Accompany by a Fool to Do Farming
( Buy Land)
Summer came closer and the hills behind Zhao Jia’s village were heavily laden with fruit again. Some were green and not yet ripe, while others were already bright red and completely ripe.
Because last year they sold a few small jars of fruit wine and earned a few dozen taels of silver, so this year Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an decided to continue making the wine. Although they didn’t lack any money anymore, more money also didn’t burden the body right?
Besides that, this year by brewing more, they could keep some for their family to drink ; their grandparents could drink it too. Soon, their little uncle and his future wife would come. By having a lot of people, drinking was inevitable, when the time comes, if they like it, they might also have to bring some back.
The attentive Zhong Ziqi had thought of everything. By making more, he wasn’t afraid at all if they couldn’t finish drinking it since the longer he kept the wine, the better it would taste.
This year, the wine brewing needed plenty of fruits that Zhao Zheng’an hired a few people from the village to go up to the mountains and pick a dozen or more baskets of it. It looked like a lot, but after the wine was made, there wasn’t much left.
Zhong Ziqi’s stomach was now bulging like a balloon. He often suffered from backache and leg pain. Zhao Zheng’an gave him massages every day to relieve the aches and pains but he also tried to avoid making him work. He just needed to walk back and forth every day to get some exercise.
Now, the brewing process couldn’t even be done by him, Zhong Ziqi moved a small stool to his side and sat there to direct him.
The brewing process was not complicated. Although Zhao Zheng’an was still a fool the last time he made the wine, he still had some impressions of it. On top of that, with Zhong Ziqi’s direction, no technical mistakes were made.
After the brewing process was finished, the jars were sealed and placed in a shaded room. The other two jars of wine were buried under the trees in the garden by Zhao Zheng’an. In Zhao Zheng’an’s words, wait until their child could run and jump and understand things then they would dig it up again.
Zhong Ziqi was amused and thought it was funny but still went along with him.
In the eighth month, the two children of the Zhong family, Zhong Zijun and Zhong Ziheng got married one following after another, one married a wife and the other married off into the family from outside their village. The Zhong family didn’t give Zhong Ziqi any news, so Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an didn’t make a fool of themselves and were happy to stay at home.
Zhong Ziqi heard from the well-informed Zhao Ning that Zhong Zijun married into a mean family. That family had offered a generous betrothal gift. It indeed made people become speechless, the Zhong family married off their own family’s ger to that family only after a short period of contact and they didn’t even bother to find out specifically about that family’s situation. People from the same village as that family said that the family was very mean. The two elders were very picky and liked to pick faults with anyone. The family usually lived a very frugal life. They had money, but could not bear to spend it. It was obvious that if Zhong Zijun married over what kind of treatment he would encounter? All of this, however, had nothing to do with Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an anymore. They could sympathize with him a little for a moment but they would not be meddlesome and interfere with other people’s business.
Zhong Ziqi was a little sad these days. Both of his legs were swollen. Nowadays, he needs someone to hold his back when he walks outside. Zhong Ziqi deeply appreciated how difficult it was for women. Zhong Ziqi thought it would be even more painful when he gave birth.
Zhao Zheng’an was so concerned about Zhong Ziqi that he would sit on the Kang bed and massage his hands and feets every day whenever he had free time. The family’s daily income was now fixed, around fifty taels of silver or more. Their family had saved a lot of money by now.
“Wife, about buying land, have you thought about it?” Zhao Zheng’an asked.Previously they talked about buying land and renting it out when they have money. This was the safest and most secure way to make money.
Zhong Ziqi was lying lazily, enjoying Zhao Zheng’an’s increasingly skilled massage techniques. It was only after a long time that he said. : “What do you think? Will we be able to make time for it?”
Zhong Ziqi still yearned for that kind of landlord’s life, leisurely and carefree.
“I don’t have a problem with it, it would be good if we bought it. Nowadays, there is a phenomenon in our village and in other villages that there are more and more people, but not enough land since it’s too expensive to buy land. It’s not always possible to buy it with their annual harvest. So, if we buy the land and sublet it out, then there will definitely be many common people who will come to buy it.” Zhao Zheng’an gave Zhong Ziqi an analysis.
