Sunday, November 05, 2006

Spending time in 1830 A.D.

As cool as it is to strap on a sword and pop back to the 16th century, there's something to be said about time periods after the invention of soap. So, this weekend Miniwether and I made the jump back to the 1800's Texas and spent the day with some Texians blacksmithing, woodworking, cooking, weaving, playing, shooting and making music.

Miniwether also got to ride a cow.

Daddy got to join her on the hayride.

The herd of tortises was very impresive.
It's a little known fact that early settlers to Texas used long teams of desert tortises to pull their wagons across the harsh Texas terrain. This was the basis for the famous Texas joke:
Texan: My ranch is so big that if I leave right after breakfast the sun will be down before I reach the end of my driveway!
Non-Texan: Yeah, I used to drive a Ford truck, too.

You see, the original joke went:
Texian: My ranch is so big that if I leave right after breakfast the sun will be down before I reach the edge!
Non-Texian: Still using tortises to pull the wagon, eh?

That's much funnier.

I learned a lot of useful tips to help me in camping or if we are ever knocked back to a non-electrified society. For instance, don't even bother trying to build a loom. These things were the 1800's version of Transformers.

Another tip came from the soapmaker. Apparently here in the 21st century lye has been quietly removed from the market. Along with making soap lye is a key ingrediant in making meth. Doesn't that just suck?

Pobably the best tip came from a booklet on homesteading I picked up there. It turns out that if one is using corncobs as toilet paper you must first soak them in water for several days. Alas, better late than never for that peice of information!

And now for my own "Make your life easier" tip of the week. If it's chilly outside and you want a warm meal but won't have the resources to cook/buy one while out and about try Thermos cooking! Simply pour a package of "just add boiling water" food into a wide-mouth thermos (preferable steel-lined rather than glass, it's tougher), add boiling water, seal it up and forget about it until you are ready to take the chill off a chilly day. Open the thermos, scoop out the food and enjoy!

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