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Xu Zhao immediately got off the bicycle, helping Xu Fan off and placing him on flat ground. Once he parked the bicycle, he walked toward Cui Dingchen and called, “Youngest uncle.”
Cui Dingchen returned to his senses, and with a bright and calm appearance, said, “You guys are here.”
“Mn. Good morning, Youngest uncle,” Xu Zhao smiled and greeted.
“Morning.” Cui Dingchen looked Xu Zhao up and down, then asked, “New clothes?”
“Mn. I bought them the day before yesterday,” Xu Zhao replied a bit shyly.
“Not bad. You look good.”
“Thank you for the compliment, Youngest uncle. Here.” Xu Zhao used both his hands to hand over the square checkered handkerchief.
Cui Dingchen reached out to accept it.
“I’m sorry that I’m only returning it to you now,” Xu Zhao said.
“It’s fine,” Cui Dingchen calmly said.
Xu Zhao slightly smiled, then turned to walk toward Xu Fan and Mother Xu, completely not noticing the subtle changes in Cui Dingchen. He was completely ignorant of the fact that his clothes had strangely made Cui Dingchen lose his mind. Instead, he focused his entire attention on Xu Fan’s body. Xu Fan was eyeing the Cui family’s breakfast again as he padded his small legs to run behind Mother Cui.
Mother Cui liked Xu Fan and insisted on having Xu Fan stay and eat breakfast again.
That was correct. To eat breakfast again.
Xu Fan wasn’t polite and sat down in front of Mother Cui to eat. Mother Cui thought that Xu Zhao definitely came to the county town for something, so she urged Xu Zhao to quickly take care of the matter while she fed Xu Fan.
and so, Xu Zhao left Xu Fan at the Cui residence as he rode his bicycle away. He went to different streets inside the county town to ask about the prices of materials used for greenhouses. For example, bamboo poles, plastic film, nylon rope, iron wire, straw coverings, and other things to create a budget for all the various things needed for the greenhouse.
After jotting down all the prices in his little notebook, he returned to East Street and saw Cui Qingfeng sitting inside Fan’s Little Shop listening to the radio as he sold items. He was listening to <Water Margin>.
Xu Zhao rode in front of the store and asked, “Qingfeng, where’s Xu Fan?”
“Ah, Xu Zhao, you’re back. Sanwa’s at my home. My youngest uncle is watching him,” Cui Qingfeng said.
“Youngest uncle is watching him?” Xu Zhao asked in surprise.
“Mm. Youngest uncle is watching him.”
Xu Zhao couldn’t believe that Cui Dingchen would watch a child. He immediately biked back to the Cui residence. When he entered the courtyard, he saw Cui Dingchen and Xu Fan.
Sure enough, Cui Dingchen wouldn’t watch children.
In the courtyard, Xu Fan was happily playing with his big toy car, water gun, and small toy cars by himself on the concrete ground. “Bang! Bang! Pow! Pow! Boom! Boom!” came nonstop from his looks.
And not far away, Cui Dingchen had a book in his hands as he quietly read. It didn’t matter how much commotion Xu Fan made, Cui Dingchen could still comfortably read. The two didn’t pay attention to each other. T-t-this was actually quite harmonious.
Well, up until Xu Zhao arrived—
“Daddy!” Xu Fan immediately shouted very happily.
Cui Dingchen instantly raised his eyes to look at Xu Zhao.
“Daddy!” Xu Fan wrapped one arm around his big toy car, while the other held his small toy cars and water gun as he ran to Xu Zhao, “Daddy! Daddy!”
Xu Zhao smiled and picked up Xu Fan.
“Daddy, look! Small car! Water gun!” Xu Fan quickly said.
“Where did you get them?” Xu Zhao asked.
“Second Grandpa Cui gave them to me.”
“Did you thank Second Grandpa Cui?”
“Yes.” Xu Fan was currently being taught how to be polite.
“Good boy. Return the small car and water gun to Second Grandpa Cui. We’re going home.”
“Second Grandpa Cui s-said that they were mine,” Xu Fan hugged the toys tightly and replied.
Xu Zhao looked up to Cui Dingchen.
“Mn, it’s for him. In any case, no one at home wants them,” Cui Dingchen said.
Xu Zhao unceremoniously accepted and said, “Thank you, Youngest uncle. I’ll let you get back to work, we’ll take our leave.”
Xu Zhao carried Xu Fan and turned to leave.
Cui Dingchen stood in place, and he was immediately unable to read the book in his hands anymore. At that moment, Mother Cui returned from grocery shopping and asked, “Dingchen, why haven’t you gone out to take care of your business?”
