Welcome to the Online Clann Tartan Newsletter for January 2005


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Announcements

Upcoming Events to plan for:

Saturday, January 1, 2005 we will have the Airing of the Tartans and First Footing. the Airing of the Tartans is held at a local park, and traditionally was a time to lay out all your woolens in the snow to clean them. This would allow all the oils, grease, fats, and assorted critters to freeze out of the wools and you would have "fresh" plaids. We like to have everyone bring all their plaid and see how much we can lay out. Let's go for a record! We also have a short drill (length depends a lot on the weather,) and sometimes shoot off the muskets.

Following the Airing, we descend upon our members houses for a progressive dinner, or "First Footing". It is considered good luck if the first person to enter your house on New Years Day is a dark haired male stranger. Woe betide you, however, if the first to enter is a redheaded woman...

Saturday, January 15th, 2005 at Corcoran Park, we will be holding our winter Muster. This is a chance to hone skills, try new things, add to your Muster list, and in general, meet and mingle with the rest of us. We can do just about everything but shoot weapons. As a special inducement this year, we will have a guest speaker to talk about how to present to school kids. Perry Vining (Headman at Big Island) has been contacted about this (Thanks, Kali!) and is willing to come and talk with us. Please try to make it - it should be a great time! Again, if you have any questions, please contact your staff or board. Times are yet to be arranged - we will be discussing this with Corcoran.

A Letter from Maeve

Read at the November 6th Annual Meeting

Our membership is down. Everyone knows it, everyone can see it at events. However, last year during our October shows, more than twenty-five new family memberships were paid for. Have we seen any of these people at events since? Hardly. I personally have seen less than fewer than four of these new members at events. Part of this is because many of these new members live outside of Minnesota, or are already rendezvousers and have already have commitments for many of Clann’s shows. But we’re also scaring off a lot of new people who do live in Minnesota and aren’t already rendezvousers.

I felt it at my first event. I think any one human will admit it: first events are scary, even for people who find it natural to jump into new groups of people. First events are overwhelming, exciting, different, chaotic, fast, lonely, and we hope enjoyable. Everyone reading this, I assume, once went through a first event and found it enjoyable enough to come back for a second, and third, and maybe years of events. We need to make sure that our new members feel that and want to come back for more.

When I went to my first weekend-long event, I had had the advantage of going to dance practice for several months before, so I knew several people before having to spend the weekend in a canvas tent (which itself can be a stressful experience). It was still a scary thing. I knew next to nothing about the Thirty Years’ War when I joined, except that perhaps it had lasted about thirty years. I didn’t know anything about what I was actually expected to do (which, it turns out, is not that much) or any of the minutae that makes a circumstance familiar and comfortable. I made (and still make) a number of stupid mistakes, said (and still say) stupid things that made me cringe because I’m the type of person that I like to think Clann attracts: confident, knowledgeable in every day life about things I know, and more than a little self conscious. I hate making stupid mistakes. Most everyone does, and it’s a sucky feeling to think that you’re the only one that’s ever done it.

Being a new member really does suck, and I still feel like a new member most of the time, even though I’m coming up on two years in February. Clann is an intimidating group to be new in because we’re, well, clannish. I think this has been pointed out before by people wiser than I, but it’s still true. We’re polite, friendly even, with new people, but when was the last time you sat down a talked to a new member like they were a member, and not public? One of the biggest disservices we can do our new members is not treating them like members right away, and there’s nothing that can change that except everyone thinking about how they talk to new members. I think many of us who have been demoing for any length of time tend to answer any question like you would answer public: with a speech assuming little or no knowledge of the topic on the listener’s part. New members made the switch from public to member for a very good reason: they want something more than that, and most of the time, because they do know lots of stuff. New members wouldn’t have joined if they didn’t want to learn things, but presupposing stupidity is not the way to teach someone. All it does is encourage them to not ask questions for fear of feeling stupid again. I say this because it’s exactly the way I felt when I first joined, and they way a lot of people who’ve joined after me have told me they felt.

That said, new members need an opportunity to talk, and not be lectured. New members need down time. Big Island is not the best place to throw new members into, in my opinion. Mankato and Winona are much more sedate and less overwhelming for new members because while we do have things going on like drill and dance and meals and everything else we do to present to the public on weekends, we’re not scheduled to be somewhere on the hour every hour, which can be a stressful thing for new members who want to participate fully. Because really, when was the last time we had a new member who just joined to sit around? People join our organization because they want to do what we do. However, what people want is not always what’s best for them. In order to get the most out of a new experience, most people need to digest and think over what they’ve done, and this is best accomplished with other people who’ve done the same thing. We’re going to generate more and happier new members if we have experienced people around to answer questions in a comfortable, ie, not rushed atmosphere.

The last thing that people want to feel like when they first join is that they’re in the way. Having to stop another member in the middle of what they’re doing to ask a question does that, and while the older member may not consider it an inconvienience to be stopped on the way somewhere or while doing something to help someone else--I think most of our members go out of their way to be helpful--it can certainly appear that way to a new member who is aware that there’s a lot of things that need to be accomplished. This all goes back to the point that I think the best events for first-timers to attend as part of Col. Gaffneyis are those that don’t require three fourths of the camp to be mobilized at any given time. (By mobilized I mean performing in a group, such as dance or drill, not individual demonstrations which should by all means be on going and are an essential part of our image. Individual demonstrations are much more laid back and new member-friendly, however, because they are not being put directly in the public view the whole time and at most events there is time while there is very little public around for older and newer members to chat while continuing to do whatever it is they are demonstrating.)

