Chapter 55:

Ch 55: Wheat and butter

I was Born the Unloved Twin

So, my father has too easily agreed on my little farm trip idea. Turns out he was already on the same thought process ahead of me when he was seeing the rate of how much bread the cafeteria and kitchens were churning out.Bookmark here

He also actually gets reports from Alfonso and each staff heads about such things.Bookmark here

I suppose my baking research has been a bit excessive lately, even if I am mixing up grains to make the base wheat flour stretch. 'Rustic' and 'artisanal' multigrain bread is the standard norm here, the locals are far more used to this than plain but expensive white bread. It's delicious!Bookmark here

If anything our research is going quite well, if not for the supply issue I would want to go ahead and start making takeaway style bread like those in Chinese or Japanese bakeries. I even have steamers ordered to be made!Bookmark here

Steamed bao buns, I'm coming for you!Bookmark here

In the end, father managed to excuse this as a work trip.Bookmark here

As summer is in full swing the harvest is already underway in some parts. It's not a bad idea to see how conditions are. It's not only preventative but we would be able to address any issues such as labor shortage or pests and vermin impacting the fresh stores.Bookmark here

In reality though, father may be running away from an angry mother. Also not a bad idea.Bookmark here

He's very much like a terribly tacky tourist around 'commoner' things and is enjoying the start of this field trip very much.Bookmark here

I had fallen asleep from the early hour and the lull of the horseback ride in the sling, no motion sickness thankfully. From what father estimates it may have been a 2 hour ride to the nearest local farm community. When we arrived and I was freed from the baby pack, father sort of...went wild. Not in the college student party kind of way, more like the nerd kind. For 'commoner' things.Bookmark here

This the sort of man fascinated by a simple butter churner, that's how bad he is.Bookmark here

"Fascinating! So that's how it's made."Bookmark here

"...It's a bucket and a stick father."Bookmark here

"The world is truly an ingenious place. To create butter out of nothing but a stick and a container. The creativity of something out from nothing is astounding. Who was the first person to discover butter? How hungry would they must have been to stumble upon this? "Bookmark here

Fair questions, I admit.Bookmark here

"Hmmm, kay but who was the first person to put butter on bread? Plain butter tastes almost like nothing but when you add in bread it's suddenly God level."Bookmark here

"Yes yes good point, when did the first person discover butter and its use in food. It takes a pioneer to first willingly consume an animal's solidified mammary milk and discover it was delicious. "Bookmark here

"Probably the same or related person who first drank an animal's mammary milk."Bookmark here

"Interesting, back to the source were they one and the same? How hungry does one have to be to first try drinking from an animal rather just outright slaughtering and eating it?"Bookmark here

When alone these are the sort of conversations my father can go odd on. How did a fashionable person like mother, with all her pick of suitors, choose this man to marry I'm not sure. What a nerd, well it's not like I can talk.Bookmark here

I also wonder about the first person to drink milk or make cheese and all sort of odd things. It's part of being human okay!Bookmark here

"Would the little missy there like to try churning?"Bookmark here

Asked a kind middle aged man demonstrating on how they were using up the milk the couple cows they had were producing. Before this they showed us how goat milk was turned into goat cheese, which was far easier than other cheeses. It's so easy that the village promised that it would be ready by lunchtime!Bookmark here

Trust that my initial reason for wanting to come out here was for wheat but this is all so interesting! Heck yeah I wanna hand churn the butter, I haven't done this since I was a kid on a field trip to those educational old-time reenactment homes.Bookmark here

"Oh ok!"Bookmark here

"Wait, Rosalia, as your father I should try it out first to ensure it's safe."Bookmark here

"...."Bookmark here

Father, you just wanted to play around too, your eyes are sparkling. What a weird man. Admittedly it actually is oddly fun before it gets tiring.Bookmark here

I wonder how he'll react to a hand crank wheeled butter churner if he's this excited over this most basic model. Oooooh astounding, butter churners.Bookmark here

Jokes aside I actually like this side of him. It would be far more disgusting if he was a typical prideful rich person with his nose in the air at everything. This nerd of a father is actually sort of adorable. I think he would definitely enjoy watching how it's made sort of documentaries and YouTube videos if they existed here.Bookmark here

Since this was a rather last minute trip he's not accompanied by too many officials to slow things down or make things overly formal. The guardsmen have arrived with a more inconspicuous carriage and their steeds not very long ago. With fewer people and guards following him around he has much more free time playing tourist.Bookmark here

He brought me after all, how formal can it be?Bookmark here

It's not a bad thing that he's overly enjoying the mundane parts of these tours. We get to see more of the typical life of the people, it's great for demographics and market research on my part.Bookmark here

Life for the average person in a farming village should I say...really really basic. At least their homes and tools are.Bookmark here