“Qingfeng went to watch the shop, and I was just helping them watch Xu Fan,” Cui Dingchen replied.
“Ah, Xu Fan left already?” Mother Cui said.
“Mn. Xu Zhao came to pick him up.”
“Xu Zhao really has it hard.” Mother Cui sighed, then said, “His parents are old, and his dad even had a stroke, so they can’t help him up. He has to bring up the child all alone. It must’ve been really hard. And even though it’s difficult, the father and son are still particularly warm and kind. It’s a rare sight and a bit heart-wrenching. Oh, right. Qingfeng said Xu Zhao wanted to build a greenhouse to plant vegetables or something?”
“A greenhouse?” Cui Dingchen asked in shock. Xu Zhao hadn’t mentioned it to him.
“Yes, he said he wanted to sell vegetables in the future. Planting vegetables is also very tiring. I don’t hope for Qingfeng to help since his ability is only like that. In the future, help that pair of father and son if you can. If you added up the age of the father and son together, they still wouldn’t be as old as you. It’s really pitiful.”
If you added up the age of the father and son together, they still wouldn’t be as old as you—
Why did this sentence sound so awkward?
Was he that old? He was only 28 years old.
Fine, what his sister-in-law said was the truth, and Cui Dingchen was unable to deny it. Instead, he thought about the matter of Xu Zhao wanting to build a greenhouse to plant vegetables. Xu Zhao actually wanted to plant greenhouse vegetables—It really was a good idea.
While Cui Dingchen was thinking about the greenhouse vegetables, Xu Zhao was also thinking about the greenhouse vegetables. While he carried Xu Fan on his bike, he planned how to build the greenhouse.
However, he wasn’t able to concentrate for long before he was interrupted by Xu Fan. Xu Fan’s small mouth moved nonstop as he talked about how he had more small cars and more water guns now, and how happy he was, causing Xu Zhao to be unable to focus.
As soon as they got home, Xu Fan carried his toy car again and ran to Da Zhuang’s house, showing off to Da Zhuang. After showing off for a bit, he fought with Da Zhuang, and the two children earth-shatteringly cried at Da Zhuang’s house. The adults were already used to it and didn’t really try to soothe them. Not long later, the two children automatically started playing together again, making Xu Zhao feel helpless.
He (XZ) then wholeheartedly threw himself into his greenhouse vegetables project. He relied on his memories to search for problems related to greenhouses. Xu Zhao also asked numerous vegetable related questions to Mother and Father Xu. He wrote down all the problems in his little notebook, and before he was able to organize them, it was time to plant wheat.
In this era, there actually already were machines that could help cultivate the land. However, they hadn’t been widespread in the poor South Bay Village yet. Therefore, they had to rely on manpower.
As soon as the dew settled, the villagers of South Bay Village began their busy day. They first need to spread fertilizer. What they used wasn’t commercialized fertilizer, but manure. Next, they had to plow the land to stir up the land to facilitate the growth of crops. And finally, they would use manpower or borrow other family’s oxen to pull the planter to plant the little wheat grains.
The three steps sound easy, but they were very strenuous. Especially once dirt got stuck in the planter, it was very hard to pull.
Father Xu couldn’t do heavy work now, so planting wheat was entirely up to Xu Zhao and Mother Xu. Fortunately, they only had to plant two mus of land of wheat. Therefore, Xu Zhao and Mother Xu would still be able to handle it. Every morning as soon as they opened their eyes, they would carry the planter and rope to the fields.
In order to let Mother Xu take it easy, Xu Zhao paid money to rent another family’s ox to pull the planter. This way, he and Mother Xu didn’t need to work so hard.
Meanwhile, Father Xu stayed at home to cook, wash the clothes, as well as bring Xu Fan to deliver water to the fields.
Xu Fan was really happy recently. He would happily run all across the fields everyday. He ran so much that his body became very strong. He was able to eat a lot, drink a lot, and sleep a lot. It was just that he didn’t grow any taller. This made Xu Zhao especially worried. Was he not going to grow anymore? Or perhaps it was like Mother Cui had said, and he was just a late bloomer like Cui Dingchen.
Xu Zhao still couldn’t help but sigh. “Xu Fan, why aren’t you growing taller?”
Xu Fan was at the side and heard. He thought for a while before saying, “Daddy, Da Zhuang is as tall as me. Da Zhuang is also older than me.”
“He’s only three days older than you,” Xu Zhao said.
“He has to call me big brother Fan,” Xu Fan said.
“…” How the heck did that make sense? Xu Zhao’s brain hurt a bit, and he didn’t pay attention to Xu Fan anymore. After taking a drink of water, he walked toward the fields.