Having said all this, I think we can do three things to retain new members: encourage them to come to social events such as dance or night at the pub before jumping straight into an event, encourage them to come to events such as Mankato or Winona where they will tend to not be as overwhelmed and older members will have more time for them, and above all we need to remember to talk to them like members, and not new members. First events will always be scary, and any time anyone does anything new, there will always be a degree of uncertainty involved, but members who have been around for a while can do a lot to not contribute to this feeling.

Board Elections

Saturday, February 5 at noon we will be holding the Annual Members Meeting. This is your chance to vote on the budget for next year and to vote for your new Board Members. The positions that will be open are:

Vice President
Secretary
Company Representative

If you're interested in any of these positions but have questions on the duties and responsibilities, please contact a current Board Member for more information. It's not too early to get your nomination in!

Still looking for thoughts on Why We Do What We Do

—and what will make it more fun for you.

What are you looking for in Clann? What can we do better? What are we doing well? Please let us know—we all want this to be a fun, fulfilling experience for everyone.

Send info to Mary McKinley at the previously posted info—snail mail:
Mary McKinley
1363 Jefferson Ave
St Paul, MN 55105-2410

Drill

Clann's monthly drill will be held on the third Saturday of the month at Bossen Field by Lievtenant Eric and Hellen's home (5732 Bossen Terrace Apt#2), unless there is a scheduled Clann Event that weekend.
The time is NOON.
For directions, Lievtenant Eric can be contacted at: 612-726-6364 or eric@celticfringe.net

Wanted!

Submissions for the Newsletter!
Items you can submit include research articles, character sketches, and other items pertaining to living history and Scottish Culture. Email your items in either plain text, or MS Word format to newsletter@clanntartan.org or snail mail to our postal address.
Items must be received by the 15th of each month to be considered for inclusion for the upcoming months issue. Mailed submissions will not be returned unless requested. All pertinent submissions will be considered as space permits. All research articles must reference at least three sources. Submissions are NOT edited for spelling or grammar, but may be broken in multiple parts.



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Board Minutes

Minutes of Clann Tartan Membership and Board Meeting
November 6, 2004

In attendance:  (Board) Diana Steben, Mary McKinley, Bruce Yoder, 
Glenn McDavid, Rob Portinga, Brenda Bartel

(Staff and Members) David Vavreck, Marty Byers, Julie
Yoder, Judy Byers, Rob Johnson, Eric Ferguson, Hellen Ferguson,
Marc Hansen


The minutes from the October Board meeting were approved.
 
No Old Business 

REPORTS
=======
Vice President
--------------
Looked into recruiting at the Star-Tribune Job Fair.  Got a
run-around.  Need to write for a donation of table
space.

Our best recruiting is still at shows.

Secretary
---------
The newsletter is now largely distributed electronically.  We still
print about 20 hard copies.  Minutes of the Board and Membership
meetings are included in the Newsletter.

Quartermaster
-------------
The Quartermaster submitted a detailed written report.  The chief
concern is the state of the trailer.

Camp Rep
--------
Nothing to report

Company Rep
-----------
Nothing to report

Treasurer
---------
Needs to meet with Head Camp Follower about some events.

We received the check from Mankato.  The amount was much smaller
than in past years.

Income and expenses are both down this year.  We have some upcoming
expenses:
1) Trailer repair.  Still cheaper to repair than to replace.
2) Buying gunpowder.  The artillery has increased our consumption.
   We have some left, but not enough for the 2005 season.

Some items (e.g., the artillery bucket) were budgeted but have not
yet been purchased.  We also have to pay for insurance and the
garage rental.

We also have to repair some tents.  Diana said she has the
necessary stuff to do this.

Currently we have $7800 in the Bank.  We expect to end the year
with about $6500.

Dance Guild
-----------
Going well.  Good turnout, new dances, some new music.  A Dance
Music Subguild is being formed to provide live music for dancing.


Sword Guild
-----------
About 4-5 people have expressed an interest so far.  Marty is
looking for a good site for practise during the Winter months.
Corcoran is a possibility.

Historic Site
-------------
We may be able to have one more work weekend in 2004,  Don now has
a backhoe, which considerably speeds up the work.

Music Guild
-----------
No report on Fife and Drums.

Fiber Guild
-----------
Some interest was shown at the recent shows.


Administration
==============
Maeve Kane will be our contact for event contracts.

UPCOMING EVENTS
===============
Airing of the Tartans and First Footing
---------------------------------------
Need to arrange for a park and select houses.  The new staff will
plan it with help from the old.

Winter Muster
-------------
January 15 at Corcoran.  We will not be able to do any shooting,
and possible not fire-starting.  Perry Vining will present a how-to about
giving a demo.

Winter Carnival Parades
-----------------------
Jan. 29:  Parade starts at 1:30.  Show up at noon.

Feb. 5:  Torchlight parade.  Starts at 6 PM.  Show up at 4:30.

