Accompany by a Fool to Do Farming
Chapter 15: 吃核桃 (Eating Walnut)
Zhong Ziqi searched the house to find a porcelain jar, not much taller than the palm of his hand, which was very light and cute. He washed the jar carefully with water and put it in a pot to steam for a while to sterilise it.The hot water was ladled out of the pot then he put it into a clean basin to dry. After that,he washed the apples and pears, peel and core the fruits, thus he cut it into small cubes and put it in the jars, sprinkling each layer with half a spoonful of sugar.Repeat until the jar is almost full and the fruit is gone.
When Zhao Zheng’an woke up from his nap, the sun had already gone down, rubbing his eyes,he realized that he didn’t find his wife in the room. He deflated, slipped on his shoes and walked towards the kitchen, shouting: “Wife? Wife?”
“In the kitchen!” Zhong Ziqi shouted back, he was now heating up the fire to cook a meal, actually he had eaten enough at lunchtime and wasn’t really hungry yet.
Zhao Zheng’an came all the way here and saw Zhong Ziqi, his face raised in his signature foolish smile: ” Wife.”
Zhong Ziqi couldn’t not tell that habit is such a scary thing, in just several days, he already accustomed to Zhao Zheng’an calling him ‘wife (媳妇)’ this two words. He was also used to his foolish smile, moreover he even used to Zhao Zheng’an’s presence. Zhong Ziqi couldn’t help but think that life now seemed calm, but underneath the calmness, there was actually a pile of tangled mess that one couldn’t make sense of, yet this one still had to go on with one’s head.
“Wife?” Zhao Zheng’an’s enlarged face was presented in front of Zhong Ziqi’s face. Zhong Ziqi, who was distracted, even noticed that this guy’s eyelashes were really long and curved on his handsome, rugged face (Tl: his face is the wild type) , it was unexpectedly harmonious and…very attractive?
Zhong Ziqi’s throat jolted,he reached out, pushing his face away from his, thinking with a straight face, what had he been thinking? How could he find him so attractive? He must be too tired. It’s better to rest early today.
But Zhong Ziqi’s idea didn’t come true in the end, because Zhao Zheng’an refused to go to bed, after he had eaten, he pulled Zhong Ziqi in high spirits to play with him.
“Wash up and go to bed!” Zhong Ziqi said fiercely with a stern face.
Zhao Zheng’an looked at him, feeling wronged, pouting and muttering, “But wife, I’m not sleepy, I want to play with you.”
You’re not sleepy, I’m sleepy!
But looking at Zhao Zhengan’s pitiful eyes, he couldn’t help but feel soft in his heart, he was very busy every day and didn’t have time to play with him, but he didn’t feel comfortable letting him go out too, so he had to stay in the small courtyard every day, he must be really bored, right?
Zhong Ziqi simply took two small benches to sit in the courtyard. He brought the hickory he had picked from the mountains this afternoon then found a hard brick in the courtyard, smashed the hickory,thus picked out the flesh and stuffed it into Zhao Zheng’an’s mouth.
After chewing on it for a couple of times, Zheng’an found it quite tasty, so he took the brick from Zhong Ziqi, squatted there to smash it. After smashing it, he also followed Zhong Ziqi’s example,took out the walnut meat and quickly stuffed it into Zhong Ziqi’s mouth. Zhong Ziqi,who was slightly stunned,ate it with the corner of his mouth curled.
On a summer night, the sky was full of stars twinkling with light. In the small isolated courtyard, a man squatted on the ground smashing walnuts, another man who sat on a stool with his head in his hands, looking sideways at the tall man next to him, his face soft, his expression relaxed. (Tl: I found this description romantic although it’s very simple)
Until little by little the man who sits there asleep. The tall man smashing the walnuts stopped, looked at the sleeping man with a tilted head and reached out his hand to touch his cheek. With a very serious look on his face, he straightened up, picked the man up, took him into the bedroom to put him to bed, carefully removing his clothes. Then he undressed himself, climbed into bed, looking at the man sideways, his rigid face so serious that no one could tell he was mentally incompetent.(Tl: ????)
