Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Day In the Life: Spending Time in Autumn 1770

Why 1770?
Because this wasn't about the War.
It was about homelife,  so that's where our concentration focused on.
This posting is a documentation - a sort of souvenir - of the occurrences of one of the most immersive and amazing days I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of in my living history experiences:  'twas my first-ever participation in 18th century fall harvest activities.  
With nearly 90 photographs,  I believe you will be able to see just how perfect this day was.
I hope you enjoy it.

~   ~   ~

We all know that at this point in time,  for anyone to actually and physically time-travel to visit and take part in anywhere but the now is virtually impossible.
Impossible.  (Sorry,  but time traveling into the past a nano second to the 10th power doesn't count lol).
However,  a few of us in the reenacting world may have found a different way to visit the an extent...for we have our own  Back to the Future Delorean  that also includes a pretty powerful flux capacitor.
And we don't need plutonium from the middle east to get it working.
It's simply called Living History.
But to accomplish this time-travel phenomena can prove to be fruitless.  Fruitless,  unless...everything is just right...
The following is an altered-by-me  snippet from the book  "Time and Again" by Jack Finney.  I've posted this numerous times before,  but it just seems to fit so well with what I do:
If you could go back
in time for one day,
where would you go?
How would you spend your day?
Einstein said that our ideas about time are largely mistaken.  And I don't doubt for an instant that he was right once more.  He meant that we're mistaken in our conception of what the past,  present,  and future really are.  We think the past is gone,  the future hasn't happened,  and that only the present exists.  Because the present is all we can see.  It's only natural.  He said we're like people in a boat without oars drifting along a winding river.  Around us we see only the present.  We can't see the past,  back in the bends and curves behind us.  But,  it's there.
You can see yesterday;  most of it is left.  And there are fragments of still earlier days.  Single buildings.  Sometimes several together.  Those places are fragments still remaining,  of days which once lay out there as real as the day lying out there now,  still surviving fragments of a clear July morning of 1863,  a bright spring afternoon of 1822,  a gray fall evening in 1770...
Picture one of those fragments - a building...a house...standing empty in the Autumn of 1770,  looking just as it did.  Picture an arrangement to sublet that very structure for an Autumn day,  just as it would have been 250 years earlier.  If Albert Einstein is right - as he is - then hard as it may be to comprehend,  the fall of 1770 still exists.  That silent empty structure exists back in that Autumn precisely as it exists in the Autumn that is here.  Unaltered and unchanged,  identical in each,  and existing in each.  I believe it may be possible,  you understand,  for a man to walk out of that unchanged structure and into that other Autumn.
(But),  the uncountable millions of invisible threads that exist in here would bind him to the current Autumn,  no matter how unaltered the walls around him may be.  It occurred to me,  however,  that just possibly there is a way to dissolve those threads...
Now what would you say if a few of us accomplished this experience?

