Planning for the season ahead

Posted By on February 17, 2011

So here we are, less than a month until my first event of the season. I have most of my schedule put together, a wishlist of things to purchase/make and personal goals that I would like to accomplish, from a reenactor standpoint this year. Yet, I haven’t made it to panic mode yet. Why, I haven’t pulled out the equipment and cleaned it, I haven’t bought new poles for the fly, nor have I done any of the painting that needs to be accomplished. I just started studying again! Oh wait, here comes the panic.

I think all reenactors share this excitement and dread that February and March seems to bring. The excitement that soon, you’ll be out in the tent, in the rain, singing with friends, enjoying every aspect of the hobby. The dread that soon, you’ll be out in the tent, in the rain, wondering where your spare pair of socks are, or why your gown is now soaked through and laying on your cot/bedding. The excitement that you can use what you’ve learned and done over the winter to interpret your position to the public. The dread that you squandered the winter away and all you have is one little project finished, with 100 new ideas for projects. The excitement of traveling everywhere to get away for the weekend. The dread of gas prices, and having to pack the car.

This is really like 1/3 of what I have lined up to read.

This is really like 1/3 of what I have lined up to read.

For me, the dread is always there in some aspects. There’s always more to read, more to learn, more to experience. It seems that almost daily I find a new rabbit hole for my research to go down. Like Alice, I fall down these holes, and grow and shrink depending on what I find. Just writing about the leeches last week has opened a whole new hole to jump through to learn more about how and why the leeches were used, and the most effective procedures that are still in use today. Then it jumps to a reference to a book within a book I’m reading, which leads me to pulling a pdf copy of that book off of google, so that I can add it to the never ending pile of books to read. This all leads to changing interpretations, changing information, and adding equipment, or removing equipment asneeded.

Additionally, this year is the first year I’ll be doing 3 time periods- Jacobite, French and Indian, and American War of Independence. This also means I have to keep the different periods in line, and what information is relevant for which. Granted, the major fundamentals during these times did not change, but the devil is always in the details.

I suppose its something I thrive on- the continuing education of portraying a surgeon. Like my forefathers in the 18th century, I too, am constantly learning. They by experimentation, me learning about their experimentation. There’s always another stone to be upturned, another herb to learn about, another grand procedure and the information therein. My bibliography and my knowledge grow regularly, and I want to share all that with as many people as I can.

But I have to temper that enthusiasm with the knowledge that there are only so many weekends in a summer, and that I do have to take time for myself. Failure to do that and I burn out and never want to open a page again about this wonderful world. So I am trying to limit myself to 2 weekends a month. Whether or not I’ll hold to that remains to be seen, but its looking promising.

So here I sit tonight, putting together my schedule for my unit commander in Dumas, and thinking about all the things that I need to get done before March. My first event is scheduled for the weekend of March 11, and I do want to make sure I’m going to do my best. Additionally, the weekend after is Military Through the Ages, which I need to bone up more on my Jacobite herbals and my history. Not a light task, but one that I’m going to work on daily by trying to read 3 herbs a day, and look through a timeline of 1745, so that I’m a little more knowledgeable about what may have been available to me. I also want to start making another oil of cloves, as mine previously worked so well that it has absconded to another person with a toothache. Success for the 18th century apothecary!

Isn't this a hot Capital Set?

Seriously, it is a hot saw!

And so I continue rambling here. I’m trying to post a blog entry a week, and some may end up being more about what goes into reenacting the surgeons, apothecaries, matrons, etc, than procedures, tools, etc. But that may be for the best, because it would get boring just listening to me talk about how awesome my Capital Saw is. Though it is totally awesome.  Ok, I promise, next blog post will be about amputation.  Promise.

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