Xilaimian won an award in a restaurant competition.
We didn’t agree to participate in this competition, but we were still forced to take part in it anyways. There were so many things to take into consideration—Lin Liuren’s garden, the house we had built in the back, the bamboo forest with its small shrine (with a particularly interesting story attached), as well as our signature dishes: the not-so-delicious but healthy stone pot chicken dish and the particularly unhealthy steamed crabs and rice dish.
Of course, there was also the male boss who was skilled in literature, art, and architecture, the ethereal cashier who seemed more like a celestial being than a human, an ordinary fat chef, and a local assistant chef.
There were also many cats.
There were too many elements to factor in, but they obviously hit the pulse of the times.
That award seemed to be called “Fresh Folk Talent”, but in any case, Xilaimian changed the day after winning it. People in the surrounding towns all drove by to check out the bustling scene.
I didn’t want to have such a busy business for a hobby, so I only sold a limited number of dishes that we could handle every day. At first, this farmhouse turned into a restaurant where you had to make a reservation, but with my unremitting efforts and bad attitude, this award was later revoked.
We once again resumed our previous idleness. The village head and village secretary thought it was a great pity, but I was finally able to relax. After this day, I came up with a plan—anyone who came to tell me that he had an award behind his back would get a deliberately burned dish.
However, after this farce, our Yuanshan wine sold better than before. In fact, sixty percent of our income started to come from this not-so-delicious wine.
With a house in the village, the house we had built ourselves, a courtyard, a garden restaurant, and a bamboo garden, I had enough space to do my activities and meditation. I realized that I was someone who had extremely high standards when it came to my living space, but this was enough; I couldn’t expand anymore.
For city people, these things were too extravagant, but in a village, it actually wasn’t difficult to obtain them.
Fatty wasn’t satisfied. He took care of the cats. Although they were strays, Fatty took care of them like they were his own, but he still thought that it was time to buy some pets.
If he wanted a dog, I could have the breeding facility send hundreds of dogs over. But there were many children in the village and my dogs were aggressive, so it was best to avoid trouble. Fatty thought about it for a long time and eventually bought a cow.
I was speechless when I first saw that cow.
The cow was actually quite intelligent. It ate by itself during the day, came back on its own at night, and started to rest as soon as it entered the bamboo forest.
But within a few days, the cow’s original owner regretted his decision— it was difficult for people to give up something they had affection for—and bought the cow back. Fatty watched the cow go, still a little reluctant to give it up.
From that day on, our lives seemed to have reached a perfect balance. But the courtyard was still ugly and everything was growing slowly. It was just like a scar on a good life, but at the same time, it was also like a breath of fresh air.
On the second day of the month, the first few customers appeared in the restaurant. They came back again but were dissatisfied with their meal and left in disappointment.
After this busy period of time, two of the first kitchen stoves cracked and couldn’t be used.
Back then, Xilaimian was like a newborn baby which brought joy to everything. When it was first built, I felt that there would never be any problems with it, but now, with the passage of time, the foundation and equipment that I had built by myself all had problems one right after another.
The bathtub in the earliest village house also cracked, so it had to undergo major repairs.
This was reality, but I was still patient and continued to tinker with it. I knew that this place would get older and more dilapidated, but its initial beauty would never be forgotten. And if I could do anything to preserve it, I would repair the place damaged by time.
This notebook, which records the little bits and pieces of the construction process, should have a chapter of idyllic poetry describing the beauty of the courtyard after its completion. But the courtyard was still slowly moving towards its own perfection amid the torrent of time. I didn’t know how long it would take to be completed, or if working on the courtyard was something that would never be completed since it was growing all the time. After all, not counting the changes that took place with the four seasons, every day was very different.
Like this, I would never get the chance to write the last chapter of the courtyard, and there would never be a final chapter in this notebook.
But this was different from my notebook recording all my previous adventures, so I could write a grand ending. One’s life might be unconventional and endless, but it was the most far-reaching and exciting adventure.
I can only hope that my friends will have such good luck in their respective lives. Rain village is always here, and they are always welcome.