The mischievous Second Young Master Luo looked at Su Tang by her side and, after a long moment, said slowly, “You’re really too devilish!”
In response, Su Tang rolled her eyes and said, “Thank you for the compliment!”
Seeing her friend rolling her eyes at her, Luo Xingchen chuckled helplessly. In fact, she truly meant those words as a compliment.
After a while, it was time for lunch. It wasn’t too convenient to cook right now and Su Tang wasn’t too familiar with this area, so she just sent Jiang Hong out to find something simple for them to eat. After their simple meal, Su Tang and Luo Xingchen left for the appointment with the person selling the workshop Su Tang had picked that Jiang Hong had set up earlier.
The current owner of the dilapidated workshop was a distant relative of the late original owner of the land and had traveled very far to deal with the matter of this land deed, and Su Tang wanted to get the construction of her new workshop underway as soon as possible, so both sides were eager to complete this deal. Thus, after they met and discussed the particulars very briefly, they all left together to meet the Yamen and handle all the paperwork.
Just like that, the dilapidated ruin of a “workshop” was finally officially Su Tang’s property. Once that was done, Su Tang once again boarded her carriage and led Luo Xingchen to the newly bought workshop and land.
After seeing the place first hand, Luo Xingchen expressed her admiration for Su Tang’s vision. Most people wouldn’t think of buying such a place but, in reality, it was actually very suitable for the workshop they were planning to build.
After all, their planned workshop was quite different from a typical workshop. That being the case, even if the previous owners of the land had left something behind it would be impossible for them to directly use it. Even if there was a perfectly functioning workshop on the land they would still need to tear it down and rebuild it to their specifications. From that angle, buying this sort of “ruin” was actually the smarter move.
After having Luo Xingchen take a look around, Su Tang started to get busy with actually getting construction of the processing workshop underway. Of course, she didn’t personally handle every little thing herself. Instead, she directly passed her blueprints to Jiang Hong and asked him to oversee the construction. Luckily Luo Xingchen also happened to be here, so Su Tang delegated the task of contacting all the craftsmen and having them build the over-sized manual meat grinder the workshop needed to her.
Once things were on the right track and their workshop had started being built, Su Tang and Luo Xingchen both returned to Qinghe Town together.
Meanwhile, in the twinkling of an eye, the seasons kept turning and it was already June. The villagers in Sujia Village had been very busy with planting the crops for the season until now, but by June things had settled down a bit and the farmers had some idle time on their hands.
Of course, the farmers were all very poor, so they wouldn’t just sit around and stay idle just because they had free time. Typically they would use this time to travel around to nearby towns and villages to do some simple work and earn some extra money.
Su Yongshun’s family was the same. However, this year was a bit different. As soon as they finished planting all of their fields they immediately went to town to find Su Tang the very next day without pausing to rest at all.
Su Yongshun still didn’t know that Su Tang had already moved away so he headed to the old courtyard Luo Xingchen had rented back then. Fortunately, Jiang Hong’s family was still living there for the time being, and when they found out that Su Tang’s relatives were looking for her, Jiang Hong’s wife, Madam Zhang, hurriedly went out to call Su Tang over.
These days Su Tang was actually quite busy. Although many of her tasks could be delegated to Jiang Hong, in the end the blueprints were her designs, so she still needed to keep an eye on things and communicate with the workers during the construction process. Of course, thanks to Jiang Hong she didn’t have to personally handle every little thing, but there was still a fair amount of work that only she could do.
So she was a bit surprised when Madam Zhang found her and told her that Su Yongshun had come to find her. It was only with this reminder that she suddenly remembered that she was also planning to have a house built in Sujia Village this year. She quickly hurried to over with Madam Zhang to see Su Yongshun.
“My apologies, Brother Shun. I’ve just been so busy these days that I completely forgot about this matter. I was supposed to go and visit you, but I made you come find me instead.” Su Tang immediately apologized when she saw Su Yongshun.
After all, she was the one who was asking him to help build her a new house, but in the end she had let him to her door on his own initiative. Su Tang was really a bit apologetic about this.
Su Yongshun just laughed and replied, “What does it matter who visits who? We’re family, do we need to pay attention to these small matters? I just wonder if you have decided what kind of house you want to have built.”
Madam Zhang quietly walked into the room and served Su Tang a cup of tea. Su Tang took a sip, then took out the blueprint she had prepared in advance and showed it to Su Yongshun. “I don’t have any special requirements for the looks, but I hope that the whole house can have heated floors and hot-walls with flues in them for warmth.”
tl begging corner:
(tl note: Before translating this chapter I had never heard of this “hot wall” heating method. I stole this description of how they work from an excellent paper written by Guozhong Zheng of North China Electric Power University in case anyone else is also interested in exactly what Su Tang is planning to build:
The hot wall is commonly used for rural heating in cold northern China. It takes the principles of thermal fluids, chimney effect, heat storage and heat radiation as the theoretical basis to meet the heating requirements of one room and one wall. The hot wall (Figure 1b) is a rectangular brick wall. In the wall, many empty holes allow smoke to collude inside, then heat is transferred to both sides. It serves not only as a heater but also as an indoor partition. The hot wall is a kind of original ecological heating system, which can use biomass such as straw and fuel wood produced in rural areas. Meanwhile, it is an easy heating technology built with simply available materials, and it has large surface area to transfer heat and store heat. In cold winters, the indoor temperature can rise in a shorter time compared with the heating method of Kang. Correspondingly, the hot wall will cool rapidly after the stove or other heat sources stop supplying heat. It is because that the bricks used for building hot walls have a limited storage capacity, as a result, heat in the smoke cannot be fully absorbed and stored, and the hot walls have bad thermal inertia. Moreover, the hot walls are currently built on basis of experience, and they usually have the shortcomings of high exhaust smoke temperature, high energy consumption, and low energy utilization efficiency.
In short, they’re walls made from hollow bricks which can hold smoke and heat. But they lose heat very quickly and require wood to be constantly burned to be effective.)