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RE: Pennsic Question

I ftp'd this from somewhere. it's pretty helpful-

I hope this attachment thing works :-) 

                        PENNSIC ADVICE COMPILATION

                  Deudone d'Oxon or Y'honatan ben Simcha
                            mka Jonathan Baker
                     360 4th St., Brooklyn, NY  11215
                              (718) 499-0439

                            Not Copyright by Me
               Contents May Be Copyright By the Contributors


     This is  a compilation  of the accumulated  wisdom of  the Rialto
     regarding  long camping  events,  particularly  the Pennsic  War.
     Contributors include:
      Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib (Stephen Bloch)
      Ellisif Flakkingskvinne (Monica Cellio)
      Donallain o'f Galaru Glais (Kevin William Ryan)
      Dur of Hidden Mountain, Baron of Grey Matter (Dale E. Walter)
      Simon of the Beautiful Waters (Dave Aronson)
      Caitrin o'r Rhyd For (Kathryn Gandek)
      Yaakov HaMizrachi (Harold J. Feld)
      Alasdair mac Donnchaidh (Craig Robertson)
      Justin du Coeur (Mark Waks)
      Arastorm the Golden (Virginia Taylor)
      Countess Genevieve du Vent Argent, OP (Mary Knettel)
      Duke Sir Cariadoc of the Bow (David Friedman)
      Lady Madeleine (Mindy Miriam Rheingold)
      Julitta (Ms. Shicoff)
      Ilaine de Cameron (Liz Stokes)
      and  of  course,   dhe  yonge  compileur,   Deudone  d'Oxneforda
     (Jonathan Baker)

         Contributions  are attributed  at the  end  of each  section.
     They were  culled from  a collection of  postings read  by myself
     about a year ago (for the  most part).   Unfortunately,  I do not
     have the full SCA and mundane  names of some of the contributors,
     for which I most humbly apologize -- I mean no slight.

         Many sections of  this compilation begin with  a long excerpt
     from Bart  the Bewildered's "Campaigner's Notes",   more commonly
     known as "Bart's Pennsic Thingy."   These sections are covered by
     the following copyright notice:   Copyright  Paul S.  Kay,  1988,
     1989,  1990.   This document may be  freely reproduced as long as
     the author's name and this copyright notice are included.

         Other than that,   copyrights to the rest  of the compilation
     revert to the various authors, from whom I received permission to
     repost and archive their respective postings.



     5.  WHAT TO TAKE

     This is  the real reason  I started  writing this,   to   give  a
     basic  checklist.  For ease of reference, the list is broken into
     two Sections:  that which you need  and that which  might come in

     5.1  Necessities

     The following  should not  be  left  at   home.    If   you  have
     limited  room,     the  items  on  this list  can all fit  in one
     duffel bag or two medium sized bags.

      * Enough of any medication that you need for the length  of your
     stay.    It  can  ruin your trip if you run out, and convincing a
     local Doctor to write a new prescription can be difficult, if not

      * Sleeping  bag and pad.    You can   always  bum  a   place  to
     sleep,   but you ought to have something to sleep in,  even if it
     is just a couple of blankets.  This  area  can  get down into the
     50's on  warm nights.   This  is no joke.    The pad can  just be
     something to keep you  off  of   the  cold ground;  a thicker pad
     adds to comfort immensely.

      * Rain gear.  Rain coat or poncho, boots for mucking about, wool
     socks,  plastic tarps.   While a heavy,  somber toned poncho most
     resembles an  oil  skin  cloak   (period  rain wear),   use  what
     you  have.   Better safe than soaked;   I have found mundanity is
     accepted  when  it  is  bucketing rain   and you are holding down
     a tent (especially someone else's tent).

      * Hat.   This gets a separate item because it is  important.   A
     hat keeps the  rain off,  cuts body  heat loss in the  cold or at
     night, and keeps the sun from boiling your brain as quickly.  Sun
     stroke and sun burn can be a  drag.   The hat should be mediaeval
     looking,  but that leaves a lot  of leeway.   All  oriental hats,
     many  straw  hats,   and some leather cowboy hats look right.   A
     note on hat etiquette:  remove  your  hat in buildings, tents, or
     even shade.   As well as being polite, wearing a hat out  of  the
     sun  is almost bad for you as no hat in the sun.

