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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Year Wrap Up

With the Chai Mead bottled, I think that that calls an end to the mead making for the year, and realistically to SCA activities in general as well. Marguerite's mother is coming to town on Sunday and remains in our dwelling until the new year. I am looking forward to meeting her, although I must confess I am more than a little nervous as well. This is Cú Allaidh signing off for now.... Merry Christmas to all, and have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chai Mead Done

Chai Mead is bottled and done.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chai Mead progress

The mead did not clarify at all over night. So I have decided to try to cold crash it, which is drop the temperature which should cause the particles to drop fast. The taste of the mead is rather chemically still from the potassium metabisulphates, but that has actually already faded a fair amount so I am confident it will still be drinkable for Christmas.

The mead is now out on my balcony to get cold, I will have to keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't freeze. The weather network reports that a low of -4 by the morning it could certainly freeze so I will have to bring it in before I go to bed.

I think to avoid the chemically taste I will skip the metabisulphates and simply use potassium sorbate on its own, that is for any other batches that I don't let ferment completely out. The chocolate mead that is next is meant to ferment completely out so hopefully stopping fermentation won't be necessary at all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chai Mead progress

Stopped fermentation today. Hoping it would clarify so I could bottle it I rented a corking machine. As of right now it has not clarified, may bottle it anyways, if it clarifies in the bottle and leaves some sediment in the bottle I am not that worried the taste is what matters. Unfortunately you can really taste the potassium metabisulphate still, hoping that goes away rather quickly. I am bottling it tomorrow regardless of if it clarifies or not.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Minor Boffer Constable in Training

I received an email from Duke Edward the Red agreeing to sign off on my MBCIT forms to get me started on the process of becoming a Minor Boffer Constable. With Sir Ed practicing in KW same as Faye getting the official signature should be a cinch, and with Winter War coming up I can get my first sign off right off the bat by helping Beth with the Boffer Tourney.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Comments on Aging of Chai Mead

I originally thought that the heavy spiced element of the current chai mead batch would require considerable aging to make the taste a subtle flavouring. As I stated in my last post, I don't think this mead necessarily NEEDS aging like the apple one turned out to need. The flavour is an interesting blend of spices sweetness and alcoholic content. This should turn out to be a lovely sweet desert wine.

I am sure aging it will not harm it, and will add some subtlety and complexity to the wine and I do still intend to age some of it considerably and hopefully even age it with some oak chips as well just to see what it does.

Chai Mead progress and other stuff

SG is now at 1.072 which puts the abv now at 9.2%. I tasted it too and it tastes wonderfully festive. I am thinking that this mead does not NEED aging at all, that it tastes lovely, and I think I'll be able to take a bottle or two with me to each of my christmas functions to see how well it goes over. Faye enjoyed it and agrees that aging is not 100% necessary. I am still going to put aside a gallon of mead to age with some oak to see what happens, and some bottles are already spoken for, but other than that the rest is ready for drinking.

The next batch will by the chocolate mead, and I have decided that a full 6 gallon carboy is the way to go on that one, especially if the mead is even half as good as it sounds. Though from all accounts chocolate mead is one that absolutely HAS to age. So the plan with the chocolate mead is to prepare six gallons in the carboy, allow it to ferment dry, age it for 6 months minimum in the carboy, put aside another gallon jug to age for another 2 years, bottle the rest and take out a bottle every now and then tasting it at various stages of aging.

My intent is to get to the wine shop today and talk to the proprietor about it and find out about the possibility of getting wine bottle sized bungs for running the course on mead at FOOL. With any luck I'll be able to provide every participant with a simple mead for them to take home and allow to finish fermenting. Not sure how well such small batches would turn out, but it might get a few more people interested in mead making, which is a good thing in my book.

My lady has put me to the task of assisting her in researching some period candy recipes as well. I know she has been considering a cooking course for FOOL, perhaps a candy course might be on the plate, I think it would be quite popular. If we are not careful we might end up being known as a household of decadent treats LOL.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Chai Mead progress

Took a reading on Saturday, the SG has dropped to 1.08 which makes the mead currently at 8% ABV. It is nice and sweet still, and yet packs a bit of a punch. Going to stop it fairly soon I think, it is quite drinkable as is and I don't want to over ferment it.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Introduction to Mead Course

So I have decided to offer a course at fool on the basics of mead making, well actually two separate courses. One in which myself and the participants will make period fireside mead using a variation of the weak honey drink recipe from Sir Kenelme Digbie's Closet which was published in 1669, the recipe is a very period method of making a weak mead which would have been common throughout Europe for many centuries. The other course would be a course on making more modern mead, and hopefully we can make individual bottles of mead for each participant.

I have to go to the wine shop I frequent and ask if there is airlock for such small batches in order to do this, but I think over all it could be a very popular course. Faye (Marguerite) says she is pretty sure no one has ever attempted to hold such a course.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chai Mead progress

Nothing interesting to report with the mead over the weekend. No significant drops in SG.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chai Mead progress

Tested the SG and aerated it again. The reading is 1.112 which puts the alcohol at close to 3% ABW (alcohol by weight) and 2.7 ABV (alcohol by volume). The yeast seems very happy. Progressing very well I think.

I think, considering the tannins from the tea, it might be interesting to age some of this batch with some oak chips or cubes to see the effects. I think I will buy some cubes and age one gallon with some oak and see where things go from there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chai Mead progress

I tested and aerated the mead today. It has fallen to 1.12 which puts the alcohol content at 2%. Judging by the current rate of sugar consumption by the yeast I would guess I'll be at optimal alcoholic content rather quickly, perhaps even as soon as two weeks, but then again who knows. While the first couple of days the yeast are multiplying more than producing once they produce enough alcohol they will start dying out so the process will slow. I guess I just have to have some patience I guess.

