Accompany by a Fool to do Farming
Chapter 10: 准备 (Preparation)
The moment the door creaked open, a sturdy and dark-skinned man came out of it. His body was dirty, with a knife in one hand and a wooden shovel in his other hand, his lapels stained with wood shavings,by just one glance, it was obvious what he had just been doing
“What’s the matter? These two are?”
Uncle Huang looked at the two people who had suddenly appeared, as he asked his family’s spouse.
Huang Amu told him about Zhong Ziqi briefly.
Uncle Huang was very quick to say: “If you want to rent, you can rent! Look at how young you guys were, I’ll tell you the truth, it’s hard to do business on the pier,unless you’re good at what you do, you’ll be pushed out sooner or later. That’s what happened to my family’s wife. He was the one who made this, but his skills were so mediocre that he had to ….so if you don’t have good skills, I think you should forget it and be careful of losing your money.”
Huang Amu nodded his head with sadness when he remembered the bitter experience that happened to him.
Zhong Ziqi was surprised to meet two good-hearted people, he smiled gently and said: “I’m not going to hide from you that we are a couple who have just split up from the main family and are living independent, seeing that there is not much money in the family, so we have to put our minds on this.When my Amu was alive, he taught me how to cook, so I’m a bit better at it. We can hear the good intentions of Uncle and Huang Amu, but if we don’t do something, there’s no hope, but if we do, there’s a slight hope. Don’t you think so?”
Uncle Huang was surprised that a ger could say something like that. He couldn’t help but look sideways at the young boy who had been silent, standing slightly behind his ger.
Zhong Ziqi could also see his confusion so he turned to take Zhao Zheng’an’s hand, saying with a bitter smile, “I’m sure you two are also confused, right? Why am I the one who keeps talking, in fact — in fact, my husband, he’s hurt here and something is wrong.” Zhong Ziqi pointed to his head.
“That’s —no wonder. Poor thing! It’s not easy for you as a ger.” Huang Amu said with pity.
“Well, in that case, we won’t say anything more. Now, you could start negotiating the price for rent! ” Uncle Huang said it while shaking his head.
Their two children were not with them so seeing both of them was like seeing his own children.
So, Zhong Ziqi rented the cart for a cheap price of eight wen a day.It was written on the note that if there was a delay, if it was less than half a day, it would be counted as half a day, if less than a day, it would be counted as a day. If he picks up the cart in the morning then they would come back to settle for the rent.It was really cheap to pay 8 wen for the rental.Zhong Ziqi was convinced that it was because the two of them had taken pity on him that they let him pay the money after he finished the work.
After the important things were done, Zhong Ziqi was so relieved that he took Zhao Zheng’an out for a stroll in the street. Zhao Zheng’an gradually returned to his usual lively self.
He stopped at a candy gourd vendor and bought a bunch of candy gourds for two wen then he handed them to Zhao Zheng’an: “Eat.”
Zhao Zheng’an gladly took it, looking at it left and right, unable to eat it.
Zhong Ziqi looked amused: “Eat it! it will all melt later.”
After hear what he said, Zhao Zheng’an handed the candy cane to his mouth, ” Wife eat it!”
Zhong Ziqi was stunned. After that, he spread a smile and opened his mouth to eat one: “You eat ba! I don’t like it.”
Zhao Zheng’an watched his wife take the first bite so he was satisfied and take the second one.
Zhong Ziqi went to town this time, apart from this matter, he also wanted to buy back all the spices and ingredients he needed. If everything was ready tomorrow, he would want to start his business the day after tomorrow.
After buying the spices from the spice shop, Zhong Ziqi went straight to the meat stall, but to his surprise, the stall owner had a good memory and greeted him warmly: “This Fu Lang, you’re here again! How is it? How is the meat? It’s absolutely fresh right!”
Zhong Ziqi saw that he was a nice person, since he might have to buy here often in the future, he opened his mouth and said, “Yes, boss! Your meat is really good! Look, I’ve come back to buy it again.”
The meat stall owner was delighted by the compliment, “What do you want this time?” Zhong Ziqi reached out his hand to point out the pile of bones piled up next to the meat: “I’ll take it, you can give me five catties.”