The next day, still at the same time, Zhong Ziqi woke up from his sleep, shook his dazed head, got up and washed up, only something didn’t feel right, but he didn’t have time to think about it, so he went into the kitchen.
He didn’t want to make anything too complicated first thing in the morning, so he made some minced meat and mixed it with cabbage to make a pancake. As he was about to cook, Zhao Ning and Zhao Sheng came,so Zhong Ziqi opened the door to see them, carrying a sack of stuff, “It’s cucumbers, right?”
“Yes, fifty catties in total, you weigh them.” Zhao Sheng said as he brought the sack in and put it on the brick floor.
“No need! Can’t I not trust Zhao Amu, right? Put it there! I’m going to cook, you guys wait, Zheng’an is still asleep! ” Zhong Ziqi paused after saying that, what did he say? He always felt that something was wrong. He remembered that last night,he seemed to have fallen asleep on the bench outside, but when he woke up, he was already in bed. Did he carry him in?
Why didn’t he feel anything?!
” Ziqi? Ziqi?” Zhao Ning saw Zhong Ziqi standing in place out of breath, he couldn’t help but call out twice.
“Huh? Ah…you guys go inside first! I’ll be ready in a minute.” Zhong Ziqi came back to his senses, feeling that there was nothing to dwell on, shrugged his shoulders and hurried into the kitchen.
Zhong Ziqi’s pancakes were not really skillful, but they came out golden,covered with a layer of oil, which made it particularly appetizing.
After cooking, Zhong Ziqi woke Zhao Zheng’an up, cleaned up before sitting down to eat.
“If you don’t sell noodles anymore, you can still sell pancakes, you could only make money with your skills, not losing money.”
Zhao Ning said admiringly, he felt that in the future, by hanging out with Ziqi, he would not worry about food and clothing, he would have delicious food every day, he would also be paid for his work, which would make many people envious of him.
Without realizing it, originally a very quiet, gentle and well behaved person who needed his protection had grown up to a level where he himself had to look up to him and be taken care of. Although Zhao Ning’s heart was disappointed, also not used to it, he was happy.Who doesn’t like to be taken care of?Who doesn’t like to have a friend who is better than themselves?
After breakfast, they picked up all of the things and set off. Today Zhong Ziqi arrived at the pier a little later than yesterday, after he had set up his stall. Zhao Ning then came over and asked, “Ziqi, have you noticed that there seem to be a lot more people around us?”
Zhong Ziqi heard the words, raised his eyes to take a look, found that his surrounding stall seems to be a lot more than yesterday, even the pastry Amu who has look down at him and moved his stall far away from him, also moved the stall back, see Zhong Ziqi look over, that Amu also smiled at him.He immediately understood what was going on, this is to use his stall to earn money, but he does not care, as long as it is not to cause damage he does not need to care, he also has no right to care, people want to set up stalls where they can, this pier is not his own family property.
“Hn,it’s fine. Let’s just mind our own.” Zhong Ziqi said in a light voice.
The morning’s hot noodle soup remained at around ten bowls, most of the customers were acquaintances from yesterday. There were also many people who had come for the cold noodles, they were particularly disappointed to see that he was not selling it at all and asked, “Are there no more cold noodles today? Didn’t you say yesterday it would be available today?”
Zhong Ziqi looked at the sky, the sun had just appeared so the temperature was still a bit low, so it wasn’t too cold to eat something cold early in the morning. But it could also be because his body’s ability to resist cold is low, can’t tolerate being too cold ba! Since there was business, there was no reason to push it out, so he simply left a pot empty: “Xiao Ning, you make cold noodles, I’ll make hot noodles.”
After saying this, he kindly said to the disappointed people standing in front of the noodle stall, “Those of you who are eating cold noodles, wait a moment, it will be ready soon.”
Zhao Ning heard Zhong Ziqi’s words and started to work. The cold noodles were easy to make so there was nothing technical to speak of, so Zhao Ning did it perfectly (as he mimicked Zhong Ziqi previous teaching).