Added comments:

Just in case anyone was curious the reason I used tea as the main ingredient instead of just using a collection of spices is because tea contains tannins that add astringency and structure and also act as a yeast nutrient. In short I have provided the yeast with a jug of food for it to live in. The only question will remain is if there are too much tannins which will make the mead too astringent.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chai Mead

I tested the S.G. and aerated the mead today. The SG has fallen to 1.130 from 1.140 meaning it has already hit the 1% alcohol content. Sure its not much, but that's quite a feat for 24 hrs. It will still be quite some time before its 100% ready, but heck its off to a great start.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Error Correction

I retested the SG of the mead, apparently I missread, the mead is actually 1.14 not 1.135, not a drastic difference, but significant enough.

New Batch of Mead

Well the new batch of mead is brewing, this time I am trying a metheglin or spiced mead. It will be a chai mead mixed with chai tea instead of water in much the same fashion as the apple mead that is aging in my closet. This is the recipe I used:

  • 10 Chai tea bags
  • water
  • 22lbs of honey
  • cubibs
  • star anise
  • cloves
  • half a stick of cinnamon
  • casia buds
  • 1 pkg of Lavin EC-1118 champaign yeast
  • a tsp of lemon juice for acid
The 22 lbs of honey is probably throwing anyone who has been reading this blog off so I should state that this is a 6 gallon carboy not the measly 1 gallon one I used for my last batch. That is still considerably more honey than I used per gallon on the last batch but I thought I'd aim for a sweeter finish in hopes it combines well with the spices.

Speaking of spices I know my measurements are far from exact, but that's all part of the fun, why make homemade mead with scientific precision, you can buy it at the liquor store if you want that, me I am aiming for something unique.

The heavy spice element will mean the need for some pretty drastic aging, I think the bulk of this batch will have to sit for a minimum of a year, where as the apple mead I think might be drinkable in a couple of months.

Down to the brass taxes here. Since I actually have a hydrometer now I can take a Specific Gravity (SG) reading now so I can get an actual accurate reading of alcohol content. The SG of this mead is 1.135 which is WAY sweeter than the last batch. With any luck this will end up with a nice sweet mead, if it dries right out it would reach 18.7% Alcohol, I think I'll shoot for a maximum of 15% though which means I want to stop the fermentation at an SG of 1.025 or so.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mead Making Progress

I stopped fermentation on my mead on Saturday Nov 14th because it had dried out quite nicely. It is now in a 1 gal bottle to age out a bit before I bottle it.

It was still quite cloudy when I bottled it, but an hour after I bottled it it had already started to clarify, now it is pretty much all clear with considerable sediment on the bottom. I was quite surprised with how much it has clarified, I thought considering the cider base it might remain quite cloudy but instead the apple particulate fell like a rock once the yeast wasn't swimming around any more. Quite nice.

The final gravity reading is 1.000 which is the same reading you get of water which means it dried pretty much right out. There is almost no sugars left in the mead. It should be somewhere around 10.3% and 11.7% assuming a starting gravity of 1.08 or 1.07 but could be as high as 13%.

I think it will need considerable aging to make this a really good mead so I am planning a few months in the gallon jug followed by as much time as I can stand in bottles.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mead Making Progress

Tested the mead and the S.G. is now down to 1.025 which puts the alcohol content between 6% and 8.5%, and it has definitely dried out some more too. Very tasty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mead Making Progress

Well so much for my stuck fermentation I picked up some yeast nutrient and some additional yeast thinking I'd have to attempt to breathe life back into the fermentation only to discover that the SG plummeted its down to 1.03 which puts the alcohol content at about 5% or so if I estimate the starting SG at about 1.08 based on the fact it was at 1.07 early on in the process of course it could be as high as 7.3% but since I didn't take an original reading I won't ever really know. The good news is though that the taste is wonderful, its really drying out and isn't nearly as sweet as it was.

Torc #2 Made

I made another torc the other day (actually the week before last, but I just realized I didn't blog it). This one is much nicer than the other, but the finals still aren't quite what I'd like. For this one I took copper wire, silver wire, and gold wire and made a tri-coloured rope out of them. The effect is quite nice.

I made up a nice little torc making device which enables me to keep pressure on the entire structure without doing any awkward poses. Basically it is a board with holes at various lengths to hold doweling in place. It works quite nice, though I think I need something stronger than doweling if I am going to wrap the wire tight enough to make a difference.

Unfortunately I got a little overzealous with my twisting and ended up bending the end near the finial in a way that doesn't want to straighten out properly. Its not the end of the world and it isn't really noticable, but it bothers me.

My next project is to use my torc making device to make a circlet for Faye.

Mead Making Progress - Stuck Fermentation

Well it appears my fermentation is stuck. The SG is not falling and its barely bubbling. I did managed to get some bubbling by agitating it and giving it some air. Hopefully it kicks in, I will measure the SG tonight and see what the deal is. I suspect acidity might be a tad high, either that or preservatives in the cider might be stopping the yeast from replicating.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mead Racked

I racked the mead yesterday into another carboy and pitched some more yeast in it to get the fermentation back in gear. Still seems slow, but I'll test the S.G. in about a week and see if its working.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mead Update

So its been a while since an update. The fermentation seems to have slowed, I will be taking a SG reading this week and if its not progressing I will rack and introduce more yeast in a secondary fermentation. So basically nothing to report.