“Okay.” The meat stall owner neatly wrapped up the bones. There were few people who liked to eat bones and drink bone soup these days, so he wasn’t surprised.
After paying, Zhong Ziqi wandered around again. finally he went to the shop that sold rice & noodles last time. He remembered seeing rice vermicelli here last time, because he wanted to make cold noodles and needed the kind of noodles that were tough and thin enough, but apparently they didn’t exist in this world yet.So after a few rounds, Zhong Ziqi had to settle for
rice vermicelli, which was a bit less tasty, but still nice and slippery.After buying the
rice vermicelli and some noodles, Zhong Ziqi also bought a knee-length clay pot and some bowls and chopsticks.
The bowls and chopsticks were sent to Uncle Huang’s house so that he wouldn’t have to carry them back and forth, while the pot was to be taken home for the soup.
There was nothing more to do, so Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an went back to Zhao’s village.
When they arrived home, it was still early in the morning, so Zhong Ziqi took out one of the bones he had bought and washed it, cut it up and put it in a pot to boil the soup. After simmering for more than two hours, Zhong Ziqi made noodles and cooked them with the simmering bone broth, which soon gave off an aroma.
After about ten minutes of cooking, Zhong Ziqi took the noodles out of the pot and brought them to the table. The smoothness and softness of the noodles and the fresh aroma of the bone broth tempted people to try them, to taste them again and again.
Zhong Ziqi watched Zhao Zheng’an sweating profusely as he ate, thinking that if he added some sour bamboo shoots, it would be even more delicious.That’s right! This noodle soup with big bones and sour bamboo shoots would be what he would make the morning after, while the cold silky noodles would be what he would make at noon.
I am sure with this unique taste it will be enough to attract many people.
After eating, the sun was already setting in the sky, but the afterglow still lit up the distant land.
Zhong Ziqi was thinking about something while he and Zhao Zheng’an were squatting in the courtyard pulling weeds. Suddenly he thought of a serious problem, although he could bring the bone broth with him after boiling it, how could he bring the water?The water used for the cold noodles had to be freshly made from the well to be cool enough. When he arrived at the pier, it was impossible for him to have time to fetch water again.
Uncle Huang’s place is not far from the dock, but who is going to fetch water? Neither he nor Zhao Zheng’an would be able to leave alone, so there was the problem!
Zhong Ziqi sighed helplessly.It’s really not easy to do anything ah!
“Don’t frown, wife! Are you unhappy?”
Zhao Zheng’an reached over and rubbed Zhong Ziqi’s eyebrows which huddled together, not caring if his hands were dirty.
The sudden touch on his brow made Zhong Ziqi uncomfortable and gave him a goosebump. He slapped Zhao Zheng’an’s hand away without thinking and said, “I’m not unhappy, I’m just thinking about something.”
“Thinking about what?” Zhao Zheng’an asked with an innocent look on his face as he covered the paw that had been hit, he had lost all the restraint he had felt the previous two days thus he was slowly reverting to his childlike innocence.
“I was thinking – the day after tomorrow, Zheng’an and I will go to town to sell something.”
“Sell things?” Zhao Zheng’an asked with a tilt of his head, “Is it like the one we met today?”
Zhong Ziqi was stunned, therefore he understood that he was talking about the scene at the pier, so he nodded, “Yes, that’s it! Would Zheng’an like to come with me?”
Zhao Zheng’an looked at Zhong Ziqi without blinking, “Zheng’an will go wherever wife is.”
Zhong Ziqi smiled.
The next morning after dinner, Zhong Ziqi took Zhao Zheng’an to Zhao Ning’s house. At that moment, apart from Zhao Baogen, who had gone out to work and Zhao Sheng, who had gone to the fields, Zhao Ning and Zhao Amu were left at home.
Zhong Ziqi greeted Zhao Amu with a smile, “Zhao Amu, busy?”
“Qi Ge’er, you came! Let’s go inside!” Zhao Amu was sweeping up the dust in the courtyard the moment he saw them coming, therein he put down his broom and went into the house to talk to them.
