Chapter 88: Grape Wine
It was mid summer in Fan Hua Town, and all of the fruits in every household were ripe.
Grapes, pears, apricots, plums, nectarines, loquats… Almost all summer fruits could be found in Fan Hua Town.
The two black grape vines taken from Mount Da Shi that were transferred into the yard also hung in lots of ripe clusters.
“Pretty jiějiě (elder sister), there’re a lot of grapes. It would be really regretful if we couldn’t eat them all. Why don’t we pick them and make some wine?” Situ Yun lay on a cherry tree branch, holding a bunch of shiny black grapes in his hand, asking in a lazy tone.
“Right, I did want to make wine last year. And now, they are all ripe…” Su Shuilian’s eyes turned bright. “Yun’er, do you know how to make wine?”
“Nah, I don’t. I just know how to drink wine…” answered Situ Yun, not at all politely.
“Oh…” Su Shuilian was discouraged, slumping her shoulders. She slightly thrust her belly outward as she leaned against the soft couch. “Sigh, A Yao wouldn’t allow me to do that.”
“Uncle knows how to make wine, doesn’t he?” Situ Yun chew his grapes, squinting on the large tree branch and enjoying the breezes brushing through Fan Hua Town after the sun set behind the mountain.
“He knows how to make wine?” Su Shuilian was so surprised. He has never told me that he knows how to make wine. Last time we made osmanthus scented wine*, he had to follow the book step by step.
(Chapter 49 and 50)
“Ah? He doesn’t? Then who buried the jar of good wine under this tree?” Situ Yun accidentally disclosed his previous move. He had yearned for that good wine for a long time.
“Yun’er!” Su Shuilian covered her mouth, screaming. “How did you know there’s a jar of wine buried under the tree?”
“Argh… Not me. Xiao Chun dug it out…” Situ Yun hurried to wipe off the relation.
“Situ Yun,” Su Shuilian called his full name for the first time. It was the jar of wine she had tried very hard to make. If it were unsealed before two years, it would be a big waste.
“Don’t worry. I buried it back. I’m sure it won’t evaporate or change. I promise…” Situ Yun threw his arms into the air as if he surrendered. He didn’t forget to cock his head to bite a grape from the cluster in his hand.
“Also, how could uncle refuse your request to make wine? He will do anything to please you.” Situ Yun dangled his legs as he was sitting on the cherry tree, talking to Su Shuilian who was cleaning a big basin of grapes in the shade of the tree. “Even if you want the moon in the sky, I think he will try his best to fly up there and take it for you. Tsk tsk, pretty jiejie, my uncle treats you so well. No wonder why shifu and the others want…”
“They want what?” Su Shuilian heard just half of his saying. She didn’t get it so she lifted her head to ask.
“What else do they want… They’re so jealous…” Situ Yun laughed, trying to change the topic.
Well, his shifu sent him here to join the fun, right?
Supervising the construction was just an excuse. Spoiling his uncle’s marriage and the private life of the couple, was actually what they wanted to do!
His shifu, who didn’t have a right conscience, and the other two mysterious uncles actually didn’t like the current nice, worry-free life of Uncle Si Ling, did they? Sigh, they should blame their tough lives as they were earning their living on a knife’s edge.
However, thinking about the big house that was being shaped day after day, Situ Yun couldn’t help but squint his eyes. Is it true that shifu and the others are going to bid farewell to their assassin life and move in here to have a secluded life?
No matter what, Feng Yao Court had constantly been suppressing his shifu. Lucky for him and his other peers didn’t join that organization. His shifu and his brothers had established a separate organization.
Even if his shifu quit the relationship with the Feng Yao Court, he knew that his shifu wouldn’t complain about being bored and having nothing to do all day long.
His brothers in ‘Guangci House’ had pledged to achieve their goal as to become the number one Information House of Da Hui Empire. It was their direction to move further. They had eyed a location in Fan Luo City. And they’d planned to make it a branch office. Actually, Situ Yun’s trip to here included that mission, too.
Of course, after several days eating well, (well, since the day his uncle knew he could cook, he was in charge of three meals every day), and sleeping well, (sigh, spending every single night on the cherry tree branch, he had almost forgotten how it felt on a soft bed), and he could chat with the beautiful pregnant sister, he was so free and unfettered that he had almost forgotten that mission.
Sigh, he should seize the time and get it done early. Otherwise, when the shifu finds out that he was enjoying his time around here, he would get angry and beat him up.
“Beautiful jiejie, I’m going to the city this afternoon. Do you need anything?” After making up his mind, Situ Yun swiftly jumped off the cherry tree. He was about to obediently enter the kitchen to cook lunch.
“Oh, you’re going to the city? Please get some white cotton cloth for me. Two empty jars for the wine, and gauze to filter the wine.”
Su Shuilian tilted her head, thinking for a bit. She was checking in her head what consumable goods the family needed. She confirmed that they ran out of white cotton cloth, and they needed jars and more gauze to make grape wine. Then, she nodded to confirm the order to Situ Yun.