That being said I have had second thoughts on my next batch, I stumbled upon a recipe that was made by a fellow SCAer in the Midrealm, its called Lord Rhys Chocolate Mead, it sounds wonderful. I think this is the winner. Apparently it is a very slow fermentation recipe, and one that should be well aged. If I can save a few bottles of this one for a few years it might be quite a wonderful mead for special occasions.

Reports of this mead is that it has a subtle chocolate aftertaste that is nearly unidentifiable, but the extasy effect of chocolate remains.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mead Thoughts

Ok I could have put this in the last post, but I thought it worthy of its own post on its own.

I've been considering my next batch, because why wait until this one is finished, might as well work on getting a good supply of the stuff going... and plain mead just isn't good enough for me ;) I think I am going to go with a spiced mead or as its properly known a Metheglin. I think a mead made with cinnamon and a few other top secret spices (aka I don't know what yet) would make an excellent Christmas wine, and since the idea is to have a well aged mead for next Christmas it should work well. I need to make a trip out to Monroe's in Alvinston to pick up 15-20 lbs of honey for it though. Although I did come across an interesting recipe for a maple mead which sounds plenty interesting as well.

I have also been thinking about simulating the oak aging by getting some oak chips to add to carboy for aging. Have to look into it more and figure out when to add it and how long to leave it in and such, but it would add that extra bit of subtlety to my meads. I'd love to one day get a bourbon cask and use it to age it, just for that added wow factor, but I am not interested in spending the hundreds of dollars at this point, its not like I plan on selling my mead.

Mead Making Progress

Ok, the fermentation slowed considerably. I have been a little concerned about this the past few days, however some reading seems to confirm that the fermentation process in very sweet meads tends to be very slow despite what the guy from somerset suggested. I think I will leave it another week then rack it off into a different carboy, this should ensure that there is no off flavour from the lees. The lees are the dead husks of the yeast.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Shield Making and other stuff

So I worked on a shield, not Lilley's, but rather the loaner shield I will be donating to the shire. The reason I worked on that shield and not Lilley's is because Lilley wants to paint her own shield, or at least help. This makes sense and is fine by me. So I figured I'd do up the loaner shield and Lilley can use it until such time as her own is made and ready.

In addition I made a device which should help me make some pretty cool torcs, arm bands, circlets and other such jewlery. Once I play with it some and get some stuff out I'll post pics and details about how it works. But it is extremely simple to make and could make some real impressive stuff if it works the way I hope it does.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mead Making Progress

So I tasted the mead last night. It was good.... a little too sweet yet though. I will leave it another week before I test it again.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Boffer MIT

Yvette managed to get ahold of Slwyn for me and pass on my email address which apparently had issues sending to from the elist. Hopefully soon I can get my papers signed by her and be a boffer MIT to help Elzbeth with the boffer training.

Mead Making Progress

I searched the net for similar recipes to the one I am using and found that the starting specific gravity tends to be around 1.08 I am going to go with that, although its not very scientific. If I stop fermentation at 1.010 I will get about 9.23% alcohol by volume. This sounds like a pretty good percentage for a nice sweet wine. I found a nice little calculator online to help with figuring out abv and abw (alcohol by volume, and alcohol by weight) the site is Brewers Calculator.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Mead Making Progress

Went into a wine making shop today to price out some equipment and ended up in a nice little chat with the proprietor over the making of mead. I ended up buying a hydrometer, some siphoning hose, some Potassium Metabisulphite and he threw in some potassium sorbate and bentonite for free. He also said that if I buy my bottles from him he'll loan me a corker for free. I also got no end of tips from the man. I very much recommend Somerset Fine Wines and Gifts for all your wine making needs.

Now for details on the toys I bought:

Hydrometer: this handy little device floats in the must to tell you how much sugar is still in the solution. The reason this is important to know is that if you take a reading before you pitch the yeast you can calculate the amount of alcohol in your mead. I did not do this, but that's ok, according to Dwight (the proprietor of Somerset) if I stop fermentation at 1010-1015 I'll end up with a nice sweet meed with a guesstimated alcohol content of around 9-10% give or take. Not a strong mead, but a nice sweet desert mead (oops I should be saying cyser).

Potassium Metabisulphite: shockes the yeast and prevents the yeast from fermenting. Also acts as a good disinfectant for sanatizing.

Potassium Sorbate: coats the yeast and prevents the yeast from being able to reproduce ensuring that fermentation cannot start again later.

Bentonite: Clarifier. Bentonite will take the cloudiness away from the mead.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mead

Mead is fermenting up a storm.....

One thing to note is that I should not fill the carboy as much next time.... some of the liquid from the carboy actually went up the fermentation lock and is in the chamber topping up the water LOL.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mead Making Progress

Pitched the yeast, the yeast sank to the bottom, hopefully it rises again and starts fermenting. I don't expect any real activity tonight, but we shall see.

Mead Making Progress

Ok so I finally got around to starting the mead. Here's what I did:

  • 1gallon of pressed apple cider
  • 3 lbs of Honey
I pasteurized the mixture and put it in the gallon carboy to cool for the night. Tonight after work I will toss the yeast in and hopefully in a few months I will have some alcoholic beverage.

I am also planning a larger batch of mead that I want prepared (and aged a year) by next xmas. This one will probably be a relatively plain batch of mead and not a cyser like this batch.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Torc Complete

I finished work on my first torc. Its gold twisted wire. A little small and one finial is a little wrong, but it's not bad. If I can get some pictures of it I'll post them soon. Once I have perfected the method I will also post them here.

