Aunt Zhang pulled together her brows slightly. In front of Lian Fang Zhou and her son, she wouldn't tell her daughter-in-law off. So she turned to Lian Fang Zhou, complained: "Really Fang Zhou! Why buy this much meat? Even if you have money, don't spend it like this! If you bought rice and threw some sweet potato in, it would last a while."
Lian Fang Zhou said with a chuckle: "I knew Aunt would say this! You should let me explain first! The money I used to buy meat, came from seling the mushrooms Ah Ze and I gathered few days back. The young ones are still growing, so they have to eat properly, and that means meat at least occasionally! I also thought of how Aunt and Uncle Li always help us. So naturally I can't forget your share. Otherwise, we'll have no peace of mind when eating!"
Lian Fang Zhou's words made everyone smile.
Uncle Li grinned: "Fang Zhou is getting more and more of a smooth talker! You really don't need to do this. We are all neighbors. It's just a matter of lending a hand, so don't need to take it into heart!"
"That's right!" Aunt Zhang gave her a scolding smile, but she didn't blame her.
Lian Fang Zhou grinned and took out an bundle from her sleeves and uncovered it. She gave the two velvet flowers to Mrs Zhao and Li Juan and happily explained: "When I bought one for my Qing er, I also bought these for Sao-zi* and Ah Juan. It's just something inexpensive, hope Sao-zi* and Ah Juan like it!"
How could women, especially young women, not love pretty dress accessories like flowers? Both Mrs Zhao and Li Juan cried out in delight and compared how they looked. Clearly they loved it as they grinned from ear to ear as they endlessly thanked Fang Zhou.
Aunt Zhang saw that her daughter-in-law and daughter were so happy, so she really couldn't say anything except helplessly staring at Lian Fang Zhou as she shook her head.
For a while, everyone chattered and then Lian Fang Zhou asked with a smile: "Oh yes, I wonder why Aunt Zhang called for me—"
Aunt Zhang immediately remembered and laughed: "God, my memory! I was so focused on small talk that I forgot about the important matter! It's like this, you don't have any livestock at your place and no manure for next year. The crops won't grow in a field with no manure! We just happened to get ten catties of Chinese milk vetch seeds. If you want, I'll give six or seven catties, spread it around the fields in the next few days. Wait until early spring, it'll be good to use as green manure!"
After the Chinese milk vetch seeds are sowed, in the spring they grow knee high and bloom with small pinkish purple flowers. When it's time to plough the fields, just plough directly and plunge them into the soil. They are good fertilizer so it's called green manure.
Lian Fang Zhou was aware of this. She has also been seen it in rural areas in modern times. But she did not expect this method to be used in this era.
She nodded and said: "Uncle Li and Aunt have thought of everything. But if the leftover isn't enough, then don't worry about giving me less!"
"We don't have many fields, so the leftover is enough for us! I have already packed the seeds for you. You can take them now! If the weather is good these few days, you can sow them." Aunt Zhang explained.
"Fang Zhou, wait a sec. I'll get it for you now!" Mrs. Zhao told Lian Fang Zhou and went to the pantry.
Lian Fang Zhou agreed.
In a moment Mrs Zhao came back with a small bag and handed it to Lian Fang Zhou: "Take it!"
Lian Fang Zhou took the bag, thanked and started to leave but Mrs Zhao curiously asked: "Fang Zhou, just now you said today you guys sold mushrooms. How much did you get for them?"
Since she was asked directly, of course Lian Fang Zhou had to answer. So she replied: "Altogether there was around three sacks of dried mushrooms and we got four liang--"
"What! So much!" Mrs Zhao cried out. Her face full of disbelief, surprise, and even envy.
Not just her, even Uncle Li, Aunt Zhang, Li San Ge and Li Juan were stunned as well.
Seeing them like this, Lian Fang Zhou felt a bit embarrassed.
"Fang Zhou, is, this true?" Aunt Zhang stammered out.
Four silver liang! This is half a year of household expenses and it was inconceivable that it was earned in mere few days.
"Those mushrooms, are they really worth that much?" Mrs Zhao couldn't help glance over at the basket that Lian Fang Zhou sent. She immediately felt pain: Those are money, it would be regrettable to eat them!
Lian Fang Zhou smiled and described their mushroom enterprise.
Hearing it, Aunt Zhang's expression changed: "You siblings dare go to Mount Xian Teng ? Really---sigh!"
Mrs Zhao unhappily commented: "Mother, if I knew that we could earn this much money, I would also go! What is there to be afraid of? Having too money will bite our hands?"
"What are you saying!" Aunt Zhang gave Mrs Zhao a dirty look.
But Mrs Zhao did not care. She intimately looked over at Lian Fang Zhou, asking: "Fang Zhou, are you guys still going to forage mushrooms? If you go, take me as well! If something happen, having one more person there would help, right?"
Once Mrs Zhao thought of the idea, she immediately imagined her share of the reward.
In the same time, by herself she couldn't differentiate between edible and poisonous mushrooms. So she could sell poisonous ones and get into a lot of trouble. So it's safer to go with Lian Fang Zhou.
Lian Fang Zhou sheepishly look at Aunt Zhang and said: "I know that you and Uncle Li treat us siblings well. Originally I didn't want to hid this matter from you, but I was afraid you won't agreed if you knew. So I--"
She said it quietly and all in one breath: "Aunt Zhang, don't worry! I have self-control, so I won't act recklessly! Ah Ze and the others are still young and it's their growing stage. It's not enough to eat rice only. It goes without saying, I need to think of other ideas!"
Listening to this, Uncle Li sighed and then spoke: "It was difficult for you! In the future, they will definitely treat you well, since you are thinking for their better."
Aunt Zhang also sighed: "Nevermind! Since you said it like this, what else could I say? It's just that you need to be more careful. That mountain has hundreds types of mushrooms and many are poisonous. So those you never seen before, don't pick it! And also the places where mushrooms cluster, be careful when picking. The woods have different types of poisonous snakes and insects. If there are trails of something passing, remember to leave it! It's better that nothing happen. By chance something happen, it'll be a matter of life and death!"
Hearing this, Lian Fang Zhou felt scared. She hurriedly said: "Fang Zhou accepts your teaching. Thank you Aunt for your advice!"
Aunt Zhang smiled and no longer spoke.
Mrs Zhao burst out asking: "Fang Zhou, are you still going? Tomorrow? The day after? Or some other time..."
Mount Xian Teng's boundaries is extremely wide, so one more person doesn't hinder anyone-- even if the boundary isn't wide, Lian Fang Zhou would still take Li Family's person with them.
So she immediately nodded her head: "Ah Ze and I were planning to go tomorrow!"
She didn't say anything about inviting Mrs Zhao because Aunt Zhang doesn't really approve this matter but the intention was clear.
Mrs Zhao's eyes brightened and she couldn't help step forward and grab Lian Fang Zhou's arm: "Fang Zhou, can I come with you tomorrow? Even though I don't know anything but I can rely on you! I don't ask for much. Just want a chance to earn some pocket money and I'll be satisfied."
*Sao-zi means sister-in-law, just a way to call someone elder and familiar with's wife, not really their elder brother's wife.