Welcome to my virtual hearth. Before getting too deep into things, I will address the elephant in the room: as I publish this the nation is gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, AKA Corona Virus. In fact, the reason I am publishing the general review of my last month late is because of it. These updates are not meant to be a livejournal-esque personal diary, and I know the volume of Corona Virus information in my feed is exhausting. Without adding to the noise, I think it would be a disservice not to acknowledge the current issue, and to acknowledge its influence on this project.
Corona Virus and The Turnip of Terror
As it stands there is no anticipated change to the project here. Except for some delays in the posting schedule, such as today’s monthly recap, there is little person-to-person activity outside of events which will have to be postponed or cancelled. Our medieval march happened in the first days of March prior to the outbreak. It doesn’t seem so long ago, but during our hike a few weeks ago I was not as familiar with the term Social Distancing as we all are now. It is possible the medieval march in April will be cancelled, but since the majority of them are just Karley and I, it may still happen anyway. As with everyone else, my daughter is home from school. It is nice to spend some extra time with her.
La Bataille du Cygne
One of the events I was looking forward to going to this year, hosted by my local group The Medieval Swordsman Guild of Kansas City, has cancelled due to the pandemic. La Bataille du Cygne is the preeminent 14th/15th century Deed of Arms style event, and I was slated to stay the whole week and teach a small class on reenactment and living history. As soon as I know for certain of details on a recovery event, or a reschedule, I will keep everyone updated.
Lysts on the Lake
As far as I know this event is still going. Though I want to go, not as a competitor but as a participant or spectator, it is unlikely I will have the time or resources to get down to Texas in April. If it continues as planned, I am rooting for Scott Wilson.
This Month Online
On the Facebook page I feature online resources, articles, and websites as I find them scrolling through; links I think will be useful to the community or resources requiring exposure. It occurs to me, except for when they make it into the Turnip Patch, for those who follow this site, or the YouTube channel, or follow on Instagram and don’t use Facebook may miss out on these resources. I will include them into the monthly reviews from now on, too. However, to see them shared in real-time still requires following on Facebook.
Originally posted in 2018, Comthurey Alpinum posted an image of a bone from the 12th century which was splinted by a copper plate. Read the post and the article for more details. I am always entertained to see in what ways people of the past were not cave-men until the enlightenment.
An Article on the Black Death
As early as February 25th I was aware of, if not nearly so intimately as now, the Corona Virus. It had just ticked the brain enough I found this article by HistoryExtra on Medieval Quarantine uniquely interesting.
An Article on Regicide
It seems most people are drawn to the allure of Royalty. Until recently, being royal was incredibly dangerous. Kings were killed at an alarming rate.
The English Language is a Mess
I found this great video, which is actually about four years old, about the reasons for English being such a chaotic language. I heard it somewhere, probably a meme on Facebook, that English doesn’t so much borrow from other languages as much as chase them down dark alleys knock them down, and go through their pockets for loose grammar. Based on this video, it doesn’t sound entirely exaggerated…
Non-Typical Learners and History
A professional historian has a certain academic rigor as a requirement of their profession, and it is not the type of job everyone can or should want to do. However, the love of history attracts all manner of people and living history is a natural outlet for those interests. Having a learning style outside of the ‘standard-model’ should not discourage anyone’s passion towards learning as much as they can about a hobby they love. Sarai Tindall Sogliano in her article Thoughts on Research: Teaching Research to Non-Typical Learners goes into the subject in a way I had not considered before.
New Fields in the Turnip Patch
I have started up yet another page in the Turnip Patch of Useful Resources, this time what I am calling The Golden Gloss. I know there are a number of different glossaries out there, but none which do everything I would want out of a glossary, such as eventually cite sources for the definitions and include pictures.
I intend to continue to work on this over time, perhaps spending more time at home the next few weeks will give me more time. The glossary will have everything from trade and guild specific vocabulary, to legal terms, to cultural idioms and phrases, etc. It is small now, but it is a lifelong project which will grow. I also set up a submission form for those who want to contribute. Community submissions will receive recognition for their help in the entries they work on.
A Video About Pouches
I published this video about what I put in my pouch while at events, and it sparked a delightful amount of conversation. There are number of things I should put in there more often, especially things like bandages and other first aid supplies. I’m bouncing around the idea of coming up with a good Altoids-Tin style first aid kit which can easily fit into pouches and things.