A&S Project of the Century

Ok so maby not A&S Project of the Century, but Faye and I are working on plans for an impressive piece. Faye (doh Magurite I should say since this is SCA talk) asked of the traditional dress of a 6th century Irish Celt (my persona) and I responded (after some premiliminary research), "Colourful to the point of gaudy, tunic, usually primarily died saffron and down to the ankles, from thigh to ankle tablet woven or heavily embroidered." She said she can do that and we have been making plans on how to go about it.

She requested I come up with a design for the embroidery and I have basically four interconnecting panels linking up depicting the four treasures of Ireland. I figure if you're going to do Irish you might as well do it up right. The four treasures of Ireland (for you ignorant plebs who don't know) are:

  1. Lia Fáil: The Stone of Destiny, which has been the cornation stone of the High Kings of Ireland throughout history. It is said that when the rightful High King places his feet upon it will roar with joy for all the land to hear. Unfortunately Cú Chulainn split it when it did not cry out when Lugaid Riab nDerg stood upon it. There is said to be a link to the Stone of Scone and that the Scottish stone might in fact be a part of the Lia Fáil.

  2. The Spear of Lug: No battle was ever sustained against it, or against the man who held it. Lug or Lugh is a Irish deity known as the long hand or the long arm. While Lugh is known for having a mystical spear Brionac there is no evidence that Brionac and The Spear of Lugh are the same.

  3. Claíomh Solais: (The Sword of Ireland) another weapon which no man could stand against. Claíomh Solais was a great sword, the sword of Nuada Airgetlám (Nuada Silver Arm), the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

  4. The Dagda’s Cauldron: This was a bottomless cauldron, no company would leave from its presence unsatisfied. It was also said to have healing properties. Dagda is a prominent god in the Irish Celtic pantheon, he is known as the "good god" although he is often depicted as oafish and crude.
So it comes that the basic design has begun to unfold. much research must still be done since Margurite has decided to do this as period specific as possible. She has asked me to find out if metalic threads were ever used, and I seem to have found some evidence that it was.

"A SMALLER SOCIAL HISTORY OF ANCIENT IRELAND:Treating of the Government, Military System, and Law; Religion, Learning and Art; Trades, Industries, and Commerce; Manners, Customs, and Domestic Life, of the Ancient Irish People" by PW Joyce written in 1906 covers the history of Ireland from the sixth to twelfth century mentions tunics saying "It was usually made of wool or flax: some-times it was of silk, occasionally of satin, highly ornamented with devices in gold and silver thread, worked with the needle". PW Joyce however claims Celt is a phonetic rendering of Kilt and uses this as evidence of the much disputed "Irish Kilt", it is generally accepted that there never was a Irish Kilt, and that all evidence is merely missunderstanding of the manner in which the Celts wore long tunics which tended to resemble kilts from the waist down, and while wearing a brat it was hard to determine that the upper and lower were all part of the same garment. Despite the Kilt claim I see no reason to dismiss all of Joyce's claims since they are backed up with evidence from carvings and other writings.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Crimson Star Household Favour

I received my sash for joining the Crimson Star at fight practice. So I now have a black and red sash (the colours of the Crimson Star) to identify myself as a crew member of the Crimson Star.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Much updating to be done

Ok, so this blog is terribly out of date again. I am a terrible blogger, but oh well, what can I say.

NEWS

Household changes:
Not talking SCA households (well got an update there, but just wait) Maragrete mka Faye has moved in with Lilley and I on a permanent basis. This makes my daughter and I quite pleased. Maragarete is also a registered member of the SCA, due to her position as Baronial Arts and Sciences minister for Rising Waters, as such we have decided to get a family membership making Lilley and I members as well.

Heraldry:
I have worked on some heraldry for myself, Faye, and Lilley, but Lilley is holding out, not sure what she wants. Faye likes hers, and once I get permission to post hers I'll post it here as well, but mine is shown here on the left. Blazoned I believe it would be Or a chief Azure, Azure Wyvern, an or wolf between two or bees in chief.

Such is the heraldry of Cú Allaidh Mac Cummascaig of Trinovantia Nova. It is not registered yet, but oh well, it soon shall be.

Household News Redux:
Ok this time I am talking SCA household. The good ship Crimson Star has asked that I join their crew, as such I am to begin my career in piracy. This is not such a stretch for my persona, as the Irish have a long tradition of piracy by the sea. Most current members are later period, but oh well they will have to take this early period Celt if they wish me a crew member. Search as I may I cannot find a website for the Crimson Star, as such I think that I will make the offer to the Captain of the ship that I shall make a site for them and host it myself.

Fighting News:
I got a chance to make it down to Rising Waters for a fight practice. It was quite the practice. So many knights, so many bruises, so many tips and tricks emparted. It was a wonderful practice in which I got to work on my blocking skills considerably, wich is a skill that seemed to be lacking of late.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

First attempt at poetry

This is my first attempt at a bardic poem, its a work in progress:

A Newbie's Journy

There is this group that meets I was told
A group that meets to clash sword and shield
A group called the SCA

I picked up a sword and answered a call
I picked up a shield and it joined with me
I picked up the game and found a home

Why have I not heard of this
Friends and Family alike have heard
yet none deemed to tell me

Now Masq was held
Dancing to music with steps long forgot
The grip of the game tightened yet

Hark now Rocriptus shows me the martial ropes
And Wulfgang, and Kellen, and Thord, and more
The boys of Trinovantia Nova never fail to assist

A name, what's in a name
I have a name given to me by my father
but in the society I am told a name is what you make of it

The name passed on to me by blood is cast aside
a name I take up to become
The wild hound cries in my heart

At Winter War a test was given
Sword and Board was granted to me
At Winter War a test was passed

A fate worse than death, a fighter who cannot fight
or so I thought that day at the War of the Trillium
Arts and Sciences you say

So it is St. Michael appears before me
'bind this book, I'll show you how'
stitch and glue, carve and stretch

Like a duck to water
a new interest found
the SCA seems an endless pool of possibility

So it is the Society has me
Bookbinder, meadbrewer, fighter, archer, fencer
What lies next for this society man

Perhaps its time to unleash the bard within
all the world is a stage a man once said
The society is a play within the play

Bardic arts I do seek
so the play must go on
this play within the play within the play
Very rough, but I wrote it free form with no thought to form or rhythm.

