To Clear Your Mind, Put Your Hands to Work

Okara begins some initial work on her five acres.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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To Clear Your Mind, Put Your Hands to Work

Postby Okara on June 26th, 2018, 3:08 pm


Summer 11, 518

Okara walked up the steps of the Panacea holding her backpack in one hand. Her shirt was torn and her arm bandaged from her encounter with the jaguar the day before. When she walked through the doorway and Jansen looked up to see her he gaped at her disheveled appearance for a moment before his natural control took over and his expression smoothed.

”What happened to you?” he asked. Okara quickly recounted her adventure from the day before while Jansen carefully unrolled the bandage around her arm. When he revealed the wound he placed his hand upon it and healed her with the power of his gnosis. Okara sighed gratefully and she felt her body relax, she had tried not to think about the pain but now that it was lifted she realized how much it had been affecting her.

”I did manage to get most of the things off your list. Everything but the coconuts.” Okara said as she lifted the cinchona branches and burlap bundles out of her backpack and set them on a counter.

”No coconuts but a green chicken.” Jansen said, provoking a laugh from Okara.

”Gertrude. Her name is Gertrude. Can you cut my sleeves off? This one is useless and I might as well make them even.” Okara asked and Jansen complied, using some medical shears to carefully cut the sleeves from her linen blouse. The edges were rough but it looked a little more presentable then it had with one sleeve shredded.

”Well Gertrude will have a nice home with you. You had quite the day yesterday, I’m surprised didn’t come in as soon as you got back to get that wound taken care of.” Jansen said, appraising her thoughtfully.

”I thought about it but I was exhausted. I just wanted to get some sleep. It was supposed to be a simple trip but I suppose nothing is simple here. It feels a little unreal still, actually.” Okara admitted and hesitated to meet his eyes.

”Yes, I can tell you’ve got some things on your mind. If you aren’t used to dangerous encounters it can be very alarming. Let’s get this stuff settled in the lab but then why don’t you take the day to get your head straight and come in for the evening shift? I imagine you need to get Gertrude settled anyways. Go out to your property, get some work done. Hard work is a great way to clear your head and you never talk about spending much time at your place.” Jansen suggested. He placed a large hand gently on her shoulder and squeezed comfortingly as he gave her a soft smile.

”I like that idea. I think I will. Well, let’s deal with this then. What do we need to do?” Okara said as she picked up the bundles of ingredients tied up in burlap cloth. Jansen grasped the small cinchona branches and led her into the lab.

”Really all we need to do is let them dry out. It’s easier to ground things up when they are dry and wet material runs the risk of rotting or growing mold.” Jansen explained as he laid out the sticks. Okara untied the burlap bundles and shook out the neem tree leaves and cayenne peppers into separate piles.

”Shave the bark off the cinchona and I will get the leaves and peppers laid out.” Jansen instructed and they switched places to stand in front of the respective ingredients. Okara found a knife with a sharp blade and carefully pressed it down the length of the branches, shaving away the outer bark and cambium from the inner wood. She laid out the bark on the counter and gathered the shaved sticks into a small pile on the side. They could be saved for kindling for Jansen’s hearth, no use letting them go to waste. Okara looked over and watched Jansen arranging the peppers and leaves on metal racks where they could be left to dry in the sun. She didn’t envy having to keep watch for rain to move the materials inside but hopefully the hot sun would dry them quickly.
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Okara
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To Clear Your Mind, Put Your Hands to Work

Postby Okara on June 26th, 2018, 3:08 pm


”Well that’s pretty much taken care of. I can handle it from here, thanks for shaving down the cinchona. In a couple of days when all this is dry we can process it into medicines. You better get a move on, see you this evening.” the Akalak said in dismissal.

”I guess I will see you later then.” Okara said gratefully and Jansen shooed her away. As she left the Panacea and walked up the beach she realized how much the experiences from the day before weighed on her mind. She and Uta had only meant to do a small excursion to find a few plants but it had turned into a bit of a nightmare being pursued by the quiet, watchful jungle cat. Thinking about how it felt to be watched but not be able to really see what was watching you still made the hair stand up on the back of her neck.

