Arc 721, 31 Ymiden
A small group of settlers had gathered…and Storm. Activity drew the feline in, curious as to what the people and his girl were up to. Despite his intense inclinations towards napping, Storm’s inquisitiveness knew no bounds.
The objective that trial was building a permanent structure to house the Haven’s clam farm. Elisabeth had already been over the needs with Sasha and Maris, who were also on hand to help where they could, but mostly the young settlement leader wanted to make sure that, as the group was building, the two women gave input considering the structure would be where they worked a good portion of the time.
Elisabeth had to admit that she was a bit excited. Bran and Gilbert, with their combined experience in woodworking and engineering, were leading the project but several other settlers were coming to assist with the labor, including Edwin, Kenwyn, Osian, Bryn and Derec. She had spoken to Bran about the building previously, and he had assured her that the group could erect the basic structure as they were similar in composition to the houses that were already built. It wouldn’t be pretty, but it would be functional. The rest? They would do what they could.
Smiling, she spoke to the assembled group quickly, wanting to get to the job at hand. “Okay, I’m just here to learn. Bran and Gilbert have the plan, and the rest of us are extra sets of muscles. Well, not Storm,” motioning to the curious kitten, who was currently examining the large pile of materials off to the side. “He’s just here to make the job a little more interesting, I’m sure.”
After the chuckles subsided, the group got to work. Sasha and Maris pointed out where they wanted the structure to be - next to the beach on the dry sand, well out of the path of the highest tides.
Bran began by coordinating the group to run string and mark out the perimeter of the building. It wasn’t intended to be large, but Elisabeth’s thought was to make it slightly bigger than requested, to accommodate future growth. Using the research station as a model for the size, the group quickly strung out the outline, and followed up with digging into the dirt along the string, creating a minor trench to secure the base of the building frame.
Sir Storm of Haven, curiously watching the goings-on, sauntered over to the where the string was, furrowing his furry little brows, batting the string carefully. The last time he had tussled with string, it had attacked with unexpected fervor, and the feline wasn’t leaving anything for chance.
Once the trenches were dug, it was time to construct the base frame of the structure. Directing everyone to one side, Gilbert laid out how the boards needed to be nailed together. They started by laying out the outline of a wall, heavy boards forming a square. As Bran began explaining, however, there needed to be support boards every so often in the square, to brace the weight of the wall. Nodding, the team began hammering nails into the boards, securing them until they had the outline they needed.
Gilbert and Bran watched the group, advising where they could. Gilbert walked up behind Elisabeth, chuckling just a bit. “Pounding nails isn’t in your wheelhouse, is it?” Matching a grin with his, the young mage tossed a mischievous look over her shoulder at him. “My wheelhouse, good Sir, is ever evolving, thank you very much!”
Rolling his eyes good naturedly, he gently took the hammer from her, showing her a few tricks. “First, hammer down the point of the nail a bit. I can try to get some pre-done for you all since it’s a good general idea to have them that way when working with wood – reduces the chance of the wood splitting on you.”
Showing her how to tap down the points, he moved on, grabbing something out of his pocket – a wooden clothespin. Handing it to her, he smiled. “No offense, but you are going to smash your fingers to bits. Use the clothespin to hold the nail where you want it, tap the nail in and you’ll be good and have all your fingers intact. At least for a little bit until you get a little more sure with using a hammer. I’m not sure I want to explain to Balthazar how you managed to smash all your fingers.”
Grinning softly, she did as he asked, using the clothespin while replying. “You wouldn’t. Balthazar knows.” She left it at that because in truth, it was the truth. Balthazar was well used to Elisabeth’s inclination to dive head-first into everything, and sometimes that came with a lot of assorted bumps, bruises, falling… and smashed fingers. She appreciated, regardless, that the settlers looked out for her the way they did. Her and Balthazar both, really. Time in the settlement hadn't been easy on either of the couple, but the settlers had done what they could to see that Elisabeth had the support she needed to do what Kura asked of her.
As the frame for one wall was completed, the team moved on from there, forming frames for each wall, including the one that would house the door. That one required a bit of sawing, so Bran showed Elisabeth and others how to take the measurements with the string, mark the boards and saw to fit the specifications. The door frame was simply a frame within a frame and was easily set into the existing wall frame once completed. After checking with Maris and Sasha, it was decided that the door would best on the right side of that wall, allowing for more space along the perimeter inside the structure.
With all the wall frames done, it was time to erect them, and assemble. With four people on each wall, grabbing two non-door frames, they lifted the frames up and set them down into the trench outlines they had dug out earlier, butting the edges of the frame against each other while Bran and Gilbert secured the corner where they met with nails. “Okay you lot, slowly let go and let’s make sure it stands,” Bran said, watching as the group backed up, carefully watching to make sure it stood on its own. “Excellent. Good job,” Gilbert exclaimed. “Let’s get the rest up, just like that. Soon enough, we will have a completed frame.”
They worked quickly, only slightly hampered by Sir Storm of Haven, who was now curious about the structure they were erecting. Sauntering around the outer edges, he began darting between the support boards. It was a fascinating game, especially when feet got involved. Hiding behind the support boards, the young feline would dart his paw out, trying to play with people's footwear as they stood close, either holding the frames in place or securing them.
After a short time, they had managed to build and secure the framework for the clam farm. Smiling, Elisabeth glanced around, happy to see that everyone seemed to be pleased with the outcome. They still had more work to do, but every victory - even the small ones - were to be savored. It was something the young mage had recently learned, and was trying to implement into every aspect of her life. Victories and pleasures weren't always big and bold. Sometimes they were quiet and rather small, but they deserved equal celebration.
Bran and Gilbert quickly waved them over, and the former explained what the next task was. "We have the frame, but we need to get the roof frame up before we go any further. The idea is going to be making a gently sloped roof, so rain will run off it and not pool. However, we also want to thatch the roof, to protect the wood. If you thatch a small overhang, this small step will help protect the sides of the structure a bit as well." Bran pointed off to the west, to the grasslands. " It's going to be relatively easy to get the walls and door up, so I think we will get you all collecting vegetation for the thatch right now and bundling it up so we can lay it down once it gets that far."
With a batch of grass he had already harvested, Bran explained how to bundle the vegetation tightly together, for the idea was to have as much between the wood and water as possible. "So, the lot of you take these blades, and go cut down the tall grass and string them up into bundles. Elisabeth, stay here and you can help me and Gilbert with the roof." Nodding, she watched the others plod off to the nearby grasslands, Storm in tow, possibly thinking that that group was going to do something far more interesting than his girl currently was.