Monday, October 28, 2019

Harvest Home 2019

Over the years I've come to humanize the earth and her seasons. I think of winter as a long nap with snow swirling about. Spring is a morning growl with flowers. And summer is very, very long day at the beach. In my mind, fall is tucking into a warm quilt while watching the leaves swirl about outside. A cup of tea is optional, but a good book is mandatory.

The 21st Michigan holds a Harvest Home event every year, and it certainly feels like a warm quilt of friendship gathered around! While it tends to have smaller attendance from reenactors, it is by far one of my favorites! Possibly because of the massive, cooked-over-the-fire feast that bring me to tears of joy every time. Folks, you haven't lived if you haven't had a fresh apple crisp straight from the fire.
I went up for seconds, thirds, get the idea

One thing that makes this different from other events is that we make sure everyone has a specific impression related to the harvest. We had a cider press, cooking, canning, spinning, candle dipping, and even donut-making over the fire! Visitors to the Armada sesquicentennial downton stopped by out little encampment to see us hard at work. I was excited by how many people wanted to know more about history, including a gaggle of children who were very pumped about the cider press. And of course, those adorable little carved turnips!

For my own impression I went with something a little different. Instead of a schoolteacher or petulant daughter, I became a lady of the house tending to her herbal medicines. I purchased several original 19th century texts about herbs, including a copy of The Farmer's Almanac from 1860. While I did not try the recipes myself, I did research indigenous herbs to Michigan that were available in the mid 19th century. I asked visitors to identify the herbs I had in little bowls. Most could only guess one or two. White oak bark seemed to be the most difficult, though dill was a pretty easy guess.

Harvest Home is the perfect ending event of the year. We still have Christmas at Fort Wayne, but that certainly feels like winter. And in November I'm going to the Domestic Skills symposium in upstate NY, though it's not a 21st MI event. It was wonderful seeing my friends, eating good food, and making historical moments more visible to the public.
We are goofy if anything

I wish you all a warm quilt, cup of tea, and good book for your cozy autumn.



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