“Oh, I was just asking out of courtesy. You shouldn’t take the offer for real…” Situ Yun groaned as he held his forehead. The cloth shops were something he disliked, just like the kitchen. They were absolutely the places only women should visit. Thinking about him, a man, oh, nope, a handsome teenager, and he had to visit the cloth shop to choose some white cotton thing. Oh, kill me please.
“…” Su Shuilian was speechless, looking at him. This kid asked me if I wanted to buy something! But when requested, he acted like this? Is it really difficult to buy the items? Well, I didn’t ask him to buy anything special! At least… I haven’t asked him to buy… toilet paper!
“Alright, alright, don’t look at me like that. If Uncle sees this, he will think I’m bullying you. White cotton cloth, gauze, and wine jars, right? No problem!” Situ Yun repeated the items. When Su Shuilian nodded, he wielded his hands and pretended to be calm, walking into the kitchen. He caused trouble for himself. Oh, Situ Yun, next time you shouldn’t mind those manner things. Yeah, it’s true that somebody doesn’t understand when someone’s trying to be courteous…
In the next several days, Su Shuilian immersed herself in the process of making grape wine. Remembering her elder brother’s explanation and the reference for making fruit wine from the books, Su Shuilian tried to make her first batch of grape wine.
Of course, the laborious steps were done by Situ Yun. Lin Si Yao wouldn’t let her do that. Although he would allow her to entertain herself with some hobbies to forget her difficulty during her pregnant period, he wouldn’t let her do all the work by herself.
Anyway, Su Shuilian was already happy as it is.
The grapes Situ Yun harvested were soaked in the big wooden basin. The broken and the dried ones would be eliminated. After they were cleaned, they would be crushed and placed into jars. Each jar should be around seventy or eighty percents full. Then, the jars were sealed with gauze.
Three days later, the gauze was taken off and and ice was placed into before stirred. During the next five days, the process was repeated daily.
After five days, she fished the floating grapes skin and poured the juice into the cleaned jars. The grape meat would be filtered using gauze to extract more juice.
The juice in the wine jar was now pure filtered grape juice.
Then, she added whipped egg-white, stirred evenly, and sealed the jars. This time, it was a real seal with dried leaves and wet mud. It would prevent the fluid from evaporating.
“How is it? When can we drink wine?” Situ Yun clapped his hands. Successfully accomplished. He drooled, his face yearning, asking Su Shuilian.
“At least one month. Come here. Bury it under the cherry tree…” Su Shuilian pointed at the spot she had buried the osmanthus scented wine, asking Situ Yun to bury the grape wine there, too.
The underground would have low temperature. Under this scorching weather, the wine wouldn’t go bad.
“Jiejie, sooner or later, you would torture this cherry tree to death…” Situ Yun rolled his eyes, accepting his fate by taking the hoe out to dig the hole.
“Oh… How about under the jujube tree?” Su Shuilian rubbed her heavy belly. She blinked and thought about the jujube tree in the Southern courtyard. But it’s where receives the most sunlight. Wouldn’t the temperature be too high?
“Can we not choose to bury under a tree!” Situ Yun grumbled. If they kept burying the wine under the tree, that tree’s roots would suffocate to death!
“So… Then you tell me where to bury them?” Isn’t it cooler under the tree shade! Moreover, wasn’t there a song that goes: “Bury the jar under the tree. Year after year, it will be so aromatic…”
“Sigh, you should ask Uncle to dig a cellar…” Situ Yun shook his head reluctantly. He could see that the woman, who was sinking in the halo of motherhood, in front of him would have her mood surging again to make more wine. If they didn’t have a wine cellar, she would destroy his cherry-bed soon.
“Cellar?” Su Shuilian sat on the stone bench, her hands supporting her chin. She looked at Situ Yun digging up a hole a few steps away from her, thinking about the possibility of this suggestion.
It wasn’t practical here. This house was dozens of years old. Although it looked new after the renovation, it was really weak. Otherwise, A Yao wouldn’t be so hurried to build a new one.
Anyway, they could build a cellar in their new house. Not only to store wine, but also to keep rice, dried meat or dried fish for the winter. Moreover, it would be better to have a cellar than a storage house. It could be a big construction, but it was a good suggestion, wasn’t it?
“Thanks for your labor, Yun’er…” Su Shuilian’s eyes narrowed when she smiled at Situ Yan who was working hard. Then, she clutched her belly, walking into the study room to find some books for the cellar design.
“Ai, are the pregnant women all like that? Always change their minds. After finishing the grape wine, she was just talking about making pickled plum soup, and now she changed her mind again. Sigh, I really want to drink pickled plum soup. Xiao Chun, do you want it too?” Situ Yun talked to Xiao Chun. The dog was taking a lunch nap. A trickle of transparent fluid oozed from the corners of its mouth.
‘Woowoowoo…’ I’m not drooling for that pickled plum thing. I want meat for dinner. Meat! Xiao Chun wagged his tail and grunted before leisurely walking to the riverside in the Southern courtyard to watch the fish to ease his thirst.
Leaving the unfortunate Situ Yao, who was still wielding the hoe to dig the ground to bury the wine jars, behind….
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