Visiting the Daggett presenters
If you are a regular,  or even casual,  reader of  this Passion for the Past blog,  then you probably know of my passion - near obsession - with the Daggett House inside historic Greenfield Village.  You know how I enjoy dressing in my period clothing and spending my time in and around this mid-18th century home,  oftentimes enjoying talks with some of the presenters who work there.  You also know how I admire the cooking,  crafts,  and other chores they do as well.
And you can probably guess how I've truly longed to be a part of it.
Well,  that dream has come true to a very large degree...and more,  actually;
recently I had one of the busiest and most gratifying living history experiences ever:  a few of us spent a day in Autumn 1770,  bringing 18th century harvest activities to life in an immersion sort of way...experiencing the past rather than just speaking about it.
And no public allowed.
No,  we were not at the Daggett home,  but,  rather,  at a historic log cabin.
And there it is---on the far left.
You see,  there are numerous forms of reenacting - mainstream,  progressive,  hardcore - and nearly all are wonderfully viable to some extent in the hobby.  I,  however,  prefer mainstream-leading-to-progressive,  for both styles have much to offer and both suit me well.
But out of the two,  I must say,  I enjoy progressive the most.  Progressive reenacting,  according to one definition,  is when reenactors  "reach the stage when they begin making an all out effort  (within the limits of their finances)  to get things as right as possible.  They'll usually have an increased interest in doing Living History,  and a 1st Person mentality prevails." 
Sometimes it can even border hardcore reenacting.
What we do is not acting---there are no scripts to follow---it is bringing your historic knowledge & research to life.
So what occurred this past October 17 was staunchly progressive and,  at times,  strongly hinted at hardcore.
It all came about when I had a dream that I was in the Daggett House...but I wasn't just visiting - I was in my period clothing and actually working there!  But I wasn't working as an employee - - - for some reason I,  and a few others with me,  were allowed to make the house come to life by actually living there,  as if it were 1770.  Well,  you can imagine the disappointment when I woke up.  But it got me to thinking - - what if...hmmm?   And that's when I thought of the only place that ever allowed me,  with a few chosen people,  to make a historic place my home  (aside from Charlton Park).  So I got in contact with Waterloo Farm and Museum in rural Munith,  Michigan not too long ago,  and we discussed an idea I carried over from my dream as well as from our our Civil War experiences at Waterloo all those years ago - A Fall Harvest Day - but rather than portray the 1860s inside the house,  it would be the year the cabin right next to the house.  
You see,  besides a beautifully restored mid-19th century farmhouse,  Waterloo also has a frontier-type log cabin that I knew would be very suitable for the 18th century,  and since I have a  'history'  with Waterloo by volunteering there for years and have proven my trust in caring for their historic structures and artifacts,  they graciously allowed me to carry on with my plan.
Immersed in the past - - - - 
That's our cabin on the right,  and the storage shed cabin on the left.

My first rule was to keep the number of participants low,  for this was not going to be a typical reenactment;  with an opportunity to utilize a frontier cabin I wanted to do something a bit unique...something to make my 18th century harvest research come to life,  and to have too many participants would not work for authenticity or accuracy.  Also the cabin is a cabin and,  therefore,  is not very large,  so there's that as well.
Ideally,  with this sort of plan,  I wanted everyone involved to feel  as if we were in 1770.
Keeping it as real as can be done.
My friend,  Larissa,  was the first person I asked to be a part of this,  for we have been presenting together for years and when it comes to 18th century domestic history, 
I know of no one who knows more.
When she & I do our historic farming presentations,  we present ourselves as 
a farm couple,  and we explain each of our chores in and around our home.  
In the 21st century,  men & women do many of the same jobs.  That was not quite 
so in the 18th century,  and we enjoy pointing that out to our modern audiences. 
On the day of this living history harvest,  we actually sort of lived out our 
presentation,  for she worked the inside of the cabin with the cooking and cleaning, 
using tools and cooking utensils of the period,   while I spent my time doing 
outside chores,  also using tools of the period.  This was an amazing experience,
and it will certainly help our future presentations!

So,  once I knew Larissa was on board,  I went to work on the others,  speaking with the chosen few to help with ideas to make this work.
The Waterloo folks were very excited as I told them our plans,  and they went above and beyond to help make this day happen.
The living historians who experienced autumn 1770:
from left we have EJ,  Jennifer,  Tony,  myself,  Larissa  (in blue),  Jackie,  and Charlotte.
What a very fine group of people to travel through time with.

Just before the dinner preparations began...
We took every precaution to ensure that when we were transported into the past there
would be no  "1979 penny"  to unwittingly  "snap us back to the future" ~(in other words,  nothing out of our time to remind us of things that will be.  The 1979 penny metaphor came from the movie  "Somewhere In Time")~ 
Aside from pictures taken,  we all did pretty darn good.
And,  in the opposite corner......
A few of us brought in our collectibles/furniture to help furnish the cabin.