      * A  warm cloak (or  a  friend  that   has  one)   or   a  plain
     blanket  that  can  be  worn  as  one  and can be sat on.  Again,
     the nights get  cold and the dew falls  heavily even (especially)
     after the hottest days.

      * Garb.   This is an S.C.A.  event, and some  attempt  should be
     made  to  dress   in  period  as  much  of the  time as possible.
     Mundane costumes are  fine for under armour  or  for  going  into
     town (but  you might get  complaints even then).    The following
     should suffice:

      - Two to four simple tunics or  dresses  in  some  light colored
     solid,   with  trousers or skirts  to match,  if desired.   These
     should  be a  natural fiber  that breaths  well  (e.g.    cotton,
     linen,   et   cetera),  as light  as possible,   while preserving

      - A  warm piece  of garb,  or  an over-tunic to  pull on  over a
     light  tunic  (layering is very  effective),  for cold  nights or
     days.   A solid colored cheap velour or heavy trigger  work  well
     for  this   as  both  have  a  high polyester content and  do not
     breath much.

      -  One good  or  semi-good outfit  for  court,   going  to   the
     taverns,    or  visiting the  campsite  of  someone you  wish  to
     impress.   If  the piece in  item 2 is  well  made,   it  will do

      - Light shoes  or sandals,  unless you want to  slop around bare
     foot.   Be  warned,  the  gravel on the roads is sharp.

      - Heavy shoes or boots if you plan to go into the woods.

      - Accessories.   A belt with a pouch and knife  are  good things
     to have around.

      * Change of other  clothes for the time spent plus  two  that is
     wrapped  in   plastic to  keep dry.    If you  do not  have extra
     socks,  you will need them,   and  there  is  nothing worse  than
     getting  clean and then having to  climb back into dirty,  sweaty
     clothes.   While washers are available,  it  is  best not to rely
     on them,  unless you like hanging  out in laundry-mats.   It is a
     good idea  to have at  least  one  change  of  mundanes   in your
     vehicle in case all of your clothes on site get soaked.

      * Portable  light sources,   both for   camp  and   the  port-a-
     castle.     Authentic  if   possible,    but   a  hand  flash  is
     sometimes more  convenient.   If you  use propane   lanterns,  be
     aware that they are bright.   They can  hurt the eyes of those of
     us who  adjust well  to the dark  and provide  quite a   show  if
     used  as out-house illumination in a plastic port-a-castle.

      * Toiletries.    The usual stuff  (soap,    towel,   toothbrush,
     etc.), and do not forget the shower gear.

      * Money to  buy fresh  food,   fire   wood,   drink,   trinkets,
     instruments,  garb,  armour,  art,   or  whatever else you cannot
     live without.

      * Sun screen.   This is new, but only because I over  looked it.
     If  you  are typical, this is the most sun you will see all year.
     Getting severe sunburn can take a  lot  of the  fun  out  of  the
     War;   armor  chafes in  new places,  tunics  rub,  and  you feel
     crummy.  If you are fair skinned and/or do not get much sun, take

      * A bottle opener, can opener, and/or cork screw.   I  have seen
     people offered peerages for these things.

     5.2  Et Cetera

     What follows is a list of things that are handy but  may  be left
     out if you do not want (or cannot afford) to overburden yourself.

      * Armour.   This is not mandatory,  unless you want to  fight or
     scout.   There is  still lots to do without fighting.    I know a
     couple of knights who have just  left their harness at  home  and
     relaxed at a War (O.K.,  so one  marshalled a couple of times and
     the other was doing his  thing  as  a Laurel).

      * Instruments.   Whether to just use at  bardic  circles  or for
     more  serious music, instruments can add to the fun.   If you are
     a serious musician,   or would like to be,   this  is  about  the
     best  place  you will find for S.C.A. jam sessions.

