June 30, 2011

Shippensburg Reenactment 2011

Civil War Reenactors

Last weekend was the Shippensburg Reenactment's 10th anniversary. Known as "March to Destiny" the Shippensburg reenactment is held by the Shippensburg Area Civil War Round Table to highlight the town's Civil War history.

The reenactment is unique in that the whole town is involved. Businesses participate by placing red ribbons on the doors of their establishments indicating to soldiers that they are welcome to forage for goodies on the premises. Saturday's battle takes place on the town's main street and many locals watch from their front steps and windows.The small town has 19th century charm although 21st century items are everywhere.

Sunday's battle takes place on the town's fairgrounds. This makes the battles interesting because Sunday's battle is very different in style and setting to Saturday's battle.

The reenactment is small but enjoyable. There is many things for spectators and civilians to do. This year there were short lectures on mourning customs and food of the Civil War Era. Other activities included an ice cream social, ball, carriage rides, foraging and a parade.

Civil War Reenactors
Civil War Reenactors
Civil War Reenactors
Civil War Reenactors

Because the reenactment takes place in the town, the reenactors are free to patronize local businesses. A trip to Shippensburg would not be complete without visiting "Pizza 'N Stuff," an Italian restaurant located on King Street. The food is delicious and the owner and servers are very generous to the reenactors.

We had a great time even though half of our regiment could not attend. The event was fun and relaxing (as relaxing as sleeping on the ground can be.)

June 23, 2011


I have been having the hardest time learning to bake bread. I don't know if my yeast was bad or if my flour wasn't right or if I was killing the yeast or I wasn't kneading it enough but it has never come out right.

Jodi at Curious Acorn,graciously showed me how to bake bread properly and it came out lovely!

Bread-making Tips:

- Keep your yeast in the refrigerator or freezer to prolong its life.
- Always use a small measuring cup and another cup to fill it. That way you get a better measurement as the flour won't compact as much.
- Knead for the duration that the recipe calls for, it is necessary. 
- A regular lamp is enough heat for the dough to rise near.
- Put a warm, moist towel over the bowl to help it rise.
-Putting a metal tray of water in the oven while baking bread helps develop a darker crust.
-Baking on a baking stone helps the bread form a good crust.

It tuned out nice. We used a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. It is a different style dough than normal bread but Jodi showed me how to make normal breads too and the difference between regular dough and "no knead dough." 

We also looked at a colonial recipe that I am hoping to reduce soon and try to bake. The original recipe calls for a peck of flour (about 225 or so cups) and to bake the dough in five pound loaves!  

June 19, 2011

I Don't Feel Like Writing a Post...

...but it doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything!

Lately, I think a lot of people have been suffering from don't-wanna-write-a-post-itis. The culprit? I think we've been all doing a lot more than we normally do. I have a thousand things I'd like to write a post on but so much has been going on.

 I finally found something to do with those old textbooks that no one wants. 

I have been using them as scrapbooks.This is not a new idea, in fact it is hundreds of years old, or a very creative idea but it does solve two problems I've been having. Historically, paper has been an expensive item: frugal housewives have long taken to using their husband's old business ledgers to paste newspaper clippings, recipes, letters, drawings, and photos into to keep them neat and in one place.These scrapbooks are not pretty but they do tell a lot about what people were interested in.

I had a lot of clippings, photocopied pages from old books, and magazine stories lying around. This really ended up being a good solution.  

Before I did this I made sure that really no one had any use for these books. The two books I used were an old Political Science book and an old Economics book. They were already outdated by the time the classes were finished, so I couldn't sell them back, I couldn't sell them online, I couldn't even give them away. I felt bad putting them in the recycling bin. I can't believe I didn't think of this before! It really does help keep my notes in order.

June 17, 2011

Civil War Era Purse Knit-Along Update #2

It's Friday and that means another Knit-along update. I have only knitted 2 out of my 20 stripes but hope to get a lot done next week at a reenactment. I have decided to stay with the purple and white and plan to line it in bright red silk. I really like the pattern, even if it is a really simple one. The first swatch I made, I definitely was working to tightly and so my hands were hurting from knitting. This time I have kept it very loose and it is much easier for me to knit. For those of you participating, please link your progress on the widget at the bottom of this post.

However today I really need to do a bit of summer cleaning. I still have papers left over from school, books, clothing, ect. collecting in my room to the point that I can't think. I always like to keep a bit of creative chaos in my bedroom but this is too much and it's time for a total cleaning. I don't know how all this stuff collects!

It feels more difficult to simplify when you are required to purchase things for school that you have no use for when school is out. I have a calculator, book bag and numerous textbooks with nothing to do until school starts up in August. Not to mention those textbooks that are useless and no one wants. (You can't sell them back because of a new edition, you can't sell them online, library sales do not want them, thrift stores don't want them, and you feel bad sticking it in the recycling bin.) 

Books are also a terrible part of simplifying. I love me books but there really is no room for any more. In my future home, I am going to have to have a library like old-fashioned manors used to have. I never buy fiction so my collection is mostly nonfiction and stuff that the local libraries do not have. I never purchase a book that I know I will never read again or that I can borrow. 

I have long considered turning it into a lending library. :D

June 14, 2011

Civil War Era Purse Knit-Along Update #1

 If you are new to the knit-along, you can work on a Civil War Era knitted purse along with the rest of us! The pattern can be found here. Then everyone has a chance to link their progress to the bottom of this and every update posts which should be posted on Fridays.