There were treats as well:
Eggs,  gooseberry jam,  roxbury russet apples, 
and a period cookbook  (just in case)

"...a glowing bed of red-hot coals,  banked the night before, 
still burned on the hearth..."
The start of our day,  and Larissa made sure to build up a good cooking fire.
She has 20 years of hearth-cooking experience from working at the
1750 Daggett House at Greenfield Village. 
We were in good hands.
Larissa told me that  "This was much harder  (than cooking on the Daggett hearth)  because we had to figure everything out;  which pots and utensils to use,  which foods to put spices in,  the use of butter,  flour,  pickles,  etc.,  and everything else.  In the 18th century,  we use way more things when cooking than we realize!  At Daggett,  it’s just all there for me to use.  This was the first time cooking on another indoor hearth for me and I realized all hearths are not created equal!  This one was much narrower and deeper than the one I’m used to.  Once you got past the wall,  all the heat was gone.  I’m short and it was hard to reach all the way back in there to get the best heat.  I loved a different experience though!"

Fuel for the fire at her fingertips...

All of the ladies willingly did their part in preparing the food.
As Charlotte wrote:  "My goal was to learn and experience in part what it must
have been like.  We modern folk are so spoiled with all of our gadgets and
pre-processed everything that we miss the joy and sense of accomplishment
in THEE process itself."  

Running a kitchen really did require a staggering range of skills,  including chopping kindling,  keeping a fire burning indefinitely,  knowing which wood was best for baking or frying,  plucking feathers from fowl,  butchering animals large and small,  cosseting  (caring for)  bread yeast,  brewing beer,  making cheese,  adjusting  'burners'  of coals on a hearth and gauging the temperature of a bake oven.  In fact,  the colonial cook would have to begin their work by  "building a good-sized fire on the hearth,  but once the logs had burned to coals,  the embers were moved around,  and carefully selected pieces of wood would be added to produce different kinds of heat,  often having several small fires going at once.  Piles of live embers on the hearth were like burners on a stove;  a gridiron set over a pile of coals could be used for broiling;  a pan set over coals on a trivet could be used for frying;  and coals could be piled over and under a Dutch oven for baking."  

Jackie explained that,  "I learned about cooking on a hearth,  which I had never done.  Although it was much like cooking in a firepit.  I understand why meals were simpler.  It was time consuming.  Everyone worked well together."

Larissa prepares the meat to make fricandillas - an 18th century meatball meal.
From Larissa:  "I have so many thoughts of how to do things better and what we could have improved on,  but that comes with trial and error.  The meal took a long time - most of the morning and early afternoon.  You really have to plan things because you need enough space,  cookware,  and coals and heat.  Us ladies had some very confusing moments figuring out what bake ovens  (Dutch ovens)  we were going to use and for what. 
(But)  it was very fun cooking with them." 
Jennifer chops up the potatoes

Jackie is forming the Fricandillas

Getting the pork ready for the tin kitchen/reflector oven.
'Twas stuffed with onions,  garlic,  fresh herbs,  and churned butter.
Joey,  who was supposed to join us on this day but was unable to,  
supplied the pork.  The meat was fresh from his own farm:  
"Both of those hogs I took with my fowler,  so they were 
taken the proper way."

Cooking up a traditional large 18th century harvest meal:
Francandillas  (beef meatballs)
Roast pork  (in reflector oven)
Pickled vegetables
To dress cabbage  (fried basically)
Dressed potatoes
Injun bread  (like corn bread)
Apple tart  (like apple pie)
Fine little cakes  (like cookies)
Cider &  tea
Honey & jam
Did I make you hungry yet?

On the left side of the hearth in the pictures below you can see the reflector oven cooking the pork.
It was the first time being used.
It was the massive fireplace that was the center of it all.  And,  of course,  all of the necessary cooking tools to go with it:  "A nest of iron pots of different sizes,  a long iron fork to take out articles from boiling water,  an iron hook with a handle to lift pots from the crane,  a large and small gridiron with grooved bars and a trench to catch the grease,  a dutch oven  (or bake pan),  two skillets of different sizes,  a skimmer,  skewers,  a toasting iron,  two tea kettles - one small and one large - a spider  (or flat skillet)  for frying,  a griddle,  a waffle iron,  tin and iron bake and bread pans,  two ladles of different sizes,  two brass kettles of different sizes for
soap boiling,  &c."
(the above came from a journal account of  18th century cooking utensils)

The pork in the reflector oven.
"The reflector we used was new and shiny and roasted quicker than
I thought!"  said Larissa. 