Monday, July 06, 2009

War of The Trillium


July 1 - 5 I, and my daughter, had the immense pleasure of attending the War of the Trillium. This was our first camping event, and my daughters first camping experience at all. It was unique, to say the least, and wonderful. I felt like a small child, everywhere I looked there was something new and exciting to do/see/experience/taste, wonderful people to converse/drink/sing/laugh/eat with.

I joined the Society a heavy fighter, and I will always remain a heavy fighter, but due to stupidity on my fault (forgetting that most important of armor pieces the all powerful cup) I was not able to fight. I could have simply run to town and picked one up, and more than one person offered me a loaner cup (thanks Raithe and the barbarian who's name I can't recall) but I regretted missing the cup for only a moment before I saw something shiny to distract my attention, a handful of daggers to hurl at a target.

We arrived on Wednesday shortly after lunch and only a handful had set up encampment, Dagmar assisted me in finding a spot for my daughter and I to set up our encampment. Being as I was the only Trionvantian there for the whole time I did not join a group encampment but set my tent up alone, as I was setting up though Eoforwic appeared and set up their encampment behind my own, and a fine fellow by the name of Toki set up his beside my own.

Wednesday I had dinner with the folks at House Druantia (I think that's right) encampment, and one of the women in the camp, Annabelle brought some garb for Lilley that was made by the ever tallented Yvette. The garb fit my daughter like a glove and she loved them beyond compare. Hopefully soon I will have the pics uploaded soon. At dinner that night I met many fine people whome I became friends with, including Tarian and her family, Annabelle, her husband (Richard I believe? and her lovely, yet supper hyper, little one L'lyn), and the beautiful Marguerite (a different Marguerite then is making the garb for Lilley that I won through the silent auction an Lady Mary). After dinner Lilley and I roasted some mashmellows and I sent her to bed. I let the fire burn down, and once it was just embers I went to the Eoforwic encampment and introduced myself since they were all still up and I wasn't ready for bed quite yet. I met many interesting folk there and heard the poem written by a nice woman named Mary who is insane, but in a nice chearful pleasant way and not a stab you in your sleep creepy way.

Thursday Marguerite from dinner at Terian's the night before came by and chatted for a bit. Then the rain hit, and myself, my daughter, Marguerite, and St. Michael (I will discuss him more later) set up shop for the day in the shelter by what would be the heavy list field. Marguerite was working on sewing and she asked Lilley if she would like to make a belt pouch and learn embroidery. This caught Lilley's interest greatly and she took to it like a duck to water. I have not seen the work much since it is a top secret project closely guarded, but what I have seen is quite impressive. While Lilley was busy learning to stitch St. Michael Alewright of Aethelmearc (Ok, so he is not a real saint, his proper title I believe is Master Michael), the patron Saint of the Ealdormerian Bookbinding Guild set up shop for binding books and asked if I was interested, indeed I was as I have much interest in books. And lo and behold St. Michael, of whome I am now a disciple, set me at a sewing frame and taught me to bind books. By the time the rain stopped and it was time for dinner Eoforwic's firepit had vanished into a newly formed bog, my own tent was quite damp inside, and all the firewood was beyond damp. Eoforwic solved their problem by piling wood up quite high and attacking it with what can only be described as a portable flame thrower (propane torch). While Toki, myself, and Marguerite attacked our own little damp fire until Toki gave up and borrowed some kerosine from Tarian's encampment. Personally I thought he used the kerosine a little reclessly, but in the end it worked and no one was harmed.

Unfortunately due to the wet and such from the day before I ended up quite ill Friday. But after a very long nap and some pills by a nice woman with an australian accent who's name I have quite forgotten I reovered well and shot some arrows, and Lilley got a chance to shoot as well. Bardic circle occured that night, Lilley made the first request and joined in to sing Rise. She sang a few more songs before I banished her to the tent and rejoined the circle.

Saturday was perhaps the best day of the entire trip. Finished binding my book (uncovered) and hung out with
Marguerite some more. Lilley spent more time hanging out with other kids than she had in previous days, probably due to the amount of freedom that was granted her the day before by my illness. I tried my hand at thrown weapons, and although the first round was superb the rest not so well. Saturday was the fist time I was prepared to fight, but I discovered I had forgotten my cup. And while Rocripus managed to find somone willing to loan me one, a loaner cup (used) is not something I relish the thought of putting on. Like a small child though I was disappointed for a short time then saw something shiny and new (thrown weapons at that point I believe) I quickly forgot my dismay. Then there was the mead tasting, oy vey the wonderfullness of it all. The evening was lovely and well amusing. A visit from Mary while Marguerite and I enjoyed a cozy fire, was brought on by me tripping over some of Toki's gear brought some chuckles forth, then there was the midnight rading party to find more wood after all but a few revelers were asleep in bed.

