Hokuou Kizoku to Moukinzuma no Yukiguni Karigurashi — 16

Chapter 16: Forewarned is Forearmed.
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
{TN: The original Japanese title says ‘Well prepared means no worries.’}

Now that I’m done with securing food and hearing out my people, I have to start preparing light, water, and materials for traditional crafting.

In this village, we use candles.
We use animal fat to make them, with herbs to remove the smell.

“I never imagined that we would be making our own candles.”
“Well, we have to be self-sufficient. The goods merchants bring have shipping costs included so they’re wasteful too.”

Today, we are making candles together.
Since Sieg had been going out to the forest with Miruporon these days, it’s been a while since we worked together.

“……”
“Hm?”

Sieg looked at me strangely.

“No, you look rather happy, so I was wondering if you liked making candles.”

Looks like I wore my heart on my sleeve. I could tell her that I am happy to work with her, but it would be bad if she got put off from that so I just smiled it off.

For making candles, we use sow intestinal fat. Hog fat smell is too strong to be erased with herbs.

The fat, which was set aside during the butchering process, is cut into equal sizes and thrown into a pot of boiling water. Then powdered herbs are added to remove the smell.

As we boil this, white foams of fat form. Once that’s processed many times and the water is cleaned off, we can get boar oil.

From this boar oil, once we add some herbs, we could make ointment or soap from it. Ancient people’s wisdom is great, I said as I continued working with Sieg.

Now that the fat has turned semisolid, wicks, made from twisting a few strings, are hung on a long wooden stick. It is then dipped in the fat and then taken out to dry for a while. Once we repeat that a few more times, a candle is made. It takes a lot of time and effort to make just one, but since it’s the only source of life other than the fireplace during the polar nights, I can’t afford to cut any corners.

For the water, we draw it from the forest behind the village.
For some strange reason, the spring does not freeze even in winter. They say that it’s the Spirit’s power working. Since the river in the forest was frozen, even Sieg was surprised.

In preparation for the polar nights, we filled the containers up and carried them back home. Of course, since they can’t be kept for that long, we have to go out in the dark sometimes. However, around that area, no beasts appear so it’s safe. I would just need a lamp.

As additional sources, for purposes other than drinking, we use groundwater or melted snow. There is plenty of water, so there are no problems with that.

Finally, we are going out to get materials for crafting. We are getting them to prepare for crafting during the long polar nights.

A symbolic good of our village’s tradition is a wooden cup called kuksa.
It’s made from birch burls, which are formed by trees to cover up after an animal damages the bark.

These lumps are slowly dried for two months before we get to crafting.
Although I already have some prepared, I have to go out for some now since we can’t go into the forests during the polar nights.

Other than the wooden cups, we have bags and bracelets made out of reindeer leather, baskets made out of softened tree roots, scabbards made out of reindeer horns, among many other goods.
Since they’re all handmade, they’re usually very expensive, but after the polar nights they’re sold at a relatively affordable price at cities. Since all the villagers have many of the same goods, the value falls.

After the polar night is over, at the nearby port, an icebreaker comes cutting through the frozen sea.

During that season, the port becomes full of people, and a flea market opens everyday.
The polar nights were a fitting period to make traditional crafts.

◇◇◇

“——And, well, this is it!”

The storeroom is full of preserved goods and containers filled with water. There are also meat that are finished with fermenting under the snow, and also yet unprocessed fur.

I reported to Sieg that we are fully prepared.

Indeed, the motivation is different when there’s family involved. I could really feel it every day.

◇◇◇

One afternoon, Sieg brought out a wooden box she brought from her house.

“What’s this?”
“I thought we might be able to sell these to supplement living expenses.”

When she unravelled the cloth and opened the box, there were embroidered handkerchiefs. There were also quite a lot.

“Sieg, what’s this?”
“These are things I made back home to kill some time.”
“Wait, you mean you made all these!?”

I had a preconception that she was not good with womanly work, so I was surprised at her unexpectedly good craftsmanship.

“Ah~, but this is too much.”
“?”
“The merchants around here probably won’t buy these unless they’re cheap. People around here don’t use these beautiful silk handkerchiefs.”

I thought that they would sell at a high price in cities.
However, it took a few days to go there even by reindeer. It cost money to get to cities, so it was not economical.