“Oh is that so? If it’s like what you said, then we can completely buy it and sublet it out and make a lot of money every year.”
“En, that’s what I was thinking too so I wanted to ask you what you thought.” Zhao Zheng’an said.
“Then just buy it! We have enough money anyway.” Zhong Ziqi finally nodded his head and agreed.
“Hn… I’ll go to the county tomorrow to ask the County master about it.” Zhao Zheng’an said with a nod.
The next day, Zhao Zheng’an went into the town with enough silver tickets in his pocket. Those officials at the Yamen office were already familiar with Zhao Zheng’an, as he would often bring goodies to bribe them, and even the county magistrate knew Zhao Zheng’an and treated him well.
“Brother Zheng’an, why are you here so early in the morning? There is something right?” The master asked while stroking his moustache.
[师爷 here is translated as master, but it’s not the same master as the owner or landlord one. Shi ye here is the title for the magistrate or Yamen official staffs]
Zhao Zheng’an smiled and handed the delicious food he was carrying over to the master, “That’s right, I came here today looking for Master because I have something to do.”
The master took the food and put it aside, “What is it?”
“Master, it’s like this. I want to buy some land but I don’t know if there’s one that is suitable.” Zhao Zheng’an said.
“Oh? You want to buy some land? How much land do you want to buy?”
Zhao Zheng’an shook his head, “I want to buy quite a lot. I want to rent it out.”
“Rent it out? You could say that I really have some suitable land not far from your village. It’s near, do you want it?”
“Want, of course I want it.” Zhao Zheng’an was pleasantly surprised as he said this. He originally thought there wasn’t much land left around, but today he was told there are some, so naturally he was very happy.
Zhao Zheng’an discussed with the master in the government office for a long time and finally bought hundreds of acres of fields. Zhao Zheng’an took the land deed and went home in great delight to show it to Zhong Ziqi.
Zhong Ziqi took the deed and read it twice, saying he was equally very happy.
Now that the land had been bought, Zhao Zheng’an went to Li Zheng’s house and was the first to inform them. Zhao Zheng’an also asked him to ‘tell everyone’.
When the Li Zheng family heard that Zhao Zheng’an had bought so much land, they immediately ordered more than 10 mu of land without any objection. They also ordered a few mu for their son. They were indeed in need of land and Zhao Zheng’an came to provide help in the time they needed it. Since Zhao Zheng’an had asked him to help spread the word, he wouldn’t go back on his word. For those villagers who come and go regularly to his house, the village chief would inform them about it. The villagers surrounded Zhong Ziqi’s house immediately when they heard that there was land available. Generally, some richer families or those with less land, would come over to ask for more detailed information.
Zhao Zheng’an announced the price, how much was an acre of land per year. Some people were a bit hesitant when they heard it, others were scared off by the price but there were still more people who agreed to buy.
Because the price level that Zhao Zheng’an announced, if they thought about it carefully, they would understand that their annual income from one mu of land was definitely more than the rent money, so since it was suitable, they naturally bought it. Zhao Zheng’an still used the same method to advertise in the neighbouring villages. He first approached the village chief and asked him to help with the advertisement. It didn’t take long for all the hundreds of mu of fields to be rented out. This was beyond Zhao Zheng’an’s and Zhong Ziqi’s expectations, the response was very good and the speed was very fast too. Most of the people in the village kept their respect for Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an. From now on, they were Zhao Zheng’an’s hired farmers and must be treated with care.
It was just that they couldn’t plant anything yet for this year even after they had scheduled it in advance. At best, they could grow some vegetables or something in the autumn. Time flew by so fast that the ninth month had arrived.
The ninth month was fast approaching, Zhong Ziqi reckoned that his grandparents and his family would be coming soon. Two days ago, they wrote to say that the wedding had been done. They were just need waiting for the packing to be done and head back there, his little uncle and his wife would be coming too
Zhong Ziqi was still somewhat looking forward to what his uncle’s wife would be like.