Jennifer took a quick respite from the food prep and cooking
to watch the men,  including her son EJ,  do their chores outside.

While the women were indoors preparing dinner,  Tony,  EJ,  and I were spending our time outside taking care of our own chores.  And with all we did that day,  we certainly earned our spot at the dinner table!
I really like this photo Larissa took through the cabin window of EJ and I as we were threshing wheat:
Comment from Charlotte:  "It was gratifying to look out the
window and see the chores in process like threshing,  felling a
tree,  and preparing the muskets for the hunt."

Threshing is conducted by using a  “flail”  (or stick tied to another stick)  to beat
the wheat heads,  thereby separating the wheat berries from their  “chaff” 
(or husk)  and supporting straw.  To flail,  one stick is held and swung,  causing the
other to strike a pile of grain,  loosening the husks.  Cleaning the wheat
commences with removal of the long straw. 

According to Encyclopedia Britannica,  with a flail,  one man can thresh 7 bushels
of wheat,  8 of rye,  15 of barley,  18 of oats,  or 20 of buckwheat in a day. 
The flail remained the principal method of threshing until the mid-19th century,
  when mechanical threshers became widespread.

As we threshed,  my flail broke.
Time to get it repaired.
Yes,  just as they would have done,  we went to the woodworking shop to repair it.
This building houses the wood-working shop as well as the blacksmith shop.

The broken flail.
Now,  I've admittedly never really been much of a handyman.  Oh,  I have done minor repairs such as basic plumbing needs,  a bit of wood-working repairs,  painting,  and the like,  but nothing major (though I did get a low-pressure boiler's license for my job at one time).  And I knew repairing something like this broken flail wouldn't be too difficult.  Still,  Tony,  who is a true craftsman,  gave me a few pointers as he guided me in the process.
He also physically helped out as well,  as did EJ.
But I really wanted to do as much of the job as I could,  since the flail was mine.
It was a pride thing,  I suppose.
The tools available to us were not modern and they worked well for the
18th century.

I must admit,  I knew little about some of the tools, 
but with Tony's help,  I am gaining the knowledge.
Here I am drilling a hole in the flail with an auger .
The auger worked exceptionally well as I made the hole for the leather.
(My hand wore out after a bit and Tony completed it)

But I was not the only one to do the repair work.

Tony also had a bit of leather to replace the old one,
which was pretty-well rotted.
Repairing items such as a flail was a commonality of the times.  So I was actually a little happy that it broke and did need to be repaired.  It only added to the realism of the day.
That's what I'm talking about! 
With the flail repared,  it was back to threshing the wheat.

Once the wheat is threshed,  remaining wheat,  chaff and dust mix,  are put into a basket and tossed up into the air where the wind will catch the husks and blow them away,  leaving the clean grain behind to fall back into the basket.  This is known as winnowing.
If you look close,  you can see the grain we threshed.
EJ,  a young man in his mid-teens,  wasn't exactly sure what we were accomplishing
by hitting the wheat with these large  "sticks,"  though when I pulled the
wheat remnants away so he could see the grain,  a large smile crossed his face.
Yep---the efforts of our labor was showing.

Using the hay fork to clean up the leftover remnants.
The winnowed wheat is stored in a granary to be taken to a local mill  (unless the farmer had a quern,  which was like a mini-gristmill,  though it can take an excessive amount of time to get enough flour worth baking with such a small tool,  so an actual gristmill was most desired).
And,  fortunately,  most settlements did have a gristmill not too distant away.