“It might be a good idea to put it up on the gift shop from spring to early autumn. The visitors are either nobles or the rich.”
“Is that so. Well, I’ll leave that to you.”
“Thank you.”
“No, well, it didn’t really help that much though.”
“But I am really happy.”
“……”

When I said that, Sieg made a troubled expression. Recently, she had these kinds of expression on often, so I made sure to not say anything unnecessary.

Then, the polar nights came. With a blizzard.

“That’s an amazing amount of snow.”
“This doesn’t look like it’ll let up anytime soon.”

The windows rattled, and the wind hit the house with a ferocious noise.
It was harsh outside, but inside, it was warm and peaceful.

Since the martial race family are resting today, we are doing everything by ourselves.

I hung a pot over the fire.
I brought some suitable ingredients from the pantry and started cooking.

Today’s soup is something from Sieg’s homeland. I’m sort of doing this off the top of my head.
Although she said that she can’t cook, she peeled the vegetables with commendable skill. She was a trusty assistant indeed.

The ingredients: large amounts of potatoes, root vegetables, and smoke boar meat. The soup is made by adding spices and boiling the soup until the ingredients turned mushy. While boiling, the ingredients are mashed using the spatula.

In Sieg’s country, potatoes make up most of their meals.
In her country, it is said that women can’t marry unless they know how to two hundred different potato dishes. Of course, it’s not guaranteed that women who cook well marry well. But it’s an allegory to show that women need to be able to cook that much to marry.

I skewered a reindeer sausage, spiced it and grilled it by the fireplace. Once the fat starts rising on the surface and the juice starts dripping, it’s done.

Consisting of black barley bread Ruruporon baked yesterday, some cheese, sausages and soup, the breakfast is complete.

I was complimented that the soup was cook. Since I wanted to cook more dishes from Sieg’s country, I asked her about them.

“Oh yeah, I liked mashed potato dumplings. They’re chewy, and go well with meat.”
“Wow, sounds delicious!”
“There’s also a dish of sausages and potatoes fried with spices, sausages made from meat minced with rhubarbs, bread with berries in them……”

However, the recipe was still a mystery so they will have to be cooked according to Sieg’s tastes.

After we finished eating, as always, it’s time to let our stomaches recover.

“By the way, how are the Rangos doing with their own preparations?”
“They’ll be fine. Teoporon still goes out hunting even in the dark, and both Ruruporon and Miruporon understand the polar nights and have prepared for it.”
“Is that so. Then that’s good.”

Recently, I checked up on their storage, but there were more food there than here.

As I married, I gifted them with a house a short distance from the village.
Teoporon processes the hunted animals at the hut by the mansion, but for other tasks he was doing it back home.
They too were preparing for the polar nights.

After this, we will be making traditional crafts at the workshop.
Since I learned that Sieg’s craftsmanship was good, I asked her to make some with me as I taught her how.

In this season, there’s no use feeling agitated, so it’s good to be relaxed. While talking about things like that, we calmly passed the time.



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17 thoughts on “Hokuou Kizoku to Moukinzuma no Yukiguni Karigurashi — 16

  1. I do protest the lack of snusnu. They are two young people living under one roof without chaperone. How the hell is it that many months passed without one chance? They are not blushing virgins here. The girl might, MIGHT, be so. (she’s a soldier in arm). Doubtful the man is.

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    • They’re not teenagers and they’re not a loving couple…yet. They’re still testing each other out and I think they’re busy with preparing to survive the winter. Also remember that Sieg has said to hold off on child making in chapter 2. I dunno about contraceptives in this world but I’m sure there are no vending machines that dispense condoms…

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  2. I admit I was half-expecting them to make their first intimate moves (at least a proper kiss) under the excuse of a blizzard condition keeping the two of them confined together, especially given Sieg’s willing support from the previous chapter, but this works too.

    I do hope they begin progressing into a proper couple soon though; not necessarily jumping straight into sex, but at least some voluntary hand-holding and kissing. I do like the way Sieg is slowly developing and refining more of her womanly side, while Richard (had to actually go back to Ch1 to remember his name) is inadvertently getting closer to her in a non-romantic way despite his attempts to shift the moments into romantic ones.

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