As she walked she realized how well Jansen had been able to read her, to see the worry that still weighed on her without her even having to tell him. The Konti sent a silent prayer to Rak’keli that she might one day learn to read her patients as well as Jansen could. It was a skill that would take lots of experience, no doubt.

Eventually, Okara reached the bungalow she had been renting and began gathering up her things. She had been putting off setting up a camp but now that she had bought a tent she couldn’t think of a reason to delay any longer. Moving out of the bungalow would save her in rental costs anyways. She filled her backpack as much as she could and grabbed her tent before staring down the beach again. It took two more trips before she had moved all of her belongings from the rented bungalow to a haphazard pile on the beach in front of her five acres, Gertrude the green chicken under one arm on the final trip.

Once everything was gathered on the beach, she took a moment to survey the dense vegetation and foliage she called her own, the sound of the rolling ocean tide behind her. While she had technically claimed this land, it didn’t really feel like hers. It felt like it still belonged to itself. Changing that feeling would be a long process but at least carving out a small living would be something to take pride in.

Her first priority was a place to sleep. She unpacked the small tent she had bought and set it up on the sandy beach a few feet from the edge of the forest. She took a few chimes to set up her bedroll and move her belongings inside, so they were no longer strewn around the beach. Okara gazed around the beach for Gertrude, and spotted the chicken with her head in a bush, pecking at insects. She seemed content and at home.

The second priority was establishing a place to gather water and bathe. She was glad she had chosen land containing a water source so she could boil water from the stream for cooking and save the precious rainwater from the Community Water Storage for drinking. Okara made her way to where the stream that marked the western edge of her five acres met the ocean. The small estuary was a strange mix of fresh and salt water meeting. She followed the stream along its bank until she noticed a deep spot in the stream bed. The water in the area was cool and fast flowing, and far enough up from the estuary she wouldn’t have to worry about salt water. It was a good place to mark as a water gathering spot or place to bathe.

She decided it would be best to cut a small path through the forest, so she could travel to it more quickly than following the stream itself each time. Using her kukri Okara slowly cut away bushes and plants as she made a rough path. She went slowly to avoid cutting her hands on hidden thorns or rough vines. The path she ended up with was a little bendy and not as straight as might be liked, which had as much to do with her inexperience in navigating the land as it did with the rocks or trees she came across. She had never attempted to cut a true path through a forest before and while the idea seemed simple the execution was arduous.
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Okara
Great stories start with humble beginnings.
 
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To Clear Your Mind, Put Your Hands to Work

Postby Okara on June 30th, 2018, 2:40 am


A place to sleep, a place to bathe, now she needed a place to cook her food. A place to cook probably should have come before a place to bathe but the idea had only just occurred to her as she considered that lunch time was not too far away. She studied the area around her camp, feeling a little dejected. It was almost lunch time and all she had done was set up her tent and cut a tiny path through the forest. There was so much left to do and she seemed to be working at a snail’s pace.

”Hey there! Okara, isn’t it?” a voice called from down the river. Okara turned and shaded her eyes with her hand to see who had spoken. She recognized the dark-haired man as Lars, a settler she had helped remove a rather sizeable sliver at the Panacea several days earlier. Okara waved and waited for him to approach before speaking.

”Yup, that’s me. How are you doing, Lars?” Okara said, greeting him with a smile.

”This your place? Just getting started, hunh?” Lars said as he studied the tiny tent on the beach and the forest beyond.

”Yes. I was hoping to get some work done but it’s pretty slow going. Doesn’t help that I don’t really know what I’m doing.” Okara sighed with one corner of her lips pulled down.

”Well I’ve helped out enough around the settlement maybe I can give you some advice. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your priorities?” Lars asked. He put his hands on his hips as he considered the blonde woman in front of him.

”Well I was thinking about making a firepit here on the beach so I had somewhere to cook. But I’m going to need to clear some space in the forest so I can build a house. And then I suppose I need to build a house. Oh, and I need to build somewhere for my chicken to live.” Okara said and gestured at Gertrude who clucked about nearby.

