Yay! The bumble is back! I must have missed him, he only wanders around in the forest area north of the farm and I hadn't gotten there until really late in the day. So I gave him a fish and all was well. I don't know if he'll ever have a real use in the game but it is fun to have a giant white ape-like critter wandering around in the woods.
I've solved one of the major mysteries of the game - I now know how to get S-level crops. There may be multiple ways to do it. I'm still doing a fertilizer experiment right now, but at the moment it looks like I'm going to have a very busy spring. It turns out the two-headed plant Tartan can hybridize things, taking two seeds or plants and turning them into something new. Not all combinations work, or course, but certain ones turn up new things you just can't grow otherwise. I combined a Watermelon and a Strawberry, for instance, and got a new item called a Berberry. Only a B-level seed, of course, but I can fix that.
When Tartan talks he'll give you things to try, like combining item A with item B. Most of the things he's mentioned are items I don't have yet, obviously vegetables I'll get after doing more hybridization, but still it's nice to know. He also mentioned that certain flowers can have effects on seeds, like Gemsoil and another one whose name I forget. Well, as it turns out I'm not quite sure what Gemsoil does yet - you get the same seed back but it's now got a symbol beside the name - but I experimented with another plant, Upseed, and it turns out that synthesizing it with either one B-level seed or plant turns it into an S-level seed. Which is wonderful except . . .
. . . Upseeds are rare. I've found them growing in two parts of the town, along the edge of the river on the eastern bank going to the dig site and all the way on the other end of town by slightly south of the fireworks brothers' stilted cabin, along the western border. To make it worse, they only grow once every other day. You'd think that'd mean ten flowers total per season, but I didn't figure it out until Winter Day 4 (Upsoil is a winter flower), so that's me down to 8 total S-level seeds. And I'd just planted a 1500g B-level banana tree seed a few minutes before figuring it out, too.
My current plan is to sell all B-level crops, split all S-level crops, and eventually replace everything with the highest grade plants I can grow. After that it's cross-breeding time, unless I just decide to buy a load of seeds and do experiments that way instead. You can hybridize either the fruits or the seeds, and I haven't noticed any difference in results yet but it's still early. Still, it's a little late in winter to start on the crop upgrades now, but come spring I'm expecting a seriously busy growing season.
I also did the link-cable thing with the GBA Harvest Moon. About all I've gotten so far is a few new recipes from the innkeeper's wife, Ruby (who also visits the GBA game on in-game Saturdays), and a "link rating" of two stars. The Mineral Town rewards have been better, with not only visits from Wonderful Life characters, but Ruby recipes (much cooler in the GBA version thanks to a cookbook that records all discovered recipes) and a set of character bios in the Mineral Town library. I'm sure there'll be other things too, in both games, but at the moment the "link strength" rating still has a way to go to fill up. It's about 2/3 on both games though, so progress is being made.
Another new tool showed up, the Weird Hoe. Once again I've no idea what advantages it may or may not have, but at least my tool collection is almost complete. I tried hybridizing the Strange Hoe and Weird Hoe, just to see if anything useful happened, but no luck. It was worth a try, I suppose.
Finally, the Starry Night festival was a pretty way to get through the mid-winter blues. I wandered to the minstrel Gustafa's hut - called a yurt - on the fifth night of winter and sure enough they ran the festival again this year. Gustafa played a tune on his guitar, various villagers sat around and listened, and the camera panned over the sky, with the odd cloud running by and the full moon casting its light over everything. It's my favorite annual event so far.
And that wraps up year two. Tonight I played all the way to the end of Winter, although this year there was considerably less drama. Rather than any dramatic story moments involving the leap of several years and the addition of several new characters, the day just changed from one to the next.
I've found a new semi-daily event, though. Mad scientist Daryl was at home so I popped in for a visit, and he's testing his new electric storage device. I've seen him test it twice so far and neither time has been particularly successful. Hopefully it'll smooth itself out over time. The second time at least I had the option to run away. Apparently I get to learn from experience.
I also discovered something I'd missed, a useless but lovely little family cut scene. Usually, in the mornings I'm out wandering around the grounds, taking care of animals and tending the crops. I had a few extra inventory items that were cluttering up the menus, though, so today I was dumping stuff in the fridge. It's 6:55AM, I'm about to take off and get things going, when it occurs to me to wonder when everyone else wakes up. Five seconds later (1 real world second = 1 game minute) I get a nice little scene of Nami and the kid waking up, greeting me in the morning. Everyone at once - "Aaaaawwww."
On the farming front, I found out that dumping fertilizer on a plant once a day increases its level once it's finally harvested. I'm sure I can streamline the process somewhat, maybe only applying fertilizer when it's planted and once when it flowers (or something), but at the moment I've got a ton of S-level seeds from the Upseed flowers. It's going to take a while, but soon enough I'm going to have nothing but high-level crops.
I'm also experimenting with vegetable synthesis. Seeds are cheap and easily acquired, so messing around with it isn't a big risk. I haven't really gone to town with it yet since it's a time-consuming process, but I did just get a synthesized veggie that has a fast grow time and a three-season growth period. Combine it with my very last Upsoil and it's going to be one of my major crops. Go me!
Well, yesterday was going to be my final day, finishing off two years straight of life on the farm, but what with one thing and another, I got a few more hours in before finishing this up. Only one thing worth mentioning happened, so it'll be short.
I got a goat. Yes, the goat has joined my family of critters. It ran me 4000g and it came with the second milker to boot. The goat comes ready to be milked, but unlike the cow, which gives several containers of milk in a go, the goat only gives one. I didn't get it until late at night so I've yet to see if you can milk it twice a day, but I kind of doubt it. Still, it's cute and a nice addition to the farm, so I'm happy with it. Also, with the addition of the goat milker, I've only got one mystery tool left now, the final watering can, and then I've got a full tool shed. The completist in me is still dissatisfied but at least I can see that he'll be happy someday.
Finally, while I'm thinking of it, a while ago I mentioned that my dog, Ormond, was pretty standoffish. It turns out that if you feed it regularly it actually becomes your friend, barking happily when you go by and trotting along to greet you. I dump a fish into his bowl whenever it's empty, and it seems to have done the trick. It's nice to have a happy pet at last.
Continue to: Epilogue