Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014 Schedule of Events

My summer schedule isn't completely set yet - so this list  may change. Some weekends we have multiple events available, however which event I will be at is undecided. 

2014 Events

May 16/17
Timeline event, Quebec, Canada
Fort William Henry, Garrison the fort

June 7-8
The Fort at Number 4, Charlestown, NH
French and Indian War with the 27th Inniskilling

June 14-15 
Bolton Landing, Lake George, NY
French and Indian War with the 27th Inniskilling

July 5-6
Hubbardton, VT
Revolutionary War with the 29th Light Infantry 

July 19-20
Fort de la Presentation
Ogdensburg, NY
Navy with the boat Dark & Stormy
French and Indian War with the 27th Inniskilling

August 9-10
His Majesty's Fort at Crown Point
Crown Point, NY
French and Indian War with the 27th Inniskilling

September 13-14
War of 1812
Plattsburgh, NY
Navy with the bateau  Dark and Stormy

September 20-21
Roger's Island
Fort Edward, NY
Navy with the bateau  Dark and Stormy

Oct 11-12 
F and I event at Fort William Henry, Lake George, NY
Revolutionary War event at Kingston, NY


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

You Might be a Reenactor if...

I've been a 18th century reenactor for some time now, i believe its 13 years now. Its not something I ever thought i would get involved with, but I'm glad I am. Reenactors are a special breed of folks. They come from all walks of life, and everyone has their own reasons for being involved in the hobby. How can you tell if someone is a reenactor? there are lots of signs thats for sure. Below I've listed ways to tell if someone is a reenactor - these aren't all mine; I've borrowed heavily from others. I probably forgot a few also; feel free to add more in the comments section.


You might be a reenactor if...

Traveling 150+ miles to sleep out in the rain is your idea of a fun weekend.
You've ever spent over 200 dollars for clothes that went out of style 230 years ago
You wear wool when its over 90 degrees out - repeatedly.
You flinch when someone calls your 18th century clothes a "costume".
Your best tent is white canvas without a floor
You go vehicle shopping with a musket and a eight foot ridge pole.
People all over the country have your picture in their vacation photos.
You base career decisions by the impact on your weekend availabilty.
You can spot 100% linen at 50 feet
After a wet weekend, your back yard looks like a refugee camp.
You've ever been confused for a dead guy.
You've been filmed in a movie.. or three
Your child can sleep through cannon fire
You've ever been mistaken for an Amish person.
You've spent $1000 for a gun that needs a sharp rock in it to work
All your male friends sew...by hand.
Your children correct their history teachers.
Your $20,000 car sits out in the weather, so your $200 tent can stay in the garage.
Woodsmoke, gunpowder and bacon are three of your favorite odors.
Your mailman is confused (what the heck rank are you in the Reserves anyway?)
You have a better collection of History books than the local library.
Your Christmas/birthday wish-list reads like a quartermaster's supply list.
Your friends refuse to attend any historic movie dramas with you.
You grow your hair long so you can get rid of your wig.
You spend more on your reenacting shoes than all your other shoes combined.
In three days you eat out of the same bowl six times, but only rinse it out twice.
You can't sing without a mug of something in your hand.
You have strange tan lines.
You need to open a beer bottle and look for a bayonet
You plan your wedding around the summer schedule of events.
90% of your friends have long hair.
The best Christmas present you ever got was a cannon.
You already own all the books at the historical site gift shop.
You almost failed  history, but now know the battles as well as when they happened and why.
You know how many days it is until the next event.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do you sleep in the tents?



 "Do you sleep in the tents?" This is one of those questions reenactors are asked quite often. This answer differs based on who answers, but I figure folks just want to know more about how reenacting works. Here are some of our answers.

Am I sleeping in a tent tonight? Yes I am. I spent a fair bit of money to buy a period appropriate tent.  I hauled it here in a vehicle that was bought only after knowing it would haul the tent poles.  With some help from other reenactors we put the tent up where the quartermaster indicated it should go. I put all my belongings into it, set up my sleeping area inside, and I will indeed be sleeping in it for the weekend.

Are most the tents occupied at night? Yes, most the tents have one or two people sleeping in them at night. Does every reenactor sleep in a tent at night? No, some reenactors are within 45 minutes of home and go home at night. Some reenactors prefer to sleep at the local hotel. Are we required to sleep in the tents? No we are not required. We're volunteers, and very few places we go have rules that are that strict. Do the tents belong to the site? The tents are private property, same as almost everything else you see. It all belongs to the reenactors participating for the weeknd.

Did the soldiers sleep the same as we did in the tents? Well in the 18th century, the British Army assigned 6 men per tent. 2 would be on duty and 4 off at any given time. They slept crosswise, not the long way as we do today.  The doors were staked shut so the guy sleeping across the front would be responsible for opening and closing the tent. There were two or three blankets for each tent and the only bed would be either some straw or pine boughs. The soldiers had much less space than the reenactors do. Soldiers also carried less stuff than your average reenactor too. However I can tell you there isn't all that much space for two people in a 6 X 6.5 foot regulation tent. I would hate to have to try to sleep in one with 3 other people.