      * Song  books.   Bardic circles,  or  a  large  tent   during  a
     storm,   are  a great place to  sing old favorites and  learn new

      * Eating utensils.  What type depends on how  you  plan  to eat.
     If  you are taking care of  yourself,  you will also need cooking
     and clean up gear.

      * Grill, spit, tripod, camps stove, or some  other  way  to tame
     fire and hold cooking pots.   Which  of these you use depends  on
     preference,   experience,   and   level   of authenticity.

      * Swim  suit  and   towel.    Many   folks  skinny-dip   at  the
     swimming  hole  but  a)  I am not skinny, b)  the water is better
     at the state park down the road, and c) I am shy.

      * A  tent or tents.    An extra   tent  allows  more   room  for
     storage  and  hospitality.    While  pavilions  are  nice, modern
     tents are acceptable.

      * Coolers are always welcome.  They also can be packed with gear
     during travel.

      * Plastic  jugs of  any size  for water  and mixed  soft drinks.
     Canned  and  bottled drinks are  good,  but powdered GatorAid and
     Kool-Aid are cheaper and easier to pack.

      * Extra and/or fancy garb.

      * Camp  lights.   Kerosene  torches,   candles   with  chimneys,
     hurricane  lamps,   or  what ever.   They  give a campsite a nice
     look and keep people from literally tripping around.

      * Hand Fan.   It may not be 100 degrees in the shade, but  a fan
     is still "a good thing."

      * Books and games in case things get slow (or hot).

      * Bandanas, Band-aids,  bug spray  (Avon  Skin-So-Soft  bath oil
     is  an   effective and  pleasant smelling  substitute),  hatchet,
     jack knife, matches (or flint and steel),  rope, string,   sewing
     kit, safety pins, and anything else that is handy in camp.



         Look  at  the Knowne  Worlde  Handbook  for articles  on  SCA
     Camping particularly that by Countess  Arastorm the Golden.   Her
     packing  list has  been  republished many  times  on the  Rialto.
     Unfortunately,  she has lost her access  as of this writing (July
     1992).  (ed.)

         The Pennsic War is held on the third weekend of August (16-18
     this 1992).    The Cooper's Lake  campground is reserved  for two
     weeks prior prior to this,  and you may come earlier than that if
     you pay the Coopers' regular rates.  However, there won't be many
     SCA campers  before then,   as most  normal campground  customers
     don't really want  to be awakened in  the middle of the  night by
     revellers.    (Paraphrased  from Winifred  de Schyppewallebotham,
     who I was unable to contact for copyright permission)

         Make a list. Simple to say, but remember it.  Plan a menu for
     the week for yourself,  including what you will buy there and who
     you plan to beg dinner from during the week.  Check off your list
     as you load so  that you don't forget anything.  And  bring a can
     opener - everyone forgets that. (Donallain o'f Galaru Glais)

         Add  a second  list  which includes  all  the equipment  that
     everyone else has.    You don't need 3 stoves  but extra coolers,
     lanterns, tables and chairs are almost always handy.   You really
     don't need  3 or  more dining flys  (unless they  are to  cover a
     tent).   If you're  a group than share  the use of just  a couple
     that everyone can make use of.  This not only saves space on site
     (it will  be appreciated  by your neighbors)   but it  gives some
     folks extra room in their vehicle.

     Add a third list:  Camp chores.   With 4 or 40, there are certain
     chores (like getting rid of garbage  or cooking)  that have to be
     done.   If  you schedule  it out  long before  you ever  arrive -
     everyone knows what's  expected of them,  the work  is shared and
     hard feelings are avoided.

