The Farming Life
From that point on, I was living the life of a hunter while also spending my days on field work.
I was plowing the soil, spreading fertilizer, planting seeds and watering them. At first, it was very busy.
「Ohh, they sprouted! 」
When I exited my house in the morning to check up on the field, I spotted some small, green spots.
I rushed over in a hurry, and there I saw small seedlings that suddenly popped up from the soil.
I did not mind getting soil on my knees as I kneeled down to take a closer look at the seedlings that were poking out. There were just small buds a few centimeters long, but they were definitely there.
It meant so much to me to see the sprouts of life that I created myself. They really were growing up.
They were just the sprouts of plain radishes growing out of the soil, but they were strangely adorable.
I was a bit skeptical when I heard that it only takes around twenty or so days before they can be harvested, but if it only took two days for them to sprout, then it sounds about right. They will surely grow big very quickly at this rate.
I had nothing special to do outside that day, but I still came out of my house many times to take a look at the sprouts of the radishes.
Then, three days later, the sprouts of the radishes got even bigger.
「Let’s start thinning[i] them out」
I started to feel sad after hearing Flora say that I have to start thinning them out.
If we don’t do that, the radishes won’t grow well.
I understand the concept, but to put an end to the sprouts that I grew myself for the first time… It’s hard for me to get rid of them so early.
Flora seemed to understand what I’m feeling because she’s been there before. She lightly patted my back with a *pon* *pon* after three minutes and said to me with a smile, “Now then, go on”.
Her smile looked like a demon’s for a second, but it’s understandable since she’s been doing field work for so long she would have already thinned them out.
There was nothing much I could do since the other sprouts will have no hope if I don’t pull these ones out. I pulled them out as I told myself that.
I endured as I pulled out the sprouts that I dearly loved. It was the first time my heart got split in half even though it was just a plant that I pulled out.
After I cleared the area to a certain extent, the number of radish sprouts were reduced quite a bit.
Flora told me that the sprouts can be eaten, so that day we ate them together as a salad along with some grilled meat.
A week after we planted the seeds, the other vegetables’ sprouts all quickly appeared.
I took care of the field before I left for the mountains, and took care of the field again after I came back from the mountains. I was fine when there were only radishes, but now the workload has quadrupled and things have gotten quite busy around here.
Needless to say, their growth speed, classification, and things to watch for are all different so I have to be careful with each and every one of them. It’s quite a big deal.
Even though I think that Aisha and Ena are amazing people for being able to manage that big vineyard, they only grow one type of crop there. I don’t even understand why Aisha thinks that it’s such a hassle.
They aren’t going to the extent of taking care of the grapes one by one, so it shouldn’t be that tough.
I looked after the germinating vegetables while cutting the weeds and getting rid of the pests as the radishes grew up rapidly.
During that period of time, Flora often made time to come here. I was very happy for that because even though I got used to looking after the radishes, I still had no idea how to take care of the other vegetables such as the carrots, the green beans and the shails.
Of course, she was busy with a lot of things that she had to take care of herself, but she still showed up here almost every day.
Every time she showed up, she asked me, “Are the vegetables growing okay?” I bet she has also grown attached to the vegetables that we brought up together.
She had also become more of a talker than usual when it came to vegetables, and her expressions were richer.
I think I will eat the first wave of radishes that I will harvest together with Flora with just the two of us.
I’m looking forward to that time.
◆ ◆ ◆
On a rest day without hunting, Flora came from behind me while I was looking after the vegetables.
When I stood up and returned a greeting as usual, I saw Flora standing there with a happy look on her face.
She was wearing a white blouse and a deep-blue colored skirt. It was not much different compared to what she usually wore, except she had a basket in her hand and a straw hat on. Maybe it’s because the sun was getting stronger.
It became a natural thing for us to greet each other this way.
Perhaps she was doing that since I also called out to her from afar like this every time I paid a visit to Ergys-san’s place.
I noticed from before that she was sulking quite a bit when I just got up close to her and suddenly started talking. Apparently, you should call out to the other side who’s working on the field first regardless if they notice you or not, since they might not be aware of their surroundings.
I can sense someone coming by their footsteps even from a considerable distance, so I always felt a bit itchy and nervous when I waited for them to get closer. So, by doing so, it makes Flora happy and it makes me feel better as well.
It’s an exchange that I wasn’t familiar with, but it has become something that I also like to do now.
We met each other with a smile, then Flora came closer to me as usual.
「How are the vegetables doing? 」
「All good. The roots of the radishes have gotten bigger, so it’s almost time for harvesting soon, right? 」
When I squatted down and pointed at the big leaf of a radish by my feet, Flora also squatted down next to me to take a look.
Right as she did that, her sweet and soft fragrance drifted to me and made me a little flustered.
I also use the same soap that they use at Ergys-san’s house when I clean myself, but I don’t smell like this. Is this a fragrance exclusive to females?
「Oh, you’re right! At this rate, we can harvest this in two or three days」
Flora told me with an innocent smile while I was having those thoughts.
「That’s good to hear-」
I let out a smile after I was told that we could harvest this in two to three days.
There doesn’t seem to be any problems with the radishes, so we can just harvest them later even if we just leave them alone.
「…We can really harvest them after twenty days, huh」
It’s been twenty-two days after we planted the seeds. Even if we harvest them three days later, it’s just twenty-five days. It’s shocking to be able to harvest them in such a short time.
We planted the seeds according to Flora’s advice of planting them one week apart, so we can be harvesting next week as well. If we kept on doing it like this for a while, we will be able to eat as many radishes as we want.
「It depends on the season and the weather, but there are times when it would take even longer if there was a lack of care. It’s because you have been taking good care of them so they were able to grow into such healthy radishes in this short period of time」
「I see. Certainly, if there was continuous rainfall, attacks by pests, or if you were late in earthing up [ii]the crops, they would not be able to grow up well」
「It’s all thanks to you carefully teaching the inexperienced me, Flora. Thank you」
If she didn’t come here often to check up on me and teach me precisely what could happen, it would not have been possible for them to grow up safely to this point.
「N-no, it’s nothing much」
When I thanked her with a smile, Flora’s white cheeks turned red as she became flustered.
She wasn’t being shy towards me anymore, but it seems that her shy personality still remained inside.
「Ah, by the way, I’ve brought a lunch box today… H-how about… we have lunch together? 」
As I looked at Flora being all shy with a smile on my face, she stuck a basket out and glanced up at me.
True, the sun was in the middle of the sky, indicating it was noon. I guess she prepared the lunchbox for me as she knew that I would be taking care of the vegetables. I was just starting to get hungry.
「Sure, that would be great. What do you want to do? Eat this nice lunch box you prepared out here? 」
It’s a nicely made lunch box. It won’t be any fun to enjoy this inside the house, that’d be a waste.
When I asked her that, she replied to me with a smile,
「Let’s go to the fields of flowers! 」
[i] Thinning simply means removing some of the plants that are growing too close together, thinning seedlings is a common method that’s used to ensure the proper spacing of plants in your garden.
[ii] Earthing/Hilling is just pulling up some soil to cover the exposed root. If you don’t cover up the radish root you end up with green shoulders, a bitter taste and a vegetable that really isn’t as good as it could be. Or…you end up with no radish because it never really got seated in the soil properly.