As I sit here, looking across the river into a new morning, I realize its been a long while since my last entry, and even longer since I re-counted my travails of monsoon flooding. In the interval, the crew has gone, doing a reasonably good job, though leaving many things unfinished. Over the nine months I have accrued a wealth of handy information I’ll happily pass on to anyone who might decide to build here, managing their own project themselves; this is a guaranteed experience, certain to be fraught with adventure.

A day or so after I moved in, even though the place was far from finished, (and still is) I discovered a small brown leave floating near the ceiling of the main room; it was nearly identical to millions more that lay about the ground outside. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it was suspended on a small silk thread.

I took the tiny leaf in my hand, turned it over and discovered a small creature’s dwelling. Whatever it was, it lived hidden inside a well constructed and camouflaged pouch, obviously benefiting from such obscurity; once on the ground, among the many other dead leaves, it would call very little attention to itself.

For survival, many insects have evolved to appear as something else, usually as something potentially fearsome to a would be predator. However, this little creature simply recycles natural material for it’s home, allowing it to remain hidden, perhaps as a chrysalis, until it emerges as…what?  I have no idea. Perhaps it was a kind of silk worm riding the winds in its leaf chariot until it landed inside my house.

I took it outside and set it into a sea of similar leaves. In a way, I, too, am constructing a dwelling around me, as I, hopefully, build nothing unneeded. There are two small constructions, mine the closest to the river, set up on stilts and which will house my studio beneath. My adopted family, Lek, Paan, Gam, and Wei, live in the second dwelling.

And we begin a skeleton of landscaping, a bamboo fence upon which vines can grow and flowers bloom is first to go up. In this sub-tropical climate, it takes little time for a virtual jungle to establish itself. An outside kitchen and dinning area will eventually appear, and even an outside shower is sure to come.


During the midst of construction and to give myself a day’s break, I took a visit a little further north to a place called Pun Pun. Here a group of dedicated folks from Thailand and elsewhere grow organic food, and hold workshops in the craft of mud-hut building.

young volunteer at Pun Pun making mud bricks

Mud hut construction at Pun Pun (common area)

...and, yes, there is a little shop where one can buy organic products, seeds, and the most delicious mango smoothies--the perfect ending touch for a day at Pun Pun. If you want to know more about the creator of this remarkable place, you can view Jon Jandai's Ted-X lecture here:

Back at Panomland, the work goes on. The idea of building a home from mud bricks is somewhat appealing, and certainly inexpensive. But not a good idea so close to a river; even small ones like the Maerim river would easily and quickly render a sun-dried mud brick home back into the mud of the river. But as you see by the above photos, the river has recently been deepened and widened to prevent flooding next year on the scale it occurred last season. For that I’m grateful and also that we’re able to use the rich soil from the river bottom for the garden.

The next big project is placing the ancient Indian door in it’s new location. It survived the flood with little problem since, I do believe, it is too heavy to float. It requires six strong men to move.

Many good blessings for now. The sun is setting.

Panom, Galen


  • Panom and The Stone of Light is still available at Create Space, Amazon and also Barnes and Noble. This is a great gift for adults and children alike and helps support better understanding between ourselves and that which supports us.


  • Updates on the elephant situation in Thailand