Pig raising was troublesome work, they ate most anything but in an era without pig feed, having them grow fat was very difficult. Farmer families usually just fed them ragweed. Those with better conditions fed them husks as well. From spring to autumn if there were milk starch grass they would pick some for the pigs. Milk starch grass, or in other words the dandelion, had a long growing period. But now with so many fleeing people, by spring’s arrival it would have all been picked and eaten by refugees.
Now that Lin Yuan was raising pigs, he fed them ragweed and bean curd.
Nowadays, bean curd was considered a good source of food so the people on the farmstead felt heartache while at the same time they hoped the pig to grow fatter.
Some young boys, like Er Liang and Gou zi went to the river to gather snails to feed the pigs.
Because of castration, the two pigs were not as lively. As for putting on fat, for the time being Lin Yuan could not see anything yet.
Er Liang and Gou zi both quite liked the pigs, but Er Liang still needed to serve Lin Yuan so normally only Gou zi followed along the pig carers to pick ragweed.
When Er Liang had free time they would gather snails together.
In truth, Lin Yuan had a craving for snails, but there wrren’t any spices or condiments now. Just adding salt and vinegar was not enough to get rid of the dirt and fishy flavor. No one was willing to eat it now but in the modern days snails with some chili oil and sticky chili bean sauce, a sprinkle of scallions and ginger, some soy sauce, and all stir fried together made for an incredibly fragrant dish.
But now no one ate it at all.
They had yet to come to a dead end so no one was willing to eat it.
But pigs were not picky, having something to eat was enough. Every half a month Lin Yuan would go see them, after all he had a craving for meat as well. After 4 to 5 times of making sure the pigs were growing well he no longer worried.
As for what would have them grow fatter Lin Yuan still could not be sure. The conditions now were lacking so taking only a year to raise them was already a good thing.
If it truly took 2 to 3 years Lin Yuan could only give up on the endeavor.
Other than pigs, they had also bought 20 or so of chickens, 10 hens to lay eggs and one rooster for breeding. All the rest were chicken raised for meat. The eggs relied on the hens to incubate and it would be lucky if one or two were able to be hatched. A hen lay one egg per day, on lucky days it would lay two a day.
Eggs could be stored for awhile, so they were basically stored for a week and everyone could receive a share, with those doing outstanding work getting more.
As for shabby work——there weren’t any.
They all cherished their current days on the farmstead where they had food to eat if they worked and the landowner did not dock their rations.
If they were to slack off, angering the landowner, they would then be thrown out. They were very clear on what kind of life was waiting outside for them.
Recently, Lin Yuan was quite idle. With nothing to do he began to teach people how to read and write simplified characters.
Traditional Chinese characters had a greater difficulty and must be learned by rote from a young age of 3 to 4.
Lin Yuan felt that teaching them traditional characters would be too difficult, after all without the original owner’s memories he could only read and not write traditional characters.
Writing simplified characters was much more convenient and suitable for uneducated people to learn.
Pursuing scholarship in ancient times had a high threshold. Aside from the four treasures of study (TN: pen, ink, paper and ink-stone) being expensive there was also the payment for the teacher. Ancient people adhered to the belief that a teacher for a day was the same as a father for a lifetime. When your teacher grew old, you as the student must provide for his retirement.
The cost of getting an education was too high.
When they heard that Boss would teach them to read and write no one could understand.
“What read and write?”
“I have never seen farmers read and write.”
“That’s right, our ancestors do not know how to read and write, but they still lived their days?”
There were some who said impatiently: “Say that to Boss.”
“How come you don’t go.”
“Why should I?”
“Then I won’t go either.”
Lin Yuan used a burnt charcoal stick to write words on the wall, teaching them simply: “This is the character for mouth, it looks like the shape of a open mouth.”
This one was easy.
“Just a circle! How convenient!”
“Ai, I also now know a word?”
“I remembered it, I can definitely write it!”
Lin Yuan also taught them: “This is ‘person’, there is no head or arms, only two legs.”
Because Lin Yuan taught simple characters that could be remembered easily, it gave them some confidence. So long as they realized that it was not as hard as they thought then they wouldn’t have an unwilling mindset. Lin Yuan also did not plan to have them recognize a lot of words, just 300 words was enough to satisfy daily needs.
Back in the days when China conducted activities to wipe out illiteracy, recognizing less than 500 words was considered illiterate, above 500 and under 1000 was half an illiterate.
Wiping out illiteracy was not going to be possible, Lin Yuan felt he did not have such a large capability.
But, some of these people remembered words quicker. Sure enough even learning to read required talent.
The weather gradually warmed and the wild beasts in the woods also began to increase in activity. Brother Dao lead a small team everyday to create traps and often there were catches. The biggest catch were a mountain goat and a deer. With the weather warmer they could not store fresh meat so the viscera was all eaten the day of the catch while half the meat was made into bacon and another half stewed in a pot for communal meals.
Fishing also yielded several fishes each day and were all eaten the same day. Only they were a bit small with a lot of bones. Lin Yuan nearly choked four times before he gave up and only drank fish soup.
“Wonder what the situation is with Wu City.” Lin Yuan said suddenly.
On the side Jiang Gui worked on braiding straw sandals and straw baskets. He raised his head and said without much expression: “When I left, Wu City was on fire, everything must all be burnt by now.”
In that kind of situation, no one would bother to put the fires out, people were either stealing or fleeing.
“It is likely now a dead city.” Jiang Gui finished a straw sandal, “even if there are still people they would definitely be hiding.”
“But they won’t last long, the city has no food.”
Lin Yuan said quietly: “Brother Jiang, I plan to go to Wu City in the spring.”
Jiang Gui startled: “Go there for what!”
Lin Yuan: “It has a city wall at least, there are also farm fields inside.”
Jiang Gui rolled his eyes: “If the city walls are useful would the refugees have even gotten in?”
Lin Yuan sighed: “The city walls can be repaired.”
Jiang Gui did not think so: “Repairing would require people, even if women and children were included it is still not enough.”
Lin Yuan: “But there are still a lot of refugees.”
Jiang Gui sighed: “I know you pity them, but refugees can not be reasoned with.”
Lin Yuan also sighed.
Jiang Gui put a pair of straw sandals aside and said to Lin Yuan: “Fourth brother, there is one method.”
Lin Yuan: “What method?”
“Basically, if you just want a city wall, then we can construct one here.” Jiang Gui said sincerely.
Lin Yuan clapped his hands together: “Brother Jiang, that is true, I must think for a bit.”
When Lin Yuan left, Jiang Gui rubbed at his chin.
Jiang Gui thought privately: “Silly little brother, you don’t even have the people to go repair Wu City’s wall, how will you have the people to construct a wall here?”
Nowadays they couldn’t buy any bricks, but if they were to use stones, with just the people they had in the farmstead they would not be finished even after half a year.
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