving past and Amish farm is thriving with life. Driving past an 'english' person's house is mono-cropped lawn and sterile.
We are fortunate to have very wonderful amish neighbors where we get fresh cows or goat milk, beets, onions and days worth of time helping Christian on the sawmill and bringing their horses over to pull logs.

My guitar is getting lots of love and that terrible Bminor chord is getting easier and easier. We gather with friends for music night on tuesdays, playing on the porch all sorts of oldies, irish, blue grass and folk tunes.

So, with all this going on, lovely as these things are, and all the positive sides of Missouri, Christian and I have also had some long, in-depth, challenging and venting conversations about staying here long term and we have decided together that it will not meet both of our goals and visions.
There are a lot of reasons for this choice, but primarily it is because of my need for outdoor recreational outlets and things to go out and do outside of the homestead. I need a place to recharge my batteries and there is nowhere. No mountains, no family, no (decent) hiking trails, not close friends, and there isn't really even a good prospect of my being able to do the work that I love. And on top of those primary reasons, both of us have had constant tick and chigger bites and drive us nuts, and the summer (which seems to get hotter every year, and this year earlier) is driving us crazy. We really don't feel like we can do much at all. It is hotter and just as humid as panya at the worst part of the year.

This is a bit of a bitter sweet decision for both of us, as there are lots of draws here, and we did just chop down so many trees and buy land and lots of things to go with it! We are going to commit to continue with the road and pond plans and to leave the property in better shape than it is after having felled so many trees. Also, with all this wood we just milled up, we may still build a small cabin just for the experience and I think it will make the resale even better. So, not all is lost, so many good experiences to come out of it yet, but a huge weight off of me. I also feel like Christian is so supportive and positive about this plan. He never felt like my heart was fully into it which has been keeping him from putting his heart into it, staying in limbo.

So we are back at the decision making stage of where to be and how to make it work. Economics come back into the picture much more fully anywhere west of the rocky mountains. Which I believe is where we will be wanting to go.

Alright, that's the update! You got an earful. Lots of love, I will see many of you very soon, some of you somewhat soon, and the rest of you in September! And yes, the wedding is still a rockin go!

Lots of love,

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My Badges
Consultant Aid worker Pdc teacher
My Permaculture Qualifications
Permaculture Design Course
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Christopher Shanks
Location: Panya Project, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Date: Nov 2007
Other course unverified
Harvesting Water
Type: Earthworks
Teacher: Brad Lancaster
Location: The Farm, Tennessee
Date: Sep 2009
Pri verified
PDC course
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: Panya Project, Thailand
Date: Nov 2006
Permaculture Design Course
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Ethan Roland
Location: Panya Project, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Date: Jun 2007
19 PDC Graduates (list)
8 PRI PDC Graduates (list)
2 Other Course Graduates (list)
have acknowledged being taught by Christian Shearer
0 have not yet been verified (list)
Climate Zones
Christian Shearer has permaculture experience in:
Cool Temperate
Wet/Dry Tropical
Wet Tropical

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