Then came Sunday.... the saddest day of all. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I made many friends, of whome I hope I keep in touch with every last one of them. Toki gave parting gifts to Marguerite and I, and we all exchanged info. I managed to obtain the email address of St. Michael, and already I have been in contact with lady Tarian about bookbinding, overall I would say that Trillies were wonderful.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What a practice

Wow, multiple knights and nearly 20 fighters at yesterday's practice, including a first time female fighter who I got a chance to fight.

Sir Vanian was quite helpful in teaching me a thing or two at the beginning of practice before many had finished armoring up, and Sir Kasmir also took me aside to give me a little one on one training. It was quite a knight's night.

Melee practice was a blast, though I died harshly several times. I have a healthy fear of spears now, not that I didn't respect them before, but after a jab to an unarmored part of my stomach and a shot that almost took off my head, I am certain I will watch for spears in future melees.

I discussed what I would like for a helm with Rocriptus, and he has been wanting to try to make one like I want anyways so I am really hoping I can afford to at least give him a partial payment in order to start work on a helm.

Kellan and I chatted about two stick stratagies and he gave me some helpful pointers on a stance I might find more effective, next practice I will have to try it out.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mead Making Progress

Ok so I finally have a bottle clean to be used, well sort of, now I have to clean it so that the cleaner is out of it and its truly clean with no trace chemicals, however that's the easy part really. That being said I picked up enough honey to do a small batch, a fermentation lock, and some yeast. Perhaps soon I will have a batch in progress. The siphon hose can always be purchased at a later date really, the fermentation process will take time anyways. I will be taking loads of pictures and such along the way so anyone who might actually follow this blog might be able to view the process.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mead Making to Commence Soonish

This past weekend I managed to pick up a fair number of carboys for making mead. This provides me with the ability to make a substantial amount of mead, though until I master it I will probably start with small batches. I was hoping to have a batch or two made up for the war of the trillium, but I am not so sure. The carboys need some serious cleaning done on them as they have sat in my brothers shed for countless years.

The only thing I need now is a pot big enough (I think I have one somewhere), a fermentation lock, and some tubing for siphoning, and some stoppers. Then I will have all the equipment I need to start up a micro meadery in my apartment. Of course many other tools could be handy as well, but this equipment will get me started nicely. I already have a host of people willing to be taste testers.

My plan is to attempt a simple mead with very little in the way of additions to it, I may try a melomel (mead with fruit mixed in) metheglin (spiced mead) after that, but I want to get a good base recipe going first.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Persona Development

It's not my persona I am working on developing this time, but rather Lilley's. With the promise of some new garb she wants to work on a persona of her very own. While discussing this she asked me what my persona was and I told her I was Cú Allaidh an 8th century Celt from Ireland. She then replied "Well that's what I have to be then," I told her she was free to choose whatever period and persona she wished. It seems that she was under the impression that she had to pick a persona that fit her being my daughter, I informed her she could if she wished, but there was no real need to do so.

This intrigued her, a persona of her own, in a period and from a location of her choosing. I suggested a late period (1400-1600) posssibly Italian or French. I thought of those due to her love of dancing and that she is in French immersion, though really any local during the stated period probably would have had French speaking aristocrats so she probably would have been fine. It seems that she has her heart set on being a Parisian, this seems right to me, very fitting of her. Paris being the seat of fashionablity both in the period in question and modern times.

So now we have a period and location, it comes to naming now. This I think will be more difficult, I have come up with a few resources thanks to the fine folks on the SCANewcomers yahoo group:
I have gone over some of the names with her, and she has a few she didn't mind, but nothing concrete yet, hopefully something will grab her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Weekend in the Middle Ages

Wassail all, I have had a weekend full of SCA activities. On Saturday I made my way to the Barony of Rising Waters to partake in Lady Mary. Although I did not compete, or fight at all both my daughter and I had a memorable time. I cannot thank Yvette enough for the wonderful event. On Sunday I made it out to my Shire's archery practice ant got a chance to shoot some arrows off, again a memorable time, and I will be returning.

Lady Mary

Although we could not stay for feast this time, it was quite interesting to watch the fighting, and see the wares for sale. Naturally I could not leave the event without making a purchase or two. My daughter picked out a wonderful little music box and has not put it down for more than a moment since she bought it. Myself I got a new belt and a belt knife.

My new belt knife is what the vendor called a gentleman's bowie knife. Not quite period, but still an impressive knife. The balance is nice, it has a beautiful cherrywood handle, the sheath is nice. It doesn't look overly decorative, which is good, because it is meant to be a functional knife for me and not just look pretty.

Heavy fighting

Alas I did not partake in any fighting at all. I felt the tournament was too prestigious for me to compete in. However all fighters are expected to have a consort for who's honour they fight for. Kellen (aka Rob) did not have a consort that day, I am sure he would have fought for his wife's honour in absentee or perhaps for the honour of the court, however he requested the honour of fighting for Lilley's honour. I granted him permission and Lilley got presented to the court. She is ever so proud of the necklace and carnation the court gave to each consort, and she was pleased as punch to have her own personal champion at the event.

Dancing

My daughter was quite excited about Lady Mary because she recalled Yvette telling her at Winter War that there would be plenty of dancing at Lady Mary. Sure enough the dancing did not disappoint her. Once again my thanks go out to the lovely Yvette, and the wondrous Brandi (not sure of her SCA name), the two of them took Lilley in hand and helped her dance and see what she wished to see, while giving me a chance to watch some fighting bouts. Brandi even offered to be my partner when I joined them in the dance room.

