Monday, May 21, 2012

The Battle of Temple Junction Public Day

I and my friend Katelyn ventured back to the Battle of Temple Junction on Saturday, but later in the morning as I had returned to Austin the day before. We arrived about 10:00 when a court martial and execution was to be reenacted; however; it didn't appear to come off. There did appear to be some small skirmish going on though. We wondered around the event site, which didn't take too long as it was a small event and only two period sutlers.

Thank goodness for the big "revival" tent with tables and chairs; we would not have had anywhere to go between activities. This space worked well as we sat and talked and people watched.

The next event was to be a period wedding at 11:00; however, that didn't take place until later. There was a hand to hand combat demonstration.

While we waited for the wedding we decided to have lunch. There was a catering truck offering burgers and other sandwiches, fries, and lemonade. While I waited for my food another reenactor came up to me and said "Now isn't this the way to do a reenactment?" What could I say? So we got our lunch and went back to the tent.

And the wedding preparations began. The year for the wedding was 1862 and period vows were used. It was actually the renewing of vows for the couple.   

The groom and best man.

As the maid of honor and bride came into the tent a local girl, with a beautiful voice sang "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls." She was not in period dress. However, she would like to get involved so I directed her to my website.

The bride's attendant.

And the bride.

After the ceremony the reception became the ladies' tea. They served a ginger ale punch with mint, tea, petite cakes, and Russian cookies. It was all very good.

This all finished up around 1:30 and the battle didn't start until 3:00. So we talked with visitors under the tent. Just before the battle, as the men were preparing, someone's gun backfired or something and we had a medical emergency. There were two doctors on site and they tended to him. He was ok but went to the hospital just to be sure.

Drummer Boy Ice Cream was at the event, so of course we had to have some! Good stuff.

Time for the battle!

After the battle the wounded were helped off the field to the hospital tent. Doc always puts on a good display. The rubber rats on the cast off limbs are a great crowd pleaser.

I left shortly after the battle; Katelyn planned to stay for the dance. However, she said many people started packing up and leaving so she didn't think the dance would be worth staying for. Time Was was to play.
Katelyn went back Sunday but I have not heard how it went. During one of our chats with others under the tent we found out that the City of Temple may not participate in this event next year. There are talks however, with the Robertson Plantation folks in Salado about having the event on their property. This would be a great site and allow for some great civilian and military scenarios.

This event was decidely mainstream. Nothing wrong with that. The participants were perfectly happy with this level of participation. But I need a bit more than camping with a theme; I like interpreting buildings and home front living history. This was a nice little adventure but I'll be staying on the progressive side for awhile.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Battle of Temple Junction - School Day

Every once in awhile even us "progressives" need to take it down a notch or two and go enjoy a mainstream event. It allows us to let our hair down and go play dress up with no expectations. So this weekend I'm enjoying the Battle of Temple Junction. The event is put on by a local SCV camp and is a replacement for the Bellmead reenactment, which held it's last stand in 2008. Today was the school day.  I had supplies left from the wallpaper envelope activity at Mexia so invited myself. My young friend Katelyn joined me; unfortunately only one school took advantage of the opportunity. 

Yes, that is one of those parking lot canapes but beggars can't be choosers and since I no longer have access to a fly this did just fine. Behind us you will see Mercury Supply Company is there for the weekend.

It was warm enough that the glue actually liquefied. If you read my post about Mexia you'll realize what an improvement this was. The kids seemed to enjoy the activity and it was nice to sit and visit with Katelyn.

We were too far away to hear all of the other activities; however, we did hear some singing and there was a school desk set up.

Next to us was a quilter...

And a hospital tent and display was sent up.

I'm going to meet Katelyn back up there tomorrow to enjoy the regular event; hopefully more reenactors will be there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reconsiderations and Ravs

Had a nice chat with the folks at Pioneer Farms. I think we have worked out our issues, both the event's and the site's, and we will probably give it another try in early November 2013. The two big issues, packing out and double booking, seem to have solutions. The site works with a gentleman who has a covered wagon stored at the site and we are going to work with him to use the wagon to pack out participants who must leave before the site closes. The double booking is being worked on by the site and hopefully their solution will solve the problem. I left it up to the participants to decide if we should try again at Pioneer Farms and all that responded feel we should. Don't have exact date yet but we're looking at the first part of November 2013.

I have reached 100 presets for my internet radio station! Probably a lot less than most internet stations but I'm pretty happy about it. In addition I received this great shoutout:

Outstanding! As a U.S.history teacher, bluegrass and old time musician,I am
completely enchanted with this station.  Sharing it with friends

Whoohoo!! I haven't added any new tracks to the station for a bit, but plan to in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The War at Home: 1862

The annual Texas home front event has now ended. This year was The War at Home: 1862. We arrived on Friday evening. As with each year, Friday is spent putting things in place and visiting with all the other participants. Everyone had arrived by 10:00 or so. Some of us went on to bed, but a few apparently stayed up until the wee hours on the porch of the “store” playing music.

I had my own visitor during the early morning. About 4:30 or so I heard faint thump, thump, thump and felt something climb up to the edge of the cot. I cautiously looked down toward my feet and saw the site cat, Peanut Butter, peering over the edge of the cot and then he promptly jumped up and laid down across my legs. There he stayed until about 6:30 when I had to get up.

