Monday, July 16, 2018

Old Fort Niagara French and Indian War Encampment (Youngstown, NY), Part 2

Hey there,

After another crazy week of fitness and music rehearsals (plus my gig at the Treasure 15 even), we are on to part 2 of my Fort Niagara posts. The really fun stuff about the sutlers and blanket traders. As always, some sutlers are new to me while others I've purchased from before. Either way, they are all awesome. :)
Featured in this blog post, we have:

Grandma's Soap and Stuff
Romantically Bent
Father, Son and Friends

So when I set out on my Fort Niagara expedition, I was stoked to see one of my favorite sutlers. I wrote a little on Grandma's Soap and Stuff and their amazing product in my Fort Frederick blog. Not only is the product great (and like castles, I do have a bit of an obsession with handmade soap), but the owners are an absolute joy to hang out and talk with. I purchased quite a bit from them at Fort Frederick and at Fort Niagara, I bought two more soap bars (Dragon's Blood and Dead Sea Mud & Salt).
Because I make my own lip balm, you won't typically see me purchasing it, but upon my arrival at Fort Niagara, I discovered that I was running low. Thankfully, Grandma's Soap and Stuff also makes lip balm and they happened to have some there.
Now one item on the inventory of Grandma's Soap and Stuff  that I still had yet to try was their tea. And I love tea, so I ended up buying some, along with a maple cake. I will be reviewing a couple of their products in the next health and beauty post.

My Fort Niagara Grandma's Soap & Stuff purchases

Definitely check out Grandma's Soap and Stuff:
Grandma's Soap and Stuff Website

They also offer gift wrapping, so if you are looking for a great gift idea, definitely consider their soap and other products. :)

Next on the agenda (aside from more exploration of the castle and other structures within the fort) was a visit to Romantically Bent. This was a new sutler for me, but I was pretty drawn in by her 18th century clothing display as I approached her tent. The owner, Christine Scanlon, is another fun person to talk to and I loved looking around at what she had to offer. I did need a new pair of clocked stockings, so I ended up picking up a pair (I think the pair I got was $14...not a bad deal). Hand fans are another item that I seem to be developing an obsession for. In my opinion, you can never have too many and you do need a variety of styles depending on the color and style of your outfit and what look you're going for (at least that's what I keep telling myself). Another item that caught my attention was the heart shaped pocket watch. So I bought it because why not. :)

Romantically Bent Purchases
Check out Romantically Bent on Facebook and Instagram:
Romantically Bent on Facebook
Romantically Bent on Instagram

Another type of item I have a weakness for are items Celtic or Celtic inspired. And if you're into that sort of thing Father, Son and Friends are well stocked. In addition to being a store, they are also a musical group and a very good one at that.
So basically I was in need of a sturdy canvas bag to haul music stuff around in and found one such thing at the Father Son and Friends tent. And it also goes with the whole Celtic Fantasy thing I have going in my own music and much of my writing. So yay, I was happy about that.

my bag from Father, Son an Friends

Show Father Son and Friends some love on the interwebs and check out the music too!
Father Son and Friends website
Father Son and Friends on Facebook 

Among those that I had the pleasure of interacting with at Fort Niagara were a couple artists (painters) and an author of French and Indian War novels. These artists are Pamela Patrick White and Bryant White, John Buxton, and William P. Robertson. Many within the living history and reenactment communities in my neck of the woods are familiar with the works of John Buxton (as well as Robert Griffing). The Whites have also been pretty well-known within the history festival circuit. William P. Robertson's novels have been acclaimed and in addition to his historic fiction novels, he is also a writer of horror (he's sending me some goodies so expect a write up/review of the works in the near future). All of these artists are acclaimed in what they do and I am very honored to have them show interest in using my likeness as possible inspiration for future works. Definitely show them love and check out their works!

Welp, that wraps up my Fort Niagara blog and leaves me room to move onto blogging about the next events I attended! To conclude, here are a couple more photos. You can see even more of these by coming into my email tribe. :)

Up next: I tell you a little of this past weekend at the French Creek Heritage Festival in Cochrantion, PA and my gig with Wayward Companions and Pittsburgh Historical Music Society at the Depreciation Lands Museum's 18th century Ice Cream Social!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Old Fort Niagara French and Indian War Encampment (Youngstown, New York), Part 1

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to kick off the month of July at the Old Fort Niagara French and Indian War Encampment. I also apologize for the slight delay of the Fort Niagara blog posts. It has been a hectic week between fitness training, getting re-rehearsed in my own songs for the Treasure Night 15 event, and then rehearsing with Wayward Companions for the Whiskey Rebellion Festival and two other gigs we have over the forthcoming weekends! So yes, it's been pretty busy here in my corner. :D

But anyway...

It was my first year at this particular reenactment event and was definitely one I was looking forward to, especially upon seeing photos of the castle from friends that have already been there. Fort Niagara also has some pretty cool history behind it.