Zhao Ning poured two large bowls of water and brought them over to Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an before sitting down and asking, “Ziqi, what brings you here?” Zhao Amu was also quite puzzled, since Zhong Ziqi had married Zhao Zheng’an, he had never come to the house but today he had dragged Zhao Zheng’an here, so he must have come for something.
Zhong Ziqi organized his words and said, “It’s like this, Zhao Amu, I’m going to set up a stall at the pier to sell food.”
“Huh?” Zhao Ning was the first to exclaim. “Ziqi, you… you want to run a business?”
Zhao Amu also frowned, “Qi Ge’er,is this possible? Let’s not talk about whether it will be profitable or not, but if you go out in public, you won’t be able to cope with the gossip in the village, moreover you won’t be able to protect yourself if you run into any trouble.”
When Zhao Zheng’an heard this, he immediately said: “I can, I can protect my wife.” He even looked at Zhong Ziqi for confirmation.
Zhong Ziqi stroked his head soothingly, “Yes, Zheng’an can protect me. I trust Zheng’an.”
Only then was Zhao Zheng’an satisfied and sat down, going back to being a wooden man.
Zhao Amu, for the first time saw how the two were getting along, he couldn’t help but feel a little different, looking at Qi Ge’er’s appearance which was quite patient and gentle, not impatient at all. It seemed that what Zhao Ning had said last time was true.
“Zhao Amu, I know the risks, but look at our family, we only have three acres of land and it’s not ripe yet. The money our family uses to buy some necessities is also not much left. Neither of us can go out and work part-time.If we don’t have an income, it’s the same as waiting for death. It’s better to take a chance. I believe that I’m a good cook. So what do you think?” Zhong Ziqi said.
Zhao Ning nodded, remembering the delicious last meal. “Ziqi, your cooking is really good.”
Zhao Amu, after all, was an outsider and could not interfere, so he said, “Then… since you have already made up your mind, I won’t say anything else, just tell me what you need and I will help you if I can.”
Zhong Ziqi smiled and said, “That’s right, Zhao Ahmu, does Brother Sheng have a place for temporary jobs now?”
Zhao Amu was surprised that he would ask this question, he was ready to lend him money, but he didn’t think that the other party didn’t mention it, “No, it’s not that easy to find part time jobs these days.”
“Then, let Brother Sheng work for me! I’ll pay him ten wen a day, what do you think?”
Zhao Amu was really surprised: “Qi Ge’er, you haven’t even started yet! It’s not even sure if you’ll make money, you’re kidding!”
Zhao Ning nodded along with him, looking at him with a look of ‘to hate iron for not becoming steel’.
[恨铁不成钢: lit. to hate iron for not becoming steel / to feel resentful towards sb for failing to meet expectations and impatient to see improvement (idiom) or
to wish iron could turn into steel at once; to set a high demand on sb. in the hope that he will improve]
Zhao Amu thought about it and said, “You don’t have to pay for it, just let Brother Sheng help you! He has nothing to do, so it’s good for him to go out,gain some experience and widen his horizon. He’s too bored.”
Zhong Ziqi opened his mouth to say something, but he swallowed it back by a wave of Zhao Amu’s hand.
Before he left, Zhong Ziqi asked Zhao Amu to tell Zhao Sheng to come and see him in the morning before dawn. Before he left, Zhong Ziqi also took Zhao Amu’s wheelbarrow and borrowed it.
Back at home, Zhong Ziqi took out the sour bamboo shoots and smelled them.It already smells sour, wait for another night, the flavour would become even more pure.
The noodle recipe in hot soup does not require much, but the cold noodle recipe is the opposite, with all the seasonings and fresh vegetables such as cucumbers and persimmons.There was no vegetable garden at home, so Zhong Ziqi had to go to the Zhao family’s garden to pick vegetables. He picked about twenty cucumbers and dozens of persimmons.
Zhong Ziqi felt that this should be enough since it was not guaranteed that Wang Cuihua would not be angry with him if he went on picking.He planned to see how the market would be and if it was good, he could buy them in the village, but only if he doesn’t lose money.
TL: Zhao Zhengan is so sweet and determined to protect his Fu Lang