Albert Lea Historic Faire
-------------------------
Feb. 12-13.  Might get paid for demos.

Scottish Ramble
---------------
Feb. 19-20

Minnesota Scottish Faire and Highland Games
-------------------------------------------
July 9.  It will be our second year.  This time the Vikings
(reenactors) and the 42nd will be joining us.  There is a
possibility that we might recieve some reimbursement from the
Faire.  It was moved/seconded/passed unanimously that any such
reimbursement be split equally among the three reenactment groups.

The Faire will be at the same site as this year.  We will be able
to camp both nights.

Communications
==============
The web site is being enhanced.  Rob Portinga would like more
pictures from events.  He is also looking for a better calendar
program.  There will also be a message forum
(greywolf.clanntartan.org) which will be open to the public.

Staff Elections
===============
Company
-------
Captain:	Marty Byers
Lieutenant:	Eric Ferguson

No corporals ran or were elected.

Camp
----
Head Campfollower:	Rob Johnson
Asst. HC:		Julie Yoder
Goodwives:		Judy Byers, Maeve Kane

General Issues
==============
While ballots were being counted the President read letters she
had received about Clann from Maeve Kane and Kali Peterson. 

Some general discussion followed.  Among the issues:

1) Could there be more social events?
2) Should we be spending so much on new equipment when membership
   is down?  Currently we have only 18 active members, as defined
   by the Bylaws.
3) The Travelling Interpreter's Award is AWOL.
4) How many Goodwives and Corporals do we need?
5) Should we take a year off (a sabbatical)?  This was generally
   rejected.
6) Should we drop shows that are more than 3 hour's drive away, or
   are not well attended by members?  There was some sentiment in 
   favor of this, but it was not made into a formal policy.
7) More events at Dun Gowan.  It's not just for soldiers anymore!
8) Stop doing Renaissance Faires.

Acknowledgements
================
As outgoing Captain, David Vavreck expressed his special thanks to
Marty Byers, John O'Duggan, and Maeve Kane.

Next Meetings
=============
Board.  December 6, at the Yoders.
Board.  January 3, at the Yoders.
Board and Membership.  February 5, at Corcoran.


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Board & Staff

If you need to contact someone associated with Clann Tartan, here is where you find out how. If you are unsure who to contact, you can always email us at: info@clanntartan.org

Board Members

President Mary McKinley 651-699-6853 mairi2@juno.com
Vice President Bruce Yoder 651-698-8375 bruceyoder@juno.com
Secretary Glenn McDavid 651-490-1842 gmcdavid@comcast.net
Treasurer Rob Portinga 651-253-4506 rob@portinga.org
Quarter Master Herb Lindorff 612-827-4440 deeptinker@hotmail.com
Camp Rep. Diana Steben 612-728-1189 Rillaspins@aol.com
Company Rep. Brenda Bartel 651-335-5097 socks142@aol.com

Staff

Captain Marty Byers 651.483.1173 mjlbyers@msn.com
Lieutenant Eric Ferguson 612.726.6364 eric@celticfringe.net
Head Campfollower Rob Johnson 612.702.4274  roguerpj@mn.rr.com
Assistant Head Campfollower Julie Yoder 651.698.8375 julieyoder@juno.com
Goodwife Judy Byers 651.483.1173 mjlbyers@msn.com
Goodwife Maeve Kane 952.461.4666  

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Guilds

Sword Guild:

I am now taking names of MEMBERS, who are interested in learning the period correct way to wield the blades we would have used. The methods will be totally Scottish and /or common to the Scottish Island.

But, first I need your name, mailing address, phone number and what type of sword you are interested in...and, do you have such a sword. When I have this information, we will set up a date and time to get together for our first exercise.

I hope to use some of what we learn in a skit or two during the coming years. The more blades we have to be used correctly the better we will be for the public.

So, get me this information soon and let's get started.

Marty L. Byers
651-483-1173


Drum

Drummers continue to meet at 11 am the third Saturday of each month at Eric and Hellen's, followed by Regimental Drill at Noon. The Regiment owns two drums, but drummers are requested to get their own drumsticks.

A note for soldiers - according to the articles of war, it is a crime punishable by death not to learn the drum calls. Be forewarned.

We have set up a yahoo group for the Corps at http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/clannfifeanddrum/ so we can communicate without clogging up non corps folks' e-mail.

Again, drummers will work primarily on period military music for the time being.

All are welcome - no experience neccessary.

Anyone interested in joining up contact Clann's Music Chair at:

David Vavreck
baethan1630@yahoo.com
612-378-1973


Dance

1st & 3rd Wednesdays
One Grenoble Ave, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

The community center for Skyline Village, on the east side of Concord St. at 75th St in Inver Grove Heights. About 2.5 miles south of I494

2nd & 4th Tuesdays
Saint Christopher's Episcopal Church, 2300 N Hamline Ave. in St. Paul.

It is at the northeast corner of Highway 36 and Hamline Avenue (Hamline is between Snelling and Lexington). The church is actually encircled by the highway entrance ramp.
The Dance Guild gathers weekly from 7PM-9PM to learn and practice historic Scottish country dances.
For more information call:

Mary at 651-699-6853 or Julie at 651-698-8375

It's a great place to meet people !

