Butcher Jiang was also worried in his heart. If he went out to sell goods, how could he do the work in the field? Their family had to raise silkworms . . .
Originally, although their daughters-in-law were women, they could still work. Work such as picking mulberries and raising silkworms was usually all done by women, but as a result . . . Zhu Shufen picked just a few mulberry leaves and said she got bitten by bugs which made her whole body itch, so she couldn’t do it. Then Huang Min also refused to do it, and what made it even worse was that both of them were pregnant.
It was originally a good thing to be able to have a baby in the family, but now that both of them got pregnant at the same time, it became a problem.
Butcher Jiang suddenly felt that what the villagers said, that Jiang Zhen was actually born to bring blessings, might be true. If he hadn’t left, how could his family’s life become like this? In fact, the Jiang family was still better off than the vast majority of people in the village, but it was hard to move from luxury to frugality. After living comfortably for so long, they could no longer stand hard work.
While the Jiang family was gloomy, the Zhao family was overjoyed.
After Jiang Zhen and the others went out, Zhao Fugui and his wife, along with Sun Xiaoshan and his two children, concentrated on tending their own land and raising chicken and ducks.
Jiang Zhen had previously asked He Chunsheng and He Xiaosheng to help him plant these few mu of paddy field, and Zhao Fugui only needed to oversee them every day and pull some weeds, and without too much trouble, they were single-mindedly raising those chicken and ducks.
When the chicken were kept in the woods, they would find their own food, so they only needed to feed them a little grain every night. As for the ducks . . . There were more ducks than chicken in the Zhao family. All the ducks were fed with snails and fish.
There was a saying here that snails were the winter mussels in summer, which meant it was a good time to eat mussels in winter, and in summer, snails were the fattest.
It would be summer soon. The river snails did not have a lot of meat, and if you wanted them to be delicious, you had to pour oil over them. In fact, ordinary people did not eat snails often, so occasionally, only children had a craving for them. With a few drops of oil, they steamed a bowl of snails.
For these reasons, river snails were quite easy to catch, and a large number of snails were often attached to the stones on the riverbank, which even meant that after a boat had been docked in the river for a long time, the bottom of the boat would be completely covered by snails.
Sun Xiaoshan had been with Wang Haisheng for many years. He might not have enough strength to row, but he was good at catching fish and shrimps. Zhao Fugui used to look everywhere for food when he was young too.
At first, the snails and the fish had to be chopped into pieces, so that they could be fed to the ducks, but later, the ducks could swallow the snails whole.
It was unclear if it was because they were given enough food, but the ducks grew very fast and it didn’t take them long to mature. Now, some ducks had even started laying eggs, and they were laying quite a lot of them.
Zhao Fugui and Zhao Liu were unwilling to eat duck eggs, so they greeted the villagers and invited the villagers who wanted duck eggs over to buy them . . . As a result, they sold quite well. And this was not surprising.
For many people things like kelp and salted fish only added some variety to their diet, so in contrast, they preferred chicken eggs, duck eggs, and . . .
Nowadays, when a woman was pregnant with a child, she wanted to eat chicken eggs and duck eggs to supplement it. After she gave birth to the child, she wanted to eat eggs. During full moon, she handed out red eggs. Also, she had to give eggs on the child’s birthday to the guests coming to their door. Boiled eggs in sugar water was the most enthusiastic reception.
If you couldn’t eat kelp, you could go without it, but eggs, even duck eggs were a must!
When Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge came back, someone came to the Zhaos’ house to buy a basket of duck eggs, intending to make salted duck eggs—when going out to visit relatives or friends, salted duck eggs were just as good as gifts.
“Have the ducks at home started laying eggs?” Zhao Jinge asked with some surprise.
“Yeah!” Zhao Liu smiled happily. “It’s really good to raise ducks. You can start earning money so soon! Even if the ducks couldn’t be sold, the capital can be slowly earned back just by selling duck eggs.”
It actually took them a lot of effort to raise ducks, but both Zhao Liu or Zhao Fugui felt that it was not a problem to spend a little effort.
“The ducks must be sold,” Jiang Zhen said. “Tomorrow, we’ll go to the county town and sell all the roosters and ducks and buy some more chicks and ducklings in return.”
“No need to buy any more chicks and ducklings. We can just hatch them by ourselves,” Zhao Liu said hurriedly. Although they didn’t know how to do it before, they could just learn it.