Why do I sleep in a tent instead of in a hotel? Well, for one thing its less expensive. Depending on how many weekends you reenact, hotel expenses could quickly add up over one season. Staying overnight in the tents gives you a bigger appreciation of what it was like in the 18th century. After the evening meal there is socialing by candle-light. Sometimes a soiree or dance or tavern is happening in camp. The sounds of the camp waking in the morning add to the whole experience as well.  After all, we fall asleep to the sounds of period songs being sung, and woken by either a cannon (morning gun) or the drummers and fifers playing throughout the camp. You just don't experience that sleeping in a hotel down the road.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Questions reenactors often hear...

Events for the 2011 season are pretty much over now.  Until events start back up I thought I'd share a bit of the the events as a reenactor might experience them. For instance, there are certain questions we hear at almost every event.   I often wonder if it’s the questions that folks want answered or if its just an easy way for  them to start a conversation. I know if you’ve never seen an encampment, its often a little scary to walk up to someone you don’t know, whos dressed differently and just start up a converstion from nothing. So maybe the answers are less important than the conversation that follows.

“Is that a real fire?” … yes it is. Ask us often enough and we just might give you a silly answer though. What I often wonder is, is the person asking if this is the type of fire that the soldiers would have?  Well, the soldiers didn’t have a tripod or spit to cook on unless they were encamped for a while someplace, and they certainly didn’t haul cast iron every night from place to place. They had one tin pot for each tent (6 men, called a "mess") and shared it among themselves.  So you’re thinking ‘Why do you see the fire set-ups like that at encampments?’ Well, we’re not given rations, so we often have more to cook.

 In the eighteenth century, there were big fire pits dug and one man from every mess would cook using those big fire pits. Today, we are usually on historic grounds where digging is a no-no, and creating that type of fire pit is impractical for just two days  Sometimes we can’t recreate everything exactly the same. We do use equipment  & cooking methods that were used in the eighteenth century… but on the average they are more than the ones the average soldier would have had. The cooking we do is more the type of thing you would see in a long-term encampment, not on campaign.

“Are you going to eat that?” (while pointing to something over the fire) Yes, 99.9% of the time we are going to eat that. It takes a bit more effort to cook a hot meal between splitting a hauling wood, keeping the fire at a certain temperature, no running water, and no refrigeration besides a well hidden cooler. After all that effort, we certainly plan to enjoy the results… as long as it doesn’t end up burnt beyond belief. We do occasionally eat those meals too. For example at the Salmon Hole Massacre a few years back, we unintentionally burned black four loaves of a new batter bread recipe. It was all we had, so we scalped the black off, pulled it into little balls of dough, and served them with the stew. Folks said they were damn fine dumplings, too. They would have done the same in the 18th century, no wasting what little they had.

“Are you hot in that?”  Well, if its summer and you’re hot, chances are I am too. I know the clothes are intimidating and there seems to be many more clothes than we wear in modern life. However the clothes are natural fabrics.. wool, linen, cotton and silk. The advantage of natural fabrics is they breathe… so I might be covered head to toe in linen. But the breeze goes through it and each time it is washed it gets thinner and lighter. If its wet, it dries fairly quickly because of the air circulation. If its layered, its warmer. The regimental uniforms are wool, often lined with wool. Sounds horrible mid-August, but remember in the 18th century, your uniform usually was given to you in the fall (as long as the supply ships arrived on time) and you wore it morning noon and night, so by the following August, it wasn’t the heavy pretty wool regimental you see on a re-enactor… it’s a worn, patched, thinning garment that would be no where near as warm as ours are.

Got a question? Think its dumb so you’re not going to ask?. Go ahead, ask. We’ve probably heard it before, but asking is the only way you’ll know the answer. Besides, if you keep asking you might just learn something. And if one reenactor doesn’t know, there are plenty more to choose from. We all know different things, just ask us.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Revolutionary War at Fort #4

This past weekend, I joined the 29th Regiment of Foot and Von Rediesel's German regiment  at the Fort at number 4.

 Kayla joined us all dressed up for the first time, and we had several folks that daytripped for the event.

Dispite the rain, both battles were held and an excellent time was had by all. 

We made Drunken chicken for the first time this weekend. First there was major discusiion about the recipe and our alterations.  The recipe can be found at MizRebecky's Recipes.

4 Chicken legs weren't going to do it for the group of us, so we substituted Chicken thighs... a lot of chicken thighs.  We were all pretty intent on what we were doing. Exact measurements we impossible as measuring cups and spoons just didn't exist in 1775 so we estimated best we could.

 The recipe calls for 1/4 pint of cider for one recipe. We were doing much more than just the standard recipe, so while Izzy added ingredients, Dave & Rebecca  were figuring out just  how much of which item was needed.  

Adding the Salt, pepper, Mustard and olive oil were all simple tasks. However adding the honey which had sat out over night was more of a challenge.
Marc was trying to keep us in 18th century mode and picked up after us.

 Izzy finally used a knife to get to the last of the stuck honey to encourage it to join the rest of the marinade.

 Then we mixed it up and set it to soak along side of the fire. Once it had warmed out some, we figured we could get the honey integrated with everything else just fine. 

While it soaked, we checked out the battle and some Sutlers.  After about an hour and a half or so of cooking, Dinner turned out to be excellent.

The "dessert" of hot buttered rum also was a hit with the clan. We decided we wanted to share with others, so ingredients were procured and a larger batch was made. Warm Cheer on a cold evening, all heated up in a copper pot.

Saturday night after dinner, a large contingent of the encampment gathered in the Great Chambers on the second floor for singing and entertainment. Much fun was had by all over the weekend.