Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Medieval Mindset

Understandably, a part of recreating another time or place, authentically, involves adopting the mindset of existing in that time/place. A class was offered on just this topic at one of our big annual events last fall, which Dave and I attended. It was an eye opener. Admittedly, going into the class we didn't even know what a medieval mindset meant. But it came clear quickly, as the instructor (who was Mistress Leonora in fact) described some of the things and techniques she uses to transport her back to a simpler time. A time, for example, that didn't have anything plastic. I found another member's comment really insightful -- She'd had that ah-ha moment when she realized that her social calendar would naturally be synchronized with the full moon, so that her guests would be able to travel home from her gathering with the light of the moon.

It was part of that discussion that referred us to an interesting book: A World Lit Only by Fire, by William Manchester. We've been reading this book together, and indeed it paints a picture that is difficult for our modern minds to grasp. But it's fascinating and I recommend it to anyone wanting a glimpse of that era.

At Estrella there was a wide variety of people there, each 'embracing the dream' to best of their abilities or interests. Garb, tents, using the period dialect -- you were jumping in and out of period constantly. But that's all part of the fun.

One afternoon Dave and Rossilin decided to take a survey of the tents on display. She is a bit of a period tent aficionado, and needed photos to use in her class to be offered at an upcoming event. I can't tell you much about them (I guess that will have to wait until I can take her class!), but these pictures sure set the stage for a lot of what we submersed in.

Starting with Rossilin's tent - I thought it very cool that with a 20' round base, she has the ability to set 3 or possibly 4 rooms inside by hanging walls from the spokes that support the exterior walls. How nice it is to have an ante-chamber, inside the tent but not your sleeping quarters. Next time I think we'll do something like that - hang a wall that will cordon off the front 2 feet inside our booth tent, and then have the sleeping tent behind that.

And many other prevalent styles:

A French Bell:

A Viking Wedge:

This last one is a particularly gorgeous example which I believe the owners had commissioned. The woodwork inside is just amazing.

One afternoon - possibly the same as the tent survey, they are all runing together now! - I was napping in the tent when Dave came in. "Come have some bread," he invited. I thought that a bit odd -- why bread in the middle of the afternoon? "Because we just baked it!" Woah, really? Master Thorfinn has been exploring bread baking for a while - he's brought loaves to some of our recent gatherings. And he was all hot to try baking in the earthen ovens. And, David was around at the time so got invited along.

Every year the folks running the Period Campsite, construct several earthen beehive style ovens. They are available for use throughout the week, on a first come first served basis. Thorfinn and crew had baked pizzas early in the week, I guess, and this time had taken over white and wheat bread dough. They first built up the fire in an available oven, heating it to some 500 degrees. Then scooped out all of the coals, and slid the bread in. By stacking bricks in front of the opening they could somewhat regulate the temperature. Here is Thorfinn, AND his bread inside the oven.

And was it ever yummie!!



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