Accompany by a Fool to Do Farming
Chapter 13: 收摊 (Closing Up)
With this, the stall of Zhong Ziqi became a hit,Uncle Song’s stall too. Not only their stall, but also the stalls around him, which were quite close to Zhong Ziqi were also brought up, earning dozens of wen more than usual.
He had to close the stall after noon.
It’s not that he didn’t want to continue, it’s just that there was a shortage of ingredients. During this period, Zhao Sheng went out several times to the grain shop, to buy rice vermicelli twice. He also went to Huang Amu’s house again, to buy vegetables twice.But there was still not enough supply,since there were many people who liked the cucumbers and persimmons in it, being soaked cold. At any rate,some of them even added money to let Zhong Ziqi put it in more.Yet Huang Amu’s family grows vegetables only enough for two people to eat, so if they buy too much,then it won’t have much left for the family. Zhong Ziqi felt that this is not a good solution either, so let’s call it a day ba!
It was only half a day before some customers came to the stall, but they were frustrated to see that Zhong Ziqi had closed the stall.Zhong Ziqi told everyone kindly, “That’s all for today. It’s the first time we’ve set up a stall therefore we didn’t expect to be liked so much, we didn’t even bring enough ingredients.I’ll bring more tomorrow, and I promise, we’ll make sure everyone gets enough to eat, okay?”
“Good, on your word, I’ll definitely have two more bowls tomorrow.” Someone shouted.
Zhong Ziqi laughed and replied, “Then this uncle, let’s make a deal, I’ll remember you.” A cheerful person can always win people’s favour, especially a young, white tender and fair-looking ger.
Before he left, Zhong Ziqi left a bowl of cold noodles for Uncle Song next door, and thanked him, “Thank you, Uncle Song, giving ‘you’ trouble today.”
[‘You’ in honorific you]
Uncle Song had been craving for it for a long time, so he didn’t say no, “Hey, I have to thank you for that, I made a lot more money than usual today.”
“That’s good, I might have to bother Uncle Song again.”
“It’s good if it’s like this every day.”
The closing of Zhong Ziqi’s stall was met with joy and regret by some people. Those who are happy are those who are also selling cold foods, because most of the customers today have been taken away by the newcomer Zhong Ziqi.Now that they’ve left, the customers are slowly coming back.The few stalls around Zhong Ziqi’s area that had been influenced,were the ones that regretted it, but they were already happy with the results today.
This is all unknown to Zhong Ziqi, Zhao Sheng helped push the wooden cart into Huang Amu’s house, Huang Amu already knew that Zhong Ziqi’s business was on fire.Their place were close to the pier so he knew about the slightest change, not to mention that when Zhao Sheng came to buy cucumbers he brought them a bowl as well, which eventually made even him, who had been cooking for years, sighed in admiration.
“Huang Amu, here are ten wen, you can take the rent money for today, please.” Zhong Ziqi handed over ten wen.
Huang Amu frowned: “Why are there two extra coins, didn’t we agree on eight wen?”
“Look, we’ve been fetching water and buying vegetables, we’ve almost broken the threshold, I’m embarrassed not to pay more.” Zhong Ziqi said matter-of-factly.
“It’s not easy for you to make money,moreover you’ve paid for my vegetables, so I can’t take this money.” Huang Amu excused himself, he is not one of those rotten-hearted people who only see money, he has pity for this child in his heart. He did not want to take advantage of this child.
Zhong Ziqi forcefully shoved ten wen into Huang Amu’s hand, “Just take it, I have made a lot of money today, if you don’t take it, how can I dare to bother you in the future.”
“Take it, Huang Amu.” Zhao Ning also said, with a smile of joy on his face.
” That’s—well. Then I’ll take it. You…this child!” Huang Amu smiled and shook his head, full of love, but it was a pity that he was already married, otherwise…
Zhong Ziqi left everything he could, such as the white flour and seasoning behind.He trusted Huang Amu and Uncle Huang’s character.All that was left was a wheelbarrow and a large tile pot to push back. Before going back, he went to the rice grain shop and bought more than 20 catties of rice vermicelli and some extra noodles, which he also took to Huang Amu’s house.