”That’s…. kind of a weird looking chicken. But okay. You might want to prioritize the chicken coop. There’s plenty of predators about that would be happy to snap up your chicken in the night. A fire pit can wait. It’s nice, but not a necessity. The community kitchens are a walk but if you build a firepit on the beach you are going to end up wanting to relocate it closer to your house once that is built. So save yourself the trouble.” Lars said, frowning at the green-feathered chicken. ”I can actually help you clear out some space in the forest as well as provide wood. Well, wood for a price. I can chop down a section of trees and process the wood into lumber. If you are just starting this process you are probably just going to need some basic cuts for framing. That will take a couple of days, but I should have enough wood laying around to front you some for the chicken coop.”

Okara mostly followed along with what Lars said until he started talking about processing lumber and cuts, then she got lost. Lars seemed like a nice, helpful person she decided to trust him and nodded along enthusiastically. Okara walked along with Lars to the edge of the forest and they debated the best piece of land to clear for Okara’s house. They ended up agreeing on a square roughly an 1/8 of an acre almost directly behind Okara’s tent, about a hundred feet from the stream. Lars set off to hook up his ashta to deliver a few pieces of wood for Okara’s chicken coop and begin the logging. Okara decided to use the interim time to head back to the Mercantile for some building supplies. She had a feeling her coin purse was going to be considerably lighter by the time she was satisfied with her homestead.

Word Count: 659
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Okara
Great stories start with humble beginnings.
 
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To Clear Your Mind, Put Your Hands to Work

Postby Okara on June 30th, 2018, 4:19 am


”Well, hello again. I didn’t expect to see you back so quickly. Don’t buy out our whole stock all at once now.” Juli teased in greeting as Okara walked up the steps of the Mercantile a half bell later. Okara smiled and blushed.

”Today it’s building supplies. I need to build a chicken coop but I suppose I will need things to start on the house next.” Okara explained as she gazed around at the items organized around the shop. Juli nodded and started picking up items around the terrace as she murmured to herself. She piled a heap of tools on the counter in front of Okara.

”I would recommend a hammer, saw, shovel, and two pounds of nails. You will probably need more nails but this should get you started. I don’t want to sell all my nails anyways, my supply is dependent on Artik feeling like working. I can sell the lot to you for….. seven gold and five silver.” Juli said, quickly calculating costs in her head.

”No frequent shopper discounts?” Okara said with a big smile, trying her hand again at haggling with the shopkeeper.

”Nope.” Juli said. Rebuffed again, Okara nodded in acceptance.

”Alright, I accept your price then. Oh, wait, do you happen to sell chickens?” Okara asked. Gertrude could probably use the company. Okara was a little worried Gertrude might peck out their eyes but maybe she would be more friendly to her own kind.

”We do, in fact.” Juli said with a nod. She frowned when she noticed Okara’s eyes slowly looking around the shop. ”We don’t keep them here. Some of the settlers raised chickens and I just negotiate the sales. I can see to it that any chickens you buy are delivered to you tomorrow. We’ve got plenty of pullets, females under a year old, if you are looking for egg layers with some life left to them.”

Okara added two chickens to her bill and passed the shopkeeper a handful of coins. After tucking away the money Juli politely offered to help Okara carry the tools to her parcel of land which the Konti gratefully accepted. When the two women reached Okara’s land Lars was already there chopping away at a tree, a group of ashta munching on plants while they waited to drag away a log. Juli and Lars waved to each other before Juli left to return to her own work. Lars stopped his logging to point out a small pile of wood to Okara that he had brought for her chicken coop.