         For groups  of 8  or more  the following  items are  handy (I
     believe essential):   A GOOD First Aid  Kit to which you've added
     aspirin (or similar product),  an  anti-itch product,  an instant
     ice and  an instant heat pack,   antacid (of some type),   a mild
     laxative (I recommend Castoria)  and something for upset stomachs
     (over the counter)  and someone who knows  what to do with it;  a
     garden shovel;  a wood axe or saw;   a claw hammer;  at least one
     lantern or large reliable flashlight;  a  pair of scissors (put a
     sheath over the point); 100' of clothes line;  a water bucket;  a
     bag of sand or cat litter (for smothering those fires that should
     have water put  on them and useful  for getting a car  out of the
     mud);  2 large wash basins;  a single burner stove for making hot
     water or coffee first thing in  the morning when you really don't
     want to  wait for your cook  fire to be ready  - or - a  3 burner
     stove if  it is your primary  source for cooking.   (Alasdair mac

         If you  are like  the rest  of us,   you will  find your  car
     filling fast with camping necessities and SCA luxuries. I find it
     is best to just bring enough food  for the first day or two,  and
     plan a shopping trip into town.  Ice in the cooler melts, and you
     can't keep meat more than a couple days safely. Bring things like
     teabags,  instant oatmeal,  and spices  from your kitchen cabinet
     (and pack them in ziplocks)  and plan to buy perishables on site.
     You can buy a small charcoal grill for under $10, it is versatile
     because you can put pots on it or grill directly over it,   put a
     pot of water on it as soon as you take the food off,  and it will
     be hot for dish-washing by the time you finish eating at no extra
     cost in fuel.  Boiling water is trickier, you might beg or borrow
     one of those one-burner stoves for morning tea.  (Ilaine)

     Recommended supplies:  one or two coolers, your own band-aids and
     aspirin,   any prescription  medication you  might  need for  the
     entire time, extra socks, dry clothes (to leave in your car), sun
     block,  a dry tent,  a warm  sleeping bag or other bedding,  more
     than one can opener.  (Ethan Dicks)


     Which  brings  up clothing.    As  Dur  put it,   bring  clothing
     appropriate to the conditions,  and  remember that the conditions
     can change very quickly.   Hats Are Good Things:  when it's cold,
     they reduce  the "chimney" effect whereby  you lose most  of your
     body heat through your head, and when it's hot, they keep the sun
     off your head and face,  and (depending on design)  can double as
     fans.   Keep most of your body covered most of the time:  if it's
     cold,  wear several layers of  naturalfiber fabrics,  and if it's
     hot,  wear light fabrics of natural  fibers,  which will keep out
     the  sun  but  allow  you  to  sweat-cool.    This  is  not  only
     comfortable but period-looking (there is NO documentation for the
     use of bunny-fur bikinis is medieval  Europe,  but skin cancer is
     indisputably period).  (Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib)

         Simple but often  forgotten:  bring something warm  and bring
     something  cool.  A  good  cloak is  an  excellent asset.   Bring
     clothing (t-shirts, sweats,  long underwear even)  for putting on
     _under_ your garb if  you get too cold.  I can't  count the times
     I've seen  some poor  person shivering  because all  they brought
     were flimsy shifts and t-tunics. BRING A HAT!   It keeps you warm
     at  night and  more  importantly in  my view  it  keeps you  from
     getting sunstroke and a lobster tan in the day.  Bring enough (or
     plan on hitting  the laundrymat)  to wear clean  stuff every day.
     Bring more socks and underwear than  you think you need,  and one
     or two towels (one of them will  inevitably get soaked by rain or
     something when you need it). Be CERTAIN that you have a protected
     set of clothing: double bagged or stored in your car.  If you get
     soaked in  some terrible flood you  want something DRY  to change
     into.  (Donallain)

     Bring a hat,   long-sleeved but cool garb (yes  this is possible,
     esp.  w/ wide sleeves),  and sunscreen.   The layered approach to
     clothes for changing weather condition works very well.  Too hot?
     Take off a layer.  (No more layers?  Jump in the tub!)  Too cold?
     Put  on  another layer.    (No  more  layers?   Snuggle  up  with
     someone!)   If  the weather is likely  to turn nasty  (eg,  heavy
     rains and high winds,  enough to  knock over a flimsy tent)  make
     sure your  tent is very  stable!   Also  leave a complete  set of
     clothes (preferably one of garb AND one mundane) in your chariot,
     or at least in something absolutely waterproof.   (Pickle buckets
     work  well.)    Find  out  IN  ADVANCE  what  the  usual  weather
     conditions are.  (Simon of the Beautiful Waters)

