I was happy to hear that you are doing fine. I hope the weather will be good for you in the coming weeks with everything that you have planned.
After the last few eventful days I decided to take it slow today. I still needed to get my cooking stocks back up to a good traveling level so I went to see Largo Proudfoot, to whom Blossom Proudfoot had directed me to learn farming, but not before I gave Mundo’s letter to Mayor Will Whitfoot.
The craft of farming
After I had delivered the letter, I looked for Largo on the South fields of Michel Delving. He gave me a nice starting pack with a bucket of water, some fertilizer and apprentice crop seed. Like Petunia Greenhand, he wanted to test my skills, so he asked me to plant an onion field, harvest the crops and give him a yellow Onion for inspection. Now, planting an Onion Field isn’t that hard, right? Make holes for the seeds, sow the seeds, give them water and watch them grow. I’ve done that a thousand times, you know that. There’s no real challenge in that. But I guess it’s a good test as any. And if this is all it takes to prove I’m worth it, that’s what I’ll do, right?
I planted the onion field on the farmland nearby. That’s one of the benefits of Michel Delving, I’m told. The farmlands are nearby and good for a starting farmer. And indeed, the field turned out very nice! I quickly harvested my first Yellow onion crop and picked the yellow onion for inspection. Largo thoroughly examined the onion and in the end he approved and declared me a novice farmer. Now that I’m officially an apprentice farmer, I’m allowed to use the farmlands around Michel Delving and other places throughout Middle-Earth. And an added benefit is that I can now actually use everything I could buy from Largo and other farmhands.
I have to admit though, that it’s rather a costly business, training your farmer profession. I cannot simply sow the seeds. No,…… I need to buy the recipes from Largo (or other farmhands) before I can use the seeds. On the bright side, I only need to buy the recipes only once. After all, I can learn them and then use them over and over again! But the seeds and other supplies…. that’s a whole other business. I need to buy the seeds instead of harvesting them myself, you know I did that in the past. I couldn’t convince Largo to let me use my own harvested seeds. It’s buying the seeds or not using the farmlands. So… buying the seeds it is. And of course fertilizer and water. Who can do without these two essential ingredients?
All taken together, it will cost me quite a lot of money and thus I did what I did before in Archet… go hunting and sell my loot. That way I’ll certainly have enough money to invest in my future as a farmer. So off to hunting I went.
Hunting it is…
You know that I don’t mind hunting and I had heard that I didn’t need to go far outside of Michel Delving to get to the animals, so out I went. It’s amazing, the amount of animals you can find here! I’ve found loads of shrews and toads, I’ve managed to kill some wolves too and slugs. Nasty creatures these slugs. They leave a slimey pit you may get stuck in if you’re not careful and it takes a while before you’re out and rid of the slime.
While defeating the shrews, I found an interesting thing. Sometimes they almost seem to beg not to kill them.
But they didn’t count on my determination. I hate those creatures! And I found it rather easy to kill them. You know these creatures have hunted me in my dreams ever since I was little and now I had my payback! If you ever want to share in my revenge and kill some shrews yourself, be sure to go to the following coordinates outside of Michel Delving: 34,3 South; 73,2 West. You’ll find a mill along with some farmlands. There are wolves and tuskers but if you look around, you’ll find the shrews as well!
An added bonus is that the skins, furs and things alike are wanted by the Bounders for investigation and other purposes so I handed those in with Hal Hornblower. He rewarded me with some reputation points for the Mathom Society. See, that’s a great thing! My mum told me about them years ago. She also told me that a true cook could get marvelous things from them, but you have to have a certain reputation amongst them, or they won’t give or sell to you. I guess I can finally really dig into cooking! I wish I had listened to mum all those years ago!
Back to Farming…
Everything Hal couldn’t use for his investigation, I sold to suppliers and people alike. Now I had a nice amount of money in my wallet, which seemed to burst at the seams. I went back to Largo and bought loads of recipes, seeds, fertilizers and water so that I could finally start my farming profession.
I’ve worked very hard and got my profession up to master apprentice. Isn’t that great? I’ve decided to keep on working on my farming skills in combination with cooking for the next days (or perhaps weeks?). That should make it possible for me to get a good supply of food for my journey. I’ve re-read mum’s journal and it turns out that she and dad took all the supplies they could carry on their journey and I’m determined to do the same.
The craft of cooking
When I had a good supply of ingredients after all the farming that I had been doing, I decided it was enough to continue with my cooking lessons. I went back to Petunia and she was nice enough to sell me some of her recipes for a nice prize. I bought the missing ingredients from her and soon I was cooking like a charm! It didn’t take long before Petunia awarded me with the title Master apprentice cook.
You know how I love cooking and learning new recipes, right? As it turned out, Petunia is willing to sell me new recipes as long as I progress far enough in my cooking profession. I was tossed between going on more adventures on one hand and raising my cooking skills on the other hand. It was a tough decision, but in the end the latter won. I simply cannot go without enough food supplies. Otherwise I’ll find myself someday in a spot where I think “I should have made these pies” and then I didn’t and I would be in trouble. Can you imagine that? Well, I dare not even think about such a situation. It would be a very dire situation, I think.
Plans for the short future
I know that you guys had hoped to here more of my adventures soon, but I really need more supplies. So…. I need to kill several more of these pesky creatures, farm loads more of ingredients and cook as if my life depends on it before I’ll leave for more adventures. Granted, killing everything on my way is not my style, but seen the fact that evil seems to have slipped in the animal creatures in Middle-Earth, I think I’ll survive my guilty feeling. I’ll help out my fellow hobbits, and perhaps some dwarfs, elves and man too. I’ve seen those around in Michel Delving. I had never seen Dwarfs or Elves. Man, I had seen, but Elves? And Dwarfs? It was incredible! Perhaps I’ll pluck up the courage in the future to talk with them. Who knows what stories they’ll have to tell! I’ll be certain to pass the stories along to you guys!
Goodbye for now
Well, that’s about it what I did today. It’s not much, but with the last very eventful days it was more then enough! I hope this letter finds you well. For now I wish you goodbye and I hope to hear from you soon!