August 10, 2017 by Rua Lupa
Baron’s Brouhaha is annually held in the Canton of Northgeatham in the Barony of Ramshaven (see a previous article on this event here).
Brouhaha is one of the smallest events, but that also makes it one of the most relaxed events too. Even so, there is something for everyone. And this year had a special component, The Baron and Baroness of Ramshaven were going to select their Champions of Ramshaven at this event. So there was a Championship Tourney for each skilled art – and this year was the first time an Arts & Science Champion would be named. These champions will not be selected by a straight forward win in their respective tourneys, but “…to find Ambassadors to each of the disciplines, and those come at any and all levels of skill.”
The First Day
The site was opened on Friday and was the quietest and most relaxed day of the event as most were arriving on the Saturday when all the scheduled activities and tourneys would take place. So, I decided that this was the best time to make a traditional pottage with my recently acquired three legged cooking pot from the Silk Road Bazaar at Trillium War. This is because this kind of fireside cooking takes a lot of time – but well worth it.
Now, I am keen on becoming completely able to consistently start a fire with only the items and methods available in my persona’s time period (~600 AD or earlier). So I had brought my flint, Norse styled steel striker, and my gathered fire starters of chard linen, frayed strands of linen, thistle / milkweed fluff, and pine resin.
I was able to get heat and smoke consistently, but it was so windy that the flames never lasted. Eventually we caved and used a bunch of paper to keep the fire going. At least I was able to use this fire to make more charred cloth, which is made by putting your linen into a tin – having some air able to reach the interior but otherwise completely sealed away from the flame – and cook it in the fire until it stops smoking. Take out, let cool, and then you are done!
So with this fire, I took my three legged pot, and followed the instructions given to me from the maker – who had traveled from the Southern Kingdoms (USA) to sell their goods at Trillium War (the biggest SCA Event in Ontario, Canada). I was told that with such pots you Do Not put them directly into the fire, but beside it and drag the coals out and put them under and around the pot. This will bring your pot’s temperature high enough to boil, so add or remove the coals to reach your desired temperature. Once your pottage is satisfactory to your taste, Do Not remove it directly from the coals, but slowly remove the coals from around it and let it cool slowly. This whole process takes at least a couple of hours, but the longer you cook the better your pottage. Some people have it going all day to eat for dinner.
What I had put in this pot was first chopped bacon and leeks. I then let that simmer until all the fat was melted and spread around the pot. Then I added chopped carrots, sage, basil, rutabaga (closest thing to a turnip I could find), parsnip, and rolled oats (as a thickener). Followed by water poured until it was covering all the contents. As it was cooking I had been enjoying some Oat Stout that was made by our local brewery in Gore Bay, Manitoulin, Ontario, “Splitrail Brewing Company“. And promptly decided to liberally add that to the pottage as well.
In the end it came out DELICIOUS!
The Big Day
Throughout Saturday there was Archery, Axe Throwing, Armored Combat, Rapier, some Arts & Science classes, and many people socializing in the Hall while working on their own Arts & Science projects. For each activity you participated in, you were given a Settlers of The Ram card – which you can gather and ‘cash in’ sets of at the ‘gate’ to enter in a draw for a door prize of that set type. The cards were much like the Settlers of Catan resource cards, but a ramshead instead for the sheep. A set of wood cards would give you a draw for the Wood door prizes, a set of Ore cards would give you a draw for Metal themed door prizes, etc.
Like Trillium War, for Brouhaha I mostly hung out around the Axe Throwing Range as that was one of the last times I will have a target to throw at, and I wanted to practice for the Ramshaven Thrown Weapons Champion Tourney. And I definitely needed the practice as it took a little while before I was consistently able to hit the target as desired.
I did later participate in the Arts & Science Championship Competition where I presented:
– Some Powder Douce (a 14th c. France spice mix) I mixed and had as a free sample jar for attendees to use throughout the event + a small bottle for their excellencies to use as they wished.
– A Diggy Diggy Hole Song Sheet that I did in Futhark (a Norse Alphabet). One side of the sheet was in English with the common Latin Alphabet we are familiar with. And the opposite side of the sheet had maintained the English lyrics but done with the Futhark alphabet. That way those who want to learn how to read Futhark can do so with this song.
– I showed and sang my “Storm At Glyndmere Hall” song
– And an in progress basket woven style hat, which was promptly donned by each of the judges,
There were entries from several others, A great woolen cloak beautifully embroidered for the owner’s geographical time period, a song from the same artisan, lots of tablet woven bands by a highly skilled newcomer to the craft, nalbinded bags and hats, a different song about the hosting land, and probably am forgetting an entry or two with this. It was a good showing regardless and healthy competition.