They went to the meat stall again to buy a few catties of bones and three catties of pork belly. On the way back, Zhong Ziqi said joyfully, “Go straight to my house, I’ll cook something delicious for you guys.”
Zhao Ning and Zhao Sheng did not refuse, they also wanted to celebrate it as a way of expressing the joy in their hearts.
All the way back to Zhao Jia’s village, they met other villagers on the way who asked them in confusion, “Where have you been? Why are you pushing a big jar?”
“Nothing much, just went to the town to sell some food and soup.” Zhong Ziqi did not intend to hide it, sooner or later, it would not be possible to cover it up. Besides, he had to buy cucumbers and persimmons from the villagers so it was even more impossible to hide it.
“Hey, Qi Ge’er, that’s great! How much do you earn?”
Some people ridiculously said that they didn’t believe that a half-grown ger could make any money. How can business in town be so easy? In fact, people in the village don’t usually go to town, but when someone is able to work in town and earn money, it’s very enviable.They are the underprivileged people who are looked down upon.They are not only despised by the people, and if they are not careful, they may also provoke people with high status.
The people who worked in the town, like Zhao Zheng’an in the old days, were the ones who made many people look up to them.It’s a pity that he’s now a fool,so there was more ridicule and rejoicing in other people’s misfortune.
But envy is envy, jealousy is also not an uncommon thing.When they saw that someone else’s family was better than their own, some people would spare no effort to slander them.For example, the story of Zhong Ziqi open a business spread throughout the whole village, for those who understood the situation would shake their heads and sigh, thinking that it was not easy for Zhong Ziqi to be a ger (yet he had to taking responsibilities to earn money).Those who were jealous together with those who were enjoy watching a bustling scene, their mouths were not so virtuous. They slander him by saying that he was ‘showing his face in public’ (抛头露面)’ (in derogative context,since In the past, people considered women who appear in public to be lacking in virtue, not a good women), didn’t abide in virtue even the more outrageous ones such as hooking around with man and so on.The most worst things were said.
When Zhong Ziqi arrived home, he didn’t rush to cook, but first he took the bulging purse out of his sleeve and poured the coins inside onto the table with a clatter.The four of them sat on one side of the table, their eyes all shining. Zhong Ziqi, Zhao Ning and Zhao Sheng were absolutely delighted with the money they had earned. Zhao Zheng’an was definitely happy because seeing them happy.
Zhong Ziqi counted the money and found that he had earned a total of two hundred and seventy-five wen, which meant that he had sold about fifty bowls today, more than the ten bowls he had expected. Zhong Ziqi could not help but smile at the corners of his mouth even though he was usually so calm. He counted out thirty wen of money and gave them to Zhao Sheng and Zhao Ning. He gave Zhao Sheng and Zhao Ning fifteen wen of money for each person. They had helped him for most of the day, especially Zhao Ning, who had helped him cook the noodles, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to cope with it alone so the two of them deserved it.
“This…this is too much.” Zhao Sheng was shocked and hurriedly pushed it back, his father’s wages even for a day’s work outside were only seven or eight wen. This was so much more than what his father earned, how could he dare to accept it.
“I thought we agreed to help you for nothing.”Zhao Ning also said discontentedly, he did not intend to ask for money at all, his Amu said before he left, earning money is not the purpose, but mainly to come with Ziqi to see the world, to learn a little about how to conduct oneself in society and to deal with problem.
“This is what you two deserve. We had agreed that I would pay 10 wen a day if Brother Sheng came to help.Thanks to you two today, otherwise Zheng’an and I would not have been able to keep up with all of the works. I agreed to pay ten wen, and the extra five wen will be my reward as the boss, so don’t refuse to accept it.Otherwise, if I ,as the Boss get angry, I’ll fire you all.” Zhong Ziqi said with a mischievous wink.
Zhao Ning was laughing because he thought Ziqi was funny so after thinking about it, he accepted it. He couldn’t convince Ziqi every time he made a decision, so he didn’t bother with it, he just had to help him work more in the future.When Zhao Sheng saw that his little brother had accepted it, he was also embarrassed and accepted it.
Only then did Zhong Ziqi nod his head in satisfaction.
“Wife, I’m hungry.” Zhao Zheng’an’s hoarse voice rang out.
