Chapter 41 – Animal Husbandry and the Drinking Bout
At the time they decided to put each household’s chickens into the barn, the negotiations ran into a trouble.
The idea proposed by Eiji was met with the villagers’ support; nevertheless, there was still the problem of deciding to whom the egg, from which a chick hatches, would belong to. For Eiji, it was a considerable concern.
For the sake of making a contribution to the common property of the village, it would be best to have everyone hand them over.
After that, at first he would have the villagers consent by exchanging the chicks with lots of eggs.
Till now, everyone had been following with the objective without uttering any complaints, but now signs of disagreement were noticeable.
Eiji was troubled.
In other words, the proposal may have given the opposite result to what they would expect to gain in exchange for providing labor and resources.
When it comes to working, one will expect to be granted food without losing anything.
However, were he to offer them the chickens in times like this, the amount in their possession would reduce.
That’s because the chickens, which can lay lots of eggs, were the most valuable.
During periods like this, where a shortage was a common thing, people would feel the anxiety of losing their property, more than anything else, is what Eiji concluded.
Right now, in every cage there were hens.
The hens shook their heads up and down while moving with short steps.
If there were the ones that =scratched the sand, then there were also those that drank water and pecked at fodder.
The total number of them was 32.
Inside there were only two roosters.
They selected 2 of the youngest roosters to form the groups together with the fertile hens.
For some 30 hens, 2 roosters were designated.
Again, you could call it a harem?
Letting them mate at their own convenience and making them lay eggs, once the chickens lose their fecundity, they would be made into meat.
It wasn’t a kind of a complete freedom.
Well, isn’t it still better than the other roosters which can’t leave any offspring?
Saying that, it seems that even a harem has its own, big concerns.
Eiji went inside the cage.
The hens, which were familiar of human presence, walked slowly sidelong.
What Eiji aimed for was the newly laid egg.
He quickly took the egg which was placed casually inside the straw.
It was still warm.
– Ah, I was spotted. Crap!
The hen that tried to protect its eggs was unusually strong.
It was a force that would make even the animals, like dogs and cats, which would usually have no problems catching their prey, flee away.
– A-aww! It hurts! My bad!
As soon as the domestication inside the shed progresses, it will be possible to raise new chickens that won’t be as fixated as now on their eggs.
Still, their self-awareness was unusually high right now.
Not allowing Eiji to pick its precious eggs, the Hen attacked him.
Eiji, who was severely poked by the hen’s beak in his legs, could only withdraw.
As expected, once Eiji left, the hen wouldn’t follow after him.
-…….*pant pant* it was a nasty experience.
His lower legs were stinging from pain and were probably red underneath.
Anyway, Eiji managed to get hold of the egg.
The next thing to do would be to think of a method to make it hatch artificially.
Once the egg obtains the right temperature, it will hatch.
The problem, however, was to find the suitable heat source.
– Because we don’t have any copper wire, making a coil would be difficult. If so, we can only resort to primitive methods.
What Eiji could think of right now was to apply the heat coming from compost fermentation.
The heat will normally be generated once a large amount of chicken and cattle manure is mixed together with straw and dry leaves.
Since the heat is quite high, if applied directly to the egg, the egg white will probably change its consistence.
However, this was a proven method of making onsen eggs rather than chicks.
If the artificial hatching proves to be successful, it can be used for shortening the time needed to warm the eggs by the chickens, as well as to improve the spawning frequency.
In such case, it should be even possible for a chicken to lay more than 200 eggs yearly.
They would become able to eat eggs related dishes almost every day.
Omelette, rolled omelette, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs… Eiji’s dream kept expanding.
Ah, using them to bake cakes should be fine as well – he thought.
Anyway, as long there are eggs, he will be able to bring a revolution of egg-related dishes,
*growl growl* – Eiji’s stomach rumbled.
With the recent arrival of spring, it was still too early for crops.
And one could hardly say that there was enough of the food in reserve to content oneself every day.
– Speaking of which, isn’t fodder important as well?
There was no way for an egg to be made from nothing.
A high concentration of nutrients was indispensable for the egg to be laid successfully.
Therefore, presently the simplest thing to do would be to add powdered egg shells and cattle’s bones to the fodder.
Because Eiji’s knowledge regarding animal husbandry was based on a second hand knowledge, it was necessary to test that knowledge using the method of trial and error.
How can one improve the production efficiency of chickens, using whatever is available in Siena? – he thought.
There was no problem in answering that question.
Also, it was necessary to decide who would be assigned the management role later on.
– Despite me having to focus on smithing, why did it become like this…? No no, it’s for the sake of revolutionizing eggs….
Not wanting anyone to hear his cough, Eiji disappeared from the barn.
Night. All of the village executives gathered around the table, inside tribal chief’s house, enjoying a drinking bout.
The inside of the house was overflowing with a cheerful mood, more than usual.
Loud voices echoed with laughs filling the room from time to time.
