March 24, 2014

Brady Photos Might Show Lincoln Procession

Lincoln's assassination on April 15, 1865 shocked the nation. So soon after the official end of the Civil War, many soldiers were not yet home and many people were still celebrating the end and looking forward to their returning loved ones. 

As the first American president to be assassinated, Lincoln's funeral and procession were enormous. Lincoln was taken by train over 1,500 miles from Washington D.C. to Illinois. His coffin placed high in the hearse car so that it was in view of the crowds. The train never went over 20 mph to avoid accidents and stopped along the way for viewings where the body was removed from the train and brought through the streets on a horse-drawn hearse. His son Robert, accompanied his father's body for the duration of the trip along with the body of his brother, Willie who died in 1862 and was being buried along with his father. Mary Todd Lincoln did not make the trip. Newspapers printed schedules of when the train would hit cities and millions of people flocked to pay their respects.     

Until recently, there has not been much photographic evidence for the well documented funeral. Newspapers and letters detail the funeral. Paul Taylor, an enthusiast in Maryland, may have rediscovered photos in the Brady collection depicting the event. The photos appear to have been taken from the upper floor of the Brady studio in New York.   

At this point, the photos likely depict the event but it is difficult to confirm for sure as the labels attached to the photos did not mention Lincoln. 

There is a group trying to recreate Lincoln's Funeral train and route for the 150th anniversary of his death next year.

March 21, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party: Post 12

Happy Friday! The weather is beautiful! This is a very short blog party post. Stay tuned. I'm hoping to have two posts up next week.


Spoke too soon. We had a beautiful warm day and the next day, this happened. 


Made Irish Soda bread in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Here is the recipe.


Bought a new camera and had very little time to test it out before the sun went down. I really like it already and had been saving for quite some time.

Since my camera is new, I've spent a lot of time taking photos of everything just to get a feel for it and to see how it handles.


Unfortunately this week, the camera was glued to my hand more than normal.


March 17, 2014

Behind the Screen: Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party: Post 11

Recently, I haven't been posting much and when I have, the posts have been blog party posts. I feel bad because I dislike that my content is so party heavy right now and not so history heavy.

I started the blog party for me, as a way to see what other bloggers were up to and to get to know them better. I didn't think the posts would be very interesting to many people but I thought the bloggers would like them. I am very surprised that they are some of my highest viewed posts.  So I thought I'd answer the question that many of you, might be wondering: Why the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party?

A while back a lot of bloggers were discussing how they felt their blogs misrepresent them as people. They were looking at various forms of social media and feeling that "facebook envy" that creeps up when it looks like everyone else in the world has it together and is doing interesting and exciting things. Many bloggers spent tons of time to make their posts look perfect on the screen.  But, then they realized just how much their blogs were misrepresenting their own lives. Through their blogs, their lives were sterile and perfect. Dinners looked like they came straight off of pinterest, rooms were always tidy and perfection came effortlessly.

What was on the screen was worlds away from how they felt their lives really were and they wanted to let their readers know that they are real people too. It was fascinating to see the "behind the scenes" from some of my favorite bloggers.

I didn't feel that my blog made my life more perfect than it was but I did feel that when I met people who read my blog that they thought that history was the only thing in my life when it is actually just one part of my life.

I'm a huge history geek, that's no secret, but there is also more to me and my life. Despite popular belief, I actually spend more time at work than at reenactments. :)  I also have an equal love for reading, writing, photography and art as I do history. So I do enjoy getting to share the other things I am doing. It makes me feel better represented.


I finally got my computer monitor calibrated so now I can print photos!


Spent a good amount of time fooling with my camera.

 Worked at another bakery, than the one I normally work at. They had a lot of old, dirty textured items that I thought would be really fun to take photos of. 


Went with my dad to the hardware store to look at tile.

 Got my finger in the bread slicer at work. Good thing it only got my nail! That could have been bad.


Spring is almost here!

March 12, 2014

Adventures in Breadmaking

I've been trying to learn to make bread for the longest time. It never seemed to come out right. I was always interested in learning but I do admit, my interest peaked when blogger, Marmota, talked about bread in the Czech Republic and how much she missed it when she visited America.