     Heat beater - On the hottest days  I wear a very long cotton veil
     aligned on my head so that the  long parts are pointed towards my
     shoulders.  It is wrapped around my neck, drapes down my body and
     is held in place by a circlet  or hat.   Most importantly,  it is
     soaking wet.   This  does wonders for my body  temperature and at
     night, when it's dry,  I wear it as bug repellent (cause the bugs
     can't reach my neck!). (Caitrin o'r Rhyd For)

     Keep your feet dry,  & your head covered.  Take more dry footwear
     (extra socks!) than you can possibly go through.  Take waterproof
     footwear.   Take a hat,  or buy one there,  but wear one.   Don't
     forget your part  (hairline)  with the sunblock,   either.   Take
     several towels.   Leave most of your dry stuff locked in your car
     (safe from torrential  downpours).   Take a cloak,   extra tunics
     (look closely,   you'd be  surprised how cheap  you can  find raw
     silk,  sometimes)  remember  to wear natural fibers  next to your
     skin  (you'll   be  more  comfortable,   they   breathe),   extra
     undershirts/underdresses, (Julitta)


     Sleeping.   I was  brought up camping and backpacking,   so I see
     nothing  wrong with  sleeping on  an  insulating pad  on my  tent
     floor, but I understand many people aren't used to that,  or have
     back problems,  or whatever.   I've  seen people bring futons and
     handmade, collapsible Viking beds, sleep in/on/between sheets and
     blankets,  down  comforters,  patchwork quilts,   Dacron sleeping
     bags, and cloaks (my Cloak From Hell,  by itself,  approximates a
     three-season sleeping bag in warmth.  And I can walk in it with a
     lady under each  arm,  all three of us covered  :-)   (Joshua ibn

         Best  ideas for  tents are  decent big  tents without  floors
     (note that  you should  not camp in  an erosion  gully if  you do
     this,  but that dirt drains quite well).  This requires that your
     bed be protected from  the floor.  If you have a  cheap tent or a
     standard enclosed tent BRING A TARP  and put it _inside_ the tent
     to keep water  from seeping through the floors.  If  you place it
     outside the  tent under  the floor  you may  have the  'waterbed'
     problem with water on the tarp and  under your tent.  A tarp that
     acts as a  sunshade on the tent  is also an excellent  idea,  and
     will keep things cooler.  A good big tarp can shade several small

         Bring enough warm  bedding (and/or bed clothing)   to survive
     30-degree weather.  I'm not kidding.  It can get that cold.  Make
     sure you are  insulated from the ground  with a pad,  a  cot,  or
     whatever. Otherwise the ground will suck the heat out of you.

         Bring the  padding you  think you will  need.  If  you aren't
     familiar with real camping, ask someone who is, and _follow their
     advice_ about minimums.  (Donallain)

          TENTS:  Long before the camping event find out from everyone
     who will  be camping with  you,  the  SET-UP size of  their tent.
     This  is the  amount  of space  they  actually  need which  often
     differs from the floor size of the tent.  Also find out where the
     entry  is located   and whether  or not  they will  be putting  a
     fly/tarp over their  tent.   Once you've got this  info.  you can
     actually lay out the camp on paper - before you even arrive.   At
     Pennsic the last couple of years they've asked for such info.  If
     you are  a safe camper  with regards to  fire you can  place most
     tents within  3' of each  other.   Just  make sure to  leave fire
     lanes between  each row of  such tents and it  is a good  idea to
     have each set of rows set up so that the exits face each other.

          A really big  tent w/o a floor makes  a great kitchen/dining
     pavillion and keeps the number of dining flys down to a minimum.