Flax is grown in the garden.  Just before it matures,  it is pulled from the ground,  roots and all.  The seeds are removed once the plant is dried  (called rippling).  The plant is then submerged in water in order to rot the useless part of the plant.  This is called retting.  The flax is then spread on the grass  (called dew retting).  Once the plant is dry,  the next step occurs:
And that's where I come in - - - 
A flax brake is used to start the process of separating the line fiber from the shives  (or core and bark).  A large bundle is centered at the wider end of the brake;  the upper meshes with the lower and comes down with a crunch upon the flax which is struck as it gradually moves to the smaller end. 
Although I tried out the break shortly after I got it a couple of months ago to see how
it worked,  this was my first time actually doing the chore and following through.

After breaking,  the next two steps - scutching and hackling - 
follow,  and then my wife can spin it on the flax wheel.
This will be her first time spinning flax. 

The useless part that fell to the floor was often used to fill the
straw tick of the trundle bed. 
You can see the straw-like flax waiting to be  "broke"  on the right.

Young EJ was interested in breaking flax.
Now,  to have a teenager interested in such things is a wonder in
itself in this modern day computer game world that we live in,   
so I happily showed him  "the ropes"  (so to speak).
Soon he was on his way...

The flax off the flax break is noticeably softer,  by sight and especially touch. 
Note the hackle in the center.
The flax will go through other processes before spinning - you can read about that HERE- - 
With the flax spun,  a fine linen shirt or a pair of breeches can be made.  

While planning this day out,  we had asked the good folks at Waterloo if there would be jobs they needed doing for us to carry out,  such as chopping firewood,  repairs and mending,  or maybe even some light farming.
However,  they came up with something that truly helped them out and gave us another opportunity to do a common chore in a period way:
We got to chop down a tree!
The tree was mostly dead and there was a fear that with high winds it could fall
and damage the historic cabin,  so we took on the job.
Tony began the chopping.

I had never chopped down a tree with an axe before.  I've used a saw,  but never an axe.
Until this day.

It sure felt great using muscles that remained dormant for a long while. 
However,  the next day my sciatic nerve told me otherwise.
Still---I'm glad I did it and would not think twice about doing it again.

Tony had done this numerous times and guided the rest of us

EJ took his hand to the axe as well.

The women came out to watch us and then asked if they might give it a try as well.
Of course!
Larissa tried her hand...

From Jackie:  "I never chopped down a tree before.  3 swings was enough for me. 
Another team effort,  though the men did the vast majority of the work on the tree." 

From Charlotte:
"I loved the reminder of how chopping down a tree
warms us many times over.  First in the felling by the
swing of the ax,  then by chopping it into firewood, 
then moving and stacking it,  and finally by burning it
for cooking,  rendering,  and warmth."  

Jennifer lives on a farm up north so she was used to doing the harder work
and had a few good swings.  In fact,  she finished it off.

With a crack and a crash,  the tree came down.
It fell exactly where Tony had planned.

Charlotte continued:
"Then there are the secondary uses of the wood.  
Perhaps chunks can be carved into bowls,  spoons,  
a broom handle,  a new yoke for the ox,  or shingles 
for the roof.  Some bark or the nuts of the tree can be 
harvested for eating or the dyeing of wool or linen."

The fall weather was perfect,  for part of the day gave us sunshine
and part gave us overcast skies while temperatures cooled.
'Twas a fine day to explore the property.

Not too long,  though,  for it was back to the hearth.
Stepping through the open doorway of the cabin,  the aroma of our meal was as enticing as the food fragrance that emanated upon walking into the Daggett House at Greenfield Village. Oh!  How I wished I could sit down and eat with the presenters there!  Well,  I am so honored,  for Larissa told me she wanted me to experience a  'Daggett meal,'  so she had planned out our menu of  the fricandillas,  fried cabbage,  the pork cooked 
in the tin kitchen/reflector oven,  the sweet treats,  our drink... 
Ken is a happy man!  Daggettizing indeed!
Again,  I am truly honored.
Thank you so much,  my friend.

