Story for the Day: Cultivation
Cultivating fruits in Frewyn begins at an early age.
Westren, being the warmest municipality in Frewyn, situated at the base of the northern Menorian
Beryn said his jovial goodmornings and made a small survey of the garden, eyeing the espalier apple trees, pruned yew hedges, and tied damson boughs with a shake of the head and half a smile. “Don’t know how to let ‘em just grow,” said he, somewhat disappointed. “Harrigh’s gotta tie everythin’ down. Well, we’ll give him somethin’ a little more wild to worry about. That right, Peig?”
Peig made a significant nod and stood upright, presiding over her purlieu as though she were in full command of the garden.
“Good. I’ll get the boys and bring Moraig from the other side. Oughta get those frames in if I come in through the courtyard. Harrigh leave that straw out for us?”
“I believe so,” said Blinne, glancing at the stooks beside the cold frame.
Beryn smirked and raised a brow. “You girls ever made a heating frame before?”
They regarded one another with inquiring looks and shook their heads.
“Suppose you don’t need to in Westren with all that warmth you got in the early spring. For us Tyfferim and Farriage folk, if we wanna start our season before all the snow melts, we gotta make a few frames, but we’re gonna need a lot more than that there straw to make ‘em. Good thing I brought Moraig. After all the mangolds she ate this morn, she’ll make plenty of what we need for these here beds.”
He winked and quitted the garden, leaving the girls to wonder at what a irritable old mare could have to do with fruit cultivation, but presently, Beryn returned, bringing with him Aiden, Adaoire, and Little Aiden and Little Adaoire with him, all of them arriving with something in their arms: a part of a wooden pen, an old door, a few glass panes, some wickets, several guigin of turf, and sacks of something that promised to be an excellent fertilizer. After setting everything down, they were gone again before they could be asked if help was desired, returning a few moments later with more beams and hinges, and leaving again, their coming and going garnering much attention from Searle, who was lamenting the farmers’ bemired boots tracking mud from the field into the keep, and from Boudicca and Alasdair, the former who had a general interest in the scheme, and the latter who would use the excuse of two new tenants and a new plantation in the keep’s kitchen garden to escape court if he could. The four Donnegals and Beryn returned with a few wattle and daub hedges, and after the general salutations and pleasantries were gone through, Beryn asked if he might bring Moraig and his jaunty in through the field, that the boxes of cuttings might be easier conveyed if done from the jaunty to the raised bed directly. Alasdair’s approbation was given in the full height if his eagerness, and another few minutes brought Moraig around the keep, through the courtyard, and around to the garden.
“No eatin’ anythin’, girl,” said Beryn firmly. “This garden don’t belong to us.”
Moraig snuffed and flicked her ears, and spied a row of peaches from the corner of her eye when Beryn’s assertion of “…And don’t even bother lookin’, ” made every former feeling of indifference revolt. It was a slight to her sensibilities to be accused before the crime should be committed, and as Beryn had already waggled his finger at her and given her a threatening glare, she reckoned that she deserved one of those peaches after being publically maligned. She turned her head toward the peach trees and began examining every fruit, judging which was worthiest of punishment, when the remonstrance from Beryn of “…Moraig,” said with such an intimidating inflection frightened off all her rebellion. She huffed and stamped the ground, snurling as though she had little idea what Beryn meant by his needless warning.
“Surely she can have an apple, Beryn?” said Alasdair, browsing Moraig’s mane with his fingertips.
“She had plenty afore we left, Majesty,” Beryn replied, raising a brow at Moraig’s defiant features. “Gave her plenty o’ mangolds so she wouldn’t touch the cuttin’s I took. Tried to eat a few of the fruits hangin’ from ‘em whilst I was packing the boxes. Learned her lesson, though, didn't you, girl?”
A huff and a swish of her tail, and Moraig turned away, surveying a row of brambles over the nearby hedge and pretending not to hear.
“She won’t tell you about it, Majesty,” Beryn laughed, “but she got a mouthful of slug.”
Alasdair grimaced and wretched, and the commander laughed at his unpretending abhorrence.
“Ate one of the fruits that was draggin’ along the ground. I was gonna cut it off and give it to the hens, but she took it afore I could get to it. Well,” smirking complacently, “did us a favour, didn’t you, girl?”
Moraig had little idea of doing anything beneficial to their machinations; she only wanted to rid her mouth of the dreadful and lingering taste she had incurred from her clandestine endeavours and lowered her head to nibble at some of the budding dandelions lining the adjoining hedge.
“Next time, you oughta leave the slugs to Cluck. He loves the slugs. Keeps ‘em off my crop with the rest of the hens. Woulda brought him too, but he’s too busy tryin’ to round up the babe. Gotta show the girls that he’s good at bein’ paternal, else they won’t wanna mate with him.”
“I thought they hardly did that besides,” said the commander, smiling.
Beryn shrugged and looked coy. “A man’s gotta try.”
As he made the generous allowance for his prized cockerel, the commander observed Little Adaoire and Little Aiden, who were standing behind Beryn and seemingly rapt in an extraordinary sight, standing motionless with mouths agape and eyes blazing in vehement interest. She peered around Beryn to find Blinne, who was moving one of the frame boards aside and leaning over to set it down, her ample chest pressing against the wood, her deep vale visible as she bent. Adaoire and Aiden came into view, placing their boxes down and stopping momentarily to regard the boys. A glance at Blinne, their eyes wandering between her sumptuous breasts, and they shared a furtive grin, murmuring to one another “Those’re our boys”, and marching toward Harrigh’s tool shed with all the complacence that being the father and uncle of two such hale and hearty boys could warrant.