I set out early Friday evening when I met my travel homies at around 5pm and we made the 4-5 hour drive to Youngstown, NY. It was about 10pm upon our arrival and I was immediately taken in by the night time scenery, from the beautiful Lake Ontario to the castle (I have what might be a rather unhealthy obsession with castles).

After we unloaded our stuff into the tents, I went for a walk, briefly visiting the castle and using that time to observe and take an "I have arrived" selfie.

The night time weather was quite lovely, making the night spent in a tent a very pleasant one.

I got up the following morning and went for a little jog (as I typically do at these events) and in doing so, I was able to take in even more of the scenery.

the castle in the daylight

For this event, I decided to wear one of my newly sewn outfits and I set out on my exploring expedition.

on the third floor of the castle in front of Betsy Doyle's memorial display. She's badass :)

the cool little pass all of us had to carry

Lake Ontario. Seriously, it's amazing to see in person.

another photo taken during my exploration of the castle

A bird was also chilling in the rafters. It turned out that the nest was nearby.

I hung out in the French Military kitchen for quite some time since I met some really cool people who shared food from the hearth with me. Food from the hearth is always welcome. I also had a couple 18th century artists and an author interested in using my image for their future works. I will get a little more into them and their works - along with the sutlers I encountered and purchased from - in the next part of the Fort Niagara blogs.

the castle at close to sun down...

having a beer with friends at the evening tavern

The following morning (Sunday), I had to leave pretty early on due to the fact that Wayward Companions were rehearsing for the Whiskey Rebellion gig which took place the following weekend. A recap of the Whiskey Rebellion Festival will also be posted here soon.

The drive home was very scenic and so I took a couple photos.

the healthiest things I could find at a gas station I stopped at

Stay tuned for part 2 of my Fort Niagara blog postings, along with other forthcoming blog posts that will feature Whiskey Rebellion photos, my step by step process on making an 18th century hat (my goal is to have it completed in time for the next Wayward Companions gig on July 15), and a review of one of my favorite sutlers' product in the Health and Beauty section of this blog. My next adventures also include going to the Cochranton and Bushy Run Battlefield reenactment events. I haven't decided whether I will dress in period clothes for these particular events since I will only be day tripping it on the Saturdays to hang out with friends. We shall see. Maybe I'll feel inspired. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Whiskey Tasting and Liberty Pole Spirits

For those that follow history, July commemorates the height of the whiskey tax that took place in what is now Washington, Pennsylvania and the rebellion that arose from it. My traditional Celtic music group, Wayward Companions, are often called upon to perform at such events that commemorate and reenact the historic event on which the farmers making whiskey to have as a means of trade for goods of survival was now being taxed by the government. Now, the governments reasoning for the tax was to use it as a way to compensate veterans of the revolution. On the farmers' end, however, they were barely making enough to survive and for many, having a bartering system with the whiskey was the difference between being able to eat or not. As a result, the farmers rose up, rebelling against the tax and forming the Mingo Creek Society. The society set up liberty poles as a way of demonstratng their unity.
One of Wayward Companions' most recent gigs was the whiskey tasting event at Woodville Plantation, a plantation owned by John Neville, a man widely respected but maligned when he was among those supporting the whiskey tax. In response, rebels torched much of Neville's property and some government officials were taken and made subject to punishments such as tarring and feathering. The whiskey tasting event was the start of several events that are to take place in Washington, PA throughout the month of July, and Liberty Pole Spirits was the distillery that provided the whiskey.

Liberty Pole Spirits is a whiskey distillery in the heart of Washington, PA, set up to not only provide good whiskey, but preserve the legacy of the Whiskey Rebellion and Mingo Creek Society. After Wayward Companions performed, we did get to partake in the whiskey tasting and I tried three different kinds:

Peated Bourbon

For the rye whiskey, a winter rye is used with a touch of wheat to soften the rye-spice ever so sslightly. The rye spice is still quite prominent in the pallet and nasal passage, as I experienced when I tasted it.
As for the bourbon (I personally prefer bourbon in general), the distillery refers to it as one of their flagship products. For the bourbon, they use the heirloom Bloody Butcher variety of corn, a variety grown in the Washington, PA area during the Whiskey Rebellion. It is pot distilled and aged for between 9 and 15 months. As bourbon is my preference, I tend to be on the picky side when it comes to this particular spirit and I will say that Liberty Pole did not disappoint at all with this one. In fact, it was among the best bourbon I ever tried.
Now, with bourbon under my belt, they were able to convince me into trying their peated bourbon. Peated bourbon combines American Scotches with American Bourbons. Like the bourbon, they use the Bloody Butcher corn, but then combine it with a heavily peated barley. I would say that I did like the peated bourbon even more so than the regular bourbon and could definitely taste its smokey and sweet notes. I very much enjoyed it.