Other Guilds

Want to learn about wool spinning, weaving, or dying? Diana Steben (651-489-2881) Kali Pederson (651-730-5437 ) and Sandy Borrmann (651-489-2881) organize the Fiber Guild.

Clann Tartan has our own historic site near Duluth MN. Dun Gowan is an ongoing project, which is the site of Gaffneyis Annual Tactical in July. We are finishing the fort and beginning the construction of a village this year. Contact David Vavreck at 612-378-1973 or baethan1630@yahoo.com for further information, or to volunteer to help.

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Captains Corner

As was once said, "there are as many ways to give commands, as there are commanders."

I believe this to be true, beyond a doubt. I also believe that a good commander is flexable with his commands. He is willing to change the language of his commands, in order to be better understood by his troops. Fore, if his troops are unable to understand his directions, the the battle is lost, to a man. If the battle is lost, then so may be the war. If the war is lost, then they may ALL be required to learn a new way of following commands.

It is my desire to involve as many members of the company ( this may include members of the camp, as needed) in several displays of company life. Everything from watering during the drills, to carting off the dead( sorry, some manner of clothing must remain on the corpse). I am planning several "skits" to use throughout the year, but I am also open to hearing your thoughts and ideas on what you would like to see done. Not just on the company side, but also the camp side. So, give it some thought and let me know.

Now, on to company business. I will announce drills (at events) at the cast call each morning, I do expect a full turn out for these drills. Also, I do expect the troops to be formed up BEFORE I enter the field. Anyone arriving after I take my place on the field, will be dealt with, severly ( snicker,snicker,wink,wink, know what I mean).

We have the chance to pick up some new, young members, that have voiced an interest in what we do. And, in order to give them a chance to experience a small taste of it, the January drill will be held at a location on the Blvd. of Summit Ave, just north of the McCallister campus. I encourage everyone to show up (dressing warmly), and partake of the drill, showing these new pholks what we are about, and talking with them about some of the other things we do, ie: dance, pub night, music, drum, etc.

Coming up in Feb., we have the Scottish ramble, this is a good chance to recruit and to make ourselves known to others. It is an indoor event, doesn't get too warm, and most wild tartan will be kept under control. If we have enough members for the company, the stage time will be run by the commander of pike AND the commander of musket. Also, I may be looking for a third. So make plans to attend.

I look forward to serving as a worthy commander this season, and I am sure you can make me proud.

Cpt. Martin Birse

Noblis Est Ira Leonis

******************************************************************************************


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Articles

From the desk of your Head Camp Follower

Greetings

January is proving to be an active month.

The Airing of the Tartans and First Footing are approaching rapidly. It is shaping up to be a wonderful event. The only thing we are lacking is responses from you the membership as to whether or not you are planning on attending.

I can not emphasize how important it is to let the staff know if you are attending an event. Beyond the issue of it being rude to just show up, the budget for food items is based solely on attendance. Therefore, if you do not say you are coming, I have no way of knowing how many to prepare food for.

I met with Marty and we both decided that this year we are going to start some changes regarding attendance. The first one is that only one person, myself, will be collecting the names of those people attending. It is hoped that this will eliminate confusion when it comes to finding out who said they would be at an event.

I am easy to contact. My email is roguerpj@mn.rr.com. I can also be reached via the Clann discussion list. My cell phone number is 612-702-4274. And, my home address is 629 Kenwood Parkway, Minneapolis MN 55403. I check email at least twice a day so this is the best way to get me a message but the other methods work just as well.

Also new is the attendance sign in sheet. At each event there will be a parchment log book. Members are to sign in when they arrive and sign out when they leave an event. This information will then be used to determine active membership for voting purposes.

The last thing I wanted to talk about is the upcoming Winter Muster. This year it will be on January 15th at Corcoran Center <same place as the membership meetings> from 10am to 4pm. During the 10 to 1:30 time frame there will be breakout sessions to cover each of the requirements for achieving 1st level. Then there will be a break from 1:30 to 2:00 when we will serve a light snack. Please eat before you arrive if you will not last that long. Following the break from 2:00 till 4:00 will be Perry Vining’s presentation on how to give demos to the public. Below is a schedule of sessions so come to what you need to be passed off on or what interests you.

Time

10:00-10:30

10:30-11:00

11:00-11:30

11:30-12:00

12:00-12:30

12:30-1:00

1

Dance

Singing

Spinning

Dance

Singing

Spinning

2

Fire Starting

Costume

Character Bio

Fire Starting

Costume

Character Bio

3

Brogue

Kitchen Safety

Pike

Brogue

Kitchen Safety

Pike

4

Test

Musket

Tent Setup

Test

Musket

Tent Setup

 

This event (for those that are new) is designed so members can work to reaching the next level of muster. We all start out at 1st level by paying our dues, getting a handbook, and having period clothing that the quartermaster approves. The semi-annual Musters, one in the summer and one in the winter, are a chance to advance to the next level.

In the handbook under general regulations are the guidelines for what needs to be done to pass each level of muster so I will not list them here. But do review them prior to muster so you have an idea of what you need to work on.

I look forward to seeing you all and hope that you have fun.

