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In April, the snow that had covered the village of Rathmore had completely melted away, and the yellow-green hues of spring had returned.
Although the wind was a little chilly, the sunlight was warming the village.
In the farmlands of the village, winter-sown wheat is beginning to grow and the fields are covered by carpets of green.
My life has not changed much, and is filled with training in swordsmanship and magic, playing, and planning and testing reform plans.
What I had planned in the spring is to launch beekeeping and maple syrup production.
For beekeeping, I asked Craig, a woodworker, to make bee boxes and frames for me.
I had previously launched hive sterilization to a major apiary in the Chugoku region, so I knew only the structure of bee boxes.
However, I had not investigated how the bees were placed in the hive. I left the hive near the forest in the middle of March, when the bees begin their activities, and waited for them to enter the hive on their own.
As for maple syrup, there were quite a few maple trees growing on the east side of the mansion, so I asked Bertram, the blacksmith, to make a metal tube about 1 cm thick, and collected the sap in a ceramic bottle that I made to hold the liquor.
I started this process in late March, but the amount of sap I could get was so small that I finally reached the stage of boiling it down.
I don’t remember what I saw, but it must be concentrated twenty or thirty times to make syrup, so when it reaches about two or three liters, I put it in a pot and put it on the fire.
This time, Walt’s daughter, Tricia, who has a sweet tooth, is helping me. I was a little nervous about having her help, but I picked her because she seemed to be the most enthusiastic.
“I want to boil it down while you keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn. It needs to be boiled down until it is at a level close to the bottom of this pot.” (Zack)
Tricia was skeptical at first, but as it simmered down, the sweet aroma of the maple syrup enticed her, and her face turned serious instead of its usual, nonchalant appearance.
Every day for three days, Tricia found time to cook it down.
Tricia tells me, “I think it’s probably done,”, without any confidence.
I looked into the pot and saw about 200 ccs of candy-colored liquid at the bottom of the pot.
Scooping it with a spoon to taste.
It seemed a little less thick, but I could taste the sweet taste and aroma of maple syrup in my mouth.
I thanked her for her efforts and then said,
“It’s ready. I may have to boil it down a little more, but I think it’s still usable, so I think that’s about it.” (Zack)
She nodded, looking relieved and satisfied.
“There are still some sap coming, so I’ll ask you to do it again.” (Zack)
After watching her nod, I add, “Oh yeah, Tricia can do whatever she wants with this one this time.”
Her face lights up at my words.
“Thank you! I will do my best to make it again.” (Tricia)
Then, carrying the finished syrup with great care, she returned to the back with a pep in her step.
(There’s a hunger for sweet things in this village. When my cash income stabilizes, I’ll buy some sugar.) (Zack)
It was now mid-April, and the village was in full spring color.
The meadows and roadsides are covered with white clover, yellow flowers whose names I do not know, and blue flowers that look like violets, which brighten my mood.
The situation of my pregnant mother, however, seems to be going well, with no particular health problems.
I heard this information from Molly, the maid, and Kate, Nicholas’ wife, so I don’t know if it is true or not, as I have no knowledge or experience at all. However, since I am the least experienced person in the house, and I am the one who is always happy or sad about my mother’s condition, I can’t deny the possibility that she is deceiving me so as not to worry me even if things are not going well.
Well, even from what I saw, she seemed to be in good health, and as I expected, she is the third child, so I guess she is really all right.
Sharon’s mother, Claire, and Mel’s mother, Polly, who is scheduled to give birth at about the same time, also seem to be doing well, and I have a feeling, similar to my grandfather’s words, that the summer will be crowded with the sound of babies crying.
As for hygiene, which is a concern when babies are born, at least in the Lockhart and Squire households, the use of soap has become the norm and the environment is quite clean.
Because of the increased hand washing, water consumption has increased, and in this mansion, where a pump cannot be installed in the well, I think the burden on Walt to pump the water has increased. Well, as far as he is concerned, he hardly feels the burden.
Still, I am considering whether we can somehow save labor. One candidate is to use a windmill as a power source, but I have not been able to come up with a good plan.
As for the soap, it has already been in use in the village for more than four months.
I do not know what kind of explanation Nicholas gave, but it seems that the villagers are using the soap as they are told.
Liddy confirmed the hygiene of the children in particular during his rounds of classes, and he said that the number of filthy children like in the past has decreased considerably.
As for my training situation, I am concerned about the slow increase in my swordsmanship level. The difference with Mel is the same, so perhaps the rate of increase slows down as my level increases, but since I reached level four in January, my level has only increased by one in four months, despite the fact that I have been increasing my training time.