Shortly thereafter was court with a lot of well deserved acknowledgements of people receiving their Guidon, with silver and gold banded ones given as well. Great honors to be sure. Then the tourneys had their winners announced followed by the announcement of the Champions of Ramshaven:
Rapier Combat Champion: Lady Alienor la Fileuse
Armoured Combat Champion: Lord Bartholomäus Hespeler
Thrown Weapons Champion: The Honourable Lord Daniel of Whitby
Archery Champion: Helga
Arts and Sciences Champion: Lady Fáelán Ruadh ua Aodha
Fáelán Ruadh ua Aodha, That’s Me!
Now the funny thing with this honor is that since it is the very first one of the Barony, I am charged with designing the regalia and/or trophy of that station. And being an Arts & Science enthusiast makes this quite an exciting and daunting task. Primarily because, unlike book heraldry, I do not have easily recognized boundaries to work within and keep me in check.
So I can get crazy creative with this, and am thus mulling things over for a while, letting my mind calm down after all the excitement, and waiting until I can present some of my thoughts with the Baroness after Pennsic (if anybody knows anything about Pennsic, is that contact with attendees there is a write off and when people get back they will need some recuperating time – Pennsic Is A Big Deal). It helped a great deal to speak with many Arts & Science folk while I was at the event afterwards to get their ideas and thoughts on the subject.
So, that is very exciting news, and I look forward to presenting what comes of it here.
Potluck Feast & Door Prizes
Then there was the Potluck feast. As usual, there was plenty for everyone, and for thirds besides. I was pleased that this time I was able to recreate a couple of Norse styled pies,
So many dishes were made with an obvious passion for food, making it surprising that any was left. Everyone ended up feeling stuffed even before dessert.
This is when the door prizes were announced, and I somehow made off like a bandit – getting everything I entered for, and for my kiddo as well who got the shield they wanted that came with a red cap they came to love wearing. I got a clay spindle whorl and a beautifully tablet woven belt.
After door prizes, and when dusk was nigh, we had, for the first time, a special in-period Norse themed ceremony for remembering those that are no longer with us.
It began with a candle lit procession while carrying a wood and paper Norse ‘viking’ ship to a pyre.
During the procession we all sang “Life Blood” by Wyndreth Bergensdottir,
“Drink, for the wind blows cold and
Drink for The Wolf runs free.
Drink to the ships with sails like wings and
Drink to the storm-tossed seas.
Drink to the lasting nights
and those who warm our beds.
Drink to the mead that warms our hearts
and the cold that clears our head.
Drink to the Allfather’s Eye
for Odin’s sons are we.
Drink to the World-Tree where he hung
and the Runes of Mystery.
Drink to the truth of steel
and blood that falls like rain.
Drink to Valhalla’s golden walls
and to our kinsmen, slain.
Drink to the Glory-field
where a man embraces death, and
thank the gods that we live at all
with our joyous dying breath!
Drink for the wind blows cold and
Drink for the Wolf runs free
Drink to the ships with the sails like wings
for Odin’s sons are we!”
After the procession and song the Ship was laid onto the pyre as a commonly known poem was read aloud by all attending,
Then those attending who have lost and wish to remember someone help lit the fire with their candles while saying the name of their loved one.
Then a moment of silence in remembrance.
After this moment passed one of our talented bards sang Mead & Wine (Dusk & Dawn) that wrapped things up very nicely.
As The Night Went On And The Morning After
The night followed into relax jovial conversation, a goodly fire resulting in a great many s’mores, and a bardic circle where I was requested to sing my song about ‘The Storm At Glyndmere’. That was officially the fourth time I ever sang it, and probably the best I have ever sung it. The fireside singing and conversations lasted well into the night and virtually into dawn.
The next morning had only one scheduled activity for those interested, and that was to play with Smithing in Glyndmere’s Smith Shop.
Since we had a long day of travel ahead of us we did not partake in this activity. But as we were packing up to leave that day, I managed to snap a couple photos of the weather that had ended up lining up with the afternoon sun creating gorgeous rainbows over the grounds.
And during our good byes I saw an interesting critter that I had to at least photo document, whom I will leave you with to consider who this beastie is – seriously, fellow naturalists out there, help me out. I do not know what kind of beetle this bad boy is and would love identify it.
Addendum, August 10th 12017 H.E. 6:25pm, Photos by Mic Cillian.