Sanitation consists of chamber pots, the literacy rate is low, and besides major roads paved by grampa's troops for transportation, the streets are but packed dirt.Bookmark here

Tools are definetely medieval, maybe even worse than that. Even household brooms are pretty bad, seriously a little tweak or changing of the materials would greatly improve efficiency.Bookmark here

This was not in my plans at all, I wanted to look into increasing crop outputs not improving household tools and public utilities. But my mind is spinning with the potential. Not because I'm a particularly smart builder or planner, things are just so abysmal in this rural place.Bookmark here

But I won't voice out such things carelessly.Bookmark here

These are people's homes and lives and it would be rude of me to point it all out. Perhaps we could set up some committee of planning under the Ventrella name? We take their yearly taxes and a portion of the goods, I'm sure we could set up something.Bookmark here

"Will we see the crops soon?"Bookmark here

I poke at father who is admiring further mundane tools with the village heads. Simply the active village elders, they look like hardworking honest sort of folk.Bookmark here

"Haha looks like the little lady wants to move on."Bookmark here

"Rosalia didn't you want to take a look at the wheat production. Come take a look here, marvelous, this is a 'thrasher'. Such a simple but ingenious little thing"Bookmark here

The wheat thrasher the father is referring too looks like a fence or a rake with a bunch of spines and spikes. Farmers and their aids would take full stalks of their crops and run them through the grills, collecting the grains on the floor. Realistically it works for rice or any similarly shaped gains or cereals as well.Bookmark here

"It's our village's treasure, I remember how drastically our lives improved when Lord Ronald first built it here. Back then it didn't has anything to collect on the bottom an we had to gather the heads ourselves. Ah what memories."Bookmark here

"Grampa designed this?'Bookmark here

"Indeed Rosalia, your grandfather made many of the amazing things you see here today. He came through with all these fangled ideas we thought were strange at the time. Even the stone path you stand on is thanks to him."Bookmark here

"Youngins these days have it so good. They don't know what it's like to work without iron tipped hoes and shears.."Bookmark here

As plain as this village looks to me, it's local. That means it's the first to get the advantages of being located near Gramp's training camp and thus the runoff advancement. It makes me shiver to think that further and further away, there are villages even simpler and in worse conditions.Bookmark here

The rest of the tour and inspection goes about as expected. It's still too early for the next field of wheat to be harvested while the rest of the stock has already been sold.Bookmark here

"I'm sure a few of the farmers and their families have some in stock for the right price if yee be needin them."Bookmark here

"That won't be necessary, thank you. But what about other crops? Are they growing well?"Bookmark here

Just as I expected, the cops fluctuate and they've been mostly growing the same things over and over on the same plot of land. The soil may be good but it's going to have difficulty keeping up to output standards. They also sell off all their crops without keeping a community store, which works just fine right now, but it might cause issues in the future.Bookmark here

Hmmm, what to do, or well, where to start?Bookmark here

"Why don't you rotate the crops then?"Bookmark here

"What was that little missy?"Bookmark here

I look towards father for support, knowing that my age isn't exactly very credible. Anyone who hears me will think it's just a child's ramblings but if Father the acting Lord stands behind me, even if he keeps silent, there will be some weight to my words.Bookmark here

A pat on my head gives me all the go-ahead I need to start shooting my mouth off.Bookmark here

"If the fields are yielding less and less then you can rest the soil but still keep growing food by crop rotation. Each kind of crop needs different nutrients, er food, and sucks it out of the soil. By changing the thing grown with a dissimulator crop in a cycle, the soil can replenish itself with missing the nutrie- food."Bookmark here

The village heads stare at me in shock, then ping pong back and forth between my father and I. His stance and posture is lazy, not even bothering to watch me though I know he's listening. That a good enough ok for me to continue.Bookmark here

"Many other lands use this system to prevent soil depletion, you can go between livestock feed and grains or switch them around the produce. Some crops work better after others. A three or four-field rotation system might work best here."Bookmark here

"Would you also happen to know what kind of crop to use then?" asks a tough-looking old woman in a headscarf.Bookmark here

"Yes, but it depends on what's already growing on the land. For example on the current empty wheat field, at this time of year, you should plant oats, peas, and radishes. Millet and hay also work and can be grown for feed or if you just want to let it rest over winter then plant clover. "Bookmark here

" lord?'Bookmark here

"Buckwheat works too, buckwheat works on any sort of dry arid land. I'd actually like to buy some if you have buckwheat." Bookmark here

It's technically not the best season for buckwheat but I like soba. If wheat isn't a feasible option now I should look into other grains. I really am homesick for rice and noodles, even if the type isn't right. I should switch things up and get rid of all the bread based nicknames.Bookmark here

