Chapter 173 – Composting
It was only after seven or eight days that they finally finished digging the trenches in the field.
During this period, everyone was exhausted. They wielded hoes day in and day out, and their shoulders and arms hardly felt like their own anymore. Lu Xia felt that each of the educated youths had aged considerably.
However, Cheng Yujiao managed to escape this labor due to her broken leg. She felt relieved and particularly delighted when she saw Su Man looking miserable every day.
Since it was not yet time to gather pigweed, Su Man couldn’t find lighter work and had to do the same labor as everyone else, undoubtedly causing fatigue.
Yet, being the female lead, she persisted despite exhaustion, and although she appeared somewhat disheveled, it created a contrast with her previous demeanor and added a sense of weak beauty to her.
This made Gu Xiangnan feel somewhat distressed, and he often finished his own tasks before coming to help her.
Of course, Cheng Yujiao was unaware of all these matters at the educated youth spot, and no one else took the initiative to inform her.
On that day, after finishing work, Lu Xia didn’t go to pick wild vegetables as usual. They had already dug up most of the wild vegetables in the fields, and the remaining ones were almost past their prime. The wild vegetables on the mountainside were also about to sprout, but for now, they still had to work and couldn’t go up the mountain. They had to wait for the holidays to do that.
After finishing digging the trenches, the next day they started composting. Lu Xia and the others were not assigned to the manure composting area but were tasked with processing the corn roots.
First, they broke up these roots and then mixed them with some rotten mud from the river, dried leaves from the mountain, and soft soil with insects. After adding some water, they piled it all together to ferment for several days before spreading it on the ground, which would serve as fertilizer.
It was said that these roots used to be saved for firewood, but later, when the village’s soil fertility became insufficient, they began using them as fertilizer.
Initially, they would directly burn the roots into ashes and spread them, which had an effect too. However, wood ash couldn’t be used together with the farmyard manure, so they only used it once every other year.
This year, they decided to ferment the roots and then add them to the manure, hoping it would make the soil even more fertile.
However, Lu Xia found this process somewhat unnecessary. She thought it would be better not to dig up the roots in the first place, as they were already in the soil. Moreover, she didn’t understand these principles; she just did what others asked her to do.
After completing these tasks, it was time for the holiday.
On the holiday, Jiang Junmo originally planned to go to the town to buy some meat. They still had some meat tickets sent by his family, and they hadn’t eaten meat during this period. He was worried that Lu Xia would get tired after working so hard, so he wanted to buy some meat to treat her.
However, Lu Xia had already promised Sun Shengnan that she would go up the mountain with them.
Knowing that the mountains were dangerous, Jiang Junmo was unwilling to let her go alone, so he had to give up his initial plan and decided to follow them.
But when they were about to set off, he realized that he wasn’t the only man going. Those who had nothing to do at the educated youth spot also joined them.
On the way up the mountain, Zhao Hua sighed, “We rely on this time of the year for our livelihood. Hopefully, we can gather more this year and dry more mountain goods for winter.”
Others chimed in, “Yes, that way, we’ll have enough to eat during the winter.”
“I need to send more home this year. My family loves this stuff.”
“So does mine. Unfortunately, they can’t have it fresh, but the dried ones are good too.”
“I wonder if the cooperative will raise the purchase price this year. If it goes up, I’ll eat less and sell more to make some money.”
“It’s probably going to be similar to last year.”
“Well, that’s fine too.”
Chapter 174 – Picking Wild Vegetables on the Mountain
Upon hearing their words, Lu Xia finally understood why everyone had gone up the mountain. It turned out to be a rare and legitimate opportunity to earn money within the year!
The older educated youths were eager to get started, while the new ones were also eager to try. However, when they saw the mountains full of village people, their enthusiasm waned significantly.
There was just not enough to go around.
Nevertheless, nobody wanted to give up. They immediately scattered and went in search of places with fewer people.
With many locals on the mountain at the moment, there was no need to worry too much about danger; they just needed to watch out for snakes and insects.
However, Lu Xia didn’t immediately disperse like the others. Mainly because she and Jiang Junmo weren’t familiar with what wild vegetables looked like, they had to observe others first.
Fortunately, Lu Xia was well-liked, and when she encountered some villagers, she observed the wild vegetables they had picked, quickly becoming familiar with the appearance of several types of wild vegetables.
Then, she grabbed Jiang Junmo and headed towards a less crowded area.
In fact, the mountain had gradually turned green by now and there were indeed many types of edible wild vegetables.
It felt like anything green could be eaten.
After hearing about so many types, Lu Xia became excited and started to act with Jiang Junmo!
The path on the mountain was not easy to walk, especially when searching for wild vegetables among the trees. There were no proper paths, and there were many rocks and moss.
The two stumbled and walked for quite a while, seeing many plants that looked similar, but upon closer inspection, they were not the right ones.
Lu Xia couldn’t help but feel a little disheartened. Had they not encountered them yet?
Suddenly, Jiang Junmo pulled her and asked, “Is that one?”
Lu Xia followed his gaze and immediately perked up, “Looks quite similar!”
The two cautiously approached. It was a patch of green on the ground that resembled both monkey leg vegetables and eagle ferns.
Lu Xia crouched down to take a closer look, “It seems to be thicker than monkey legs and has more hair.”
Jiang Junmo nodded, “Should we pick it?”
After considering for a moment, Lu Xia nodded, “Let’s pick it, regardless of whether it is or not. We’ll pick it first, just in case it’s edible!”
So the two of them got to work and picked quite a few. Not to mention, these plants would likely grow back in a few days if they left the roots.
Lu Xia was somewhat happy; regardless of whether they had found the right ones or not, at least they had some gains.
Afterward, it seemed like a switch had been turned on, and they quickly found eagle ferns, monkey legs, and even a few of the most expensive wild thorns that the older educated youths had talked about.
However, the wild thorns were not easy to pick. They grew on bushes full of thorns, and one could easily get pricked while picking them.
Jiang Junmo didn’t dare let Lu Xia pick them, so he went to pick them himself. Although he was careful, he still got pricked several times.
Seeing that it was almost noon, the two decided to head back.
As they descended the mountain, they encountered other educated youths, and everyone had some gains.
Su Man had the most; her bamboo basket was full. However, everyone knew that she had good luck and had grown used to it.
Unexpectedly, Lu Xia and Jiang Junmo had also picked quite a lot. Although their baskets weren’t full, they were getting there.
This made others envious.
Seeing their expressions, Lu Xia explained, “We both don’t know much, so we picked anything that looked similar. We don’t know if they are edible or not.”
Sun Shengnan hurriedly said, “Then you should take them out and show us. You can’t just eat them randomly; it wouldn’t be good if you got poisoned.”
Lu Xia didn’t hesitate and took out the ones they were uncertain about.
Others came over to help take a look.
Monkey Leg Vegetables
Eagle Ferns or Common Bracken