Chapter 59: Spring Plowing

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- THIS TRANSLATION BELONGS TO konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

At the time of the measurement, no Yang family members were present; it was just the village head.

Upon hearing that the Yang family had purchased the land, Li Qinghe was surprised. Neither she nor the Yang family were familiar with each other, and Yang Lanrou was the only one she knew at best.

"That piece of land isn’t as good as yours." The village chief lowered his voice. "But in this village, it’s considered a relatively good barren slope."

The land that the Yang family purchased was sloped land.

Li Qinghe owned flat land. It used to be a slope, and that large slope was covered with bamboo forests. Removing bamboo, including roots, was not an easy task. It could grow quite far from branches and vines. The piece of land where Li Qinghe raised chickens also had bamboo growing in various places.

"You will be neighbors in the future, get along." The village head left such a comment before leaving.

Li Qinghe didn't think about the problem of the two families getting along at all, to be honest. She was far from the Yang family's house, since there was more than an acre of barren land in the middle where chickens were being raised. There was only one pathway; if not for feeding the chickens, she wouldn't go there.

Now, it was time for spring plowing, and Li Qinghe was very busy on the farm, so she didn't think much about the Yang family. She and Zhou Chengkang went to town again to buy seeds. They still planted barley, the same as last year. It was worth mentioning that there were sweet potato slips in the shop this year.

Li Qinghe lit up at the sight of the long, black sweet potato slips in the shop and asked, "How do you plant these?"

The attendant took a look at it and said, "Just bury it in the ground. I heard it yields a lot. Would you like to purchase them?"

There was something off about his attitude. Li Qinghe looked at him suspiciously. In the village, most people did not buy seeds and obtained them only from their harvests. As she didn't have seeds and had more land this year, she could only go to purchase seeds from the store for the next few years.

Farmers generally didn’t buy seeds if there were no accidents. However, no matter whether it was the grain shop or the seed shop, the attendants were usually indifferent to the ordinary farmers. After all, the farmers were poor at first sight and couldn't buy anything.

His attitude was so enthusiastic now, so something must be wrong with the seeds.

Li Qinghe asked curiously, "What is there to say?"

The attendant glanced at the inner room and said in a low voice, "This new seed is part of a quota given by the county. Each shop has to sell 500 catties, but I heard that this thing was in the next county last year… if you buy it, I’ll give it to you at a cheaper price. Normally one catty costs five taels, but I'll give it to you for three taels. Tell me how much land you have and I'll help you calculate the number of seeds."

Li Qinghe tentatively said, "Two acres."

The attendant was a little surprised. "This stuff is very interesting. It won't be enough even if you take these five hundred catties with you.”

Li Qinghe thought for a while, and said, "I'll take thirty catties."

The attendant understood that she wanted to take some slips to try planting them. He helped them load the seed bags into the carriage. The two then went to buy meat before returning home.

Zhou Chengkang also gave a few villagers a ride back on the way and didn't charge them anything, just helping them as a favor. The sweet potato slips were kept at the bottom of the bag, so no one saw them.

"What do you want this for?" Zhou Chengkang asked, pointing to the sweet potato bag. "Want to try planting it?"

Li Qinghe laughed. "Isn't it too late to ask now?" Shouldn't he have asked her at the store if she wanted to plant them?

Zhou Chengkang took a small sweet potato, peeled it, revealing the white flesh inside. "It doesn't matter; if you want to buy, you can buy. Look at this one, it's still edible."

In fact, he had seen it before and knew how to eat it. Somebody in the village had planted it in his previous life, but the seeds of the plant were just too many. It was basically possible to collect two hundred pounds of seeds from a hundred pounds of seeds. That was all good luck, so if she wanted to buy them, he wouldn't stop. If not sold, they would eat it themselves.

Li Qinghe laughed loudly and said with a mysterious expression, "I will plant this."

As she leaned closer to him, she exhaled the hot air onto Zhou Chengkang's ears, blowing on both his heart and mind. He said quickly, "Madam, just tell me how to plant these, and I'll make sure everything goes well."

They spent half a day burying the sweet potatoes in the ground, lining them up one by one, and covering them with soil. The sweet potato slips were planted very closely to one another. When Zhou Chengkang saw it, he couldn't help but say, "We have so much land and wasteland, that we are not afraid to waste, so why should we plant them so closely?"

Li Qinghe smiled and shook her head. "I'll explain it in a while."

During the spring plowing, Li Qinghe asked the helpers they hired to leave a space of about two feet, wide and narrow, when they were looking for someone to clean up the land this year. This was so that they could still have some space to walk between the fields after they planted the seeds, different from the other people in the village. It seemed to be a waste of land.

Even though some people considered this a waste, in the end, it was a wasteland, so people were too lazy to speak up. Also, Li Qinghe might not know how to cultivate the land, but would Zhou Chengkang also not know how to do it?

By the time they planted the barley seeds, the Yang family had already started cleaning their land. Since they didn’t have anyone who could farm the land, they still hired people. Unlike Li Qinghe, they didn't pay wages to workers but owed them the money. They said that they would pay them after the autumn harvest.

Li Qinghe hired a worker for fifteen cents a day and one meal at noon. The Yang family did not provide lunch at noon but gave 25 cents per day instead. It could be said that the wages were very generous, and more people worked for them. More than 20 people came at once, and within a few days, the five acres of wasteland were cleared.