Rob Johnson

Head Camp Follower



****************************************************************************************


So You've Turned to the Plaid Side or, How to Avoid Culture Shock at Your First Event

So you've joined Clann. And you've got something approaching a reasonable outfit, and you've maybe even been to dance or drill. So now what?

Well, there's an event. An outdoor event. With tents and stuff.

Uh-oh.

So. For this event, you need a tent. So you get a tent. Then what? What can you do in camp besides stand around and look good in your new clothes? And what gives with eats?

1. So you want to sleep somewhere--probably in a tent

Getting a tent is easy. It involves a phone call or a quick email, and not even to a catalouge. Clann Tartan owns several trooper tents that we own for the express purpose of giving new members a place to sleep--we try to make sure that members don't freeze to death. It's bad for our image.

Trooper tents can sleep three people max (if you're all friendly) or more if you stack right. They can be reserved by calling any member of your friendly staff, whose names, numbers and emails can be found elsewhere in this newsletter. (I won't list them here because staff is elected yearly and may change periodically). Reserving a tent is as simple as calling any of your staff, although the camp staff (Head Camp Follower, Asst Head Camp Follower, and the three Goodwives) are more on that side of the business, telling them how many people you're bringing, and saying thank you. It's polite to help set up before the event opens, and that way you can also learn fascinating and useful things like how to set up a tent, and what goes where on the trailer. However, if you can't help set up camp before the event, don't worry. We have lots of nice people who will make sure you have a tent to sleep in if you have to arrive at an event at midnight after a long drive and working all day, as many of our members do.

2. I have a tent. What do I do with this tent?

For your first event, you don't need much--clothing for you and who ever is with you, eating utensils for all of you (Clann feeds all its members at every event), and something to sleep on. How you sleep will probably most impact your comfort at an event. If you've camped before, skip this section. If not, read on.

Generally, blankets or a sleeping bag in various degrees work well if the event is guaranteed to be dry enough for you to sleep on the ground. If it looks like there's a possibility that it might be wet, a plastic sheet for under your bedding or even a cot might be in order (standing water in tents is not unheard of in the case of torrential rain).

That said, a cot or air mattress will not keep you very warm. They allow too much air to circulate underneath the body while you sleep, and so are not the best choice for some of our October events, which often dip below 32 degrees at night. A straw tick, foam egg crate or mattress pad or even just blankets on the bare ground work better for these cooler events than an air mattress or cot will. A cot or air mattress will keep you relatively cool for summer events, but know that it gets mighty hot under canvas once the sun comes up. We don't do wake up calls, but you might want to get out of bed before your eyeballs bake out of your skull.

3. So you've showed up for your first event

Congratulations, you followed your directions and found the event despite them. A few tips on politeness if you show up for an event after it has started:

If it's past ten o clock or so when you arrive, try to be quiet. Some people have children or even go to bed themselves. Try parking a ways away from camp, or if you have to drive into camp, have someone guide you and make sure you don't drive over anyone's tent ropes. When unpacking, try to be quiet, and if you do have your own tent, try very, very hard to put it up as much before midnight as possible.

If you show up while it's still light out, check to see if the event is still open to school kids or public or not before you start driving on or unpacking. Most events have rules about when is and is not okay to drive on site, and you should know when that is before you drive on. Checking just involves walking up to someone in funny clothes and asking them if the event is still open to public or not. If someone stops you and asks you where you think you're going dressed like that without paying, just tell them you're with Clann Tartan. Saying that will get you into everywhere you need to be, as long as where you need to be isn't a concert, a sporting event, operating room, or anything else that for some reason doesn't involve much canvas and lots of silly adults playing dress up.

If the event isn't open, you're great. Drive on, unpack, and enjoy being able to see what you're doing.

If the event isn't open, either wait a while until the event does close, or have someone help you carry on what you absolutely need until you can drive on, and unpack the rest then.

4. My stuff is here. What do I do with it?

Get dressed! Don't stand around in your civvies, it's bad form. See all those people walking around in funny clothes? No, not the ones in kilts and breeches and gray coats. The ones in jeans and t shirts and sneakers. You're not one of those people anymore, you're one of us, and should dress accordingly.

5. So you're dressed. What's to do besides stand around and look good?

If you haven't got a demo or anything else to do, there is much to be done around camp. While our military isn't real, we do have a working camp. People need water, that fire is real, and meals need to be cooked. If you haven't got anything else to do, help haul water or fire wood, or volunteer to help with a meal or do dishes. Even if you do have something better to do, haul some wood, help with a meal, and do the dishes at least once per event, because the more people who help out, the less everyone else has to do.

People who help prepare meals or who do dishes get to eat first. This includes chopping vegetables, stirring oatmeal, or rinsing dishes.

As far as doing dishes goes--yes, it sucks. But at a cold event, that warm water can really warm you up, and after a couple days at a show, the long soak in soapy water can get your hands a lot cleaner. Spend a few days with dirty nails and you'll be begging to do the dishes.

6. Uh-oh. What's that drum?

If you're a man or a woman playing a man, an incessant drum beat during open hours will mean a military drill is happening. Hustle! That is, if you've been put through drill one on one before. If not, or if you don't feel like you're safe to handle a weapon, don't participate. If you don't want to participate because you're afraid that you'll do something wrong, go do drill anyway. Everyone does something wrong once in a while. So get to, and man your arms.

