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It really was Xu Zuocheng. Xu Zuocheng really couldn’t keep out of the way. Xu Zhao asked Da Zhuang’s father, “Isn’t he going outside to work? He’s not going anymore?”
Da Zhuang’s father replied, “They said his factory suddenly stopped hiring people, and they were only hiring at the end of the year. So he wants to build a greenhouse.”
Then what was Xu Zuocheng so smug about at the end of last year? Now he was shameless enough to build a greenhouse at home? Xu Zhao continued to ask, “Where is he going to build it?”
Da Zhuang’s father said, “In the field.”
“Isn’t there wheat growing in the field?
“He wants to harvest half a mu to build the greenhouse. He didn’t buy steel pipes but brought over bamboo from his mother-in-law’s place instead. He also borrowed money from his mother-in-law.”
He was actually causing such a mess!
Xu Zhao immediately said, “He’s crazy! He’s going to harvest the wheat now to plant vegetables? Has he lost his mind?”
Da Zhuang’s father said, “Who knows.”
Xu Zhao, “Let’s go take a look.”
Xu Zhao and Da Zhuang’s father went to South Bay Village’s west wheat field together. Wheat grew as far as the eye could see. There really were two or three people bent over cutting the wheat. And among them was who else but Xu Zuocheng?
Xu Zhao stood unmoving.
Da Zhuang’s father looked at Xu Zhao with doubt.
Xu Zhao asked, “Brother Li, do you think he would listen if I advised him not to build a greenhouse?”
Da Zhuang’s father said with absolute certainty, “No.”
Xu Zhao looked at Da Zhuang’s father and said, “If I truthfully told him that if he built a greenhouse now, he would make a loss, would he believe me?”
“He won’t,” Da Zhuang’s father still said with conviction.
Xu Zhao asked, “Then do I just look on helplessly as he loses money?”
Da Zhuang’s father asked instead, “Will he lose money?”
Xu Zhao nodded. “100%.”
“Seasonal reasons, technical reasons, marketing reasons.”
Greenhouse vegetables really weren’t easy to make money. The only reason Xu Zhao made money was because he had sales channels and he was able to match the time up perfectly with the new years. Without only his family selling vegetables, it raised the prices. All together, he only earned 5-6,000 Yuan. However, spring would arrive soon and all things would recover. If he wanted to earn as much money as they did during the new year, he couldn’t think about planting vegetables again.
“But you said he wouldn’t believe it.” Da Zhuang’s father looked at Xu Zhao and said, “He might even curse you and say that you can’t stand seeing him doing well.”
It was indeed like this. Xu Zhao could only say, “Fine, then forget it. We’re all adults. We must take responsibility for our own actions. However, I hope he won’t lose too much.”
Da Zhuang’s father nodded, then asked, “Then should we also start planting vegetables?”
Xu Zhao didn’t look at Xu Zuocheng again and instead turned to head back toward the village. He spoke as he walked, “Mn, we’ll start planting vegetables tomorrow. We’ll plant vegetables that have a short growth cycle, and before the end of March, we’ll sell all those vegetables.”
“Why are you in such a hurry?”
Xu Zhao explained, “Because after April, the seasonal vegetables will hit the market in mass quantities, and the competition will be fierce. We won’t be able to increase the price, and we won’t have any advantages either.
Da Zhuang’s father worriedly asked, “Then what should we do? Will we still be able to make money?”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Of course we will. We can sell fruits. Once the wheat has been harvested, we’ll expand the big greenhouse.”
“Okay.” Da Zhuang’s father trusted Xu Zhao and immediately agreed.
But Xu Zhao hesitated.
“What’s wrong?” Da Zhuang’s father asked.
Xu Zhao said, “I only know how to grow winter vegetables, not any from the other three seasons.”
Da Zhuang’s father was stunned and asked, “Aren’t they all planted the same way?”
Xu Zhao lightly shook his head. “Probably not. I’ll need to think about it.”
“Okay. You think. Take your time.”
Xu Zhao agreed. When they arrived at the village, he separated from Da Zhuang’s father. He thought of spring, summer, and fall vegetables as well as the fruit greenhouse as he walked home. Since he had already built the vegetable greenhouse, he didn’t want to give it up that easily. Moreover, the soil of South Bay Village was very suitable for growing vegetables and would give high yields. By applying commercial fertilizer, the yield became beyond his imagination.