”You are going to want to more or less make a box with a door for the chickens to enter and leave from as well as a point of entrance for yourself so you clean things out. It would be best to keep your coop off the ground so you don’t have to worry about rain rotting out the bottom or predators trying to dig their way in. Don’t forget some separated nesting boxes as well so the chickens have a cozy place to actually lay the eggs. Walls are gonna be several pieces of wood held together by a smaller cross section of wood. And, well… just come get me if you need help. It sounds complicated but it’s pretty straightforward as far as building goes.” Lars explained and stopped when he saw the alarmed look on Okara’s face and realized he was overwhelming her with information. He returned to his logging while Okara went to examine the wood she had to work with. There were several different cuts of wood and Okara ran through everything Lars had just explained to her. It seemed best to start with the walls.

Word count: 618
Purchases :
Nail hammer 5 sm
Metal nails 1 lb/5 sm x 2 = 1 gm
Metal saw 4 gm
Pullet 2 cm x 2 = 4 cm
Shovel 2 gm
Total = 7 gm 5 sm 4 cm


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Okara
Great stories start with humble beginnings.
 
Posts: 243
Words: 191428
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To Clear Your Mind, Put Your Hands to Work

Postby Okara on July 10th, 2018, 4:42 pm

Okara picked up the saw she had purchased and stared at the pile of lumber. She had never in her entire life built anything and now she suddenly needed to create a chicken coop. How did she even make a wall? Was it just a perfect square? She bit her lip thoughtfully as she mulled over the problem.

”Hallo! Heard you were doing some building. Thought I better see what was going on.” Randal’s familiar voice called and Okara turned to wave with a relieved smile. The Syka founder walking towards he with a box of tools was a welcome sight.

”Word gets around, huh?” Okara asked with laugh.

”Well I saw Juli and she mentioned you were building a chicken coop. I don’t remember you saying you had much construction experience so I thought maybe I would swing by and see if you needed a hand.” Randal replied. Okara was so grateful for his thoughtfulness she wanted to wrap the man in a huge hug but thought better of it, she didn’t want to make him uncomfortable.

”Well, let’s get started. We need to measure the lumber and cut it down to size. The front and back walls will be angled so we can have a slanted roof. A slanted roof helps the rain roll off instead of pooling on top to rot and sag the wood. The top will probably need to be tarred as well but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.” Randal said, rubbing his hands in anticipation. Okara nodded as he got right to work.

Randal retrieved measuring tape from his toolbox and Okara helped him hold the wood steady as he measured. She drew the lines to mark where the cuts would be at his instruction and bobbed her head amiably at his rapid fire explanations about size and planks needed. When the planks for the first wall had all been marked Okara assisted with the sawing, well she mostly kept the wood steady while Randal sawed but she watched with avid attention.

Once the planks were the right size, Randal instructed Okara in lining them up and cut off two pieces of wood which he laid crosswise. Okara got the pleasure of hammering nails into them to hold the whole wall together. She stood and examined the wall with pride. It was sturdy and the top angled up to a peak. Randal led her in creating a matching wall for the front, though advising that this one would need an opening for the chickens to come and go from. Randal watched while Okara measured the wood and marked the wood then helped again to saw the pieces to the correct size. He let Okara saw two planks and she was amazed at how difficult the work was, her arm muscles strained to keep the saw blade biting through the lumber.

Once both the front and back walls were the complete the sides came along quickly as they were much smaller and simple rectangles. The walls complete, Randal next instructed Okara in the correct measurements for the floor of the coop. She measured the lumber and cut the planks herself, sweating deeply as the muscles in her arms bulged as she gritted her teeth and forced the saw through. Those planks were nailed together with a cross section of wood and finally the pieces were complete.
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Okara
Great stories start with humble beginnings.
 
Posts: 243
Words: 191428
Joined roleplay: May 30th, 2016, 12:34 am
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To Clear Your Mind, Put Your Hands to Work

Postby Okara on July 10th, 2018, 4:42 pm

”Alright, lets put some legs on the floor then we can start assembling the walls.” Randal said and patted Okara approvingly on the shoulder. She was highly pleased that things were beginning to come together so quickly and that Randal made such an encouraging mentor. Randal found a thick piece of lumber and measured along it four times before sawing off the legs for Okara’s coop. Okara held the large floor piece steady while Randal hammered nails through to attach the stubby legs.