Swinging iron arms protruding from the surrounding stone or brick held massive pots,  enabling the cook the luxury of moving the pots closer to or further from the fire,  and Dutch ovens,  setting on the hearth with coals underneath and on the lid,  evenly baked cakes,  pies,  and other delights.
By the way,  what we call  pot holders here in the 21st century were originally called kettle-holders.  Pot holders  at that time were the metal stand suspension equipment designed to hold pots off of the ground.  (Thanks to Stephanie Ann at  World Turned Upside Down  for this information).
Sweet Injun Bread is in one dutch oven...

...and in the other dutch oven is the apple pie/tart.

With modern  "innovations"  such as microwaves,  frozen  "tv"  dinners,  pre-packaged foods,  and fast food restaurants,  the time and energy spent doing this oh-so-important chore of cooking is nowhere near what our ancestors did for food preparation.
Pride in modern cooking seems to have gone out the window.

From Jackie:  "The day really felt as though we were back in time.  No modern topics until right at the end briefly.  I think I had more  "in the moment feeling"  than at anything I’ve done in a long time." 
The food is nearly ready for serving.
Cooking on the hearth - the center colonial life - has been thoroughly 
romanticized,  and yet it remains an art that few today have experienced. 

Preparing to enjoy an autumn meal.

Dissolving those threads that connect us to the 21st century that I wrote of at the
beginning of this post is always at the forefront of our minds while doing such an
event.  I believe we may have succeeded.

The culmination of our day - - an amazing feast of food and friends gathered
around the table,  where conversations abounded.

From Charlotte:  "I especially enjoyed our feast and conversation over a fresh baked pie.  We don’t take the time to just converse and enjoy each other’s company on a daily basis anymore."
This apple tart  (or pie)  was filled with the heirloom Roxbury Russet apple.
Our entire meal was a true taste of history.  

We did not necessarily have one particular scenario;  my thought was we were a
family with a few friends helping out during the harvest,  and the favor would be
returned in the upcoming days for their harvest. 

The ladies also cleaned up afterward.

After dinner Tony,  EJ,  and I decided to get out the muskets and do a little firing...a sort of after dinner  hunting excursion.  
I only had my musket since 2019 and have had very few opportunities to fire it.
Today was the perfect day to do some firing. 

The following picture of pouring powder into the barrel from the powder horn is a posed photo - - 
"Having a  'fusil'  or smaller and lighter calibre musket was both more comfortable and was an excellent muzzleloader for hunting or target shooting.  A number of London gun makers catered to this market including Thomas Ketland.  Ketland started making flintlocks in 1760 and his business grew.  By the 1790s,  Ketland expanded in order to take advantage of the export market.  Not only did British and American officers and civilian gentlemen demand his guns but also the North America's Native chiefs."

I snapped this at the exact right moment to catch the flames shooting out of the barrel.
Young EJ was pleased with this picture. 

Afterward we cleaned them thoroughly.
I'm still learning about my gun,  and Tony,  once again,  
was there to be the guide.

He even had me remove the mechanism for a deeper cleaning.

I was not sure what items were inside the cabin before we arrived so I loaded up my carriage/van with a cabin-full of  furnishings,  including my walking  (or great)  wheel.
Though not really used on the day we were there, 
it certainly added to the atmosphere.

So,  as the end of day came around,  and the late afternoon shadows began to loom large,  Larissa took to her wheel.  Spinning was a universal female occupation,  a  "domestic"  duty,  integrated into a complex system of neighborly exchange.  Using the spinning wheel for spinning wool and flax has been seen as an essential expression of a woman's devotion to her home and family.  It also shows self-sufficiency. 
In Brattleboro,  Vermont,  Mary Palmer Tyler,  recalling to her children the memories
of her early days of growing up in the 18th century,  wrote:
"Our sheep furnished wool,  and we raised flax.  I spun all the thread I used for years,  whitening some,  and coloring some,  and some keeping flax color.  I hired a girl to spin what I wanted wove,  and the tow also,  with which we made cloth for sheets and common table linen...
All this time my spinning wheels were busily attended by myself 
with the assistance of one and at times two girls." 