And if you get yelled at during drill, don't take it personally. If you do get yelled at, it's because the officer who did it is insensitive and you blended in so well that they thought you were one of the older members. Officers really are nice people underneath it all, and will apologize to you later.

7. Uh-oh. This person is talking to me.

Is this person wearing funny clothes, or are they dressed like you?

If this person is a member of the public at large and is wearing funny clothes, be polite and answer their questions to the best of your knowledge, but know the limits of your own knowledge. If you don't know something, say so, and direct this person to another member who knows what the answer is or who can bluff their way into looking like they know.

If this person is dressed like you, remember that it's okay not to know everything about everything. Some members have been reenacting for ten or more years, and have been researching things for that long if not longer. Just be interested, ask questions about what you're interested, and remember that everyone has some areas that they are absolutely clueless in. History of the Thirty Years' War is not something most people are exposed to daily, and there's nothing wrong with learning something new.

And remember, you joined because it looked fun. It is. Remember that.



****************************************************************************************


Firepots
by David Vavreck

The purpose of this article – through which we will travel from the British Isles to the Netherlands, Iberia, Italy, the New World, and even Africa - is to inform you of one of the perils you may well have experienced in the wars - namely, firepots.

Firepots are an incendiary device ancestral to the hand grenade used in siege warfare and in naval combat. They were invented in Arabia by AD 1000. The flammable agent used by the Arabs was gasoline, which makes them a Molotov Cocktail, nine centuries before General Molotov. A 13th century grenade factory has been excavated in Hama, Syria (James and Thorpe, 231 – 233)..

From Arabia, they were introduced to the Chinese, who had them by 1128, which is the date a sculpture of a firepot-wielding demon was carved in Szechuan. The Chinese were the first to fill the small missiles with gunpowder, which was then an incendiary, not explosive, substance. (James and Thorpe, 233 – 234).

The Mongols learned how to use firepots from the Chinese, and the Golden Horde under Ogodei (son of Genghis Khan) introduced the weapon to Europe in the early 13th century, along with such neat things as gunpowder, cannon, mortars, and rockets; it was the Mongols that perfected gunpowder, turning it in to an explosive, rather than an incendiary, substance (Weatherford, 182 – 183).

Then follows a poorly documented period in Europe regarding firepots, at least. They are finally described in an Italian metallurgical treatise, Biriguccio's Pyrotechnia, (Venice, 1540), in English in Lucar's Tartaglia Colloquies and Lucar Appendix (London, 1588) and ten or so other works published throughout western Europe dating from 1540 – 1650 (see bibliography in Martin 1994 p 217).

Additional documentary evidence comes from Biriguccio's diary from the Malta-Turk war of 1565 (see below), surviving documents from the Spanish Armada in 1588 (see below), as well as an inventory of the Tower of London dated 1634, where 43 earthenware "powder pottes" are listed (Martin 1994 p 216).

Firepots are generally made of earthenware which is fired at low temperature to ease their shattering upon impact. They may glazed – not for appearance's sake, but to render them less susceptible to the elements. They hold a cup or two (Martin 1994 208, 211) of a mixture of gunpowder and various other substances such as saltpeter, sulfur, varnish, stone oil, green coperesse (iron pyrites), assa fetida (concreted resinous gum), arsenic, pitch, pig fat, or gum (Martin 1994 p 209).

To keep the contents safe from both spillage and the elements, the opening is sealed with a layer of pig fat or by tying a tarred or resined piece of canvas around the lip of the opening. To use, a fuse is inserted - or several pieces of match cord are attached - and lit just before sending the pot on its merry way. When it impacted, it would shatter, igniting the contents, and sending sticky flame about.

Smaller firepots were thrown by hand, slung by a lanyard, or launched with a sling (the last military use of the sling in the West of which I am aware); larger versions were mounted on a long pole and swung out at nearby targets.

Records indicate that each ship in the Spanish Armada was issued 25 firepots (Martin 1994 p 207). At sea, they were used to create confusion aboard enemy ships just before boarding; sailors' greatest fear was fire at sea, so they would have to drop weapons to put out the fire while it was still possible to do so.

This all presupposes, of course, that ships move in for close combat. With the improvements in artillery throughout the 16th century, this became an increasingly frowned-upon maneuver. The Spanish were seemingly the last European naval power to adopt the new tactic – the broadside; in 1588, the Armada was prepared for close-combat tactics, but the English kept their distance and fired away.

Although Biriguccio advocates the use of firepots by infantry in field combat, the only documentation I have come across of this possibly being done is two incidents mentioned by Spanish mercenary Francesco Balbi di Correggio's in his published account of the 1565 defense of Malta against the Turks. On one occasion, a well-placed fire pot ignited a Turk powder container, and the resulting disarray managed to break up a Turk infantry attack. The second occasion illustrates the other extreme when using firepots; an exhausted defender inadvertently ignited a whole chest of them, with ruinous consequences for himself and his comrades (mentioned by Martin 1994 p 210). It is unclear from Martin, however, whether this occurred during a field battle or a siege.

On land, firepots were used primarily as a defensive weapon in siege warfare, either to set ablaze any enemy equipment that got close enough to be in range, to fire any debris such as facines that the attackers would throw into a defensive ditch to facilitate a crossing, or they would simply tossed at massed troops, rolled into enemy trenches, or used in mines and counter mines to take out enemy troops and sappers.