Despite the fact I have three left feet Brandi was a patient instructor correcting me when I goofed up without making me feel like a fool. I do look forward to more instruction in this fine art. While heavy fighting is my main area of focus I can see dancing being something I actually look forward to at events as well.

Silent Auction

There was a silent auction at Lady Mary. Quite a few interesting items up for bid, one in particular was an offer to make garb for children. Lilley desperately needs new garb, and so I put in a bid, I was the only bidder so I bid fairly low, but not obscenely low, and lo and behold I won the item. So now I get to have some garb made for Lilley at a nice cut rate price. I am sure Lilley will be excited once she can wear her new garb. I do have to arrange a time to go to the seamstress and get Lilley measured up and pick out the style. In addition to this a friend of a friend who sewed me my first tunic contacted me with an offer to do some more garb for my daughter and I, so perhaps we will be filling out our SCA wardrobes.

I am glad that the friend contacted me about additional garb, I don't like my black tunic (no fault of the seamstress, my own fault for not knowing what I was doing when I bought the material) the material is not really period, the colour is not right, basically it just doesn't fit my persona well. What I would like is a Leine, trews, a proper brat, and a Inar to really fit the part of early irish celt. I don't know if the seamstress would be willing to do all that for me, but we shall see.

I am not quite sure what period to hit for Lilley, I would imagine she would prefer a more later period, going for fancier dress cloths as it would make her more like a princess. We shall see.

Feast

Alas I missed feast this time around, much to Lilley's dismay. Lilley already has quite the reputation as an up and comming bard due to her singing at Winter War and Masquerade, and she was so looking forward to singing some. Next event I should ensure that we get to feast and that I have some lyric sheets printed off for her so she knows the words even better yet. I will have to ask Yvette for some of the better known songs so I can download the lyrics and get Lilley working on the songs.

Archery

On Sunday I got a chance to go out to Louisa's farm for some archery practice. I shot archery once in scout camp when I was quite young, I didn't do terrible, but I certainly didn't do good, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect this time. I surprised myself by doing half decent. Raithe informed me I was pulling about 32 lbs or so, but I'll just have to take his word on that. After a few rounds with a 30lbs bow I got to try out Raithe's monster 75 lbs longbow. When I say monster, I mean monster, the thing is fantastic to shoot, the arrows whistle out of the bow and hit the target with quite a satisfying thump. The first few shots with the longbow were way off as my arm wobbled under the strain of pulling the string back, but once I got a little steadier the arrows flew truer, but I had to adjust my aim considerably because there was almost no drop to the arrows and most of my shots went sailing over the targets.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Lady Mary

The Baronry of Rising Waters is hosting Lady Mary tomorrow. I think I will grab my daughter and head down there to check out the festivities. Rising Waters is the area I was born in, and the area I would have joined the SCA in if I had heard of it earlier. So in a way it will be like returning home. I already know some of the folk from Rising Waters, including Yvette who has been kind enough to allow Lilley to sing with her at a number of events, and some of my fellow Trinovantians will be there as well including Raithe and Steve, not really sure who else will be there.

Lady Mary is said to be quite the prestigious event, as such I think I will bow out of tournament fighting, but if they are doing secondary authorizations I think I will attempt to get my two stick and thrusting authorizations to add to my card, and it never hurts to get a little extra fighting in there even if I am not outright competing.

Apparently there is a fair amount of dancing at Lady Mary, so I am sure Lilley will be ecstatic to get a chance to learn some new dances. Although we won't be staying for feast so probably won't get a chance for her to work on her Bardic Arts.

I hadn't really planned on going to Lady Mary as I am not happy with my garb, and have not gotten Lilley new garb either and I had been waffeling on the matter for quite some time. The lovely lady Yvette however informed me that I was required to attend with my daughter. This was when I went to Rocriptus' to repair my armour a few weeks back, she happened to be there as well. Apparently she is autocrating the event, and I do so hate to let down a lady, especially a lovely one.

My task for tonight is to repair my swords thrusting tips so that they are a little larger than they currently are as I think there might be a risk of some wood hitting if I thrust at the wrong angle. I also have to make sure my garb is in order. That and make sure Lilley is prepared for the day as well.

If you are going, see you there, if not, why not?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Exhausting Practice

Sir Kasmir came to practice last night, it being his custom to appear the first practice of every month to encourage the troops and give tips on improving our skills. He put us through our paces for sure. Instead of the winner staying in, each fighter remained in the ring for two fights win or lose, and we did not wait for lay on, but rather just charged in. Kellan was trying to get us to fight quicker, with less dancing around sizing up our opponents.

It was a good drill system to get us in shape for mellee fighting. A quick deal with your opponent and move on to the next. Sounds like a wonderful training technique, however it quickly left us all breathless and exhausted.

Before the real training began I had a chance to speak with Sir Kellan and he showed me how to improve my shot and had me work on it considerably alternating between my left and right hand. He showed me how I was telegraphing my hits by cocking back my arm, helped me correct it then showed me that I was still telegraphing by bopping my body a little before each shot. It was a lot to take in, and I hope my shot improved.

I did have a couple of nice kills during the practice. A few that even surprised me, including one against Wolfgang, although to be fair Wolfy was looking pretty winded at the time, and I had just come off a rest.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Week of Experimentation

Apparently this week is about trying new things.