There was no shortage of things to do at this time, so Zhao Sheng simply helped the two of them with the fire. Zhao Zheng’an had nothing to do for a while, he had shouted too hard yesterday so today his voice was completely hoarse and low, Zhong Ziqi told him sternly not to shout anymore, Zhao Zheng’an had to listen to his wife but he was bored seeing that all three of them had something to do yet he was the only one left idle.He moved one step closer to Zhong Ziqi, his eyes shining brightly at him.
Zhong Ziqi was made uncomfortable by the stare,seeing that he was really bored, he taught him how to collect money: “Zheng’an, when the noodles are ready, you serve it up and collect the money, five wen a bowl, that’s five coins, remember?”
Zhao Zheng’an knew how to count, so he was happy to hear his wife’s words, carrying the noodles around the customers, putting the food on the table and saying, just as his wife had done yesterday with a smile on his face, “Five wen.”
Most people were happy to pay. There were others who liked to dawdle or pay after they had eaten, Zhao Zheng’an was so determined that he stood next to them and kept pushing, “Five wen, you have to pay for the noodles.”
The customer was being bothered by him. Between laughter and tears,he said to Zhong Ziqi, “It’s not like I don’t pay, look at how I’m being pushed.”
In his heart, Zhong Ziqi was not able to resist, thinking it was funny, but on the surface he said apologetically, “Sorry everyone, it’s mainly because our family is so obstinate, so everyone please forgive me!”
To be honest, he agreed with Zhao Zheng’an’s approach. These guys were paying after they had eaten the noodles, who knew if someone would renege on the bill, pay with one hand and deliver with the other, that was the truth.
[一手交钱一手交货 :lit. one hand exchanges the cash, the other the goods (common saying); to pay for what you want in cash; fig. simple and direct transaction / deliver (only) when the cash is in hand]
“Approximately pay early or late, it’s the same as paying,it’s not like you can lay eggs.”said someone.
This caused the people at the stall to laugh out loud. Those who hadn’t paid gave money.Zhao Zheng’an had a good memory, remembering who hadn’t given money and who had given money, which made others wonder. Some people were smart enough to see Zhao Zheng’an’s bright eyes and childish demeanour and guessed that he might have a problem, but everyone had the good sense not to ask.
“Hey, is this a new food item coming out of your stall?” The big man who wearing short clothes(短打)came over and asked suspiciously, his eyes surveying the cold noodles that Zhao Ning was making on. He had gone to work yesterday after eating hot noodle soup and hadn’t come across Zhong Ziqi selling cold noodles at all, but he had heard from others that a new kind of food had been introduced on the pier, and it was pleasantly cool to eat.
Example of 短打 (usually wear by worker)
“Ah, yes! Actually the cold noodles are what we’re going to sell later. yesterday, Uncle came early and didn’t make it, so we’re planning to sell it early today.” Zhong Ziqi explained gently.
The big man looked at half of the people at the stall,eating that new food, so he was also curious: “Then you can give me a bowl too.”
“Yes,please wait a moment! ”
At the table where the big man was sitting, two people were already sitting, chatting. The big man sat down and noticed that they were acquaintances who had worked together before, so he greeted them, “You’re here for the noodles too?”
“Yes, you’re here too, I remember you used to eat over there, didn’t you?” One of them pointed to the noodle stall in the distance where the big guy used to eat.
Big man laughed and shot back, “I remember you two used to eat over there too.”
“He he.” The three of them laughed, unspokenly, they were all ‘glutton’, so wherever there was good food, they would go.
“By the way, I heard there’s a cargo ship coming over shortly, it might stop over here.” A man said.
“Oh, what day is there not a cargo ship here?” The big man said in disbelief.
“No, I heard that this time the cargo ship came from the south, it seems from a big family.”
“Oh? Is that so?” The big man and the other man rubbed their chins with interest, if it was a big family, they would pay a lot of money to do the work, they would not be stingy with the amount of money, so they were all happy to work for such rich people, but the quota for the work was also a problem.There was a limit to the number of workers they could recruit, if exceeded the limit, they would not be able to get accepted, so many people were trying to get in.
“Five wen.” At this point, Zhao Zheng’an handed the noodles to the big man and the other two, said in a hoarse voice. The three men stopped talking, looked at him then handed over the money. Zhao Zheng’an stood there, looking very serious while he counted it once before turning to go.