85 Ashan 716Lazuli stared ahead at the mammoth task set in front of her, with well over ten thousand fully matured soybean plants in the ground, and about forty pods per plant, each containing up to four beans, she was looking at well over a million beans just sitting there in the paddock, ready to be plucked from the earth. The job ahead of her was so large, in fact, that a small part of her wanted to give up even before she had begun.
Ripping up the plants was a bit like pulling weeds, backbreaking work that would take her the better part of a few days to complete. Still, every task had to start somewhere, and with the wheelbarrow nearby, she set to work, plucking the plants from the ground one at a time to stand over the wheelbarrow and strip the soybean pods away from the roughage of the stem and leaves. These were otherwise rubbish to her and would be left to rot in the paddock and hopefully return some nutrients to the field before she put in her next crop.
By the end of the first row, Lazuli's hands were red, skin stained green in places. She looked at her return on the crop she had put in a hundred days ago and smiled, getting up to water them and tend to the weeds every day had paid off. Every now and then she would come across a big plant with lots more pods on it than the others. She pulled these plants out and kept them to one side in the wheelbarrow, these she would use as her replacement seeds to be planted the following year in Cylus. Taking the biggest, healthiest plants meant that her crops would just keep getting better and better, and before she knew it, or at least she dreamed, her farm would be the biggest supplier of soy products in all of Rynmere. "Not bad for a baroness," she mused to herself.
Carting the first wheelbarrow load back to the farm shed, she poured the pods out on the wooden floor to store until she was ready to come back and start popping the beans out of the pods in order to dry them out. Any of the plants she had set aside for next year's crop where tied together and strung up to the ceiling where she hoped they would dry naturally as her father's soybean crops had done in the past.
Back to work, Lazuli first returned to the house to fetch her gloves, if Zvezdana saw her hands like this, she thought, the woman would not be impressed; a lady after all should not have rough, working hands. Back in the field she slaved away, her hair tied back out of her face, covered finger brushed against her cheeks and temple every now and then to wipe away the sweat that would bead and roll down from her brow, usually catching on the end of her nose. The second row complete, Lazuli was sure she looked a right mess, with dirt on her face and hair sticky with sweat, clinging to the the shape of her sun kissed cheeks, it really was no wonder her cousins gave her so much slack.