Chapter 32: Chicks Out of the Shell
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Madam Zhao looked at the white steamed buns and felt grateful. “They’re so kind.”
Seeing the three children holding one each and not daring to eat, Madam Zhao and Su Sanlang did not know whether to cry or to laugh.
In the end, Madam Zhao said gently, “Eat.”
“Mother, you and Father should eat too.”
Su Sanmei could not bear to take a bite. After Madam Zhao spoke, Su Chong and Su Hua took a big bite and revealed satisfied expressions.
Madam Zhao gently stroked Su Sanmei’s hair and said with a smile, “Mother will eat too. Eat it. There’s still some here.”
Only then did Su Sanmei start eating the steamed bun.
Su Sanlang handed one to Madam Zhao and said, “Darling, have one too. We’ll have dinner with the rest later. We’ll cut the braised meat and cook it with some dried vegetables for dinner.”
Madam Zhao looked at Su Sanlang and said, “Sanlang, I’ll give you half of this too.”
Being cared for at all times warmed Su Sanlang’s heart. He smiled and said, “Darling, I’ve already eaten two big steamed buns at the Sun residence. Master Fu made me eat them and even gave me water to drink. I’m not lying to you, really.”
Madam Zhao looked at Su Sanlang. Seeing that his eyes were smiling and sincere, she believed him. She smiled and said, “Okay, I’ll eat it.”
Su Sanmei took her two brothers out to eat.
Su Sanlang took out five taels of silver and handed them to Madam Zhao. He said, “Darling, keep this money well. I’ve asked Master Fu about it. There’s a miscellaneous medicine hall in Goathornorn Town. A few months later, after we save some more money, our family will make a trip into town for the new year. We’ll bring Chong and Hua to see a doctor. We’ll also get a doctor to take a look at your recovery.”
After Madam Zhao finished the medicine prescribed by Old Wu, her complexion and health were much better than before.
However, if there was a chance, he still wanted to get the doctor in town to take a look.
Madam Zhao nodded with tears in her eyes. “Alright, I’ll listen to you.”
It didn’t matter if she got a checkup or not. The most important thing was to bring her sons to a doctor, but there was no need to say that out loud. Su Sanlang cared for her. How could she brush away his love?
The two of them looked at each other and smiled. Madam Zhao felt warm and fuzzy in her heart, and so did Su Sanlang.
He was the backbone of the family and shielded them from the wind and rain. However, the family gave him warmth and a sense of belonging. The supportive wife and his obedient children were all given to him by his wife, Madam Zhao.
Su Sanlang picked up Su Xiaolu and played with her.
Su Xiaolu smiled, looking forward to the future of this family.
“Darling, I’ll have to trouble you at home for this period of time. When I go further into the mountains tomorrow, I’ll bring Chong and Hua with me. There’s basically no work to do in the fields after October, and the others have to cut wood and flip the soil too. When November comes and everyone is free, they’ll also think of going into the mountains to catch something. I’ll have to make more traps this month before then.”
Su Sanlang looked at Madam Zhao and explained. He had to take advantage of this time to earn more money so that he could have money to treat the two children.
Madam Zhao knew it too. She nodded. “Don’t worry, leave everything at home to me.”
Su Sanlang calculated the days and said, “It’s been 21 or 22 days since the hen stopped laying eggs. The chicks should be hatching in the next few days. You’ll have to work hard.”
Madam Zhao smiled. “That’s nothing. You don’t have to worry about family matters. I’ll handle it well.”
Madam Zhao knew very well that in October, the busy days of farming were almost over. Most families were chopping wood and flipping the soil in the fields.
On the other hand, Su Sanlang had done all of this in the past month or so, so when the others chopped wood and flipped the soil, he could bring his two sons into the mountains to set traps and catch wild animals.
Su Sanlang was doing all this for her and the children. How could Madam Zhao drag him down? Therefore, she told Su Sanlang not to worry.
Su Sanlang was not idle for the remaining half of the day either. He watered the fields and cleared the weeds.
Madam Zhao asked Su Sanmei and her siblings to take care of Su Xiaolu while she went to boil some warm water and knead the dough. She added some ground corn powder into the dough and used it to make steamed buns. In this way, the coarse steamed buns were ready. She had prepared them for Su Sanlang and the children when they went into the mountains.
The next morning, Su Sanlang woke his two sons up and went out.
Madam Zhao stayed home with Su Sanmei and Su Xiaolu and tidied up the house. She watered the fields every day to ensure that the land was moist.
At noon, when Su Sanmei was catching insects to feed the chickens, she heard the call of a chick. She carefully walked into the chicken coop to look. A furry head emerged from underneath the hen’s wings.
Su Sanmei exclaimed, “Wow.”
Madam Zhao was breastfeeding Su Xiaolu in the house. When she heard the voice, she asked, “Sanmei, what’s wrong?”
Su Sanmei replied in surprise, “Mother, the chicks have hatched.”
Seeing the chicks heads popping out of the hen’s wings one after another and making small cries, Su Sanmei said happily, “So cute. They’re as cute as Simei.”
Madam Zhao, who was in the house, smiled when she heard that the chicks had hatched. She buttoned up her shirt and said to Su Xiaolu, “Simei, let’s go. I’ll take you to see the chicks. As I thought, they would be hatching soon.”
Madam Zhao carried Su Xiaolu out and handed her over to Su Sanmei. She then carried the hen away.
Of the 16 eggs, eight had already hatched. The other eight also showed signs of being pecked. Madam Zhao sighed in relief. “If only there were 16 chicks.”
“Mother, chicks are so cute. They’re so small. Can they eat insects?”
Su Sanmei asked. She knew that her newborn fourth sister had to drink her mother’s milk to grow up. What would newborn chicks eat? Hens didn’t have milk.
Madam Zhao smiled and said, “Mother has already prepared it for them. Since they were just born, they can only eat some vegetable leaves or grains. However, we don’t have grains at home, so we’ll just give them some powdered corn. They’re still chicks, so they can’t eat much. When they grow up, they’ll be able to eat insects.”
Although food was expensive, when the chicks grew bigger, they would be able to eat insects.
There were countless insects in the two barren fields outside their house. There was enough for them to eat.
“Mother, when the chicks can eat insects, I’ll catch a lot of insects for them every day and make them fat.”
Su Sanmei said happily. From this moment on, her goal was to fatten up this group of chicks.
Madam Zhao smiled and said, “Sanmei, aren’t you afraid that it’ll be difficult?”
Su Sanmei shook her head. She wasn’t afraid. Catching insects wasn’t hard at all. She treated it as a game.
Madam Zhao stroked Su Sanmei’s hair and didn’t say anything else.
She focused on the eggs that hadn’t hatched yet.
Su Xiaolu was also watching, but after a while, she lost interest.
Su Xiaolu struggled to look outside, and Su Sanmei immediately understood. “Mother, Simei wants to go to the courtyard. I’ll carry her out to play.”
Madam Zhao nodded and said, “Go ahead and be careful.”