Chapter 28: Spring Feast
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
In the end, we decided against telling Emmerich. After discussing it with Sieg, we felt that he would become strangely vigorous.
Also, we advised him to not come into contact with her, so on the day of his return he left a letter for Aina.
When I took that to her, she refused it on the grounds that it’s from a foreigner.
However, when Sieg took it to her, Aina gladly accepted the letter.
Few days later.
Aina wrote a letter to Emmerich, and it was sent through Sieg.
Miraculously, the two started exchanging letters.
‘I hope they will be closer by the time Emmerich visits this summer,’ I thought. I decided to watch over them.
……Though I’m in no position to cheer for someone else’s romance.
The green shade of nature that absorbed the melted snow softly announced that it was spring.
When all the snow on the ground melts, new leaves sprout.
Though in spring we do not hunt, there are still mountains of work.
Today, we are heading to the reindeers’ forest.
The reindeer that we’ve been raising in our barn is moved into the forests from spring to autumn.
“So once it’s autumn and it starts snowing, do we start hunting?”
“That’s how it is. Autumn is the mating season, so the animals get rough and start breeding.”
Reindeers breed in autumn, and now is the season of giving birth.
“Reindeers breed with one male having many females.”
“That sounds tough.”
Because of that behaviour, most male reindeers are neutered. The forest will become dangerous if there are many restless males going into heat.
While we were talking about reindeers, we walked toward the forest.
“Now then, shall I have reindeer-san work a bit more.”
Today’s objective is reindeer milk. Only during this time of the year are we allowed to milk.
I let the reindeer move freely. If we follow that, a female deer will appear.
Before long, a female reindeer appeared.
I was impressed at how a reindeer is the most popular male in the forest, indeed.
Sieg and I approached the female one with buckets.
“It is docile, right?”
If my reindeer is next to it, it becomes docile.
Normally, it has to be held down with ropes to milk it.
“First, we have to check its antlers.”
“So even female reindeers grow antlers.”
For reindeers, even females grow antlers. Males shed their antlers in autumn, while females shed theirs in summer.
I heard that it’s because females need to secure food earlier in preparation for giving birth and raising babies.
We check the antlers to keep the milking amount uniform.
Just for the milk, reindeers are considered as the village’s common property. So any reindeers can be used for milking.
The reason is because it’s hard trying to find specific reindeers.
Once we milk one, we have to mark its antler near the ear to show that it has been milked. If there are at least five marks, that reindeer is not to be milked.
“This one looks fine.”
While it was preoccupied with our house’s reindeer, we milked it.
“First, please warm up the teats to make it easier for the milk to come out.”
With the boiled towels we brought from home, we wrapped the reindeer’s teats in them. If the blood flows better, it becomes easier so we have to massage them smoothly.
Even after that, we kept wiping the teats with the boiled towels. This was to sterilise the teats.
After cleaning them, we can finally milk.
“Gently hold the teats with your palm, and using the three fingers from the middle finger apply force downwards.”
Then the milk comes out.
Since the milk came out even if the female reindeer didn’t do anything, the bucket was filled up quickly.
Today, we gathered four bucketfuls. To not let it spill, we put lids on and then brought them back.
“Usually, I would have to gather two bucketfuls, place them on the sleigh, then go milk again~. It’s great that Sieg’s here~.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
As I worked with my wife, we could work faster.
Since we had to boil the reindeer milk to sterilise it, we headed to the outdoor kitchen behind the mansion.
First we start by filtering the milk through a fine cloth to remove any impurities.
After that, it’s heated to kill germs.
Though it’s possible to directly heat the milk, the milk sticks to the pot so sterilisation is done by putting in a bottle full of reindeer milk in boiling water.
In a bottle that was boiled yesterday, milk is poured in. Then that has to be sterilised in boiling water. Now the milk was potable.
Since they are not preserved, I took a third to Ruruporon for cooking. I took some time and conveyed that she can take half back home.
Good work! is what I want to say, but there is still more work left.
“Sieg, do you have energy for more work.”
“So far I’m still fine.”
“I’m going to make cheese, can I ask for your help?”
However, it’s not made seriously for long-term preservation.
It’s a simple one made just from lemon and reindeer milk.
In warm milk, lemon juice is mixed in then it’s stirred slowly with a wooden stick. Then, some white stuff will form on the stick.
“The milk is starting to form into curds. It should be alright now.”
After placing a clean cloth over a bowl, the curdy milk is poured into the bowl. Then the solid bits gather on the cloth while the remaining liquid gathers in the bowl.
“Then we just have to get rid of the moisture.”
After squeezing the cloth with a stick until the moisture is gone, the work is complete.
“The stuff in this cloth here is cheese.”
Since this on its own is not tasty, we eat it with salt.
“Truth be told, madam,”
“What is it?”
“I made this from the morning.”
I showed Sieg a basket covered with cloth from on top of the stove.
Inside are biscuits made using a special recipe.
Since I had some time while boiling towels, I made them using rye.
“Cheese and biscuit go well together.”
The sky is still bright.
But sometimes drinking now is fine too, so we finished work for today.
I told Ruruporon that we didn’t need dinner today. Then I rummaged through the food storage, to start a feast, also for eating up the leftover preserved food from the polar nights.
There were fruit wine, smoked meat, liver spread, jam, potatoes, and dried fruits.
Since it was still a little chilly, I lit up the fireplace. Then I boiled hung a kettle over to boil some water.
“Sieg, what about the ingredients for the milk soup? I can go bring the fish we caught yesterday from the cold storage.”
“No, let’s make it from just the ingredients here.”
“Then we’ll use smoked meat and potatoes.”
I poured in a reindeer stock then put in diced smoked meat and potatoes.
Since I was working as I drank with Sieg, I was becoming sloppy.
“Be careful not to burn yourself.”
The liquid from making cheese is put in for flavour.
Actually, this liquid called whey has many nutrients from milk.
Sieg was preparing the biscuits with cheese, spread, dried fruits and jam, using many different combinations. All of them will be delicious.
After the soup is flavoured well with spices, the feast starts.
The fresh and salty cheese went well with the biscuit.
Since we were using fresh milk for the soup, it tasted even better.
“I’m glad I married.”
I whispered as if I was desperate.
The work never finished this quickly before, and I don’t think I had many occasions where I relaxed like this.
I was working everyday rather listlessly.
It was thanks to Sieg that I changed.
Really, marriage is great.
Sieg, in a rare moment of drunkenness, was drinking as her cheeks were dyed slightly.
I stared at her thinking that it was cute.
“Madam, would you like another drink?”
“Thank you, my dear.”
Hearing Sieg’s splendid reply, I poured the wine onto the table not into the glass.
Sieg wiped the spilled drink with a dishcloth that was nearby.
“What are you doing.”
I was surprised by drunk Sieg’s words, but I couldn’t possibly say that.
It really is a pathetic story.
Like so, our little feast proceeded merrily.
I’m back from my trip during the day! I’ll translate maybe one or two more today.