One of the things I wanted to experience was spending a little night time inside the cabin,  lit only by candles and hearth.  Unfortunately,  because my mind was set on packing up,  I did not get to do it like I wanted to.
My fault.
Totally my fault.
However,  photos were taken,  including a few from me.
And here they are:
No,  this is not a scene from Outlander where dozens of candles may be lit no matter
what time of day it may be  (lol - my hint to the show's set designers to cut with the
over abundance of lit candles - a pet peeve of mine).
In a frontier cabin of the 18th century,  a scene as what you see here would also not have taken place,  for candles would have been used very sparingly.  It was the hearth that gave off whatever light that might have been needed,  for the most part.
But it was still a wonderful atmosphere.

This was a good opportunity to have my candle lanterns and holder in their proper time and place.
It was actually much darker outside than these photo show.  
The camera grabbed whatever light it could and made it look 
more like it was still daytime,  even though it was not.

Still,  it shows the inside very well

This is the same style lantern used in the 1780 McGuffey Cabin
inside Greenfield Village.  It's also been seen in the TV series 
"Turn:  Washington's Spies."

Notice the dull translucent in this lantern  (or lanthorn).  
Before the widespread availability of glass,  cattle horn was heated 
and flattened thin enough to permit light to pass through,  
and these thin sheets of horn glazing were used to protect 
a candle or other flame against wind,  similar to a pane of glass.

I took this picture of Charlotte through the window.

From Larissa:  "(I would think)  one of the hardest parts of being in the past would be the isolation.  Unless I had daughters or close family members living with me,  there would be a lot of quiet and loneliness in that cabin.  I was fortunate to have the other ladies with me,  and we had some wonderful conversation and laughs.  I really got to know them better." 
October 1770
Evening has come to pass...
the time of day doesn't last...
Tomorrow will be another day.
Larissa:  "Being isolated and away from anything modern  (Arlene from Waterloo was so wonderful and told us we could put away anything in the cabin that wasn’t from the time period)  helped so much to immerse us in the time period.  Just getting away from everything was one of the best parts of the day.  We didn’t always stay in the period with everything we talked about,  but the feel was there all day long."

Yes,  this day spent in 1770 was for us.  There was no other reason than it was something we  wanted to do.  I mean,  where else but through living history can I become a contemporary of my ancestral farmers Jonathan Heacock and Ann Till,  or even of Connecticut farmer Samuel Daggett,  whose house now sits inside Greenfield Village? 
Not just me,  but any of us. 
And,  as their contemporaries,  we were drawn into their world.
Fellow time-travellers...
Working with some of the best.
To be drawn into their world;  that feeling,  my friend,  is something that can be difficult to describe.  Larissa said it very well:  "Just from spending one day in the cabin,  I already have a warm and fuzzy feeling when I think back on that day!  It will hold a special place in my heart because I feel like we came pretty darn close to actually spending a day in the past!"
She is absolutely right!  I mean,  in the course of the day the men had chores and outside work to do:  we broke flax,  threshed wheat,  fixed a broken flail,  chopped down a tree,  "hunted"  with our muskets and cleaned them afterward,  and then enjoyed a fine meal prepared from scratch which was then cooked over an open hearth by the ladies.  "The day was relaxed and busy at the same time,"  Larissa said.  "It was great not having a battle or specific thing we had to attend,  but just to be  'in the moment.'  We weren’t constantly checking the time;  we knew we had a meal to prepare and did organize with the guys about what time would be best,  but we weren’t tied to a clock,  and that was nice.  Our time was more tied to what we had to get done,  with the daylight and weather at the moment."
Exactly as would have been done in 1770. 
So,  yes,  I believe what occurred on October 17 was probably as close as I may ever get to fully experiencing life in 1770. 
We dissolved threads. 
It was as close to a Daggett dream-come-true  as I may ever have.

Until next time,  see you in time.

But wait---before we leave----a little bit of fun - - - a couple of outtakes,  if you will:
Larissa and Jackie were plumb wore out after all the cooking they did!