“Daddy!” Xu Fan called.
“What is it?” Xu Zhao replied without turning his head.
“When are we going home?” Xu Fan shouted.
“Soon. I’m almost done with work,” Xu Zhao replied.
“I’m hungry. Tell the ox to hurry up, or I might eat him.”
Xu Zhao supported the planter as he walked forward, planting the last bit of wheat. Once it was finally time to stop for the day, he saw the relieved expressions of Mother and Father Xu, and he also breathed a sigh of relief. He spread open his hands, and saw that both his palms were full of blisters. In fact, although he’d been busy since arriving here, he had used his brain more than his body. He hadn’t experienced true hard work yet. And especially when supporting the planter, he needed a lot of strength.
However, it still wasn’t anything much. It was a bit painful, but it wasn’t a huge hindrance. He lifted the tools and went home with Mother and Father Xu and Xu Fan. And now, he could finally completely focus on the matter of the greenhouse vegetables. Once they returned home, Xu Zhao didn’t rest. He grabbed the tape measure and left for Da Zhuang’s house since the greenhouse would be built close to Da Zhuang’s house, and it would be close to his new tiled house.
Xu Zhao walked ahead.
Xu Fan carried the toy car and padded along behind him. While walking, they met Uncle Zhang, who had the telephone installed in his house. Xu Zhao hadn’t spoken up yet when Xu Fan enthusiastically greeted, his milky voice bright as he said, “Grandpa Zhang, Grandpa Zhang. Where are you going?”
Uncle Zhang also greeted Xu Fan, “Ah, it’s Sanwa. I’m looking for my family’s duck.”
“Looking for duck,” Xu Fan repeated.
“That’s right. Sanwa, where are you going?” Uncle Zhang asked.
“I-I-I’m going to play,” Xu Fan replied.
“Where are you going to play?”
“Da Zhuang’s house.”
Seeing how well the little mouth spoke, Uncle Zhang laughed at what he heard.
Xu Zhao also said a few sentences to Uncle Zhang. He turned about to look at Xu Fan, laughter hidden in his eyes. When he retrieved his gaze, he caught the sight of a bicycle on the road. He took a closer look and saw that it was actually Cui Dingchen riding the bicycle while carrying Cui Qingfeng.
“Xu Zhao! Xu Zhao!” Cui Qingfeng happily waved at Xu Zhao.
Seeing the two, Xu Zhao couldn’t help but reveal a warm smile.
Cui Qingfeng jumped off the bicycle and ran to Xu Zhao side before saying, “Xu Zhao, I dragged my youngest uncle here to help you plant wheat.”
“You guys came just in time,” Xu Zhao teased. “Our family just finished planting the wheat.”
“You finished? So quickly?” Cui Qingfeng asked in surprise.
“Mn. We rented a family’s ox. We just finished 30 minutes ago.”
Cui Qingfeng made a sound of acknowledgment, then asked, “Then where are you heading to now?”
Xu Zhao raised the tape measure in his hand and said, “I’m going to measure the land for the greenhouse.”
“Let’s go together.”
“Okay, let’s go.”
Xu Zhao was about to call for Xu Fan when he saw Xu Fan circling Cui Dingchen, saying he wanted to ride the bicycle. Xu Fan really was obsessed with vehicles. It didn’t matter if it was an ox card, bicycle, or compact car. As long as it was a vehicle, he would be moved and would want to sit on it. He wanted to sit on all of them and Xu Zhao couldn’t persuade him otherwise.
There was no other way. Xu Zhaocould only stretch out his arm and say, “Come here. Daddy will carry you, okay?”
Xu Fan thought about it. Which was better, the bicycle or his Daddy? Did he even need to think about it? Of course his daddy was better. And so, Xu Fan didn’t think about riding the bicycle anymore and quickly ran to be carried by Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao picked up Xu Fan and led Cui Dingchen and Cui Qingfeng to the greenhouse land. In fact, it was just a piece of vacant land that had been plowed and fertilized with manure. Nothing had been planted there yet. Xu Zhao pulled Cui Dingchen and used the tape measure to measure out a piece of land one mu wide and one mu long. After putting away the tape measure, Xu Zhao sat on a stool on the ground and began writing down data.
Cui Dingchen walked over, and after taking a look, his gaze landed on Xu Zhao’s hand.
Xu Zhao wasn’t paying attention to his hand when Cui Dingchen grabbed it. The pen in Xu Zhao’s hand immediately fell down.
I don’t convert mu since online has different answers. But some sites say 2 mus of land is around 0.3 acres of land.