“That’s too troublesome. Might as well just buy them directly,” Jiang Zhen vetoed Zhao Liu’s proposal.
Hatching a brood of chicken took days, and it would be too troublesome to deal with, so it would be better to directly buy them. Actually, chicks and ducklings were pretty cheap. As for these roosters and ducks that had been raised, he could take them and sell them to the Zheng family . . . Zheng Yi was going to the capital, so he would definitely not mind buying some roosters and ducks to either marinate them or just load them on the ship for the crew to eat.
He had previously taken two boats to travel around Hecheng County, which was considered a water county, so that he could from time to time buy food ashore, but if he went north, he would not be able to dock anywhere for days.
Early the next morning, Jiang Zhen and Zhao Fugui tied up the chicken and ducks they wanted to sell and carried them to the boat. In fact, the number of chicken and ducks they wanted to sell was not large, only twenty or thirty, but because they were living creatures, they were particularly noisy, as if the cabin was filled to the brim.
“Jiang Zhen, can this really be sold at once?” Zhao Fugui asked.
“Yes, I have connections,” Jiang Zhen said with a smile.
With only as many of them, if he were to give his men a share, it would all be gone in one fell swoop . . . But it was a job he had given Zhao Fugui and Zhao Liu. He could not take the chicken and ducks they had raised to give away.
When Butcher Jiang and Jiang Chengwen picked some salted fish and kelp and were walking along the river channel, they saw Jiang Zhen and Zhao Fugui and also heard the conversation between the two.
Butcher Jiang felt something unbearable fill his heart. It was clearly his son, but he ended up calling someone else “Father” so affectionately! Butcher Jiang stopped in his tracks and looked at Jiang Zhen, who ignored him and rowed towards the county town.
Selling chicken and ducks was just a small matter, so Jiang Zhen didn’t go to Young Master Zheng but found Steward Zheng and asked him if he wanted to buy chicken and ducks.
Of course, the Zheng family had a village in the countryside that would raise some chicken and ducks for them, but for such a large family, there were never too many chicken and ducks. Of course, at present, there were many chicken and ducks.
These chicken and ducks were sold out all at once because they were very fat, making Steward Zheng quite satisfied, so he directly told Zhao Fugui that the next time there were chicken and ducks for sale, they could be delivered directly to him. In addition, the steward of the Zheng family also wanted duck eggs. The Zheng family had a dedicated fleet of ships, and salted duck eggs were always one of the crew’s favorite foods.
It was the first time for Zhao Fugui to deal with such a decent man as Steward Zheng. He was so excited that he stumbled over his words, but then he discovered that Steward Zheng was easy to get along with, so he calmed down eventually.
Steward Zheng was indeed very approachable. He talked with Zhao Fugui with a smile on his face before politely sending Jiang Zhen and Zhao Fugui away. Then he turned around and told Zheng Yi about it.
“That Jiang Zhen should have no shortage of silver on his hands and a number of men under him. I didn’t expect that he would even be willing to sell chicken and ducks and get himself covered in duck feathers and chicken shit,” the steward said.
“Yeah . . . He is a man who knows how to be grateful.”
Zheng Yi smiled and became even more satisfied with Jiang Zhen. When the person you worked with knew how to repay kindness, you could rest assured. As for Jiang Zhen being unfilial to his own parents, well . . . after all, it was the Jiang family who had gone too far.
After Jiang Zhen and Zhao Fugui sold the chicken and ducks, they went to the docks to buy some more chicken and ducklings and also discussed with the people who sold the poultry to let them hatch some more and go to their house to sell them in a few days.
Jiang Zhen pondered. It should be no problem for Zhao Fugui, Zhao Liu, and Sun Xiaoshan to raise one hundred chicken and ducks.
“Father, when you raise chicken and ducks in the future, don’t do everything by yourselves. You should trade chicken and duck eggs for snails and small fish with the villagers.” Jiang Zhen talked with Zhao Fugui about business.
Zhao Fugui nodded again and again. Jiang Zhen’s brain was really good! Come to think of it, grain could also be exchanged for eggs . . .
“Also, don’t be reluctant to eat and drink. Two eggs a day per person is a must,” Jiang Zhen said again.
“Two eggs a day? How could we eat like that?” Zhao Fugui immediately frowned, but was so happy in his heart that he was already planning to share it with Zhao Liu when he came back. Instead of gossiping with the villagers, he chatted with Zhao Liu.
Edited by : Faro