          If you've  never slept  in a  tent -  do so  before a  major
     camping event.   That's the only way you'll know how much padding
     YOU require underneath you.   Finding out at Pennsic after a 6-16
     hour trip to get there will make you very unhappy.  (Alasdair)

         A PLACE TO  SLEEP THAT IS WATERPROOF!    It will torrentially
     downpour AT LEAST 1  night at the war.   Put a  warm sleeping bag
     inside that waterproof place, on top of a foam pad (it is amazing
     how lumpy that apparently flat place can be).  Take a clear trash
     bag to  put your  dirty clothes in  (It is so  sad to  hear about
     someone who put their dirty garb  in a regular trashbag,  & well,
     someone was helping clean up.....).  (Julitta)



     3.  HYGIENE

     For many  folks,  Pennsic  is their  first and/or   only  camping
     experience.    When   camping,   the   standard rules  of hygiene
     apply.   There are also other, camping related,  practices  to be
     aware  of   that help make camping  safer and more fun.   It does
     not  take  much  to  turn  camping  from  fun  into  a nightmare.
     Many  of the  of  the  causes for  discomfort  can  be linked  to
     disregarding some sensible rules.

     3.1  General Hygiene

     This topic is an old one.   I had it from my parents, in  the Boy
     Scouts,    and   in High  School  Gym  class,   but it  is  still
     important.     If   these    precautions    seem   trivial    and
     unnecessary,   think   again.    The   heralds  have  cried these
     through the camp for the last two Pennsics.  These include:

      * Wash your hands after using the privy.

      * Wash your hands before handling food,  especially  if  you are
     preparing it for more than yourself.

      * Use clean surfaces for food preparation.

      * Store food correctly.   This means  meats and milk products in
     a  cooler,  bread in plastic in the shade,  et cetera.   All meat
     should be kept in a cool place,  even  sausages.   Sausages  with
     a high fat content, even if smoked, can go rancid.

      * Cover  or close  your garbage   container.    This   makes  it
     harder for flies to spread diseases.

     3.2  Camp Hygiene

     Camping  also requires  some  special   provisions  for   hygiene
     beyond   those  above.     Looking  through   my  Scout   manuals
     reminds me  of several  that were  so ingrained  I take  them for
     granted.   I   was  also   reminded of  some safety  and courtesy
     rules that make camping more pleasant.  Some of these are:

      * Keep   your  cooler(s)   closed   tightly.    The   ice  lasts
     longer,  the  food  stays  cooler,   and the chances of an insect
     invasion go way down.  Another good thought is  to keep drinks in
     a separate cooler than food.

      * Check yourself occasionally for ticks and rashes.   Poison ivy
     is  no  fun,   but  can  be contained  if you catch it early,  as
     can Lymes Disease (which has been  reported  in the area).

      * Wash dishes completely and carefully.  Get them clean!

      - Wipe off excess food before you start.

      - At least use a basin of soapy water and a  hot  rinse.  Use  a
     final  rinse with a sanitizing solution if you can, especially if
     someone in your camp is sick.

      - Change the water (especially the rinse  water)   if  it starts
     getting dirty.

      - Air dry dishes on a clean surface.  This may seem odd, but  it
     is less likely to spread disease than using a towel.

      *  Dispose  of   waste   water    carefully.     Under    normal
     circumstances,   this  means  keep  it  away from the fresh water
     supply, but it also applies to  not  dumping  dirty water  around
     the  spigots.    After a day  or so,   the area around  the water
     spigots becomes  a quagmire   from  people  washing  dishes   and
     performing their personal  ablutions there.   Put the  water in a
     bucket  and  do  your  washing elsewhere, please.

      * Use a sump hole or grease  pit to dispose of  waste  water and
     liquid  waste (e.g grease).  This is your home for a while; would
     you pour  out  dish  water  on  the  kitchen floor?    This  hole
     can be sited either  near the fire pit or in  some area that will
     not be   used  as  a   walk  way.   Mark  it to keep  people from
     stepping in it in the dark.

      * Use a fire pit.   Cut away (and save) the sod  and  dig  a pit
     larger  than  your  fire and surround the outer edge with stones.
     This reduces the chance of grass fires.

      * Never leave a fire untended.   If you are leaving the area for
     a  while,  or going to bed,  bank the fire carefully.   If you do
     not know  how  to   bank  a  fire,    put  it   out.   (Actually,
     Security will probably  put it out any way  and,  considering the
     way some encampments were set up, I don't blame them.)

