Start of Year 9

It’s the beginning of spring, here in these northern mountains, but you’d never know it by the temperature of the air. Oh, the sun is riding higher in the sky and the days are now as long as the nights, but the snow is still dry beneath my skis, at least on the higher terrain.

I was right about the animals growing coats to fit the climate. Those that live here in the snow, like the foxes, grow coats so thick and warm they can lie on the snow and sun themselves. In fact all of the small to medium predators have wonderfully thick coats. Even those herbivores that the local hunters kill for food have far denser and warmer coats than those I am familiar with.

I am not going to let the northern hunters know of my existence if I can help it. I have, however, set up a peculiar form of trade for tanned furs. I have observed that they use salt as a preservative, and that it seems to be the thing in shortest supply when they are preserving hides. I realized this when I saw them saving and reusing the salt with which they treated skins, even at times evaporating salt solution in hides staked over a fire. So one day when a group ran off to help bring a butchered animal back to camp, leaving a tanned fur in plain sight, I stole it. Well, not quite stole it – in its place I left a pile of salt sufficient to preserve a number of much larger pelts.

They obviously observed the substitution, and I watched carefully for any sign that they considered themselves threatened. I think the men were somewhat upset. The women, however, seemed delighted with the salt. From that time on, whenever they have had to leave a campsite for a day or two (usually to haul in meat) tanned furs were left out in plain sight.

Rainbow is trying, but so far her efforts are not creating anything like what these northern hunters produce. But the rest of the People will be back soon, and some of them may have some suggestions for copying the furs I can show them. And Rainbow can surely construct me some warm clothes for next season.

Jarn’s Journal is the journal of a human-like alien stranded in Africa some 125,000 years ago. He has made friends with a group of early Homo Sapiens there, but he is determined not to repeat the mistake with the Neanderthals he has found in Europe. At the moment he is in the Alps, needing warmer clothes and finding that the Neanderthals are far better at preparing hides with the fur on than the People who have taken him in. The whole Journal (find it here) is part of the back story of the universe in which my science fiction is set.

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