The time to assemble the pieces together had finally come. Randal held up the front wall, so the bottom lined up with the bottom edge of the floor. Okara hammered in nails along the bottom so they sunk deeply into the floor boards. They repeated this process for all but one of the sides and added a few extra nails along the corners where the walls met for additional sturdiness.

Before dealing with the final wall, Randal had Okara hold a long piece of wood a foot up inside the coop and he hammered nails through the outside of the coop into the piece to hold it in place as a roost for the chickens. Okara nailed together a few scrap pieces into boxes and Randal helped her attach them a few inches above the floor for nesting boxes.

Finally onto the remaining wall, one of the short sides, Randal showed Okara how to attach two hinges and to the wall and floor so the wall could be opened to access the coop and clean it out. Okara was impressed with his ingenuity and Randal laughed at her amazement. All they had left now was the roof and door for the chickens. If the hinged wall had impressed Okara, the resourcefulness of Randal in engineering the door blew her mind. He used a slender, wide piece of wood to create a door that slid up and down between two rudimentary wooden tracks that he nailed on either side of the opening. Okara lifted it up and down a few times just to test it out, delighted at the craftsmanship. She had been wondering for a while if they would have to construct a handle and door frame but Randal had created a far simpler solution for her. The roof was simple by comparison, several wooden slats stacked horizontally along the angled walls and nailed in place.

”Well, I think that about does it. You might want to go to the Tar Pits, some tar spread along the roof will help waterproof it and keep the rain from rotting it.” Randal explained. Okara exchanged good byes with him and waved as he left. She turned to examine the chicken coop and felt pride in the small structure she had helped to build.

”It turned out well.” Lars said, coming up beside her in a brief break from his work. He and his ashta’s were making quick work of the space they had negotiated for clearing.

”It did. I was really grateful for Randal’s help, I’m not sure how it would have turned out if he wasn’t here. I’m grateful for your help as well, and Juli’s. Everyone has been so kind to me here and helped me get settled. I hope I can repay all of that kindness.” Okara said, feeling a little emotional in her gratitude. Lars raised an eyebrow and shifted uncomfortably.

”You will. We all needed help to get started and we pay it forward every time someone new arrives and needs help. I’m going to get back to the clearing. I don’t think this will be finished for another day, possibly two. When it’s chopped I will haul it back and you can pay for the cutting upon delivery.” Lars said, first softly then seriously and business-like as he shifted subjects. Okara smiled and nodded. Her coin purse sure was getting light, but it was gold well spent.

The pride she felt in her accomplishments had evaporated the lingering fears from the misadventure she had shared with Uta. Putting her hands to solid work had done wonders to keep her mind busy and create mental distance from the events of the day before. Okara reminded herself she had a shift at the Panacea coming up, and she would have the opportunity to thank Jansen for his idea. It reminded her that being a doctor was not just about healing the physical body, but about seeing to the mental and emotional needs of people as well.

Lumber Purchase :
-3gm for the lumber provided to build the coop
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Okara
Great stories start with humble beginnings.
 
Posts: 243
Words: 191428
Joined roleplay: May 30th, 2016, 12:34 am
Location: Syka
Race: Konti
Character sheet
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Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)

To Clear Your Mind, Put Your Hands to Work

Postby Okara on July 10th, 2018, 5:14 pm

Grades and Awards


Experience
Socialization 4
Observation 3
Negotiation 1
Construction 3
Endurance 1

Lores
Lars Waska: Can Process Lumber for a Price
Construction: Building a Chicken Coop
Randal Zor: Helps Out Settlers in Need
Construction: Slanted Roof Helps Rain Roll Off
Construction: Apply Tar for Water Proofing

Misc Rewards or Injuries
( + ) Various purchases noted throughout thread

Notes
Self grade! Woo!


Please edit your post in your grade request to reflect that it has been graded. PM me with any questions.
User avatar
Okara
Great stories start with humble beginnings.
 
Posts: 243
Words: 191428
Joined roleplay: May 30th, 2016, 12:34 am
Location: Syka
Race: Konti
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


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