 She referred to the"white, tasteless sponge that the Western world calls 'bread.'" The more I thought about it, the more I agreed that American white bread is severely underwhelming and sort of tastes like white glue.  It is very rare in the US for people to make their own bread or to buy anything other than a prepackaged loaf full of preservatives and who-knows-what. I am slowly trying to move away from pre-made foods and transfer to raw ingredients and homemade food. I developed a lot of bad eating habits in college due to time constraints and stress.

I eventually want to learn to make artisan loaves but I thought a good place to start would be to use a bread maker and work up to formed loaves.

As it's been on the list of things to do for a few years, Andy and I finally went out and bought a bread maker at a thrift store and had a ton of fun learning to use it. I hope to use it more often and if anyone has some good recipes to try, please leave me a comment.

Potato Bread Recipe


-2 Cups cooked, mashed Potatoes
-1/2 cup Water from cooking the potatoes
-1/2 cup Milk + more for glazing
-2 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
-4 1/2 Cups Unbleached White Bread Flour
-1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
-2 Teaspoons Sugar
-1 1/2 Teaspoons Yeast

The ingredients were placed in the bread maker according to the maker's instructions, which simply enough involved keeping the yeast, sugar and oil separate from each other. At about 20 minutes before the loaf was finished, we glazed the top of the loaf with extra milk using a pastry brush.  The bread maker took care of the rest and out popped a delicious loaf.

I'd like to learn more about converting bread machine recipes to oven baked ones. I really hope to find a very yummy whole wheat sandwich loaf. For those of you interested in purchasing a bread maker, they really are handy.

March 10, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blogparty: Post 10

Whew! Post 10 already! That makes 42 to go! This project always helps me see new things.This week there has been a lot of sunsets and food. The few nice days have been amazing but we are waiting for one more inch of snow. I'm sick again. It's horrible. I've never been thick sick so frequently ever before. I think it's a mix of the cold and spending a lot of time at work and not getting enough sleep. 



Cupcake photo shoot for a contest at work. The entry was not mine, but my boss'. I just styled and took the photo. This is a cannoli cupcake with whipped cream topping, topped with a canoli and chocolate chips. The cupcake itself is filled with cannoli filling.


Made fastnaughts (potato doughnuts). The cutest little lady at work asked me about them because she said they were a childhood memory when she went to a Moravian school and all of the young girls made these.   


Finally getting serious about learning bread making at home.


At 6 am, helped a man who slipped in the dark on the highway and walked quite far to find someone who was around and could speak English to call for help.


Went to an art show. Didn't have a chance to put any of my own work in though. It was still fun and I got to see a lot of people I haven't seen in awhile due to work.



This photo is a slight cheat. It was actually taken on Friday but I liked both the images so much that I couldn't pick. 


Daylight's Savings time has given me more time to see the sunsets.

March 2, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blogparty : Post 9

Another snow filled month finished! I'm excited to see people out of their homes again. I've been working so much I can't wait to catch up with everyone and reading everyone's blogs. I've been trying to sit down and write some history posts. I have a lot to write about but need a little encouragement.

I know a lot of people have been suffering from the bleak winter we've been having. We've been feeling unproductive and lethargic, too cold and weak and sick to do anything. Fight the urge to do nothing.   

My coworker left a huge knife in a large mixing bowl full of soapy water. I know they say that no man was ever killed while doing the dishes, but women might be a different story.


I'm taking dance a lot more seriously this year. I used to dance a lot and then got hurt and stopped. But I miss it and can't wait to get back into it. I got a very fun dance costume package in the mail and am very excited.


Fooling with icing.


A pipe at work sprung a leak and I got to help bail water. I told them not to tell me what kind of pipe it was. I still don't want to know.


 Sometimes the sunset it so pretty I have to try and capture it, even if it is only with my phone.


Baking tons and tons of King Cake for Mardi Gras. I do not celebrate Mardi Gras but apparently a toy baby gets inserted into the cake and during the celebrations, the person who gets the slice with the toy has to buy the King Cake for the next year.  


Sometimes I wake up and wish I could leave my hair unbrushed. Sometimes the curls look cute, but I have to brush them out because I feel weird if I don't brush my hair.

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