The Pilgrim Progress Challenge
The month of March is the month of preparing for and setting up the Pilgrim Progress Challenge! A collaborative contest with The Agincourt Soldier, the Pilgrim Progress Challenge is about getting outside, enjoying the sunshine, and simulating a pilgrimage by walking or hiking. The idea being a “social event at a distance” whereas people can participate in a singular event, from all over the country and world. I have set up a page with the full rules and the leader board. We are sending out the log books soon, and day one of the contest will be April 1.
In an effort to be both educational, entertaining, and hilarious, I present my most recent medieval meme: Shout out to my co-star, Todd Eriksen of Miscreant’s Medieval Miscellania.
How Two Medieval Podcast
Todd Cornell and I have been chugging along with episodes for the How Two Medieval podcast. In Episode Five we discuss the age old question of making material items for living history or buying them. In Episode Six we talk about the basic standards one should consider when putting together a late medieval commoner kit; the best place all new interested parties in medieval living history and reenactment should consider starting at.
Routine Website Maintenance
On March 3rd I went through and completed the monthly update of the links in not just the resource pages, but the website as a whole to include old articles. I had to repair a ton links this time, mostly my fault. I found a number of instances of spots where I did not update various links to things like Facebook when I added the “The” to many of my various social media and other accounts.
As for resources, on the Merchant Roll; Armory World and Custom Heraldic Designs were moved to the morgue (the links were broken during maintenance.)
Article: Unique Portrayals
Unique Portrayals (I.E. Why I Don’t Want To Be A Specific Person) is March’s article laying out my thoughts on living history impressions of individual people vs. unique portrayals for medieval reenactment and some advice for those looking to make similar decisions for their impressions in the future.
March 8th was the birthday of the Lady of Neep Manor, my Karley.
Articles and Research Projects
The projects below have no specific order of urgency, so this is an opportunity to voice your suggestions or requests on upcoming content.
- A “Behind the Metal” interview featuring Trevor Clemons of the Kansas City Sword Guild, focusing on his considerable expertise and success with creating a crossover HEMA and living history group.
- A personal musing on making “consolation” purchases when you cannot wait or afford the perfect piece of armor or kit; exploring the boundary between “settling” purchases and ones simply “good enough for now”.
- I have a simple, slender belt from Lorifactor I could review. Anything I wear I could review. Do you want more product reviews?
- In the past, I hand drew some diagrams/floor plans for tents to establish an idea to what extent concepts like “headroom” and “floor-space” exist in any given tent. With access to a CAD program now, I have some far superior drawings of a series of Tentsmith Conical tents I could share as a resource. These drawings are very time consuming though, and with how many size/shape variations exist among the preeminent manufacturers of medieval tents, it will take me years to work through them all (or sufficient support to work on the website full time.)
- I went on a mission to find fixes to a persistent wardrobe malfunction where my hosen would bunch up on my feet and bind with the rough leather of my boots when putting shoes on over my footed hosen. I received a list of possible solutions, some of which I have tried and some of which remain candidates for experimentation. An article on the subject would include trying and documenting my experiments with all the suggestions.
- I am collecting old, dead tents to re-purpose their fabric for an “Archer Lean-To.” This project would be to benefit any group or encampment portrayal. The idea: unlike the Knight himself who would purchase a proper tent, the commoners who joined him on campaign might opt instead to take an old cast off tent which could be purchase for cheap or salvaged for free and use it to erect a shelter for themselves while on campaign. Hanging a rectangular swath of canvas, as a tarp, can allows a variety of options as a shelter. It could ornamented with cheap mattresses and other excess material culture to give the impression of three or four men (representing a few archers and camp servant in their absence) and provide a contrast in quality to my tent. I need to research, however, is if this is a speculative construction, a reenactorism I have seen others do without any primary documentation. Part of the project and the article would be doing said research.
- I have many video ideas, most of them centering around basic medieval concepts and skills which may embarrass the newest among us to ask, such as what’s the proper way to tie an arming point or how do you put on round fibula style brooches?
What topics would you like me to prioritize for you? What are you seeing on the website or the social media accounts you like or dislike? Drop me your feedback by comment or email.