Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's So Civil About War Anyways?

Well, it is that time of year when we all start thinking about war. With elections and a new president, war is on a lot of people's mind. A couple of weeks ago I drove up to northern Virginia to take place in a Civil War battlefield preservation march. Not many people realize it but there are some major battlefields that are in danger of becoming commercial property. Many battlefields have already been lost and are now strip malls and parking lots. One of the properties we marched to raise money for was Slaughter Pen Farm. It was a key part of the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862. Hand to hand combat ensued and over 5000 troops died. It caused Robert E. Lee to utter the famous quote " It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it."

For the preservation march we represented the 7th Indiana Infantry of Hofmann’s Brigade, of Doubleday’s Division, of the First Corps. We were on most all the same roads as the 7th Indiana was on Saturday November 1st and Sunday November 2nd, 1862 – 146 years to the day.

I can tell you it was special to walk 12 miles in their shoes. Luckily I had my pard Brent (in the foreground) to halp share driving duties. He also makes a really good seamster, as I had numerous holes, rips, and missing buttons in my uniform. One of our friends shot some video of us as we marched into town. Louden County March 2008

In preperation for the Preservation March I dried out some beef and deer jerky on my brother's smoker. It was appreciated by everyone that tried it. Brent scored some hardtack from the same company that made hardtack during the civil war.

It was a great time and the fall colors were surreal. It was also very cold and tiring. The drive from Baton Rouge took about 32 hours round trip. I would do it all again in a heartbeat and can't wait to fall in again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys and hobos.

Hobo stew - What is it? Some may know it as Cowboy Stew. Simply put, it is a bunch of vegetables thrown in aluminum foil and cooked in a fire. We decided the vegetarian version could be "Hobo Stew" and the kind with meat could be "cowboy stew". It just seemed to fit.

I am now wondering about the political correctness of our terminology. Am I trying to say that hobo's can't afford meat? Should I try to put cowboys in a box by calling them all meat eaters? Didn't Brokeback Mountain break all the stereotypes about cowboys? They can be sensitive, why can't they be vegetarians? I did some research and found that cowboy is not PC (politically correct). So in an attempt to not anger any cowboy organizations that read my web log, I will refer to them as cowpunchers. Wait, PETA might be angry with that so I will now call them herders.

What about hobos? I guess its wrong to even label someone a hobo. I checked the thesaurus, so I will use the term migrant worker. Wait, people of latino descent might take offense at that, so I will call them wanderers. What about people that wander that have homes? They might take offense at that. So to end the debate I will refer to both herders and wanders as carnivorous nomads and vegetarian nomads. In summary, carnivorous nomadic stew and vegetarian nomadic stew are good.

Monday, October 20, 2008

1st web log: special shoes required

Well, I've been inspired by my father-in-law to start my own blog. I figure our family does so many things that somebody might be interested in some of it. Well, I hope I take the time to actually write web logs in here. We'll see!

Why does everything require special shoes? When I 1st started backpacking I discovered that I needed "something sturdy with ankle support" on rough terrain. Later I learned that it was better to go lightweight with something that dries quickly. My ankles haven't forgiven me.

Next I began Civil War re-enacting. In order to look like a soldier I got Federal issue Brogans. These things are murder on your feet. All leather, including soles, and no outside grip. Exactly what you want on a long campaign march. Later I learned that the shoes I had weren't all that authentic after looking at museum examples. Thus I had to get a new hand built shoes to make my impression more authentic, because when you go to a re-enactment the first thing you notice is the shoes.

Recently I went on a canoe trip. I thought sandals would be great. Wrong! Rocks get in your sandals and don't come out until you remove your shoes. So I got a pair of wading shoes with drain vents in the bottom and closed toes. Now I can canoe in blissful foot comfort without rocks or money in my wallet.

Next I took up duck hunting. Rubber boots will work just fine, right? Wrong again. I now own a pair of camouflage chest waders. These things are so tall, who needs a boat! Until you trip on a stump, fall, and fill them up with ice cold water in the middle of winter. Yes it is as much fun as it sounds.

I started bicycling to get in shape. I love riding my bike on the road for pleasure. I also love backpacking, why not combine the two and start Mountain biking? Makes perfect sense until you start screaming down a rocky hill trying to hold on for dear life. Your feet fly in every direction and the pedals keep ripping up your shins (and your toes if you're my wife). Guess what the answer is? That's right! I now own a pair of mountain biking shoes equipped with Shimano pedaling devices (SPD) and replaceable cleats. These up the ante by forcing you to buy new pedals for your bicycle as well. Now I can scream like a little girl while flying off a cliff because I'm locked into my bike. What a great idea!

Scuba diving is another hobby of mine. Everyone knows you need flippers for that. Wrong again! My dive instructor jumped down my throat for calling them "flippers". Evidently they are fins, and evidently they are very expensive.

Now for just some other hobbies I have bought shoes for in the past:

Tennis - Which surface? Clay, Grass, Concrete - Why not a different shoe for each?

Running - because less is more - but more doesn't cost less.

Walking - for when you realize how dumb running is

Football - a guy has to have cleats to be cool

Soccer - you think football cleats would work here until you try to repetitively kick a soccer ball off the ground and realize that a toe cleat isn't as cool as you thought

Waterproof "breathable" hiking boots - *see above but waterproof. Imagine walking for miles with your foot wrapped in a garbage bag. At least no water gets in!

Waterproof "breathable" hiking shoes - because they made the materials more breathable and they are lighter weight. Result: see above entry

Hiking Sandals - Just the opposite of waterproof. You realize why Jesus washed the disciples feet.

Shoes I plan on buying:
Bowling - simply because the ones you rent gross me out
Rock climbing - Because there are so many rocks in baton rouge

Call me Imelda Marcos if you want, but I'm willing to bet you have spent more than your fair share on shoes as well. Just take a peek in your closet sometime before you point the finger. Ain't marketing wonderful!