After lunch, we leave the shuttle and move to the Granny’s house.
“From what I can see, it seems Rowan was faster than me,” Granny greets us, “so where will the two of you live?”
“I’m not familiar with what’s normal around here. Would I move to your place? Or does Rowan move to my place?”
“Since you proposed to me, usually I’m the one that’s moving,” Rowan answers.
“Usually? What seems to be the problem?”
“I know from personal experience it’s quite comfortable in the shuttle, but other people would consider it to be too small for two people. I don’t mind, but people like to gossip.”
“Then we should just fix that old house. I’d like to make it, so the shuttle can become part of the house. But the house should still be usable, even without the shuttle.”
“Is that possible?”
“Yes, for starters, we just need a door, or rather a gate, with a suitable size in the wall as a docking point. I can align the door of the shuttle with that other door.”
“Let’s do that!” Rowan is quite excited about that prospect. I wonder why…
“That you will have to settle with the carpenter and the mason that will help fix your house. On the topic of those two, there was something else I wanted to speak with you about: Rowan tells me you have an idea about a building that stores fresh meat in the summer?”
“Oh, yes, I meant to speak with you about making an ice house! It’s just building you fill it with ice and snow in winter. If it’s built properly, the ice inside it will keep the room cold.”
“I see. In that case, we should get our resident builders into this discussion.”
“I understand. Can we meet in about an hour or two? I want to jot down everything that might be of use.”
“So you can be calculating!” Granny says with a gentle smile.
“I’ve never thought about it. But now that you mention it, I do tend to do whatever I feel like.”
“That’s not necessarily bad, but do remember to take your fiancé’s thoughts into account!”
After consulting Rowans and Mittens, Rowan and I back at the elder’s house. A young Alopanthrope woman and a Racaunthrope man of the same age join us in the meeting. The woman has bright red and amber hair. The man has brown hair with green highlights of slightly different hues. Both the woman’s vulpine ears and the man’s procyonine ears are pointed upwards. They are glaring at each other. I don’t think they get along.
“Let me introduce them to you, the woman is Ruby. She’s our resident mason,” Granny introduces them.
“I’m glad to finally get to know you!” Ruby answers.
“I’m pleased to meet you,” I answer.
“And this is Tom, he’s our carpenter.”
Tom nods, “I’m pleased to meet you.”
“I assume this is about fixing up the house that used to belong to Cecho?” Ruby asks, “I can’t think of another reason why you would have me sit at the same table with this stinking raccoon.”
“I was about to say the same, you stinking fox.”
“Please,” Granny reacts, “I know you aren’t the best of friends. But jobs like these require you to work together. Aster has some special needs for the house.”
“Basically, I want to be able to ‘dock’ the flying home to the house. But the house should be able to function as house even when the shuttle isn’t there. As for the implementation, I just need a gate or door to the outside at the end of the hallway. It needs to be big enough, so I can align the door of the shuttle to it.”
“Why not use the back door?” Ruby asks.
“What? Are you to lazy to do the work?” Tom interject.
Everyone present glares at Tom.
“Sorry,” he mumbles.
“I’d like to have a usable back door even the flying home is there,” I answer.
“I see, that’s not a problem, but wouldn’t that let in the cold?” she asks.
“No, I just need temporarily stuff the seam with something insulating, like wool or hemp,” I answer, “after that, it’s just a matter of making a wooden for purely aesthetic purposes to hide the seam.”
“Purely aesthetic?” Tom reacts to the mention of some carpeting, “I see, it’s so you can just remove it when you need to remove the flying home. It’s not how I do my craft, but I can see why you need it. How about we make it you can remove the door and hang that aesthetic frame to hinges?”
“That’d be perfect!”
“Good, do you have any other special needs with the house?”
I glance at Rowan. He shakes his head.
“No, that’d be all for now.”
“Now, there’s another project I wanted to bring to your attention,” Granny continues the talk, “Aster is the one with the most knowledge about such a building.”
“I suggest building an ice house,” I continue, “it’s a massive building that you fill with snow and ice in winter. And because it’s specially built, the snow and ice keep everything in the building cold, even in summer.”
“Oh! Being able to store fresh meat in summer into winter would be a great thing to have. I’m interested. So what do we have to do?”
Ruby now looks at me. It seems her rivalry with Tom is not important anymore. Tom acts the same. I guess the prospect of being able to store fresh meat is really enticing.
“Basically, it’s a building inside a building. The space between the buildings is about one meter and should be filled with wool, hemp, or wood in any form, it can even be saw dust. That also includes the ground, so the inner building needs to be supported by only wood.”
“I see, that’s a tall order… the beams to support something like that…” Tom mumbles.
“Wouldn’t wool have the opposite effect?” Ruby asks.
“Actually, no,” I answer, “wool doesn’t warm you. It protects you against the cold and keeps the warmth inside. Or in this case: it protects the cold against the warmth.”
“I see. About the wooden support: can’t we just dig a hole and just chug in logs and other wood to make it level?” Ruby asks.
“No, the logs would escape sideways through the soft ground. So lumber would be a better choice. When you stack it up, by changing its orientation, every layer should improve stability greatly.”
This is quite interesting, I have to say so myself. It’s a good thing Mittens’s databases have so much information in them.
“I should be able to provide that. Again, this is not how I tend to do my craft. But this is all so different from what is usually required.
So what about the door? Where do you put it?”
“You need two doors. They need to be heavy, but made from wood ideally. When it’s warm outside, you go the through the outer door, close it, and then enter the inner building. That way, less cold escapes the building.”
“I see. That’s quite an interesting project. And you’re sure that works?”
“Yes, I’m sure it works.”
“So far, we’ve only talked about Tom’s work for this project. What do you need from me?” Ruby asks.
“Oh yes, the floor of the inner building needs to be slightly slanted, and we need a hole in the wall for the water to flow out. We also need to consider the drainage while stacking up the lumber, too. If possible, the inner walls should be as light as possible, light in both meanings, colour and weight. For the outer wall, it can be heavier, but the colour should be light, too.”
“It’s a big project,” Granny says, “I can entrust this to your capable hands?”
“I believe it will take a lot of effort to complete it,” Ruby answers.
“But I guess we could put aside our differences until the building is completed,” Tom adds, “so we have spread it out between our regular work. It would be an honour if you left it to us.”
“Then, I’ll leave it to you. I hope you can finish it until Rowan and Aster are back from their pilgrimage.” Both Ruby and Tom gulp. Was that an unspoken ultimatum? I guess that’s necessary given how much they seemed to hate each other.
“Don’t worry, we’ll manage. The ice house will become Dewick’s big project. If anyone is going to build it, it has to be us! But first, let’s get the house of that couple fixed up. Elder, thanks for inviting us.”
Both Ruby and Tom stand up and leave the room. Granny lets out a big sigh.
“They are among the best in their crafts. If only they’d stop bickering… Maybe this project will help them grow up.”
“But what if they really can’t make it in time?” Rowan asks.
“That will depend on how they act until then, and if they have learned anything. But don’t tell them I said that.”
CC-BY 4.0 Thai “0xReki” Chung