This fool had thought that he was going to a sunny and warm place. Before he'd left, he'd checked the weather forecast for the various areas in China excitedly.
Based on what he'd been expecting, he was going somewhere called "Hainan Island . . . " As a result, he was now squatting on the ground, clad in a thick padded jacket and shivering while hugging his chest.
The reason he was in the thick cotton jacket was that Hans had based his wardrobe on the winter being a mild one, and didn't bring any clothing meant for a harsh winter.
Li Du could only extend his apologies; he hadn't expected this winter to be so cold. In fact, the location of his home lay on the equator and it hadn't snowed in years. As far as he remembered, winter here had never been so cold.
Seeing that Hans was freezing, he waved and said, "Come on bro, get working. You won't be as cold if you're working."
Ah Meow huddled up next to Hans; an animal and a human seeking warmth from each other. For an animal used to the indoors, this place was way too cold.
The land had previously been used to grow grains. Mr. and Mrs. Li wanted to grow vegetables instead, so they had to turn the soil over with the plow.
They unloaded the plow from the three-wheeled tractor and assembled it in preparation for use.
This type of plow was made up of two parts. The first part was that thick and sturdy steel blade at the bottom. Protruding from the front with both sides narrowed, it resembled the head of a bullet train. This was a colter.
For this part, the steel colter was the main component, with its wooden frame extending upwards. The purpose was for the person operating to press on the wooden frame to insert the steel colter into the ground.
The handles were two similar long stiff pieces of wood. The handles were attached on top of the colter's wooden frame.
Two people needed to cooperate to carry out this task. The person behind needed to press on the wooden frame for it to go into the soil. The person in front, with his back to him, needed to have his hands on the handles as he dragged the plow forward.
This way, the person behind would be operating the wooden frame to push the steel colter forward with the help of the dragging force by the person in front. The colter could then continuously push the soil forward.
In his teens, Li Du had been well-acquainted with this thing. After he had gone to college, his home had been demarcated as part of the county and so he hardly did such chores. The plow was now a little unfamiliar to him.
He held on to the wooden frame above the colter and asked, "Dad, how do you do this in winter? It's freezing. Isn't the ground frozen?"
Mr. Li took a puff from his cigarette and sighed, "Who would have known this would be such a cold winter? The temperatures for the past winters were never so low. The ground was not frozen and could still be plowed. It suddenly became freezing cold this yearreally strange."
"Then why not wait for spring to arrive before doing the plowing?" Li Du asked.
A man who was nearby watching them shook his head. "Can't. You have no idea, Xiao Du. Once spring is here, you'll have to plant seedlings quickly. There's not enough time."
"Hm, besides, we can't plant things immediately after harvesting," another person added. "The land here is too compact, so we've got to let the land breathe for a bit."
These people were their neighbors. They had been curious to see foreigners such as the muscular-looking Godzilla and Big Quinn, so had popped over to take a look.
Li Du nodded in sudden realization. There must have been a good reason for his father choosing to do the plowing at this time. He wouldn't have wanted to waste his effort doing something not fruitful.
Mr. Li waved his hand to get him to move out of the way. Li Du patted the wooden frame and said, "Okay Dad, now I'm going to operate the plow. You go to the front and pull. Let Mom get some rest."
Mrs. Li laughed, "You wouldn't be able to do it, better get out of your dad's way."
Li Du said, "I'm very strong now. I eat beef every day in the US, so I've got more strength now."
Mr. Li chuckled. "Do you think all that's needed for plowing is strength? It's not that simple. It's a skill, just like what you're doing over in the US."
Hans couldn't understand what they were saying. He rubbed his hands together and urged, "Hurry up and get cracking. What do we need to do? I'm gonna freeze to death."
The curious villagers asked, "What did this American say, Xiao Du? Can't make out what he's mumbling."
Li Du said, "This guy wants to start the work. Let me show him how to work it."
An old man was in awe. "An international warrior here in support of socialism, eh?"
Li Du laughed out loud and then motioned for his father to pull the plow forward while he operated it at the back.
Using all the strength he had in his arms, he pushed the colter so deep into the soil that the wooden frame could hardly be seen. He said with pride, "How is it? Is your son strong enough?"
Mr. Li tugged but wasn't able to move an inch.On hearing his words, he turned back and said with a wry smile, "Strong enough, but youinserted it so deep right at the start, how am I supposed to pull it along?"
Li Du lifted the colter up halfway, and his father leaned forward, his hands pulling the handles forward. At the back, Li Du was also pushing hard. This way, the plow started to move slowly forward.
Plowing the land manually was hard work. By the time Li Du finished one lap, he was covered with perspiration.
Hans noticed the perspiration on Li Du's forehead and took an immediate interest. "Come Li, I'll take over for you. Take a few photos of me. I wanna put it on Facebook."
Li Du took over the handles from his father and told Hans, "Hold the front part. You won't be able to operate the back."
As Hans did just that, Li Du said to his father, "Dad, please take a rest with Mom. Let us handle the taskyou can head home to prepare lunch."
Mr. Li was mortified. "How can we allow this? They are here on vacation. How can we let them do work?"
Li Du said, "He's not really working, he thought it was interesting since he's never seen it in the United States. He only wants to experience it."
Mrs Li said worriedly, "Then all the more we shouldn't let him do it. If he doesn't control it well, he could injure his legs or feet."
Li Du said confidently, "Don't worry, no problem at all. I'll control the colter at the rear, it will be absolutely safe."
At this point, he spotted someone leading an ox down the lane. After giving Li Du another reminder, Mr. and Mrs. Li went over to speak to the man.
When Li Du and Hans were going to start work, Godzilla pulled another plow out from the three-wheeled tractor, and said to Big Quinn, "Let's use this."
This plow was different from the one Li Du had been using. Known as the "double-colter plow," there were two colters at the bottom that could be used to turn over more soil at one go.
Li Du said, "Do you guys know how to use this?"
Big Quinn laughed and said, "Of course, which farm in Arizona doesn't have a plow? When I was working in the Bones Community, I was the one responsible for plowing the small garden behind the house."
And so Godzilla and Big Quinn made use of one of the plows, while Li Du and Hans used the other set.
While they were still chatting away, Godzilla had already started working. Without using much strength, the two colters were already inserted all the way into the ground.
Then, Big Quinn pulled from the front while Godzilla pushed from the back. Previously when the single colter had been inserted deeply into the ground, Li Du and Mr. Li had not been able to move an inch. Now, in the case of Godzilla and Big Quinn, the colters were flying forward with great speed.
In the two strong men's hands, the sharp and firm colters cut the soil open with ease, just like a blade cutting butter apartthe plow swooshed forward continuously with no deterrence!
The large pieces of soil had been churned by the colters as the two men walked speedily. It was as though they were only pushing the plows effortlessly on flat groundit took them less than a minute to go back and forth once.
Mr. and Mrs. Li returned with a cow in tow.
When they got back, the two of them were dumbfounded. Mr. Li yelled out, "Why have your other friends also joined in?"
Li Du laughed, "Wouldn't working help keep us warm?"
Mr. Li panicked. "Nowe shouldn't let them do it this way."
"Why not?" Li Du wondered.
Pointing to the double-colter plow in Godzilla's hands, Mr. Li said, "This thing is usually pulled by an ox. It would be way too heavy for humans to operate."
Looking at the speed at which Godzilla and Big Quinn were walking, Li Du looked at him and said, "Too heavy?"