A village elder trembles eyes still ping-ponging back and forth between us father and daughter pair.Bookmark here

"You should get started by fall if you want to weed and manure in time. You do use fertilizer right? There's a lot of livestock poop, it would be better if you compost it with unwanted plants and scraps."Bookmark here

Okay, I may have lost them at this point. Either that or I crossed the line again. I'm sorry I don't know where the line even is.Bookmark here

Father gives a lazy wave and smiles with a natural flourish as if this was all expected.Bookmark here

"Does my Rosalia need to explain things in further detail, perhaps in the town hall?"Bookmark here

Upon finally hearing his voice the small crowd of elderly bursts into relief and kind praises.Bookmark here

"My Lord why what a surprise! You really have done such beneficial research."Bookmark here

"The compost, what are the effects?"Bookmark here

"What a smart little girl you are, did your papa teach you all that?"Bookmark here

"No actually, she spends so much time outside with her grandfather, while I'm always cooped up or at court. At this point she knows more than I do about farming."Bookmark here

"You mean Lord Commander Ronald! Why of course."Bookmark here

"You're too modest Lord Frederick, truly the Lord commander has gained not only an excellent son but a smart and talented little granddaughter."Bookmark here

"The apple does not fall far from the tree, such good young blood and little seeds."Bookmark here

Ack I knew it, I really can't do this kind of thing on my own yet.Bookmark here

It's a little disappointing to have to use father and grampa as covers and share credit but as long as it works. The faster we improve food production and stores, the better we can avoid any upcoming 'minor' famine. Thank goodness father is on my side. He rolled with it so easily without question too, not bad, not bad at all.Bookmark here

It is a little concerning how his lack of concern is, be a little more afraid of your toddler's brain.Bookmark here

"Shall we discuss more of these crop rotation in the hall as you suggested. The scribe is still there and we can get this written down."Bookmark here

"Why yes, lead the way. Lunch should be about ready too I suppose, feeling hungry yet Chip my dear."Bookmark here

I'm not a pita chip but I nod anyway, father is more of a help than he is an annoyance. We got the local scribe and father to write down the basics of a four-field rotation system and how to make effectively make composts in bigs rather than leaving them in a heap outside before breaking for a meal.Bookmark here

Lunch was later and much longer than I'm used to but it makes sense since the locals tended to take their midday meal during the hottest time of the day. Like a siesta! That did make most economic sense, conserve strength!Bookmark here

Besides its summer right now, they can afford the daylight.Bookmark here

The meal was a spread board of all the local produce and dried smoked meats and cheeses along with some aromic buttered farmer's bread. Simple in concept and preparation but gorgeous with all the colors and variety of produce. The fresh goat cheese tasted great on nearly everything, especially when paired with a sweet pickled fruit preserve. I love cheese boards! Now all that's missing is the wine, sadly I'm too young right now to enjoy any of those pleasures.Bookmark here

To go along with the cheeseboard I even got father to help, *cough*doallthework*cough* in grilling up flat but deliciously layered roti bread to show to the village elders and anyone watching in the farming community. It was easy to set up and assemble a grill and the piping hot roti was sincerely and extremely well received, just like in the training camp.Bookmark here

When the weather cooled down a bit, we worked off the meal by surveying the actual crops and farmlands. Often times father asked plenty of insightful, though nerdy, questions, being fully involved in the process. For fun, we even harvested some fat radishes from the ground with our bare hands. With that and talking to the elders and builders, the day passed by far too quickly.Bookmark here

"It is getting late and I'm sure there's so much to go over. Should we perhaps stay the night?" suggested father.Bookmark here

He took a glance down at me as if asking for my opinion. An overnight trip! How exciting! For a moment my thoughts ran to Lilyanne but my twin has only been getting healthier lately and she's shown to be fine without me for a couple of days at most, one night should be no issue!Bookmark here

"Can we father?!"Bookmark here

"Of course, our space is humble but your lodgings will be prepared immediately"Bookmark here

"Such a project may require even more time, and there's still the neighboring farms too..."Bookmark here

"Yes! There's so much to discuss! "Bookmark here

I see, father wanted an overnight field trip to avoid office work. I was wondering why he was so well behaved. Well, I don't mind, it's very nice to see new things and get out the mansion once in a while.Bookmark here

"Little Miss, is there anything further you've learned from your honorable grandfather?"Bookmark here

"Please, it's okay if you just call me Rosalia. Grampa didn't teach me anything really but I do have a question."Bookmark here

"Of course, we shall do our best to answer."Bookmark here

"Then, where are the water-wheels?"Bookmark here

"Pardon? "Bookmark here

"The water wheel? Or some sources of power for the town? How do you grind the grains and such?"Bookmark here

