On the other end, Xue TingRang waited for a while, but instead of seeing her approaching, he heard the sound of the abacus beads and felt aggrieved in his heart.
He wanted to call her but didn't have the face, so he rubbed her feet with his calf and nudged her over and over with hatred.
"Don't bother me. Wait until I finish this." She swept him with her leg with disgust, and Xue TingRang's resentment grew even greater. Just as he was about to say something, there was a sound of talking outside, and then a familiar voice rang loudly. It was Mao Badou.
The two of them got off the kang hurriedly, put on thick clothes again, and then lifted the cotton curtain to go out.
There was a mule cart parked in front of the courtyard. Not only Mao Badou but also Li Datian and Chen Jian came.
The three of them wore thick cotton-padded jackets and cotton caps on their heads. Their cheeks were red from the cold, and their mouths breathed white gas.
Xue Qinghuai, who was leaning on the wooden ladder and watching the third brother shoveling snow on the roof, said: "Tingzi, they said it was your classmate."
"Fourth uncle. They are my classmates." Xue TingRang replied, and then said to the three of them: "Why are you here? How did you find me?"
Zhao'er greeted them from the side: "Quickly come and sit. Come in and talk."
Li Datian went and drove the mule cart in. At this time, Xue Qingbai also got off the ladder, and Xue Qinghuai helped untie the mule. Then one person pulled the cart aside, and the other led the mule into the barn.
It's freezing cold today, and the livestock cannot be left out anymore.
Li Datian hurriedly thanked him, and then walked into the house with everyone.
Mao Badou smiled and said, "Your home belongs to Yuqing Village, and there is a road near me. That’s why I found you. I was too bored in the house, so I ran to look for Datian, and then took Datian to look for Ah Jian. I came to you last."
The cotton curtain hanging in front of the door was lifted, and a rush of heat rushed toward his face.
Mao Badou stomped his feet several times and stomped off the snow on his feet before he said, "Hey, this place is so warm." As he said this, he leaned towards the brazier.
Several people sat in a group in front of the brazier. Mao Badou was still complimenting that the brazier was so good, and he said that he would make one at home when he went back.
Li Datian scoffed at him, saying that he was fooling around. The town was different from the countryside. There were very few kangs burning. Most of them burned charcoal and used the brazier. Was he not afraid of burning the house?
When talking about this, Mao Badou was in bitter tears. Speaking of the comfort in winter, the town is really not comparable to the countryside. The countryside is full of firewood. From the beginning of autumn, the villagers start to collect firewood for the winter, and in winter they keep the kang warm at home.
But it’s not the same in town because the place is small and it’s inconvenient to burn wood. Don't look at how Mao Badou is fat, but he is just a bit fat, and his fat is neither heat-resistant nor cold-resistant. When it snows outside, he curls up on the couch and can't get off. Because he got bored from lying on the couch and spending a long time at home, he decided to come to the countryside to play.
"The fire pit in your house is really big, and your dog is fat." The teenager from town came to the countryside for the first time and felt that everything was so novel. He praised Heizi so much that even the dog looked at him, thinking that this man was really ignorant even though he is a town resident.
"After you have dried your trousers, you can go to the kang since the kang is warm."
"Zhao'er Jie is beautiful and hardworking, she is simply a flower in our Huyang Township." Mao Badou said sweetly.
Li Datian exposed him: "You have said this to Yanran Jie."
"Really?" Mao Badou looked shocked: "You must have remembered wrong."
Even if Xue TingRang discredited him more than once, Zhao'er still felt that Mao Badou was very likable. She smiled and said: "I bought a lamb before it snowed at home, and the meat was frozen outside. Yesterday I chopped a piece of it to defrost. It just so happened that you came, so I will make you a lamb stew at noon."
"Zhao'er Jie is so good. I knew that there would be delicious foods here."
This is the reason why the four of them would rather go so far just to come to Xue's house. Because they have delicious food.
Zhao Er laughed, picked up some of the small snacks prepared at home, put them out, and patted them and went into the kitchen room.
When it was time to eat at noon, Mao Badou was amazed again, because the Xue family’s pots were especially different from others. They used an iron rack to directly put the pot on the brazier.
Zhao'er also prepared a lot of dishes, such as Bai Song, radish, shiitake mushrooms, pickled cabbage, and frozen tofu.
"Zhao'er Jie, do you have a place in your home? I want to live here for two days." He also felt a little shameless before his voice fell. He hurriedly continued and said seriously: "It's been a long time since I discussed knowledge with TingRang. Let's get together to talk. By the way, I went to the teacher's place before I came here, and he asked me to bring you a few books."
This snowfall made it inconvenient to go from the countryside to the town, so Mao Badou went to the Lin family more often to do his disciple’s ‘filial piety’.
"The place at home is spacious. The kang is that big, enough for you to sleep, and there is plenty of bedding. The pig will be slaughtered in two days. You can eat the sha zhu cai 1 before leaving."
"sha zhu cai? What is sha zhu cai?"
Sure enough, it was a baby from the town who didn't even know what sha zhu cai was. Several children from the countryside looked at each other and showed an unpredictable smile.
Li Datian said: "sha zhu cai is the dish you haven't eaten before."
"Really good, you Li Datian!"
Mao Badou wanted to rush over to make a fuss, but unfortunately, there was a big iron pan between them. Zhao'er said again: "If you want to eat the sha zhu cai, it’s easy, but you have to help me with one thing beforehand."
Zhao’er smiled without saying a word, and said she’d tell them after the meal.
What Zhaoer wanted was for them to help her write Spring Festival couplets 2.
Not only did she want them to write the Spring Festival couplets, but she also had all kinds of blessing phrases prepared, and she had the red paper ready.
"The time has come to test your knowledge. I'm not good at writing Spring Festival couplets, so this matter is left to you. I am responsible for cutting paper for you, and when you guys have finished writing all these papers for me, I will take you out for fun.” Zhao'er took out a thick stack of red paper and put it on the square table.
This red paper is different from other papers. It is wide and long, and it looks like it hasn't been cut. Mao Badou and the others estimated that there were probably hundreds of these red papers that they had to write on.
"Zhaoer Jie, what do you want so many couplets for?" Mao Badou smacked his lips.
"To sell! Before the New Year, you can make a fortune, and then you can save some money to buy snacks."
The four of them were forced just like this. They wrote Spring Festival couplets for the whole afternoon in the house. Fortunately, the house was warm and there were many people. It was not difficult to pass the time.
After writing a sheet, it was taken to the kang and soon the ink on it dried. The four people were in charge of writing, and Zhao'er was in charge of receiving them. When it was dark, nearly 500 pieces were written, and there were hundreds of blessings, but they didn't count exactly how many there were.
Then, Zhao'er started to cook with a smile, and the few people were tired like dogs, but they almost collapsed on the kang. Mao Badou sighed again and again, saying that Zhao'er Jie was really cruel. Just because he ate a meal, she wanted his life.
But supper helped revitalize them again. After the meal was over, she went to boil water for them to wash, and then took out a few new beddings that she had just bought this year. Then she went to the third family’s room to sleep with Xue Taoer.
Seeing Zhao'er leaving, Xue TingRang had an urge to beat the few people out of the room.
- Local stewed dish which all households will prepare for the approaching of New Year in countryside of northeastern China. Villagers will butcher the pig and make blood sausage. Then they stew them in pot with pickled cabbage. I have a photo of it below ↑
- a custom for the New Years. It's mainly for blessing the family to have a good year. See picture below ↑