– My goodness! What’s this? It’s truly delicious, but as expected, alcohol is the best.
– Fernando-san, your personality changed too much.
– To think that it would be this amazing. What’s this? Goodness me.
– I’ve heard that you were making something, but Eiji, you should’ve told me sooner. Even though I can help you…. That’s right; I can help you whenever it comes to food and drink related things.
– I don’t need…
Without thinking ahead, Eiji spoke out his true thoughts.
This time the problem was regarding what they should do next to develop the village after the barn is finished.
What Eiji came up with was the idea of mass production using the watermill, and engaging the remaining people into making alcohol.
The distilled alcohol which he presented as a sample gained quite a recognition.
Philip drank as if licking the alcohol little by little while slightly curving his lips into a laughing manner.
Fernando was generally pleased with it. Just a while ago, he was laughing to the extent of breaking himself.
As for Mike, he seemed to have completely recovered from his grief.
What everyone shared together was that nobody seemed to express any dissatisfaction concerning the distilled alcohol.
– How about using this alcohol for trading purpose as this village’s special product? Rather than soap, I was thinking about having someone who’s free to make the alcohol, but…
– Somebody who’s free, you say? I think there might be someone like that, still…
– I wonder if something can be done about that, tribal chief. As for me, I’m highly in favor of such idea.
– Fer, ain’t you just thinking about wanting to drink?
– Ah, as expected, you can understand that?
It seemed that Bona was captivated by the charm of the distilled alcohol as well.
Despite Bona pointing out the problem, her eyes were continuously focusing on the liquid inside the mug.
Her sunburn skin, which was full of wrinkles, turned crimson red.
– So there’s no-one for this job?
– Starting from this season, we will be needing lots of manpower. That’s because we need them for sorting fields and making ditches.
– I guess it would seem so…
The field work was indeed a heavy labor.
Eiji could understand well how troublesome it is, since he was helping with field reclamation last year.
Perhaps a large workforce will be necessary this year as well.
It’s also thanks to them putting lots of affection into their works, that they had been able to yield the fruit till now.
– You, rack your brains and help with decreasing the women’s workload. Once you do so, there will be someone willing to help.
– When it comes to women’s labor… it’s cooking, weaving, thread spinning, and taking care of the household’s livestock, isn’t it?
– That’s right. So about that, can you figure out something?
– ……By constructing another watermill, I want to have the work done fast even if’s just for milling. After that, we can use the watermill for weaving, thread spinning and fulling as well.
– So in the end it’s about whether or not there’s a watermill? How long will it take make it?
– I wonder. It will depend on Fernando’s pace.
Eiji and Bona took a glimpse at Fernando.
And then, they breathed out a sigh as if matching their timing.
– God, it’s delicious. I too, want to drink nothing but this starting from tomorrow.
– …..Sorry, but can we talk about that together some other day?
Eiji jumped to a hasty conclusion thinking that he would receive some cooperation from the others once the barn was to be completed. Still, the future prospects seem to have become quite doubtful.
There were lots of things for Eiji to do.
He had yet to make the horse hoof, and if he considers the watermill to be their main source of power, it was all the more reason for him not to neglect his works.
The watermill’s bearing and cog wheel parts also used iron.
Even Eiji’s duties as the blacksmith would be considerably burdened.
– Understood. However, if I do so, I don’t think I’ll have any spare time to help with field work.
– It can’t be helped. I’ll leave you with this task.
Eiji won’t be able to get involved with the field work.
Which means that he won’t cultivate the soil nor see the completion of the reclaimed land.
That’s a pity…
Eiji wanted to assist during the spring, as well as with the harvest.
He also thought about being part of the help for the festival of abundant crops during spring…..
Nevertheless, constructing a watermill was an urgent business.
However much he would regret, there was no way for him to exert himself beyond his limit.
Once a single watermill is finished, it will greatly reduce the amount of labor.
Providing he won’t be making the watermill, the usual labor will continue to require much of workforce.
Eiji’s mug shook slightly while creating some waves in the liquid.
– Eiji, what’s the matter? Leave it to us. To begin with, you are a blacksmith, so it would be strange for you to be engaging in the field works.
– You bet, you bet.
– Giorgio-san, Bernard-san.
Both Giorgio and Bernard smiled brightly.
– I-if you need more wood, just tell me.
Leaning his mug, Philip gulped down the alcohol as he smiled.
– I’ll take care of building the watermill.
Fernando words too, were gentle, unlike before, which seemed like an illusion.
Everyone was kind towards Eiji.
It wasn’t necessary to shoulder everything by himself. That’s why it was much more important to create something together as a whole village.
Eiji had forgotten about that.
However, now he was able to recall.
– …I feel like I can do it. Starting from tomorrow, I’ll be helping in the women’s camp.
Eiji smiled once again.
Translator and reference notes:
: Also known as Onsen tamago. Here for more detail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onsen_tamago