23 Hunters – the Sun family
Lian Ze raised his head, "Sister, do we really need to go?"
Lian Fang Zhou nodded and smiled. "Rest assured! Hunter Sun went so many times, didn’t he come back completely fine? Where can we go, where we can not go, how far in that forest we can go, he definitely knows it inside out! By following him, there will be no problems! "
Lian Ze saw that he couldn’t persuade her and only muffled out a, "Oh."
Lian Fang Zhou looked around and found that except for the forest, the only thing in sight was a wasteland of many long shrubs and weeds. it is a very suitable environment for reclamation and farming.
Lian Fang Zhou could not help but look with envy. In the end, this is the ancient era; ah, if it was modern times, don’t mention being a wasteland, she was afraid the woodland would be reclaimed.
"So much wasteland, but unfortunately we don’t enough strength. It would be good if we can reclaim the land! We can grow a lot of things!" Lian Fang Zhou could not help but sigh.
"Sister," Lian Ze looked at her and smiled. "How can it be so easy! Reclamation of a wasteland needs to have proof or a certificate, it needs measurements, the value needs to be estimated, and then we have to pay for it. After that, we need to go to the county head to put it on record, get the land lease and then it’ll count!"
"We also need money!" Lian Fang Zhou now understood, no wonder no one had done reclamation!
"How much money is one mu?" She quickly asked.
"This I don’t know." Lian Ze shook his head and said, "no matter how much it is, right now we can’t reclaim it anyway!"
"You’re right!" Lian Fang Zhou laughed; "so we wait until we can afford and then we’ll try. It’s just mountains, not a fertile land, I expect it won’t go anywhere!"
Spend some money to get the land in hand, that is a good thing … …
"Even so, it depends if it worth it or not," Lian Ze said. "This wasteland after reclamation, every year we have to pay taxes! It seems to be 300wen per an acre of land."
"… …" so in the ancient era, there’s also a tax for so many things! If there were agricultural loans, that would be good!
The four of them were busy for half a day, then they finally dug out all the sweet potatoes. Lian Ze and Lian Fang Zhou loaded them into baskets and each picked up half a big basket. Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che also each got a bamboo basket, each of them carried a basket.
Four individuals moved like ants, they went back and forth three times. With great difficulty, they transported these sweet potatoes back home.
Previously it was straightforwardly stacked in the corner of the room, but now Lian Fang Zhou let it all pile up in the attic.
the attic was dry, so the sweet potatoes wouldn’t rot, and they can be better preserved. And what’s more, the water contained in the sweet potato will slowly evaporate even more; this way sugar content will increase and when it is eaten it’ll be even sweeter.
In fact, there’s a lot of ways to eat sweet potatoes. Besides making sweet potato porridge, they can bake it at the stove side and they can cook a sweet potato sweet soup. When the skin is removed, it can be cut into thin slices, placed into a batter and be deep fried. They can also make dry sweet potato shreds, steam them and cut into pieces and spread it out in the sun to dry for dried sweet potato. If ground into a powder, it can also be also made into a variety of flavored desserts; they can also be beaten into a paste and be used to make a sweet potato flour….
However, looking at the economic state of the present Lian Family, that cooking method was something Lian Fang Zhou can only dream about.
Sweet potato flour, sweet potato desserts, boiled sweet soup, it all seems so distant. There is also the sugar needed, plus all the oil it would take to deep fry, Lian Ze would eat her instead!
The only methods that could be given some thoughts about are, to make some sweet potatoes into shreds or sun-dried sweet potatoes.
With just these, she can’t make a lot, because after all with this method of cooking, the taste may be better, but it basically only counts as snacks. It can’t fill the stomach, ah! And they need these sweet potatoes to fill stomachs for now!
So they can only have some good meals occasionally and leave some for the Chinese New Years to eat.
After finishing dinner early, Lian Fang Zhou forced Lian Ze to go with her to Sun Zhang Xing’s home, to ask about the Mount Xian Teng matter.
Sun Zhang Xing’s family are outsiders, so they don’t have any fields, only two or three meager acres of land; they’re even poorer than the Lian Family. They lived in a thatched shed, so you can imagine the situation at home.
But what made Lian Fang Zhou admire most, is that the Sun Zhang Xing couple gritted their teeth as they stopped spending money on clothes and food to let their only son, who is 13-years-old, Sun Ming be sent to the county’s school to study. She heard that his results aren’t bad and is expected to be one of the five in the school to pass and become a scholar.
It is also because the couple needs to pay a lot of money each year; so that’s why they were always unable to buy fertile land. Sun Zhang Xing has also taken the risk in entering Mount Xian Teng again and again.
When Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze arrived, the couple was sitting down at the shabby table for supper.
On the table was an unknown dish, a small dish of dark pickles and two bowls of thin sweet potato porridge. The couple sat opposite of each other.
Lian Fang Zhou smiled and called, "Uncle Sun, Aunt Sun," when she entered. Sun Zhang Xing and his wife Mrs Miao were stunned.
He replied with an "Ah!" and wiped his mouth. He was a bit surprised as he stood up, smiling he said, "Is this not Fang Zhou and Ah Ze? You have come to–"
Sun Zhang Xing is an outsider, and towards all the villagers, he is particularly polite. But because he lived at the village edge, he doesn’t have many exchanges with the villagers.
At the moment, he was racking his brain but he still couldn’t think of when exactly he had contact with the Lian Family siblings?
His questioning eyes could not help but look to his wife, "you called them over?"
Mrs Miao was also puzzled and lightly shook her head at him.
Sun Zhang Xing then laughed as he faced them and Mrs Miao also greeted with a smile. "Our family is too simple, we let you see in such an embarrassing way!" (ED/N: Dang these people are too nice, our MC just walked into their house while they were eating and were still courteous towards her.)
"Uncle Sun, Aunt Sun is too polite! It’s actually us disturbing your dinnertime! You should eat first, wait until later to talk, by then it won’t be too late!" Lian Fang Zhou apologetically smiled and sat down at the side with Lian Ze.
Sun Zhang Xing don’t know why they come, so how could they keep eating? So he smiled, "No problem, no problem, you speak, speak first!"
Lian Fang Zhou could see his confusion and straightforwardly open her mouth and smiled. "It’s like this, we would like to know when Uncle Sun is going to Mount Xian Teng. We are thinking of going with Uncle Sun for one trip."
"What?" Sun Zhang Xing and Mrs Miao eyes opened wide, they were stunned.
"What did you say?" Sun Zhang Xing said in surprise. "You want to go to Mount Xian Teng? For what?"
His tone suddenly carried a hint of wariness. Could these siblings also want to go hunting? In fact, how would they have the skills to? Or do they want to follow him to split the hunt for nothing … …
That cannot do, it’s not enough for his family!
"Of course hunting, we can’t do, that area is Uncle Sun’s ability!" Lian Fang Zhou smiled as she said, "we just want to see if there are mushroom and the like in the mountains; to get some for the New Year. "
She added, "Our family’s situation, you also know … …"
Sun Zhang Xing and Mrs Miao could not help but look at each other, the two’s hearts could not help but soften a little.
Although the two family’s specific circumstances are not the same, there is a saying that happy families would all be happy, while unhappy families would each have their own misfortunes.
They both belonged to the unhappy type. It is said that those with same illness sympathize with each other; Lian Fang Zhou’s words, it was naturally easy to arouse their sympathy.
Sun Zhang Xing gently sighed, and was about to promise, when Mrs Miao’s heart jumped, hurriedly she said, "How can this be allowed? Fang Zhou, you siblings are still so small, on such long mountain roads, will you be able to bear it? And, it’s too dangerous! "
Mrs Miao said as she winked at her husband again and again.
What if something happened to the siblings? Their family is an outsider, they originally had to tuck their tails as they lived, how can they ask for more trouble for themselves?
Sun Zhang Xing immediately understood the meaning of his wife, just when he "hehe" as he tried to refuse, Lian Fang Zhou rushed to say, "Uncle Sun, Aunt Sun, in fact, we just want Uncle Sun to take us to recognize the roads only. Us siblings aren’t naive children; when we arrive there, would we run around just to get into trouble? And, it’s just this time, this time only! Right, wait a moment!"
Lian Fang Zhou said as she turned around to go out and got the melon scoop of rice that was at the doorway. The so-called melon scoop, is an old musk melon that has been cut into two from the middle and hollowed out on the inside of the flesh; it could be used to scoop water and other things.
"We siblings were embarrassed to let Uncle Sun lead the way for nothing, after all on that Mount Xian Teng we are not familiar with it. We have to invite Uncle Sun to talk about what we should pay attention to on the road, where we can go and not go! This bit of rice is a tribute, I hope Uncle Sun and Aunt Sun won’t reject it … " Lian Fang Zhou shyly smiled.
Sun Zhang Xing and Mrs Miao saw that scoop of rice and could not help but light up their eyes.
To those with no paddy fields, rice is the most expensive and rare. To see the rice made them feel more moved to the point it made their eyes light up and their hearts jump. Even more than it would see money. This was a desire, a pursuit of desire.