Thursday, June 30

6 Skills Our Forefathers Had That Reenactors Don't

It occured to me that there are a ton of skills that the people that we reenactors portray had that we, as modern people, just generally don't have much anymore. This isn't ALL reenactors of course, but it definately allies to ME and several other folks I know...



6.) COOKING
My idea of cooking is preheating the oven and getting something out of the freezer. Want a new respect for historic cooking? Take a look at the above video. We met the narrator of thisvideo over the summer whilst he cooked an amazing regency era meal outdoors, over a fire. It was awesome!

5.) HORSEBACK RIDING
When was the last time you had to get on a horse and go anywhere? For me, try 'never'. Do you ride your horse to work or school on a regular basis? Ever had to ride your horse to get your errands run? Our forefathers rode horses all the time, for almost everything. And when they weren't riding, they were...

4.) WALKING... EVERYWHERE!
You read historical accounts all the time about people who just got a notion in their head and walked from one state to another. As modern people we walk, some, usually for exercise purposes. When was the last time you walked with a mission, so that you could GET somewhere? 

I often hear of Lewis & Clark's expedition in 1803 compared to Mankind's first trip to the Moon, except Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin didn't have to WALK a bunch of the way to the moon.

3.) HOUSE BUILDING
I have an idea, let's go fetch an axe, a saw and a few other simple tools from the garage and go out in the woods and build a house from trees! Then, we're gonna live in it, no big deal.

2.) LETTER WRITING
Who does this anymore? Our forefathers wrote all the time, for work, for fun, to communicate over long distances, to state ideals and even forge nations. Theirs was a golden age of letter writing. And have you SEEN their handwriting? It's gorgeous! When was the last time you had to actually WRITE something with a pen, in CURSIVE? Cursive writing is considered of such little value these days, they barely teach it in schools anymore. And as far as modern writing, sure there are text messages, but when was the last time you texted anything that's going to change the shape of the nation or its inhabitants?
1.) FIRE MAKING
I've been an historical reenactor since 2001. In that time I've seen every period correct method (and few less-than-period methods) for making fire that you can think of, and my fire making skills are embarrassing. My attempts usually end with me on my hands and knees desperately blowing into a funny little kindling ziggurat while the cabin I'm in fills with ominous black smoke.

Have some suggestions for additions to this list? You KNOW I've left something off of here... leave YOUR ideas for everyone's enjoyment in the Comments section below this post.


The Acasta log is generally updated every weekday at 8am CST, visit back often, and encourage your History Nerd/Reenacting/Royal Navy friends to visit us.


Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, June 29

The Old Man's Guide to Health and Longer Life



The Old Man's Guide to Health and Longer Life

by John Hill

A book review by Tony Gerard

Originally published in 1750, the modern reprint is only 74 small pages long, including pictures. It's a fun and easy read (I read the entire thing one night while taking a bath). Most of the advice is still well applied today- exercise regularly, eat moderately, get plenty of  sleep and avoid stress. There is enough 18th century advice to make things interesting. The pineapple is slandered as the most dangerous of all fruits. It can potentially bring on a fatal bloody flux- who would have thought? There is plenty of other fun advice like that. With so many Acastas approaching or past 50 maybe this little tome should be in all our sea bags.

Tuesday, June 28

7 Historical 'Facts' Learned From Reenactments

It is with tongue firmly planted in cheek that I offer you the following post. What would happen if you attended a historical reenactment knowing nothing about history? What lessons would you learn?


7.) Everyone used to live in tents in the old timey days
Just go to any historic reenactment and look around. The event grounds will be virtually awash in canvas shops and domiciles of all shapes and sizes.


6.) Historic stuff only took place on weekends
It's true! Have you ever been to a historical reenactment on a Tuesday? Historical events of import also generally occured between May and October.

5.) Battles took place according to the printed schedule
Battles in the era were opened and/or closed by music parades and had announcers on the field telling the public about what was going on with a microphone through big speakers.