A number of firepots have been excavated. The more common smaller ones come in three different forms: spherical, waisted, and multi handled pots.


16th and 17th century illustrations of firepots: (a) and (d) Lucar 1588, (b) Gentilini 1598, (c) and
(f) Cataneo 1571, (e) Norton 1628. Not to same scale.
Source: Martin 1994 p 209

Surviving spherical firepots include "many" undated but probably 15th or 16th century examples excavated from the moat of Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfriesshire, Scotland (Laing and Laing, p 32); one complete firepot and fragments of roughly ten more found in a mid 16th century English wreck in the Channel Islands (Bound p 87); and one from the British Civil War at Dudley Castle, Worcestershire (Martin 1994 p 211).


Waisted firepot replica by Maeve Kane

Recovered waisted firepots include several from the Spanish Armada ship La Trinidad Valencera sunk at Kinnagoe Bay, Donegal, Ireland in 1588 (Martin 1987 p 147; the one replicated by Maeve); one from the wreck at Church Rocks, Teignmouth, England believed also to be an Armada ship sunk in 1588 (Preece and Burton p 261, Teignmouth Museum ); one from a late 16th century wreck in the Adriatic Sea (Martin 1994 p 211); several from the French La Belle sunk at Matagorda Bay, Texas in 1687 (Matagorda); and ten from the Portuguese Santo Antonio de Tanna sunk at Mombasa Harbor, Kenya in 1697 (Hamilton).

Others, such as the three found at Flushing, Netherlands now found in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Martin 1994 p 211) and one from the San Antonio de Tanna (Martin 1994 p208) are multi handled, not unlike a tygge; pieces of match cord would be tied to each handle.

A larger form of fire pot is almost chamberpot-shaped. It would be filled with the required incendiary material, then a piece of fabric would be tied over the lip of the rim. This cover would then be tarred. Else a turned wooden stopper would plug it. There are excavated examples of the former from the Santo Antonio de Tanna (Hamilton) and the latter from La Belle (Matagorda).

By the mid 17th century, firepots had been rendered obsolescent by cast iron or glass grenades. The earliest reference I have found to European grenades proper is their description in Robert Norton's The Gunner (London 1628). Several have been recovered from wrecks such as the English Sea Venture, wrecked in Bermuda in 1609 (Wingood p 339-40, and see post script below); the English warship Anne, sunk in 1690 (Marsden and Lyon p17) and the San Antonio de Tanna, sunk in 1697 (Kirkman p 156). The several firepots from wrecks of the 1680s and 1690s mentioned above, however, show their continued use.

Interestingly enough, the largish firepots from La Belle each had a cast iron grenade inside, along with the usual incendiary mixture. The grenade had its own fuse which would ignite when the fire pot shattered. Ideally, I suppose, given the delay between the firepot's going off and grenade's explosion, enough time would go by that the grenade would take out some fire fighters.

David Vavreck

Post Script: The above-mentioned Sea Venture was flagship of the third supply fleet to head for the fledgling colony at Jamestown, Virginia. In 1609, she was sunk in Bermuda by a hurricane. Published accounts by the survivors were the inspiration for Shakespeare's The Tempest. Furthermore, amongst the survivors, there was a handful who quite understandably were disinclined to board another ship which presently came to their rescue. This led to the formal foundation of an English colony there in 1612, which was arguably England's most successful New World colony in the 17th century (Wingood p 333).

Bibliography:

Biriguccio, Vannoccio. 1540 (1966) Pirotechnia. Translated by Cyril Stanley Smith and Martha Teach Gnudi. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA

Bound, Mensun. 1997 "A Late Elizabethan Wreck off Alderney in the Channel Islands" pp 84-90 in Underwater Archaeology. Society for Historical Archaeology, Tuscon, AZ

Hamilton, Donny L. 1997 "Ceramic Firepots" Conservation Research Laboratory Research Report #1, Nautical Archeology Program, Texas A&M University http://nautarch.tamu.edu/CRL/Report1/firepots.htm

James, Peter and Thorpe, Nick. 1994 Ancient Inventions. Ballantine Books, NY

Kirkman, James. 1972 "A Portuguese wreck off Mombasa, Kenya". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, vol. 1, 153-157

Laing, Lloyd and Laing, Jennifer. 1996 Medieval Britain: the Age of Chivalry. St. Martin's Press, NY

Marsden, Peter and Lyon, David. 1977 "A wreck believed to be the warship Anne, lost in 1690". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, vol 6.1, pp 9 – 20.