When I mentioned this to my grandfather, he told me, “It is enough if you can get up to that level with only two or three hours of training a day.”
“I don’t understand your impatience, but at your age, reaching level five is extraordinary. Mel and Dan, including you, have both risen up to level five unusually fast.” (Govan)
It was two years after he started training that my older brother Rod reached level five. Incidentally, my older brother, who is now nine years old, is currently at level 10. Normally, even children who train diligently reach level five at the age of ten, so even this is fast enough, he said.
Although I am not convinced, I have given up on the idea that it is no use being impatient.
As for magic, I am doing well.
My Wind attribute is at level 6, and my Light, Wood, and Water attributes are at level 5.
I was particularly happy to be able to use recovery magic.
Recovery magic is compatible with the three attributes of Light, Wood, and Water. Wood for external injuries such as broken bones and cuts, Water for poisons, diseases, and internal injuries, and Light for either.
After learning spells from Liddy and learning the basics, I wounded my own hand and used magic.
While enduring the pain, I cast the spell using Wood Attribute.
“O Arbor, God of Wood who created the forests. Spirit that nurtures life, heal my wounds. I offer the power of my life as payment. With the power of healing, Heal.” (Zack)
Then, he conveys to the spirit the image of cells moving.
The slight flow of blood stops and the wound is quickly healed. The scene is like a time-lapse video, which is a little eerie.
Since the image has enhanced natural healing power, wounds were relatively easy to heal.
Liddy was no longer surprised when I succeeded in performing magic with a single shot.
This time, for example, she even asked me, “Even so, it healed beautifully. How do you do it?”
I was able to treat a simple wound, but I cannot try other Recovery Magic, so I am trying to solidify my image of it.
The purification of poison is imagined as blood filtration. It may be a little different, but I think I can do it by imagining an artificial kidney dialyzer used for dialysis.
The problem would be damage to the internal organs. It would not be enough to just seal the wound, and it’s hard for me, a non-surgeon, to imagine that.
What I am thinking now is that the combined magic of water and wood would best fit the image. Water purifies and wood regenerates. I think such an image should not be so strange.
Now that I have learned recovery magic, I feel a little more comfortable that I can use Heal on my own.
The four of us often get injured. Since playing itself also serves as training, there are very few times when we get injured, such as when we fall from a tree or a balance beam, or when we get abrasions from the rope.
Whenever they get hurt, they ask Liddy to heal them, but she is often away from the house these days because she is busy with her traveling classes. If it was just an abrasion, she would put up with it, but if it was an injury that looked like it might have broken bones, she would have someone go call for her.
When we, especially me, would get hurt, Liddy would come running in with a very pale face. I felt bad every time that happened.
After I learned recovery magic, my three attributes of Light, Wood, and Water went up faster. Strangely enough, my recovery magic consumes less magic power.
Liddy told me that recovery magic consumes more magic power than other types of magic, such as offensive magic.
In my case, I hardly consume any MP if it is only a scratch. Probably because I know the basics of human physiology, I think it is because I can visualize clearly, but I don’t really know.
In May, I don’t feel cold anymore, and on days with strong sunlight, I feel hot.
One of the good things about being reborn in this world is that I no longer suffer from hay fever.
Although there are no cedars or cypresses in this area, which used to cause me hay fever, there are many birch and grass plants that can cause hay fever.
I have heard that in Europe, people develop hay fever around April, but last year and this year there is no sign of it at all. Maybe it’s just that I’m still too young, but for me, who used to wear a mask every day during this spring season, it’s like heaven.
And the beekeeper says that there are bees flying in and out of one of the hives.
I don’t know how long I should put him in charge of beekeeping, but I asked Guy to introduce me to a guy who used to pick honey in the woods and put him in charge of beekeeping.
I’ve given him a lot of information through Nicholas, but this is completely on a trial-and-error basis.
Well, the first reform I worked on was the Toilet Reform.
As soon as I started composting, I realized that human waste would not work.
It seemed that the high-water content was causing the problem, but I couldn’t think of a way to deal with it in the facilities. So, we came up with the idea of mixing it with horse and cow manure, of which we have plenty here at Castle Hill.
To tell the truth, I thought that herbivorous animals’ excrement could be easily composted. However, it took a lot of work before I succeeded.
At first, I thought I could just mix it with leaf litter from the forest, but that didn’t seem to work. Even earthworms did not go into the horse manure, and in the end, I had to repeat the trial-and-error process. I guessed that the moisture content would be a problem, just like human excrement, so I tried mixing in wheat straw and other materials.
