The Dong family had a total of more than 30 acres of land. There were good fields and secondary fields, but most of them were ordinary fields.
Only five acres of the fields were fertile, and the secondary fields made up nearly ten acres. The rest were ordinary fields that produced ordinary crops.
Ordinary fields produced about one and a half stone worth of crops a year. These crops could only be produced when there were no major natural disasters and the imperial court did not fight.
The yield of a good field would be higher, about two stones. If hthe family planted them well, they might get two and a half stones.
However, the Dong family rarely got even one stone.
In secondary fields, the yield of an acre was often very low. It was already not bad to have one stone. Sometimes, there was less than one stone.
Although when the Dayue Dynasty distributed the land to the people, it was said that they would get eight acre of land and two acres of vegetable land per family, there were really not that many fields to go around.
This was because the area was only so big, but the population was constantly increasing. How could there be so much land to split?
Moreover, most of the farmland in the village was in the hands of the village’s Old Master Kun. The Imperial Court could not force them to give up the farmland that they had obtained through the proper channels, right?
However, it was not as if the Imperial Court did not have a solution. That was, to explore the wasteland.
To display their encouragement, the first three years of clearing land were tax-free under the Imperial Court.
However, the commoners were not confident. Could this wasteland really work as farmland?
Although the terrain of Xiaowan Village was not bad, there was a small hill to the north that was actually very suitable for reclamation and farming.
However, there were only a few families that went to explore the wasteland who were desperate lives. These families really did not have any fertile land. They could only try to explore the wasteland as a last resort.
The Dong family had not reached this stage yet. The family could still support two scholars. It did not much to feed the entire family, and no one had starved to death yet.
That would not do! At the mention of this topic, Old Master Dong waved his hand and disagreed.
In the summer, the fields needed watering, pest control, and fertilizing.
There was very little fertilizer in the farmyard. It was just whatever the family and the few chickens and ducks they had execreted. That was poured into the fields. Still, an extra acre of production capacity was nothing to sneeze at. Even if there was an extra half-stone, it was still food!
Today, many families used natural fertilizer, so the smell of the fields was really unbearable.
Dong Nuan immediately adjusted her shallow breathing technique to slow down her breathing as much as possible. She did not want to inhale these unfriendly smells.
“It stinks! It stinks! I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this.” The moment Dong Yao came to the field, he could not stand the smell.
Although he did not have much common sense, he knew that crops could not be stepped on. This was because he had stepped on them before, and both times he was carried by Old Master Dong to a clear area and beaten.
After learning his lesson twice, he did not dare to do it again.
Therefore, he only dared to stomp his feet on the edge of the plot.
What else could Madam Dong Wu do?
Naturally, she comforted him. “Alright, alright, alright. I won’t do it. I won’t do it. I’ll go sit under the tree over there. Your three sisters are here. There’s no need for you to go to the farm…”
After Madam Dong Wu coaxed Dong Yao, she prepared to turn around and scOld Master Dong Nuan some more.
Although Old Master Dong did not assign any specific tasks to the families, they were roughly divided into groups to cover certain areas each. If they did not do enough in their area, they would definitely be scolded by Old Master Dong later on.
However, when Madam Wu turned around, she saw that Dong Zao and Dong Tao had already rolled up their pants and entered the farm. On the other hand, Dong Nuan had already disappeared.
Seeing this, Madam Dong Wu’s expression darkened. She muttered in her heart, ‘Where did that wretched girl go?’
Although Madam Dong Wu felt that Dong Nuan was not easy to control, she understood why she talked back yesterday. She just had to reprimand her a little more.
After walking around twice, she finally saw someone near the house.
Looking at Dong Nuan and Dong Ya, who seemed to be eating something, Madam Dong Wu’s expression became even uglier.
“Lil Nuan, there are so many people slaving in the fields. Why did you run so far away? Are you trying to slack off?” Madam Dong Wu spoke her thoughts aloud. She raised her voice so the entire family could hear her. She did not believe that Old Master Dong would let this slide.
If she could not control Dong Nuan, there were still elders that could. There would always be someone who could put Dong Nuan in her place.
When Dong Nuan went over, she did not intend to help Eldest Uncle Dong’s family with their work. Instead, she was going to tempt Dong Ya.
Dong Nuan did not feel guilty at all for lying to a child. Who asked her to be a ten-year-old with the common sense of baby?
Dong Nuan had coaxed the Dong Ya to start a new fire and encourage her third brother to study. How was this cheating?
If Dong Ya’s third brother really went to study, he would be able to pass the Elementary Scholar examination in the future. It would not be her, Dong Nuan, who would benefit from the good life, but Dong Ya.
How could promising someone the truth be called lying?
Dong Nuan narrowed her eyes and smiled at Dong Ya. “Let’s eat together if there are more fruits.”
Dong Ya happily nibbled on the big yellow apricot. When she heard Dong Nuan’s words, she was so happy that she smiled a gummy smile. She kept nodding. “Don’t worry, Sister Nuan! I will definitely perform well!”
After Dong Nuan finished speaking, she nibbled on the apricot as she walked towards her home. When she passed by Old Madam Dong, she even stuffed two fruits into her hands. “These are for Grandma and Grandpa. The apricots from the mountains are delicious. The flesh is tender, juicy, and sweet. There’s no sour taste at all.”
Dong Nuan left after saying that, not allowing Old Madam Dong to get another word in edgewise.
Moreover, she was at a disadvantage. With two bright yellow apricots in her hand, Old Madam Dong could not bring herself to reprimand her.
In the end, she could only purse her lips and hand one apricot to Old Master Dong. She carefully put the other one into her pocket.
Old Madam Dong favored Fifth Uncle Dong, so she naturally favored his twin sons too. Therefore, she could not bear to eat this apricot herself. She saved it for the two children.
The two children were still young. They were only three years old now. When Fifth Aunt went to the fields, she usually put the children in cots and placed them under a tree not far away. From time to time, she would feed them water and take a few glances at them to make sure they were still there.
Old Madam Dong thought that after she finished this area of the plot, she would feed the two children the apricot.
There were not many families in the village who had fruit trees. From what Dong Nuan saw, only two had them.
The two squires definitely had some at home, but they did not let the villagers eat them.
The other families did not have enough to share amongst their own children, let alone with outsiders.
Most children could only pick some wild fruits at the foot of the mountain if they wanted fruits. It was already good enough to have a few sweet things.
Old Madam Dong did not have time to ask Dong Nuan where she got the apricot from. It was so big and looked really tender.
If there were a lot of them around, they should all be plucked! What if they were left there and others plucked them?
She had too many thoughts in her heart, so much so that when she was catching pests, she was distracted.
Madam Dong Wu and the others watched helplessly as Dong Nuan bit into the bright yellow apricot and stuffed two more into Old Madam Dong’s hand.
After suffering yesterday’s loss, Madam Dong Wu did not dare to shout loudly. However, when Dong Nuan returned, she pulled a long face and complained softly, “What nice apricots. Why didn’t you save one for Lil Yao? You only know how to eat food. Why are you eating so well?”