"Why with the oxen and by our own hands of course."Bookmark here

Oh dear, I was wondering what was missing from the generally picturesque village. A river runs right through it and yet there's no mill or water wheel? I admit I did see the oxen lead grinding stone but I thought there would be something more. I suppose Liliyane and I are a magical battery now but rare magic isn't the answer to everything.Bookmark here

A day and a night really won't be enough for all the improvements we can feasibly plan to implement.Bookmark here

"There are builders in this village right?"Bookmark here

"Yes, of course, many sorts of folk. A few of the troops like to visit and stay on their outings too."Bookmark here

"Lovely, then do you think you would be able to build something like this?"Bookmark here

With nothing but a stick found on the ground I do my best to draw the river and the scale of an actual water wheel, explaining the details and workings as well as the possibilities.Bookmark here

The wheels themselves aren't difficult to construct but the mechanisms and structure you might want to attach are trickier. For a river of this size and flow, it could easily power two or 3 medium to large water wheels. There's a lot of wiggle room and potential, it could be used as miller during harvests and a power hammer, saw, or any other construction tool off.Bookmark here

"It might be best to invite someone from the camp to supervise, it would certainly go faster with some skilled hands." and magic if we have it.Bookmark here

"Such...such a thing! If it works it might no it could exceed our treasured thrasher."Bookmark here

"Oh yeah could build a small wheel just to see. In fact, if the builders understand how wheels work they could make and upgrade the thrasher."Bookmark here

"But how does the thresher work with your water wheel? It does not move?"Bookmark here

"Yes, pardon us old folks, our minds are a bit slower on new things."Bookmark here

"What a well-learned child you have taught and raised Lord Frederick."Bookmark here

Back to the drawing board, or well floor. Father directs me to another clean section of dust and I get to redrawing with my stick.Bookmark here

"See on a smaller scale wheels can be used for many other things requiring force. If you take the bottom of the thresher and change the flat grate into a cylinder-like this, then attach that to the motor running with a hand crank or a power source like the water wheel. " I scribble to the best of by drawing abilities.Bookmark here

It's comprehensive enough, a bit of scenery a bit of the river route.Bookmark here

"What genius!"Bookmark here

"Lord Frederick for you have simplified your plans to this point, all we we could understand!"Bookmark here

"No one touches the floor, get people to put barricades around it, the plans must not blow away."Bookmark here

Huh? We could draw actual blueprint you know? This is just my messy diagrams, no need to take them so seriously. But alas it is taken very seriously, I even see a few tears in the crowd.Bookmark here

How tiresome.Bookmark here

"Fascinating."Bookmark here

I haven't noticed father looming over me this entire time, busy on drawing and selling the waterwheel with all its applications. He picks me up and twirls the stick I was using as if it was a magic wand.Bookmark here

"Rosa, my snappy little ball of dough, you certainly have some fascinating things in that head of yours."Bookmark here

"Like you said, father, I spend soooo much time out with grampa and on the training grounds. All sorts of ideas floating around."Bookmark here

"Mmmm then should credit go to where credit is due. To whom do we Ventrellas own these wonderful plans to? And how difficult would it be to buy them would you say, in your childishly blunt opinion."Bookmark here

"Oh it's hard to say, father, everything just comes in bits and pieces. Since I've figured out this much together, it would be fair to say it belongs to me."Bookmark here

"A sole Ventrella operation then, how convenient."Bookmark here

He grins a little like a fox, amber hair catching red in the sunlight, and I can't help but mirror that expression.Bookmark here

Patents don't exist in this world but outright idea theft could be met with trouble. I think I'm good on that aspect since I never claimed these were my inventions. They're just...things to help the people of our homeland. If it brings profit to work them under our household name, well that's just a nice bonus.Bookmark here

As expected of my father, quick to see the economic positional!Bookmark here

"Now let's head back and get some ink and paper, surely we can make something a bit better than dirt doodles. "Bookmark here

"Hey, I'm doing ok if everyone can understand me. You try drawing then!"Bookmark here

"Why I'll be happy to assist my little girl with her writings and drawings. Say now Rosalia, would a wheel format be miniaturized and work for say, a butter churner?"Bookmark here

Oh no. What have I done?Bookmark here

-------Bookmark here

Author: Even without her help, Rosa's dad goes off to design a working crank butter churner all by himself. The idea resembles some of his gun barrels. She can't even be mad because, on a large scale, his design can mass-produce so many things, including her skincare.Bookmark here

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What a long chapter! I'm sorry if anyone got bored. You can see my specific self-indulgent interests drag on- like cooking, skincare, and now vegetable farming. Keep an eye out for beekeeping coming up!Bookmark here

A reader asked/complained how 1 person can just randomly know all this and how unrealistic it is and like....whoops, I exist. Also, have you been on youtube/the internet? We as people know a lot of things we technically don't need.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.