4,) All soldiers had terrible aim
I got that sharpshooter up in the tree!
Nailed 'em.
Pew pew!
We nailed that Zeppelin!
Okay before you pen me a sternly worded email about the finer points of weapons safety... I realize that you're supposed to cant and elevate and so forth. But elevating sure does make for some funny pictures!

3.) Almost nobody ever got killed in battle
Just watch any battle reenactment. A line of troops marches into a harrowing volley of enemy fire and one dude falls down dead! Then to add to the confusion, all the dead jump up at the end of the battle and march off with their unit.


2.) All events of historical significance ended at 3-4pm on a Sunday afternoon
Sometimes earlier if the participants think they can get away with pulling their cars onto the field to pack up and beat the rush.

1.) Fairies Existed
Been to a Ren-Faire lately? Yeah, that happened.


If you have enjoyed reading this or the other adventures of the HMS Acasta, be certain to become an honorary member of the crew. This is a easy way to show us that you're out there and paying attention. It is a simple matter really, there is a blue button at the very bottom of the page that will allow you to join.

And Second, I would ask that you comment from time to time on the posts that interest you the most. This is an excellent way to let the crew of the Acasta know what you, the reader, is the most interested in seeing. It is always most gratifying to know what the readers like. For those of you that have commented in the past, we thank you for you support and interest!

If you find a post that you are particularly fond of... be sure to share a link with your friends, over Facebook, Tumblr, Google Plus, etc. so they can enjoy it too!

The Acasta log is generally updated every weekday at 8am CST, visit back often, and encourage your History Nerd/Reenacting/Royal Navy friends to visit us.


Thanks for reading!

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Monday, June 27

Call for Mail








We're coming down to the wire for submissions for the 2016 Jane Austen Festival Mail Packet project… but there's still time for you to get your letters in.

Need some ideas for what to write? Try one of these:

Letter from a friend or colleague back home. 
(But none from immediate 'family' if you please. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces & Nephews are fine, but none from Mothers, Fathers, children.)
A bill or request for payment.
An overdue payment of debt.
A letter carrying news of the war(s)

Or, use the link below to see some other types of period letters:

The Complete Letter Writer...

Wondering what a period letter looks like? Here are some beautiful examples:

http://www.bathpostalmuseum.co.uk/john-palmer/

Contact me to find out where to send your finished letter… or questions, or for any other additional information.


Finshed letters will need to be in the mail to me by the first week of JULY of this present year so that they can find their way into the Mail Packet!


Start thinking about what you'd like to contribute, and HAVE FUN, but hurry, the next call for mail will be the LAST call!

Thursday, June 23

Voyages and Discoveries in the South Seas


Voyages and Discoveries in the South Seas 1792- 1832
by Edmund Fanning

A brief book review by Tony Gerard

Fanning was an American sailor who rose to captain several voyages to the South Pacific, China and the far southern oceans.  Typically he would set out from the U.S. to the far south in search of fur seals. Collecting a load of seal hides and sometimes oil he would then sell the cargo in China and return with a cargo of Chinese goods to sell in the U.S. He gives a good general overview of the seal hunting process , as well as the types of seals and the areas where they were hunted. Additionally he gives accounts of collection of Sandalwood and "Beach La Mer" (sea cucumbers) for the Chinese market.

Fanning also relates his difficulties dealing with the Chinese authorities, adventures among the islanders of the Pacific, his arrest and near execution in Chile and many other interesting events. While the book is not a fast paced "page turner" it is a very excellent and readable historic account of merchant shipping in the Pacific.

While the book is not a fast paced "page turner" it is a very excellent and readable historic account of merchant shipping in the Pacific.

Monday, June 20

A Little More Inspiration

Here are some images of some of the excellent submissions for last year's Mail Packet… thinking about giving it a try? There's still time to write a few letters and get them sent in! Start your letter TODAY!






 When your letters are finished, email me and I'll let you know where to mail them to…