I should preface this report on the event that we found out about a month before the event that there was a Boy Scout event also scheduled at the site this same weekend. We were ensured that the scouts would be in their own area, not using any of the structures and would not interfere with our event. I left it up to the participants as to whether they wanted to proceed with the event and all decided to attend.
The event officially began at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday. I dressed and headed to the store. My clerk decided to sleep on the porch and was still abed when I arrived to begin the day’s business. Also at this time the boy scouts started to arrive, driving their cars on to the site and setting up their modern pup tents on the open area at the end of the town square. We tried very hard to ignore them and the plastic tables and large blue water jugs they set up at the crossroads. Some then decided they wanted to us the yard of one of the farms that we were using as a gathering/lunch spot. This was all before 10:00 a.m.

After getting the front yard camp out taken care of I returned to the store and found my clerk at work, finally. He was working up the Lauderdale’s accounts. Mrs. Lauderdale ran up quite an account while her husband was away at war. We had a small stock at the store, which included not only the medicines, writing supplies and foods included in my prior post, but also cards of buttons, papers of needles, and bottles of rolled pills provided by Mr. Nix.

Mr. Nix arrived later in the morning. He is on his way from Galveston to Dallas and informed us of the conditions on the island. It seems only one Yankee ship is in the bay and commerce continues as before. This was very good news to many as some of the village residents have business concerns in Galveston.
I received many letters from friends in California, Mississippi and Tyler. It seems that mail in California was being held up in San Francisco as the letters I received were somewhat out of order and a mention was made of a box of seeds that I never received. Mrs. Betts in Tyler told us about a slave insurrection in Tyler and the resulting punishments. I also received several swatches of fabrics that were available in California at very reasonable prices.

Mr. Nix and I then took a stroll around the village to ensure all had a pleasant night and all was as it should be. First we visited the seamstress shop to show the fabric swatches and get their opinions on how they would make up and if I should stock some. Mrs. Frederick was very impressed with the plaid silk. Mrs. McKinney’s daughter, Victoria, was lovely in her new dress and shoes.

Our next stop was at Dr. Rice’s household. Miss Hale was sewing in the hall and Mrs. Rice was making green bean salad for evening meal. Dr. Rice was busy explaining to visitors about Civil War medicine; he truly seemed to be in his element.

We then visited the Lauderdales. There we found Mr. Glover, apparently he is courting Miss Hooper who is staying with the Lauderdales. However, Mr. Glover is staying with the Rices as he is under the doctor’s care for a wound he received at Shiloh. He walked all the way to the Lauderdale farm; I tried to explain to him that Miss Hooper will need a healthy husband and that this activity, especially walking such distances would not benefit him. While at the Lauderdales we heard that Mr. Lauderdale’s man ran off from the farm to which he had been lent. This was not good news as Mr. Lauderdale was also injured at Shiloh and cannot use his arm for at least two months and cannot get a crop in. So not only did he lose the $800 dollars invested in his man but he cannot earn anything from a crop to replace him and support his family. I left the gentlemen to discuss war and business and visited with the ladies in the kitchen. Mrs. Lauderdale was preparing greens and Miss Hooper was getting ready to make bread.  
Our next visited was with Mrs. Brock. We found her churning butter and entertaining several visitors. As we approached the town square we saw the boy scouts had added an inflatable bounce house to their pup tent camp.

Upon our return we decided it was a good time to eat. We had pickled eggs, pickles, bread, sausage, cheese, and lemonade. The rest of the afternoon village residents came to the store to pick up their mail. Mrs. Lauderdale received a telegram. She and Mr. Lauderdale seemed not to know who it was from, but they were coming for a visit and asked Mrs. Lauderdale to ask Mr. Lauderdale to buy a mule on credit. So we are now looking for someone who has a mule they are willing to sell. Mr. Gray also entertained us with his fiddle and Mr. Nix shared some musing of an English woman on Texas and American woman written in 1845. She apparently was not very impressed with American women; she commented on how frequently we travel about town without male company, how frivolous our conversations were and that our dress was loud and mildly distasteful. We had a good laugh at her expense.

As evening approached, the boy scouts left but the adult leaders remained and planned to spend the night at the site.
 Saturday evening we had a community dinner. There was so much food – collard greens, ham, pickled eggs, pickles, cole slaw, fruit cake, cookies, apple pies, corn bread, pound cake, green bean salad, still warm fresh bread, fresh churned butter, tea and lemonade. After dinner we were entertained with period music by Mr. Gray on the fiddle, Mr. Gray’s brother on the guitar and Mr. Lauderdale on the bones. It was a wonderful close to the day.

Sunday is always a laid back day. After dressing I went to the store and waited for Mr. Gray to wake. We decided to close the store for the day at noon and spent the rest of the day lounging on the Rice’s porch.

The event was to last until noon but the site advertised our “show” until 3:00, so quite a few participants stayed until then. However, when we started to bring in our cars at 3:00 to load up the site had issues. Things worked out but it was still a difficult situation.

The event was good and bad. I think everyone enjoyed the event and the opportunity to participate in living history with structures and a village atmosphere. However, the issues we experienced with the site this year were very stressful and I feel the communication from the site was not there. I’m really not sure if they grasped what our event was all about. For these reasons I have decided to not use the site again. There are a few other villages in central Texas that I’m going to scout out and hopefully we will find a new home before planning starts for 1863.

Additional photos can be found at