When Zhong Ziqi heard his voice, he remembered that he had neglected him and hurriedly went over to him, asking, “Does your throat hurt? It’s my fault, I was so busy that I forgot about you.” He was so busy that he didn’t notice that Zhao Zheng’an had been yelling, and his voice was hoarse after half a day.To be honest he was a little distressed for him.
“It doesn’t hurt.” Zhao Zheng’an shook his head good-naturedly, his whole body, as a whole, seemed to have little energy.
Zhong Ziqi could not believe his words, he had also experienced such things, when he gave a speech in the company, just a simple speech for more than two hours,but his mouth already dry and his throat was sore, let alone Zhao Zheng’an who shouted all day, he patted his head and said heartily: “You wait here with Brother Sheng and Xiao Ning, I will go and cook.” After saying this, Zhong Ziqi thought for a moment and added, “Zheng’an was great today and helped me a lot.”
When he heard this, Zhao Zheng’an looked more energetic, and his face took on his usual silly smile.
“Let me help you!” Zhao Ning said as he got up.
“No, I’ll be quick, you three rest here.” Zhong Ziqi waved his hand and went to the kitchen alone.
He remembered the last time he went into the mountains, he had picked up many pears ?, so he went through the basket and found it inside, luckily the pears were not rotten. He washed the fruits, peeled off the skin, boiled some water in a pot, put the pears into the pot before boiling,sprinkled some sugar on it, boiled it for two or three minutes before taking the juice out. He divided it into three bowls and brought it into the room: “Drink some pears juice first, to moisten your throat.”
“Pear water?” Zhao Ning looked at the steaming bowl: “Boiled? Will it taste good?”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s good or not, it’s good for your throat, listen to me! Cool it down first before drinking it.” Zhong Ziqi persuaded.
“Hey,hey you’re worried about your family Zhao Zheng’an, right? As soon as you heard his throat was hurting, you rushed to make it.” Zhao Ning teased. Because he and Zhao Sheng both didn’t use their throats much at all, there was no discomfort problem with their throats.
Zhong Ziqi stared straight up, pointing off at Zhao Ning’s forehead, “What are you talking about? If you guys don’t want to drink it, then forget it! It’s all for Zhao Zheng’an.”
Zhao Sheng hurriedly shielded his bowl, he hadn’t said anything, he shouldn’t take his anger out on him.
Zhao Ning also smiled while curry favor with him then he said, “Wrong thing to say! Look at my foul mouth, this is definitely Ziqi heartily made it for us. I’ll drink it right away! You go and get busy.”
Only then was Zhong Ziqi satisfied, before leaving he instructed Zhao Zheng’an, “Drink it after it cool, got it?”
“Got it, wife.” Zhao Zheng’an nodded obediently.
Only then did Zhong Ziqi leave, where no one was looking, his ears blushed into pink colour.
Zhong Ziqi frowned at his own strange emotions, shook his head, shooed it away and started to cook, as usual still half rice and half brown rice washed into the pot. He couldn’t do this in front of outsiders, if he used all the white rice, he would be called a wastrel. In the village,only the rich people could eat white rice everyday, but ordinary people eat brown rice although sometimes white rice could be eaten on festival days.
After the fire was started, the rice was cooked. He started preparing the three catties of pork belly meat, enough for them to eat.The meat was washed, half of it sliced thin then half of it, he cut it into cubes.
The mushrooms from the last trip to the mountains were already drying in the yard.He soaked it all.
Heat the oil in a pan. Stir-fry the sliced pork over in low heat, forcing out the oil, then add the sliced shallots and garlic cloves, followed by soy sauce, sugar, rice wine and salt, then add water to cover the meat and simmer over in medium heat. The name of this dish is marinated pork. In fact, if he has rock sugar, put rock sugar to make it delicious, but there is none here, so he put the white sugar instead.But it still smells great.After 30 or 40 minutes, the meat is ready.
The mushrooms were already soaked, so Zhong Ziqi removed the dirty parts of the roots, dried them off again, and put them aside.In the pot, he poured in some leftover bone broth from the morning, put in the chopped pork, then the mushrooms, followed by the seasoning, sliced green onion, sliced ginger and star anise, then added the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and the right amount of water, simmered for a while on low heat.