Then the temperature of the compost began to rise, a sign that composting had begun. After a few days, however, it stopped. Then I reconsidered.
Decomposition starts because of the presence of microorganisms. In order for microorganisms to live, they need nutrients and oxygen. Then, why not let air in by frequently turning it over? I thought so and instructed him to dig up the soil every few days.
After about two months, the compost was ready.
Then I tried mixing in human excrement, which was my main goal.
There are always about ten horses and five or six cows at Castle Hill. In contrast, there are five humans in the Lockhart family, 15 squires and their families, and 21 people including Liddy. Since horses and cows excrete about 50 to 100 times more than humans, the percentage of human excrement is just a few percent by weight.
However, the calculation does not work out as expected because the feces of grazing horses and cows are left on the ranch as it is. Even so, the amount of manure collected from stables and cowsheds is quite large.
We mixed human excrement with it and tried a method that has been successful with livestock droppings.
It succeeds when mixing a small amount, but when more human excrement is mixed in during experimentation, it instantly goes awry. If the ratio of people to livestock in Castle Hill is about the same, there is no problem, but if the ratio is higher, it is going to be quite difficult.
In other words, if the entire village were to be introduced, it might not be possible because the number of horses and cows would be too small.
The village has about one hundred heads of cattle and twenty head of horses. There are another 200 or so pigs, but they have not tried it with pig manure. If the same could be done with pig manure, composting would be possible, but we will not know until we try it.
I think we can think about this after the farmers in the village started in earnest.
And the biggest problem was composting in winter.
Here in Rathmore Village, winters are very cold. From mid-December to the end of February, there are many days when it snows, and the highest temperature is sometimes close to zero degrees Celsius.
If excrement is decomposed by the action of microorganisms, there must be a temperature at which microorganisms can easily work. Normally speaking, the higher the temperature, the better. In other words, it is necessary to devise a way to keep the temperature low.
Therefore, we tried to prevent the temperature from dropping by making the compost pile larger to reduce the heat dissipation area and placing bundles of wheat straw as heat insulators.
Even so, composting is slow during the low temperatures of winter, so the process takes longer than in summer.
After much trial and error, I finally succeeded in composting in April, about four months after the first composting in December.
There are two problems with composting.
One is that it takes more time than expected.
I thought that if I threw microorganisms into the excrement, it would turn into compost on its own. However, as long as decomposing is used, the microorganisms need to be “taken care” of. In particular, digging up the pile of compost weighing several hundred kilograms every few days is quite the hard work.
The second is how to dispose of human excrement.
Originally, it was started for sanitation purposes. In order to make good use of it, I thought of composting. After much trial and error, they succeeded with horse and cow manure, but the number of horses and cows in the village was not enough to process the excrement of the entire village. I hope it will work with pig manure, but this has not been verified. If it doesn’t work and I can’t keep up with the processing, I plan to dispose of the waste directly in the forest. Fortunately, the forest is large and has many fallen leaves. If we dispose of the waste thinly, I do not think it will have much impact. However, this method seems like a proposition doomed from the start, so I may come up with another method.
We have managed to reach a goal regarding the reform of the restrooms.
There are many things about this plan that I regret, but the biggest thing I regret is that I confused the ends with the means.
The original objective was to solve the sanitary problems caused by leaving excrement unattended. To achieve this goal, we set the goal of promoting the use of toilets, and as a means to achieve the goal, we started making compost that could be used for agricultural production to increase the motivational incentive of the villagers, who are the users.
At first, we gradually focused on making compost, although this was due to the naive prospect that it would be easy to do so. It is true that the production of compost would increase the number of crops produced, but if one considers the goal of sanitation, there was no need to be obsessed with composting.
If sanitation was the only consideration, the village could have built a drainage canal and discharged the waste into the river. Sorry to the people downstream, but considering the population of the village and the size of the river, it does not seem like a very big pollution problem. In fact, there are no people living downstream of the Black River leaving the village, and the Farthus River beyond it is a large river, so it is unlikely to be affected.
From a personal preference point of view, I would not want to take the method of dropping untreated excrement, but if the practical problem was less impactful, such a method would have been available.
In pre-modern times, it would have been less common to discharge treated water into rivers, and there was even the phrase “three feet downstream,” which may or may not have been a good idea.
Other methods, such as drying and disposing of the waste, could have been considered.
The delay in introducing toilets is the result of being too concerned about composting. It is a good thing that there has been no outbreak of dysentery or any other contagious disease, but I could not regret it enough if there had been an outbreak of disease caused by uncleanliness.
I reported the results to my father. After confirming the effectiveness of the compost, my father gave me permission to introduce it to the village.
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