However, how should he use the greenhouse during the spring, summer, and fall season? Xu Zhao really didn’t know. As he was thinking of this, he had already arrived at his house entrance. When he saw Mother Xu, he rushed forward to ask about Zhou Xiangqian’s matter. Mother Xu said she had already spoken with Da Zhuang’s grandma about it. It just so happens that Matchmaker Liu will be heading to the neighboring village tomorrow to act as a matchmaker. Da Zhuang’s grandma will reject this matter.”
Hearing this, Xu Zhao’s entire body relaxed. He could finally put this matter aside.
Mother Xu stopped worrying about this matter and changed the topic. “I heard Xu Zuocheng is building a greenhouse?”
Xu Zhao nodded.
Mother Xu angrily said, “Why can’t he let us live in peace?”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Don’t worry about him. We’ll do what we need to. Don’t be afraid of him.”
“Then when will we start planting vegetables?”
Xu Zhao replied, “Tomorrow. We’ll pull out the roots of the plants from before the new year, then turn over the soil once before starting to plant leafy vegetables.”
“What are leafy vegetables?”
“Crown daisy, cabbage, and other leafy kind vegetables.”
“Okay,” Mother Xu immediately replied.
After deciding with Mother Xu, he just about settled all the matters in his heart. Only then did Xu Zhao start feeling hungry and suddenly remembered that Xu Fan hadn’t had lunch either. He looked around and didn’t see Xu Fan. As he was about to go ask, he heard banging coming from the kitchen. Xu Zhao and Mother Xu quickly ran toward the kitchen.
When they arrived at the kitchen, they saw Xu Fan. His chubby small body was stepping on a small stool in front of the stove. His small meaty hand was lifting the lid of the pot and his other small meaty hand probed deep into the pot. Going deeper and even deeper. His small mouth muttered, “Nothing, how could there be nothing? Oh, my.”
“Xu Fan,” Xu Zhao called.
Xu Fan turned his head to look over.
Xu Zhao asked “What are you doing?”
Xu Fan seriously replied, “Daddy, my belly…. it’s hungry. I’m looking for food for it.”
He really knew how to speak… Xu Zhao’s lips twitched a few times.
Mother Xu also helplessly laughed. This little guy said many strange and unique things everyday.
However, Xu Fan really took out a cold steamed bun from the pot and happily laughed. However, Xu Zhao didn’t let Xu Fan eat it. Instead, he quickly made two bowls of pork and cabbage stuffed dumplings. Xu Fan happily ate with his mouth stuffed. Not long after they finished eating, it was time for dinner. However, this didn’t prevent Xu Fan from eating again.
This amount of food… Xu Zhao could only take Xu Fan for a walk. When they finished the walk, Xu Zhao took Xu Fan to wash up and listen to the radio. As they were listening, the phone rang. It was Zhou Xiangqian. He wanted to explain to Xu Zhao what he meant by what he said today. He kept insisting that after marrying Xu Zhao, they would live together with Xu Fan.
Words that were blurted out showed a person’s true thoughts. Therefore, regardless of what Zhou Xiangqian said, Xu Zhao didn’t trust that Zhou Xiangqian actually accepted Xu Fan in his heart. However, Zhou Xiangqian was unwilling to give up. He said he had to head to the city to work tomorrow. When he had another rest, he would return to find Xu Zhao and prove himself to Xu Zhao.
Without waiting for Xu Zhao to speak, Zhou Xiangqian hung up the phone.
Xu Zhao was feeling depressed when the phone rang again. Xu Zhao answered and said, “I already made myself very clear.”
“Made what very clear?” Cui Dingchen’s low voice came from the other side.
Xu Zhao was startled. “Youngest uncle!”
“It’s me. Who did you think I was?” Displeasure tinged Cui Dingchen’s voice.
“Ah, nobody,” Xu Zhao quickly said.
Cui Dingchen wasn’t fooled and gently asked, “Is your blind date pestering you?”
How amazing! He even knew this.
“He’s not pestering me exactly,” Xu Zhao finally explained. “I was just clarifying our relationship.”
“That we don’t have a relationship.”
“Oh.” Cui Dingchen’s voice softened.