Although I did try two stick once with Thorld (I think that's Tyler's society name), I didn't fare well and I was using loaner swords. Last week, thanks to Roscriptus, I managed to get my own swords completed and battle ready. Casting off my loaned shield I ran into the fray with a sword in both hands, and thrusting tips on both. Two stick is a unique experience, I move more, I strike more, and blocking requires quicker and more movement. Snag assisted me adjusting my calibration with my left hand (ok my calibration on my right needs work too, but my left is terrible), and I think I made some improvements, but I have to hit harder. I convinced Raithe that he needed to try two stick as well, and promptly learned that a fencers speed is a very good thing for two stick as he killed me with a maddening flurry of hits. I did get some pretty nice kills, some by accident, some intentional. I do have to send out a big thank you to Thorld for lunging into my sword tip like that, I guess its payback for all the times I dove onto his sword.

In addition to getting my swords battle ready Roscriptus also assisted me in improving my knee armour, although they still needs some tweeks to fasten them on my legs better, they are at least legal now. I also had some repairs on my leg armour done. Roscriptus you do good work, thanks.

In addition to trying out two stick, I made it out to Rapier practice as well and tried some fencing. Raithe spent considerable time showing me the ins and outs of rapier, and showing me the massive differences between rapier and fencing, taking out my tows a few times reminded me that below the knee is a valid shot in rapier. I enjoyed rapier and I am sure I will be making more appearences, that being said Heavy Fighting is my main focus for now, I will try doing every other week Rapier practice though, and go from there.

The next thing I want to try is archery. I can't see combat archery as the thing for me (who wants to stand on the sidelines shooting arrows when you can be in the middle of it all slaying foes with a sword), but I do think target practice could be fun.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Follow Up on My Winter War Thoughts

How could I forget to mention. Not only did my daughter and I have such a fun time at the event. We also both won prizes which we both are proud of and hold dear. My daughter won a wooden horse and soldier to play with, and I won fantastic leather bracers which are now part of my armour gear.

Winter War XI

News reached my ears of a battle brewing in my own shire. I could not ignore the call to battle. My daughter and I made the trip to the battle grounds and she sat on the sidelines while I prepared.

To prove my worth I stood before a marshal and passed the rites of authorization. Authorized and prepared I let it be known that I was available to any captain looking to hire a mercenary. My quest to find work did not last long and a commander from Ramshaven hired me on. We fought many a foe and I believe I earned my pay, though in the end my armour failed me and my knee cop fell to my ankle. I battled against my sword brothers from Shire of Trinovantia Nova as well, and learned how swift their forces can strike.

A market had sprung up around the battle field and I took my daughter to buy her some pretty baubles, her decked out in her prettiest dress and I wearing a battle damaged tunic, we made quite the mismatched pair. Lilley found herself a couple of necklaces she loved, I bought both of them, how is it daughters wrap their fathers around their fingers so?

When it came time for feasting after the battles Their Majesties King Etain au Navaland Queen Valfreya Greenspeare held court before bread was broken. Many foreigners sent greetings from their far flung and backwards lands, I admit I paid little attention to the goings on in court until a man whom I was aquainted with, and would call a friend, Dailin Caulder was called before the court. He was honoured for his accomplishements for the shire and kingdom and was granted an award of arms making him Lord Dailin Caulder. Wasail Lord Dailin of Trinovantia Nova, you make us proud. The most regal event of the court was the raising of Her Excellency TSivia bas Tamara v’Amberview to the Order of the Pelican. her fame had reached even my ears thus it was impressive to see the splendor of such an event.

Baroness Margaret of the E'rain prepared the feast and it was beyond reproach. I do not know if I have words to explain the sheer volume and flavour of the food that was layed before us. I doubt even the greatest of poets could begin to touch on the wonder that was the feast. I have eaten food prepared by the Baroness before, at the Masquarade Ball not all that long ago, and though I knew the food would be superb, nothing could prepare my taste buds nor stomach for the assault that was made upon them. The poached pairs made an appearance as well and I could eat those until my stomach burst and still want more.

The bards voices were not heard as much as they were at Masqurade, but they were heard and Lilley added her angelic six year old voice to the throng, even so far as to sing alone for the king and queen. Though she was to shy to request the audience of Their Majesties herself I made the introduction and asked for Their indulgence. King Etain demonstrated his kindness by gracing my daughter with the language of the aristocrats responding in french to her french song. I admit I knew little of what he said, but my daughter was overjoyed at the attention of royalty. King Etain also gave her a gift, which she will treasure always. Lilley will be a bard of note in Ealdormere before my name is known amongst the warriors, of this I am certain.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

First Practice of 2009

Practice went well, and I learned lots.

My thoughts about the centre boss being the shield for me were confirmed again as I shunned the heater entirely and focused on the centre boss. Got some good exchanges in and the guys really worked with me to start whipping me into shape for Winter War where I hope to get authorized so I can fight at events.

I need to work more on defensive manouvers though, I got spanked a couple of times, and while it hurt I will survive to fight another day, and I learned that with one handed weapons that's not a kill shot like I thought it was.

I earned a nasty welt on my hip, stands out pretty good. By far the biggest one I've gotten yet. I am honestly not to sure who gave me this one, it might have been Snag, but I can't recall for sure.

My off side shot has improved alot, but I need to work harder. Snag helped me lots before one bout, and I think I am starting to get it down pat, just not fast enough with it.

We did some melee, and wow was that fun. At one point I got speared by Rob (what the heck is his SCA name again) in such a way I only saw the spear retract away from my face, not the actual hit, but I felt it. I have to admire that guy's speed. We did a few bouts of three on three, but after one which left me winded they did a few three on one's and such which was interesting to watch, and looked like fun.

I really need to work on my breathing. I tend to hold my breath when blocking and taking a shot, and since you are doing that most of the time in a fight it is real easy to get winded that way. Oh well just another in a long line of things that are uber important to remember.