The original barren land now looked different than it did before. On one side, there was a large, flat area with Li Qinghe's house at the center. To the side, one could see an area of barren grass interspersed in the middle, and on the other side, a large flat area with a slope. It looked much better than the original barren look, even if they ignored the land in the middle left for chickens.

The Yang family also planted barley in their fields. It was worth mentioning that the Yang family was already looking for someone who could move the blue bricks, and it seemed that they wanted to construct a house. Moreover, their family constructed a courtyard wall between the two houses, leaving just a road at the outmost space.

It was a good idea to have a courtyard wall. Originally, Li Qinghe wanted to ask Li Kui for assistance in building a bamboo fence near the chicken farm near the Yang family. Since there was a big courtyard wall, it was better for her now.

As for the original intentions of the Yang family for building was not something Li Qinghe was concerned with. Anyway, Li Qinghe didn’t intend on having close contact with the Yang family.

After the seeds were planted, it was the beginning of February. The weather was gradually warming up.

The sweet potato seeds planted earlier by Li Qinghe had grown lush. After seeing them, she uprooted them and asked Zhou Chengkang to plant them.

When Zhou Chengkang looked at the seedlings - they didn't even have roots - he took a hoe and dug a hole, hesitated a few times, then stopped speaking. His expression was hard to describe.

Can this live?

The seedlings were almost the same as when used for cooking.

They had planted barley on all the lands they had except the vegetable field. Now, pits were being dug in the land that was originally set aside for walking. Now it was equivalent to planting sweet potatoes amidst barley.

Li Qinghe saw his expression. "Do you think this is a waste of energy for us?"

Zhou Chengkang wanted to nod, but he was afraid of hurting her, and tentatively said, "This doesn't even have a root…" And he knew that there were people in the village planting this. It was really not cost-effective, but he had never seen this kind of method.

Li Qinghe squatted on the ground and planted the sweet potato seeds in the dug pit. "The roots will form in two days."

The two worked hard for nearly half a month before they were able to plant all of the seedlings that were left out, during which they took a two-day break because a crop failed to sprout due to uprooting.

It was the end of February when they finished the work here. As soon as the villagers had finished planting by spring, the diligent people started chopping wood or went to the town to find work, but Li Qinghe was busy raising pigs once again. Pork could be eaten or sold, but the most important thing was pig manure, which was the only thing that could fertilize the land at the moment.

As she didn't even have a pigpen to raise pigs, she decided to make bricks again. Unlike building the house, building the pigsty was different. Blue bricks were used to build the house, but they were too expensive to be used for the pigsty. Earthen bricks were usually used instead. They required little effort and did not cost a lot of money.

During this year's planting, Li Fu alone did the planting in the Li family's field.

Occasionally, Yu Yan would come over to talk to Li Qinghe, and even said that Mrs. Qian lay on the bed all day long. She did not even cook, not to mention going to work in the field. As soon as Li Fu finished working in the field, he would go back to cook porridge, which Mrs. Qian was now also used to eating. She also mentioned that Li Fu had recently learned how to prepare stir-fried vegetable dishes after working in the field.

Her illness was not yet over.

Although Li Qinghe was irritated by Li Fu, she was willing to accommodate Mrs. Qian. It was because she and her father lived a good life, helping him cook and do laundry, to have a person beside to talk to. Now since she didn’t want to be good, there were more ways to do it.

Li Qinghe asked Zhou Chengkang to personally invite Li Fu over to help build the pigsty, starting with making the bricks.

Li Fu originally felt sorry for not being able to help his daughter because he was too busy with the fieldwork. Since they invited him, he decided to help. Li Fu changed his clothes the next day and went to Li Qinghe's house. Earlier, when Zhou Chengkang invited him, he told Li Fu that they prepared breakfast for him as well.

As soon as Li Fu arrived, steaming porridge was delivered to him. Two delicious side dishes were also served. After eating, he began working. There were steamed buns and fine noodles on the table for lunch, along with a meat dish, vegetable dish, and soup, which were warm and tasty. It was indeed the good craftsmanship of his daughter.

The food was delicious, but in the end, Li Fu couldn't help but say, "Isn't it too costly?"

Li Qinghe smiled. "No, it's a pity not to eat it." Anyway, Li Fu didn’t need to be paid, so she could still afford to feed him.

Li Fu stopped talking, but his hands had more strength when he hit the bricks.

In the evening, the food was still good. Li Fu was very comfortable. After a day of tiring work, he appreciated warm food. One had to work hard to eat good food if one came from a farming family.

He worked there, but Mrs. Qian was at home…

She slept too much during the day, so she was unable to sleep at night and only fell asleep shortly after sunrise. After waking up, the sky was already bright outside, and no one was at home. However, the chickens in the backyard were hungry, so they clucked so loudly that she couldn't sleep.

She carefully listened for any movement in the kitchen, front yard, or backyard. Hearing no sound after some time, she realized that Li Fu must have gone outside, as nobody was at home.

Seeing the sunlight outside the window, she thought it was time for Li Fu to come back and cook breakfast, so she closed her eyes again.

She wasn't able to sleep either, and she didn't know how long had passed. Seeing the sun get higher and higher, it seemed that it was almost time for lunch.

She was expecting Li Fu would be back soon to cook lunch, so she kept listening for movements outside. But after a long wait, the sun began to set, yet there was still no movement outside, and the chickens in the backyard seemed to have flown away.

Mrs. Qian could not sleep any longer and sat up. She suddenly felt a sharp pain in her stomach. She was hungry!

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----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

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