I admit, I've been lazy on my knitting. Now that my birthday is over, I'll have more time to work on it. I am thinking of keeping the violet and white but am also considering white and red. I wish I could post a photo but my camera died over the weekend and I have to try and fix it.

Feel free to link your materials or your progress on the widget below.  

June 13, 2011


I haven't died. I did go to an event and planned to give a detailed, photo heavy account of the action. Unfortunately, I was stuck in the parking lot the whole weekend directing cars. We had some horrible thunderstorms and we were trying to keep the cars from getting stuck as they were parking on very wet grass.

I was surprised at the number of people who arrived 10 minutes after the battle started and expected a parking spot right up front. In fact, during the battle, we were already in the second overflow lot. Many complained of the long walk. In all honesty, the walk was about 1/4 of a mile. Many ignored the staffers parking cars are parked anywhere they pleased. A few declared that they had "four-wheel drive," in which we responded "but not all of the cars who will be driving after you, do."

So what was supposed to be fun ended up in a conversation about the degradation of American society. Since when can't we walk 1/4 of a mile (note: it would have been a much shorter walk had they shown up an hour or two before the battle) and feel entitled to park anywhere we feel despite the mess we would leave behind to everyone else at the event?

During the event, my camera died, so unfortunately this post has to be without pictures. Despite the cranky people, we still kept high spirits and had fun. It was a very boring job.  


June 7, 2011

Day Trip: the Philadelphia Zoo

As a child I remember skipping in the zoo, holding my elephant-shaped "storybook key." The key was my mothers from when she was little. You inserted the key into "storybook boxes" around the zoo and the box would play a recording which told information and fun facts about the animal it was in front of. As a child it was a big deal to be able to turn the key for a group of people, especially if they didn't have a key of their own. 

I used to love the elephants, the otters and the peacocks that wandered freely. The large foreign plants seemed gargantuan, their leaves being feet above my head, but it didn't stop me from trying to touch them. There was a man-made "tree house", that is a tree with a pathway through it, where children would race their siblings and relish in the labyrinth of pathways and secret nooks.

We went to the Philadelphia Zoo yesterday and it was much different than I remembered it as a child and growing up had little to do with it. The elephants had been sent to other zoos and the "storybook" boxes removed. Many of the exhibit had been updated such as the big cat exhibit which, thankfully, no longer involves lions in barred cages.       

The Philadelphia Zoo was founded in 1859  and is the oldest zoo in the United States. Due to the Civil War, the zoo was not finished until 1874. The land is home to John Penn Jr.'s "Solitude." John Penn Jr. was the grandson of Pennsylvania's founder, William Penn. 

His home "The Solitude" was erected in 1785 on the banks of the Schuylkill River. The house is one of the first neoclassical homes in America. John Penn was the son of Thomas Penn, one of the men involved in the infamous "Walking Purchase." He was known for being a quiet man who liked to write poetry  and stroll through his gardens which later became the land for the zoo. For those of you that like the show, "the Solitude" and surrounding buildings was featured on Ghost Hunters.

The zoo holds more than 1,300 animals including many endangered species. It includes an aviary where the birds fly freely. 

 I have yet to go on the newer balloon ride. It has always been closed when I went before. This time it was open but Andy is very afraid of heights so we didn't go on. :(

Many people do not like zoos as they take animals out of their natural habitats and keeping animals in zoos really does not improve their endangered situation. I do like zoos because they showcase animals that I would never get to see otherwise. I hate that the animals are out of their natural habitats but I think the animals in captivity do a lot to educate and interest people in preserving the natural habitats of the animals. 

It is apparent that the zoo is trying to fix many problems in the exhibits by combining animals, giving the animals more space to roam while surrounding them with animals that they would encounter in their natural habitats. The elephants were recently sent to other zoos as the zoo did not have enough space to care for them properly and in 1995, the zoo had a fire and 23 animals died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  So zoos aren’t perfect but they do give animal lovers a chance to see many rare animals and are good educational tools.

We had a lot of fun and really enjoyed seeing the animals. Our favorites this time were a new family of orangutans. The mother was covered in a blanket, cuddling her new baby, who didn't want to lay still. The mother looked exhausted as if she hadn't slept in days and the father took a nap on the floor. It was such a cute little family.


June 3, 2011

Civil War Era Purse Knit-Along!!

Many people expressed an interest in a knitted Civil War Era purse knit-along. Many thought that June would be the best month for it. I have changed the pattern since I have started planning this, if anyone wants the original pattern, feel free to e-mail me. I found that the "honeycomb" pattern was a little too difficult for some knitters and is almost impossible to fix if a stitch is dropped. I found this simple pattern and am happy that it makes a pretty purse that I think a lot of my readers will be happy with. As with the sontag knit-along, I will put a widget on my blog that allows participating knitters to post their progress every Friday. I understand that June is a reenactment month so will leave the widgets up until the next Wednesday.


The pattern I have chosen is from 1858 is simple and makes a pretty purse. A sample swatch is shown at the left. The purse is pretty on both sides. 

I will be posting the instructions today. I tried to make them easy to print. If you would rather have a PDF copy of them, please send an e-mail to TheSailorsWifeSa@Aim.com.

Let me know what you think! I think we'll keep this one going until the end of July. Although it is a tiny purse, there is a lot of knitting to do. The result is very pretty and I can't wait to make one to hold all of my ball items. The cost of the purse should only be $4.00 unless you have to buy needles in which case the total will be close to $9.00. I wanted to make a purse that was affordable for everyone and within the ability of the majority of knitters.

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