Chapter 158: Digging Stumps (3)

TN: For a super dangerous forest, there has been a surprising lack of tigers.

Lian Fang Zhou thought for a moment and the smiled.
“They will definitely survive if we plant them now, there should be no problem with the stumps and leaves.
When we water and fertilize them in the spring, we will be able to grow fruit soon!”

It was impossible to water them now.
At night, the temperature dropped and the water in the soil would freeze and damage the roots.

Lian Ze nodded.
“Oh,” he said, “where will we plant them?”

Lian Fang Zhou looked at the other two with a smile.
“I plan on planting almost all of the persimmon trees on Xiaohuaguo Mountain in the future.
What do you think? Should we plant the other fruit trees in between the persimmons or should we plant them separately?”

Lian Ze thought that it was okay to plant them together.
Thinking, Ah Jian smiled and asked, “Didn’t you want to build a wooden house on the top of the mountain? I think we should plant them along the edge of the house so that they’ll bloom beautifully when they are mature!”

“I think what Ah Jian said is good!” Lian Ze smiled, imagining the flowers blooming, fascinated.

“I feel so too!” Lian Fang Zhou nodded, feeling good.

The three of them traveled to the top of the mountain.

Since the pits had already been dug before, planting the stumps went very quickly.

One person loosened the soil at the bottom of the pit slightly, mashing it and mixing it, while another person placed the fruit tree inside and held it carefully.
The third person filled the hole with soil and stepped on the surface to make the soil firmer.

The three of them had a tacit understanding and each other worked diligently, finishing the fruit trees in half an hour.

Looking at the long row of wooden poles, half a person tall and bare, Lian Fang Zhou clapped her hands and smiled with contentment.
“Wait until spring, it won’t look like this at all!”

The grafting of wild rootstocks and home-grown branches would be a strong combination and a golden partnership.
When the spring breeze blew and the warm sun shone, the soft branches and tender leaves would grow towards the sky!

Lian Ze was full of longing.
He smiled and said, “That is the real Huagauo Mountain*!”

“Good job!” The three of them smiled and headed home.

The golden pheasant naturally became a traditional Chinese meal that night.

Third Aunt had listened to Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che’s report and had boiled a pot of water in advance, waiting for them to bring the golden pheasant back.

She also soaked a few handfuls of mushrooms to stew with the meat.

Seeing them return, Third Aunt smiled and greeted them.
First she praised Lian Ze for his excellent hunting and then took the pheasant, groaning to Lian Fang Zhou.
“You are too much! Why didn’t you let them bring this back first? If you had brought it earlier, it would already be simmering in the pot and we could eat it now!”

“Third Aunt,” Lian Fang Zhou smiled and whispered, “I didn’t want people to know! Qing’er and Che’er are still young, what if someone had seen them telling you about it?”

The fact that they went to Xianteng Mountain to pick mushrooms had always been a secret, they didn’t want the villagers to know about it.

Third Aunt suddenly understood.
“Of course!” As she spoke, she plucked the golden pheasant and tidied it up while Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che discussed what they wanted to use the feathers for.

Lian Ze sat in the yard with a wet towel and carefully wiped the bamboo bow in his hand.
Ah Jian sat beside him without speaking, nodding softly from time to time.

Lian Fang Zhou smiled silently and walked away.

The next day, they rushed to Xianteng Mountain again.

They wanted to save a little more time for hunting today and were optimistic about the fruit trees from yesterday, so the digging went very fast.

Everyone was very motivated and soon they had dug nearly 60 trees.
They looked at Ah Jian with bright eyes.

Ah Jian chose the path into the mountain.

Who could say why, but with Ah Jian, the children and even Lian Fang, all felt particularly safe and at ease.

They didn’t bother to worry or think too hard, leaving the decisions completely up to Ah Jian.

If Ah Jian said yes, it was good.

Ah Jian decided on a direction and the group walked into the mountain, talking and laughing while they scanned for prey.

The forest was very bleak at this time of year, with only a few hardy birds chirping from branch to branch.
They were only small birds though.
Not to mention their flexibility, even if they were shot down, there would only be enough meat for a bite or two.

Just when they were starting to feel a little frustrated, their luck started to improve.
Pheasants and hares appeared in their field of vision, one after another.
After a while, Lian Ze had shot two pheasants and Ah Jian and killed two fat grey hares.

They were not the same as Sun Zhang Xing, who depended on hunting for a living.
Hunting this much was already a big gain.
Everyone was satisfied and enthusiastically discussed whether they should braise the meat, stew it, or make a stir-fry.

“It’s almost time, let’s head out from here.
This side should be the valley, if we walk out of it, we will get out.
Let’s go!” Ah Jian said, pointing to the left.

Lian Fang Zhou and the others nodded, smiling, and walked behind him in file.

As they walked, Lian Fang Zhou casually glanced up at the tree in front of them and her eyes lit up.
She pointed to the trunk of a maple tree with surprise and joy, saying, “Look! Bees! There are bees!”

Everyone looked up and sure enough, about two meters above the ground, the trunk was densely covered with bees.
It was like a dark, semi-circular ball about a forearm in length.

“Bees! Will they sting?” Lian Fang Qing’s face turned white and she subconsciously took two steps back.

“Don’t be afraid,” Lian Fang Zhou hurriedly comforted her.
“Bees are afraid of cold weather, they won’t sting you.”

Lian Che suddenly wondered: “Since they are afraid of the cold, why don’t they go back to their den?”

Because they were driven out! To point it simply, the colonies had separated.
Generally speaking, bee colonies lived separately in spring but would be forced to group in winter.
In the previous winter, Lian Fang Zhou had seen it while investigating rural areas.*

The bees forced to leave the hive in the winter had no shelter from the wind and rain, no shelter from the cold, and nothing to eat.
Without an artificial food source, there was only one end.

But Lian Fang Zhou didn’t want to spend a lot of time explaining this, so she shook her head and said, “I don’t know either.
However, I was thinking about raising a few boxed of bees.
It would be a good thing!”

“Raise bees? We can have honey in the future?” Lian Fang Qing’s eyes lit up.

“Yes,” Lian Fang Zhou nodded, “we can grow them on Xiaohauguo Mountain! When our fruit trees bloom, the bees can collect the pollen!”

Originally, Lian Fang Zhou had planned to raise bees to pollinate the fruit trees.

Whether the Lin Family Orchard pollinated artificially, Lian Fang Zhou did not know— probably not.

This was an era that depended on heaven for food! She didn’t see a beehive near their orchard or house so they probably did not keep bees.

TN: *Xiaohuaguo meants ‘little fruit flower’.

** I have no idea what the author is talking about, I have never heard of bees kicking colony members out in winter.
The closest I could find on google was drones being forced out if a hive is not doing well but drones are male and they would not be good for starting a new hive.
I’m not sure how she would even start a hive without a queen.
Do any of you know more about bees and can answer this? I’d love to know!

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