I highly recommend checking out Liberty Pole Spirits if you happen to take a trip to the Washington, Pennsylvania area, especially throughout the month of July when all the Whiskey Rebellion Festivities will be taking place. Liberty Pole has a great website that offers even more detail on their whiskey varieties and distilling process, along with an option to take a tour of their distillery for a very reasonable price. They also have their own version of the Mingo Creek Society (which I plan on looking in to joining).

Liberty Pole Spirits website

And don't forget to show them love on social media:

Liberty Pole Spirits on Facebook

Liberty Pole Spirits on Instagram

Liberty Pole Spirits on Twitter

And last but not least, don't forget to check out Wayward Companions at The Whiskey Rebellion Festival on July 7

Cheers and Huzzah!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Friendship Day at the Depreciation Lands Museum

The weekend of May 20 was a busy one, between promoting the webseries Heroineburgh at 3 Rivers Comic Con and then a gig with my 18th century folk music group, Wayward Companions at the Depreciation Lands Museum's Friendship Day event. It was a fun event and as always, we enjoyed performing and did a mostly Irish set. Long overdue video of that event will be up soon, but in the meantime, here are some photos from the event. :)

18th century potter, Mike Flaherty and his wares.:

 I might have just a slight obsession with his stuff as I own several mugs he's made...

I think I might have been doing something like watching Gladiator and drinking a giant mug of tea or coffee. One of the two. 

And here is Paul Claus with his jacked leatherware. He's not as frightening as he appears... :D

And last but not least, here are some photos from the after party. Me with my vintage leopard print sunglasses. :)

Here's two of my Wayward Companions bandmates:

You can visit the Depreciation Lands Museum this summer (we will be doing a couple more gigs there). Check out their website at the following link:
Depreciation Lands Museum website

And of course, check out the Wayward Companions website to see where we will be next! :)

3 Rivers Comic Con and Heroineburgh

Hey there!

Just sharing some photos from my appearance promoting the webseries Heroineburgh as my character, Darbouka/Darsha Bukhari at 3 Rivers Comic Con a couple weeks ago. :)

 Headed out the door... :)

 Donning the Darbouka cape..

 Taking some photos of the Heroineburgh table...

Coffee break inside the VIP room...

 And they gave us all hand sanitzer...

And then I walked around and took a few more photos

And last but not least, a picture of us "heroines"

Check out the Heroineburgh website. :)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Wayne's Legion Militia Encampment Event at Woodville

So just as I was winding down from Fort Frederick, it was not too long before I was on my way to another event, this one being the Wayne's Legion Militia Encampment Event at the Woodville Plantation in Bridgeville, PA. While my traditional folk music group, Wayward Companions have performed and done quite a few events here (just this past weekend we performed a candlelight concert with the Pittsburgh Historical Music Society Orchestra, which we are affiliated with), I recently have been added to their roster of tour guides, which is pretty cool. I'm also helping them out with things like period attire and some of their programs. This is a cool group of people and if you haven't visited the Neville House at Woodville and you'll be in the area this summer, make sure you do so. :)

For starters, I recently and finally completed a new outfit that I started sewing a couple years ago. It was finished just in time for the Wayne's Legion event and now I look forward to adding it to my options of 18th century attire. :)

Upon my arrival, I was able to capture some photos of the soldiers about to drill, along with the blacksmith and the encampment area prior to the public's arrival. The specific time and war that they are reenacting is the Whiskey Rebellion (1791-1794), when a militia was brought in to defend the Neville House (the Neville were among those taxing the whiskey, therefore making them not too well-liked by the average person at one time).

I also wanted to point this clock out. It is the original clock owned by one of the inhabitants of the Neville House, Christopher Cowen, who lived in the house during the early part of the 19th century.

In between tours, I ventured over to where a few sutlers were. Pictured below are Wild Willy's Powder Horns and Skrimshaw, Old Plank Forge, and The Wylde Celt.

I will also add that the fine gentlemen of  The Wylde Celt and Old Plank Forge also help with running the Whiskey Rebellion Festival, where Wayward Companions will be returning to this summer (we will be on the main stage and then at the Bradford House).

 All three of these men have some really cool wares. You can catch them at reenacting events, festivals (The Whiskey Rebellion being one), and show them some love online:
Old Plank Forge Website
The Wylde Celt on Facebook
Wild Willy's Powderhorns Website

These were also some gorgeous flowers growing on the site's grounds and I got to take some of them home. :)

There are also Dominique chickens on the property. They are quite a popular attraction, especially among the children that love feeding them raisins. Dominique chickens are considered to be America's oldest breed and would likely have been residents of several farms. They were particularly popular in the late 18th century.

An last but not least, this photo taken of me by Susan O'Toole, one of Woodville's coordinators. :)

If you would like to visit The Neville House at Woodville this summer (and you might just end up with me as your tour guide!), visit their website for more info. :)

Neville House at Woodville