Hokuou Kizoku to Moukinzuma no Yukiguni Karigurashi — 32

Chapter 32: Fish
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife

The third day of grandfather’s stay here.
This morning, he said that he wanted to try wearing traditional clothing so I lent him mine. Fortunately, our height was similar so it fit well enough.

“Then, see you later.”
“Have a safe trip. Sieg, please take care of grandfather.”

The two of them are going out fishing today.
Grandfather apparently went out fishing on his holidays, so he was excited to go someplace new.

The two of them took Teoporon as their bodyguard and went to the river in the forest.

Now that there isn’t anyone else home, I started working.
First, I fed the chickens. The feed is mixture of herbs from the forest and dried grains. While the chickens were absorbed in the food, I cleaned the coop. Once I replace the hay with new ones and refill clean water, it’s done.

When I was about to go back, a chicken, having just finished breakfast, laid an egg. Thanking that, I retrieved it after wiping it with a clean cloth.

They don’t always lay their eggs in the morning. I heard that it takes a day and an hour for an egg to form. It goes slightly off everyday, so it’s not laid at the same time every occasion. The other chicken would lay its egg around noon.

Since that was over now, I headed to the forest with Miruporon. It was to chop down trees for firewood.

I also collected as much branches as possible and put them on the sleigh. Once I found a suitable tree, I hacked at it with an axe and knocked it over.

The fallen tree is sawed into sizes small enough to place on the sleigh. After that, back home, I started working to remove the barks. The barks, after being boiled with herbs for both durability and softness, are also used for making baskets.

“Then, Miruporon, please take care of chopping firewood.”

The valiant girl pounded her chest in reply.
In addition, the firewood chopped today will be used in winter. Trees contain a lot of moisture, so they have to be dried for at least half a year.
Because of that, the firewood for use in the cold seasons are gathered from late winter to early spring.

The next task involved working at the outdoor kitchen.
The ingredients are potatoes that had sprouted. They were prepared beforehand to be used this time.

I started off by cutting off the sprouts and peeling the skin off. There was quite an amount so I ended up taking quite a while. The ones that were done first started changing colour, but I continued on regardless.

Then, I cracked in the two eggs that were laid today and yesterday, and mixed flour, salt, honey, and reindeer milk in that.

White flour is expensive, but I bought it since it would be nice for a change. There was soft bread after a long time on the breakfast table too. However, Sieg and grandfather’s country also apparently enjoyed rye bread, so he ate the soft bread with a disappointed look. I felt apologetic for that.
{TN: Sorry, I’ve been translating 黑麥 incorrectly the whole time. While it translates literally as ‘black barley’, it means ‘rye’. I’ll get to fixing everything sometime.}

I greased a shallow and wide pan and fried the batter on it. I could fry three at once at most.
Like so, small glutinous pancakes are made.

When I finished, there was a mountain of pancakes. Just in case, I tasted one. It was smaller than my palm, so I could eat it in two bites.
The fried surface was crispy, while the inside was chewy, or more like fleshy. I think I might have failed in controlling the amount of flour.
The subtle sweet and savoury flavour of the potato mixed well, so it could be eaten anytime. Of course, it’s possible to have a meal with just these and coffee, but I wanted to try sandwiching something in between.

What I was going to cook now was salmon (lohi) that a merchant brought this morning.
First, after removing the scales with the back of the knife, the surface is washed with clean water. The head is cut off, then it is gutted by slicing its belly open. After cleaning the blood off again, I sliced it in two with a knife starting from where its head was.
Finally, I removed the bones in the middle.

I then removed the skin from the salmon that was chopped into two pieces. That was then seasoned with spices and salt. Then the chopped salmon pieces were dipped into the batter from before, which was thinned with water, and deep fried adequately.
On top of the pancake I just made, I placed thinly sliced cheese, vegetables and deep-fried salmon and put Ruruporon’s special tartar sauce. The finished products are wrapped in paper and but in a basket.

When I went to the kitchen, Ruruporon was pouring coffee into bottles. She also handed me Teoporon’s lunchbox. He’s getting lunch made by his beloved wife.

With everyone’s lunch, I headed to the river.

The forest grew rich in colour, ready for summer. Today, there was a light breeze, creating a pleasant sound of leaves.

After going down a pathless route for a while, I arrived at the river. Faraway, I could hear voices that had energy uncharacteristic of fishing. When I arrived at an open space after working through the grass, a fish flew and fell in front of me.

“Th-This is……!?”
“What, it’s just Ritzhard.”
“Ah, grandfather.”

A short distance away, there was grandfather, who was wearing white bear fur for some reason, and Sieg. The two were in a posture for staring into the river.

“What happened here.”
“It didn’t bite for so long, so that bear man jumped into the river.”

Grandfather pulled up a net from the river. In there, there were some freshwater fish.
While we were chatting, Teoporon came out of the river. Then he threw the fish he caught with his harpoon to the riverbank. The caught fish landed nicely on the ground. He showed some great throwing skills.

“That man is absurd.”

I can’t help but agree.
I talked to Teoporon, and then decided to have lunch.

He wrung out his wet clothes and left it to dry on a big rock. As for the important parts, he hid them with bear fur.

“That man, isn’t he a little too vulnerable!?”

Without minding about the people around him, he silently started eating his lunch prepared by his wife. The fur was tied sloppily, so he was worried that it might be seen from specific angles.

I spread out a sheet on the grass, and sat at an angle that hid Teoporon’s front before having lunch.
When I opened the basket, grandfather glanced at the wrapped bread.

“What’s this.”
“Potato pancake with fried salmon.”

Grandfather opened the paper wrapping and stared inside with a quizzical look. Since it wasn’t long since I made it, it’s still warm.

After seeing Sieg eat it, he too started eating. He got some tartar sauce on his mouth, so I passed a napkin to him.

“Fumu. Not bad.”
“Glad to hear that.”

Sieg looked like she wanted ask something, so I asked her what it was.

“No, I was wondering if Ritz made this.”

When I said yes, she murmured, “As I thought.”

“So you cooked this!”

Hearing Sieg’s question, he too was surprised.

“Quite skillful.”

He said as he pressed for another one.

The meal I made with more effort satisfied my grandfather’s taste buds too. I also shared some with Teoporon who was sitting behind me. The honourable man tried to stand up and pound his chest, but the fur that was tied at his waist became loose so it became hard for him to work.

After lunch, we returned home. Since Teoporon gestured for me to have the caught fish, I gladly accepted.

I removed the head and the insides and split them into two. I took three to the kitchen, and for the rest I salted and laid them outside in a mesh box to dry.

Dinner was food made with the fish that was caught today, lentils, and a soup of smoked wild boar meat.

We had another busy dinner today.

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