It was Tony’s birthday today, and so after venturing out into the rain to see to the animals, I went back indoors to celebrate with him and Popuri. It is hard to believe that it has already been a year since the little tyke was first born, and yet now he has just learned to walk- I’m so proud! As a gift, I gave him some of his favourite wild grapes, only to realise that he has learned some new words, “mama” included. Now if only he would start saying “dada”…
Just as I was beginning to despair of ever getting Karen to the red heart level of affection for me, today’s gift of wine proved to be enough to push her over the edge. After dropping in on the other girls to ensure that their affections for me had not slipped, I can confidently announce that my wife and the four other eligible girls of the village are all now head over heels in love with me. My studliness knows no bounds.
Another batch of sweet potatoes and green peppers was in today, and whilst I harvested them, I pondered something which has begun to disturb me. Although there is a water trough in Seiran’s stable, there isn’t one in either the barn or the henhouse, and as my livestock never go outside, that means they never get anything to drink! They do not seem unhappy about this situation, and it hasn’t adversely affected their health, but it is most puzzling.
I have visited the supermarket no small amount of times in my quest to woo Karen, but even so, it was only today that I finally remembered to stock up on fish food. Determined not to forget again, I even took a break in the middle of the usual tasks to nip down there and top up the food bin. Not that it seems to make much difference- the fish barely breed any more, and when they do, I usually remove and sell the extras to keep their numbers at an even 70 (it also makes for a nice bit of cash on the side- not that I’m particularly in need of such a thing anymore).
Since it is the Sheep Festival tomorrow, Barley came over to ask if I’d like to enter, and with the promise of gold wool dangling in front of me, I sent Brimstne with him. I must not forget to attend tomorrow, as it would be most embarrassing to enter a sheep and then not even show up.
As today was extremely routine, I shall take the opportunity to present Anton’s guide to villagers in this entry. As with the girls, the villagers are easily swayed by gifts of items they like, and in return they will impart juicy gossip about each other or recipes for one to try out in the kitchen. Be warned, however, trying to converse with a villager is a somewhat monotonous task, as they refuse to be diverted from uttering their favourite sentences unless the most extraordinary of circumstances apply.
As always happens on any day when I have to rush off to a festival, a new crop of sweet potatoes and green peppers was ready today, and so the morning was spent frantically harvesting them and getting all the other jobs done before heading off to the sheep festival. Once there, I made sure to chat to all of the girls who attended, but to my eternal disappointment, no one had anything to say that was any different to the comments they made last year. In consolation, however, Brimstne was easily able to walk away with first place, and so I have another gold wool producer.
I was able to get my first gold wool from Brimstne today, and although it is always a little strange to have wool that appears white on a sheep and yet turns gold when sheared, I cannot complain about the extra profit this will generate. The lagging patches of sweet potatoes were also ready today, although I had to harvest them in the pouring rain- better that than them rotting in the bad weather, though. The increased rain seems to be a sign that winter is coming, that dreaded most boring season of all.
Today was meant to be a quiet day, but as so often happens, something just had to go wrong. After tending to the livestock in the barn, the warm sunlight made me feel so drowsy that I ended up dropping off to sleep for over five hours! During this time, two of the cows managed to get out and gorge themselves on the pasture, forcing me to spend all afternoon and evening trying to push them back inside with the help of the near useless bell to guide their way. It was gone midnight by the time the second cow was back in with the rest- I must never let this happen again.
Having been emboldened by yesterday’s escapade, another cow tried to escape today, but this time I was ready for her, and before she could head over to the fields, I quickly pushed her back indoors. Roaming free may sound like a better option for all concerned, but can I really let my livestock out when they could become soaked in the rain or chilled in the snow? I think not.
Yet another crop sweet potatoes and green peppers was ready today- there is something to be said for fast regrowing crops, and that is that they are nothing but hard work.
After a long period of neglect, today saw the rebirth of the cooking era, as I attempt to put together dishes that I have never tried before. Today’s effort was strawberry jam, which is as easy to make as apple and grape jam, and is also one of Popuri’s favourites. She was certainly delighted with my efforts, and I hope I can make her more strawberry related dishes in the future.
Cooking continued apace today, as I tried another simple strawberry concoction- strawberry milk. I must say that it looked a rather off-putting shade of pink to my eyes, but Popuri happily accepted it and gulped it down, so I must be doing something right. Then again, her love of strawberries and milk could just be such that she would love anything that contained those ingredients, regardless of actual taste.
Another crop of sweet potatoes, eggplant and green peppers was in today, and as there will not be time for the next batch of eggplant to ripen before the end of the season, I chopped them down- I always feel bad removing plants, but it saves on the watering. Unfortunately, I also happened to notice that Potato’s love for me had decreased due to the general lack of attention I have been paying him, and so I must make sure to hug him and whistle to him once a day from now on.
In cooking news, today I decided to have a go at a salad, and luckily, I was successful. I must admit that salads can get boring, but it is important to have a healthy option when cooking.
It was raining again today, and as usual the lagging sweet potatoes were ready a day after the speedier ones. Since these lagging ones will not have time to produce another crop, I cut them down, reducing my growing area to a mere three patches- and once winter rolls in, both crop and grass growth will be nonexistent (outside the hothouse, of course).
With sweet potatoes weighing heavily on my mind, I decided to have a go at cooking one, and as I had hoped, I put together a tasty dish. I was of half a mind to eat it myself, but knowing how much Popuri loves them, I decided to let her have the whole plateful instead.
There was a chill breeze in the air today, a sure sign that autumn is slowly dying and winter is stepping up to take its place. Much as I may wish for warm winter clothes, however, I must make do with the same outfit that I have worn for three years as I go about my normal tasks- if only I could wear something a little more flattering.
In the kitchen, I had a go at making some veggie pancakes, which thankfully turned out well, even if they did use up the last of my flour and oil. I will have to restock at the supermarket.
The season ended on a quiet note today, as I chopped down the last few crops and saw to the usual tasks without even bothering to cook anything. Just one more season remains until my ‘evaluation phase’ is over, but surely no one can argue that I have succeeded on this farm- I may even be richer than the mayor himself. And yet it depresses me somewhat that I have come to accept this life, for now it seems that farming defines my entire existence.