Xu Zhao inexplicably felt a bit of pressure and asked, “Youngest uncle, why did you call?”
“No reason? Then why did you call?” Xu Zhao didn’t understand and asked.
“Ahem.” Cui Dingchen coughed from the other side of the line.
Xu Zhao hurriedly asked, “Youngest uncle, did you catch a cold?”
Cui Dingchen’s tongue was a bit tied. “I-I don’t. I… Do you remember that you still owe me a meal?”
“Mn, it’s good that you remember. I’ll be in the county town for now, ahem. If there’s time, you should treat me to a meal.”
“Sure.” Xu Zhao had always wanted to treat Cui Dingchen to a meal, but Cui Dingchen was too busy and never had time. It was rare for Cui Dingchen to have time so Xu Zhao happily asked, “Youngest uncle, what do you want to eat? I’ll treat you.”
“What do you like to eat?” Cui Dingchen’s tone suddenly became softer as he asked.
Xu Zhao didn’t notice any difference in Cui Dingchen’s tone and said with a laugh, “I’m not picky.”
“What’s your favorite thing to eat?” Cui Dingchen asked.
“My favorite things are fish, fried potato chips, and spare rib soup.”
“What a coincidence, me too,” Cui Dingchen said in a low tone.
Xu Zhao was surprised and asked, “Youngest uncle, you and I have the same tastes.”
Xu Zhao really never realized that he and Cui Dingchen had the same tastes and said, “That’s good. I’ll treat you to these later.”
After agreeing on the meal, Xu Zhao originally wanted to hang up the phone when he suddenly thought of matters related to the greenhouse. He then modestly asked, “Youngest uncle, have you visited many places?”
Cui Dingchen replied truthfully, “Mn. I’ve been to all of the larger cities in the country. I’ve also been to many of the smaller cities. Why?”
Xu Zhao quickly asked, “Then Youngest uncle, do you know where in the world has the best greenhouses in the country? I’d like to know.”
“You want to learn from them?” Cui Dingchen quickly asked back.
It was easy to talk with Cui Dingchen. He didn’t have to explain too much, and he was open-minded. Cui Dingchen knew what Xu Zhao was going to say and do next. Xu Zhao laughed and replied, “Mn. I know more about planting winter vegetables in the greenhouse. Mainly vegetables that do well in greenhouses. But I don’t know too much about spring, summer, and fall seasons vegetables. Moreover, I also want to learn more about different kinds of management styles, sales models, and other advanced topics.”
“Mn, that’s a good idea. Go to the imperial capital then. The imperial capital’s four seasons are similar to ours. Moreover, they have the most advanced greenhouses in the country. As for the other aspects, they can’t compare to you.”
“That’s what I was thinking as well.” Before the new year, Xu Zhao had planned to visit the imperial capital, but he wasn’t quite sure. Now hearing Cui Dingchen say this, Xu Zhao immediately decided and said, “That’s good. I’ll visit the imperial capital in a couple days.”
“I’ll go too,” Cui Dingchen added.”
Xu Zhao curiously asked, “You’re going too?”
Cui Dingchen replied, “Mn, ahem, I actually need to anyway. And since the timing of our visits match, we should go together.”
Cui Dingchen’s tone was normal as he said, “Then tell me when you decide on the date. I’ll see if there’s time.”
Xu Zhao agreed. “Okay. I need to head to the county town on the 10th to sell garlic heads. After selling them all, I’ll let you know. Will we have to take the train?”
“Yes, we need to buy the tickets in advance,” Cui Dingchen said.
“Then I’ll contact you again.”
Before hanging up, Xu Zhao said another sentence, “Youngest uncle, I think you should drink more water or else you’ll catch a cold. Look how many times you coughed in the last few minutes. You should pay attention to your health. The season’s are changing so don’t catch a cold.”
“Okay, I know. I’ll pay attention. Thank you for your concern.”
Xu Zhao finally made a sound of reply, then hung up the phone.
On the other side, Cui Dingchen was in the county town in his own home, clutching the phone. He leisurely leaned back on the sofa. Sweetness slowly invaded his heart, lingering in his innermost parts. The corners of his mouth couldn’t help but raise, and he involuntarily “coughed” again and again.
He didn’t have a cold.