As we were eating our dinner,  a knock---more of a rap!---
came upon our door.  The look on Larissa's face when she
opened it up and saw...this man standing before her...
Who,  by the way,  just happens to be the president of the historical society!
Didn't I see this guy in Turn or Outlander?

Many many thanks to Arlene & Ron and everyone at Waterloo Farm Museum for allowing us the opportunity to make our time-travel dreams come true,  as you have seen in all of the pictures in today's posting.  I cannot even begin to express my sincere gratitude. 
Also,  thank you to Larissa, Jackie, Jennifer, and Waterloo Farm Museum for allowing me to use your photographs  (along with my own).  Every picture tells a story,  don't it?

Postscript from January 2024:
Since this first cabin experience,  we have visited the cabin many,  many times.
Here,  at a moments click,  you can see how each visit took place,  season by season:
To read about our 2021 wintertime excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 springtime excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 summertime excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 summer harvesting of the flax at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 autumn excursion making candles at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2022 winter excursion at the cabin,  please click HERE
To read about our 2022 spring excursion at the cabin,  please click HERE
To read about our 2022 summer excursion at the cabin,  please click HERE
To read about our 2022 autumn excursion at the cabin  (Pioneer Day),  please click HERE
To read about our 2023 winter excursion at the cabin - Candlemas,  please click HERE
To read about our 2023 spring excursion at the cabin - Rogation Sunday,  please click HERE
To read about our 2023 late spring - more planting at the cabin  (& early farming history),  click HERE
To read about the 2023 early summer weeding at the cabin  (and a timeline event),  please click HERE
To read about the 2023 autumn Pioneer Day event we participated in,  please click HERE
To read about the 2023 Thanksgiving/harvest celebration we held,  please click HERE

Other postings you might find to your liking  (click the title):

Final note:
Cameras at an immersion event - - 
Some folks question the authenticity of an event if there are cameras used.
I fully understand this.
Interestingly for me is the way my reenacting/living historian friends feel about this;  by far the greater majority are extremely happy that I am out there recording for posterity our  "time-travel"  experiences.  I haven't met any who adamantly stated that they disliked it,  though one or two have asked if I could abstain during certain times.  I've tried to tone it down a bit when I feel it can take away from an experience...but, boy!  it sure is difficult sometimes!
I have seen other reenactors carrying  (or wearing)  their cameras around their necks via a long strap.  This I am vehemently against;  to not even make an attempt to hide your farbiness  goes against all of what we are trying to do.  If this is the case then why cover your cooler?
As I said,  unless it's a posed picture,  I do my best to sneak my camera out,  snap the photo,  then slip it back in.
No muss - no fuss.
And,  since I very rarely use a flash,  most are none the wiser,  and will even mention to me,  "How did you get so many pictures?   I didn't even notice!"
As long as I can sneak my camera in and out of its hiding spot without it being seen,  I personally see no problem in documenting our travels to the past.
So far I've been pretty successful at it.

~   ~   ~


Unknown said...

So well done in all ways and the photography is excellent. I learn each time I open to your site. Keep up the greata work.

Plush Possum Studio said...

What a wonderful time you all must have had! I really enjoyed this post a lot. Delightful!

Unknown said...

Never load a musket directly from a powderhorn, use a powder measure. There could be a coal in the breach that would ignite the powder being poured into the barrel, and would ignite your entire powderhorn, which is a bomb. Rookie mistake. Get some instruction from someone with exprience. Otherwise, very good article!

Historical Ken said...

I didn't - - it was a posed picture. We had measured powder.

Barbara Rogers said...

What a fun post...and I enjoyed the fact that you toted the camera around to record the experience. There may be purist time travelers who wouldn't want to record the events...but this was one for the blogs! Thanks.

Evie Lawrence said...

I completely understand your frame of mind. I have had the pleasure of doing 1860's civilian life 8x's (I think) for a weekend. Would you be interested in joining us? I don't know where you live, nor how far your willing to drive, but thought I would inquire. Sue (Evie Lawrence on facebook)