Martin, Colin. 1987 "Guns and Sails" pp 138-147 in Peter Throckmorton (ed). The Sea Remembers: Shipwrecks and Archaeology from Homer's Greece to the Rediscovery of the Titanic. Weidenfield & Nicolson, NY

Martin, Colin. 1994 "Incendiary weapons from the Spanish Armada wreck La Trinidad Valencera, 1588". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, vol 23.3, pp 207-217

Matagorda County Museum. "Firepot" page on their website has a photo of the fire pot from La Belle. Accessed at http://www.matagordacountymuseum.org/labelle/firepot.htm

Nova. "Voyage of Doom". This WGBH production, originally broadcast in 1999, is about La Belle. Accessed at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lasalle/ A photo of a grenade-loaded fire pot is at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lasalle/wreckfire.html

Preece C. and Burton, S. 1993 "Church Rocks, 1975-1983: a reassessment". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, vol 22.3, pp 257-265

Teignmouth Museum. "The Sixteenth Century Wreck: Church Rocks, Teignmouth". Accessed at http://website.lineone.net/~teignmuseum/shipwreck.htm

Weatherford, Jack. 2004 Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Crown Publishers, NY

Wingood, Allan J. 1982 "Sea Venture. An interim report on an early 17th century shipwreck lost in 1609". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, vol 11.4, pp 333-347

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Calendar of Events

Be sure to contact your staff
if you plan on attending a show event. Try to give at least a ten day notice when possible. This allows proper planning for the feeding of our members, and in some cases is required by event organizers to allow entry as a participant.
You can call any of the staff members listed, or send an email to staff@clanntartan.org.

January 2005

SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY
  1
Airing of the Tartans &
First Footing

Augsburg Park
Richfield 
2
 
3
Board Meeting 7PM
at the home of
Bruce & Julie Yoder 
4
 
5
Dance 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
Dance 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
Winter Muster
Corcopran Park MN
Guest speaker:
Perry Vining 
16  17
 
18
Night At the Pub
Molly Quinn's
Minneapolis @ 7PM 
19
Dance 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
Dance 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
Winter Carnival Grande Day Parade
Parade starts at 1:30.
Show up at noon.  
30
 
31
 
 

February 2005

SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY
  1
 
2
Dance 
3
 
4
 
5
Annual Meeting
& General Elections
NOON Corcoran Park Hall
Minneapolis
Winter Carnival Torchlight Parade
Starts at 6 PM.
Show up at 4:30.  
6
 
7
 
8
Dance 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
Albert Lea Historic Faire
Might get paid for demos. 
13
Albert Lea Historic Faire
Might get paid for demos.  
14
 
15
Night at the Pub
7PM @ Molly Quinn's in Minneapolis 
16
Dance 
17
 
18
 
19
Scottish Ramble at
the Minnesota Landmark Center
St. Paul 
20
Scottish Ramble at
the Minnesota Landmark Center
St. Paul 
21
 
22
Dance 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
 

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Maps

Map to Inver Grove Heights location- Dance Map to St. Paul location St. Christopher's- Dance
Map to Board Meetings
Bruce and Julie Yoder's Home
Map to Board/Quarterly/Annual Meetings
Corcoran Park, Minneapolis

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Event Maps and Notification

January 1st 2005, Airing of the Tartans-Augsburg Park, Richfield, MN at 12 NOON

From the North, take the Portland Ave exit south from Crosstown/ Hwy 62, and follow it to 70th Street. Turn right (West) and go to Nicollet Ave. Cross Nicollet and Park is on the left.
From the South, take the Nicollet Ave exit North from 494 about 1/2 mile to 70th St. Turn Left (West).
70th Street & Nicollet Avenue South in Richfield


January 1st 2005, First Footing Schedule

News about First Footing!

We are excited to report that we have a schedule of houses and courses for First Footing! On Saturday, January 1st. 2005, we will gather beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the home of our new Head Campfollower, Rob Johnson, and his partner, Heidi Johnson, for beverages and appetizers. We will proceed thence at 3:00 to Cate Hesser’s home for soups and salads, then at 5:00 will progress to Bruce and Julie Yoder’s for the main course. At 7:30, we will move on to Marty and Judy Byer’s for desserts. First Footing is a potluck; the success of the event depends on each of us contributing. Please plan on bringing a contribution to at least two of the houses, and please R.s.v.p. to Julie Yoder at julieyoder@juno.com or 651-698-8375 with the number of people attending and what you plan to bring. Please respond by Friday, December 17. We the staff thank those who volunteered their homes, whether we were able to use them this time or not!

R.s.v.p.s REQUIRED BY DECEMBER 18!

Here’s what we have so far; updates will be posted periodically to the Member elist:

Appetizers and Beverages, 1:00

Rob Johnson and Heidi Johnson
629 Kenwood Parkway, Minneapolis



  1. Smoked Salmon Mousse on Rye Bread – Julie Yoder and Judy Byers
  2. Hot Spiced Cranberry Juice – Julie Yoder
***********************************************************************

Soups and Salads, 3:00

Cate Hesser
1239 Charles Avenue, St. Paul



  1. Meat Soup – Rob Johnson
***********************************************************************

Main Course, 5:00

Bruce and Julie Yoder
1817 Juno Avenue, St. Paul



  1. Turkey and Stuffing with Gravy – Julie Yoder
  2. Beef Stroganoff – Marty Byers
***********************************************************************

Desserts, 7:30

Marty and Judy Byers
2821 Churchill Street, Roseville



  1. Chocolate Fondue – Judy Byers
  2. Assorted Cookies – Judy Byers
  3. Shortbread – Julie Yoder
***********************************************************************

For directions, go to http://maps.yahoo.com/

 

 

 

January 15th 2005, Winter Muster Corcopran Park MN Guest speaker: Perry Vining

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