Working with careful precision so as to avoid any unnecessary cuts to the hide and the extra sewing that would result, Einar roughed out the shape of the hood and pouch for Liz’s parka, laying out the second sheep hide as he began considering what might be the most advantageous way to cut it in creating the remainder of the parka. The idea occurred to him that he had better plan on attaching the fur lining to the outer layer of sheepskin before beginning to stitch the cut pieces to one another, lest he find himself in for a rather difficult job with dubious results. A little detail which he expected Liz never would have come close to overlooking, and neither would he, normally, yet he almost had just then, and the near-oversight bothered him. Had always relied on his sharpness and his meticulous attention to detail to keep him from making dangerous mistakes in even the most intense and difficult of situations, and the fact that it seemed to be lapsing while he sat in the cabin trying to sew winter clothing, of all things, struck him as rather troubling.
Guess maybe I’m a little shorter on oxygen than I’d let myself realize, the way I’m having to breathe with these ribs. Head feels all muddled, and that would explain at least part of the trouble I’ve been having lately keeping up with little details. Don’t like it, but at least I can look forward to things improving as the ribs start to heal. Speaking of which, a hound’s tongue poultice might help speed things along right now, since it’s so similar to comfrey, and comfrey helps speed up cell growth and heal broken bones and such. May have to try that tomorrow. Already getting pretty chilly here tonight, and I wouldn’t want to keep Liz up half the night with my shivering through a few hours of cold hound’s tongue poultice. Having a hard enough time keeping my fingers flexible enough to use this needle, as it is. Guess I’d be better off sitting out there in the sun for this work, but then I’d likely or not just go to sleep. No good. And I’ve got to work on my cold tolerance, anyway. Hardly remember a time when I’ve had more trouble just maintaining my basic body temperature while doing the typical tasks of the day, and with winter not at all far away, that just won’t do.
Need to take a day here and there and get down to the tarn in the basin, I guess, soak in it and work on my breathing until my body learns to generate more of its own heat, again. Takes work to maintain the level of adaptation I’ve considered to be my standard for years, lots of work and frequent training, and not only have I slipped from that level, but now I can’t even seem to keep from freezing after sitting still for a while in a relatively warm room like this one. Still enjoy the cold for the most part, even when it’s got ahold of me like it does now and won’t seem to let go, but I’ve got to admit it’s getting kinda debilitating at times, and winter isn’t even here yet. Guess the best solution would be to eat more, put on a little weight so I’ve got a reasonable amount of insulation on my body again, that, and a reserve to draw from so it’s easier for me to produce the hear I need, but I’m not sure that’s gonna happen, right now. Yep, got to get out there and train in the water, it seems. Sure would like to wait until this rib’s a little better to do it, ‘cause it’s gonna hurt awful bad to do all that shaking with the loose section of ribs I’ve got, right now. Probably wouldn’t do any permanent damage, though, and the trial of it might do me some good. Clear some of the cobwebs out of my head. Well. I’ll think about it. For now, back to the parka. Guess I should just be glad to have thought about sewing in the fur lining before going any further…
Sorting through their inventory of furs, Einar stacked all of the rabbits in one pile, and set them aside. Looks like these are out, because Liz is still working on her rabbit skin strip blanket. She may already have enough to finish it, enough already cut into those long strips and set aside, really looks like she might, because that blanket sure is getting pretty big now, the way she works on it a little each evening before bed. The evenings when we’re home… I’d prefer to use mostly rabbit for the lining, because they’re relatively real plentiful compared to marten and ermine, and so easier to replace. I’ll use ermine to line the hood, though. That should keep the two of them good and warm, in there. It was a good picture, his little family snuggled in securely together beneath that warm, wind-resistant hood, a heavy snow beginning to fall in the clearing as Liz gathered up a few sticks of wood to bring in and add to the evening’s fire, cabin all stout and secure against the storm and a thin tendril of smoke curling from the chimney to be snatched away and scattered by the wind, and at the sight of it--for he was truly seeing, rather than imagining, could pick out and study every detail of the scene--Einar wanted nothing more in the world than to protect those two people, to make sure they had everything they needed, and were never touched by the hand of the enemy. So unequal to the task. Lord, help me. Make me able to do it.
Back to the parka--which he was able to do, and which was a necessary part of their winter preparations; take it one step at a time--and to the question of whether or not he might be able to get away with using some of the rabbit skins to line it. Wished he knew just how large Liz had intended on making that blanket. It was, when he spread it out, certainly large enough to thoroughly wrap a baby, and he decided that if Liz needed it to be much bigger, he’s simply trap her more rabbits. Replace the hides he was about to use on the parka lining. Choosing two good-sized skins, he trimmed them slightly around the edges so they would come a bit closer to matching up, and began the laborious process of stitching them together with strips of moistened sinew thread. By the time Liz had finished up her last rack of jerky for the evening and headed in, Einar had sewn together three of the soft, supple rabbit hides, and was working on a fourth. Liz came in carrying one of the jerky racks--more awkward than it was heavy, being constructed of willow--and Einar rose to help her.
“Plan to bring all of it in for the night? Seems the safest thing to do…”
“Yes, I was planning to, assuming it’ll all fit in here! I’ve got quite a few racks going!”
“Good. That’s real good. I’ll come help you carry them.”
“I wish you wouldn’t…”
“Am I really such bad company. Wouldn’t be surprised, I guess…”
“No, that’s not what I meant. Sure, come help me carry the racks. You’re probably just going to do it anyway unless I use the rabbit stick, which I’m not going to do right now.”
“Speaking of rabbits, hope you don’t mind that I raided your stack of rabbit furs. Need something to line this parka with, and the blanket was looking pretty big…”
“Nope, don’t mind. I’m almost done with the blanket, so most of those are extra. Though I probably should get after you with the rabbit stick for using them without asking!”
Together they brought in the remaining jerky drying racks, standing those that would fit in the few open places left on the floor and partially collapsing the others, suspending them in the rafters right up near the ceiling where the heat of the fire Liz very much hoped they would soon have could exert the maximum drying effect on the meat. A good evening after a long and productive day, and Liz could not help but wish, as she began the supper preparations, that they might be allowed to enjoy a few such before circumstances--or Einar, who seemed in his own way quite capable of creating situations, regardless of the actual circumstances--again left them scrambling to make it through the day. One could hope…