      * Do  not throw  refuse in the  fire.    Most   common  plastics
     release  toxic  fumes  when  burned,  glass  bottles  can shatter
     (explode),   and   cans  will   still  need   to  be  disposed of
     after the fire is out.

      * Leave the campsite cleaner than  you found it.    Clean  up as
     you  go  (this  really  makes   the  whole  trip  more pleasant).
     When you are  leaving,  cover your fire pit and  refill any other
     holes you have dug (replacing the sod is a nice touch).



     4.  FOOD

     Eating during the War is a problem with  several  solutions.   If
     the  weather  is  typical  (hot),   you  may not feel like eating
     much.  Do not give in to this!   Drink lots of  fluids and  force
     yourself to eat fruits and easy to digest protein during the day.
     This way,  when it cools off  at  night,   you will  have  enough
     energy   to  eat   carbohydrates and  other  difficult to  digest
     foods that you need.

     4.1  Supply Yourself

     Bring some  or most of  the food you  need.   It can   either  be
     preprepared and frozen or brought as  ingredients if they are not
     perishable.   Perishables  (vegetables,  ice,  and such)   can be
     purchased at Cooper's  Camp Store (which has  gotten quite large)
     or from a store  in town.   Butler is 15 miles  east  on 422  and
     New  Castle  is  10 miles west.  There are grocery stores,  state
     stores  (liquor    and   wines),     and   beer  distributors  in
     both  cities.     There  are also  department stores in  case you
     need something else,    like  a  new  tent.   (Mine blew  up in a
     storm one year.   That is right,  not down,  up.   The front blew
     right off.  I have witnesses.)

     4.2  Join or Form a Food Plan

     There may be taverns on site that  charge a set price to feed you
     for  the  week,  however,  many groups do their cooking together.
     For information  on how the local   group  or  your  household is
     doing things,  ask at local meetings.   If you do pool resources,
     set it  up before hand.    I   advise  cash  in advance   and  an
     agreed  upon work schedule.  People resent someone who appears to
     be free-loading.

     4.3  Catch as Catch Can

     The taverns open for general business after  the  folks  who have
     prepaid  (if  any)    have  eaten.    There are  sometimes people
     wandering around   selling  food   ("Bagels  and   cream cheese!"
     "Here,   over here,  my good man.").    There are even some folks
     willing to  feed a waif who   wanders  by  at  meal  time.    The
     latter may  be the most expensive  choice of this  most expensive
     method.   (You  could wind up doing  dishes  for the rest  of the



     At Pennsic XVII (and previous)  I  stayed perhaps four days,  and
     kept my  perishable food  in a  medium-sized Coleman  cooler with
     ice.   At Pennsic XVIII I lengthened my stay to eight days,  kept
     all my perishables in a small Coleman cooler, a bit larger than a
     six-pack,  and didn't  actually buy any ice in the  course of the
     War, although I left the house with some.

     At Pennsic  XIX I lengthened my  stay to fifteen days,   used the
     same cooler, but left my house nine days before THAT,  leaving my
     car  parked for  most of  those nine  days,  so  there was  never
     anything RESEMBLING ice in it.  It was an insulated box.

     (The  above figures  are  for one  person,   cooking and  camping
     largely alone.  Your mileage may vary.)


     You can buy most perishables at  either the Cooper's Store or the
     grocery store  down the road  in quantities  that you can  use up
     before they spoil.

     Fresh, unbroken eggs should last at least a week, even in Pennsic
     heat, unrefrigerated, and if you don't trust that you can oxygen-
     seal  them  first by  putting  them  in  boiling water  for  five
     seconds.   Milk is hard to buy less  than a quart at a time,  but
     that should be no trouble if you have more than one person;  even
     with one,  my milk has only soured once,  and that time I made an
     incredibly good  batch of Irish  soda bread  out of it  (a period
     solution).   Or you can cheat and use powdered milk (which I keep
     as a backup).  Butter doesn't spoil in heat.   (Margarine does, I
     think.)  You can leave a stick of butter in a kitchen cabinet for
     weeks (in a bowl, in case it melts)  and eat it without fear.   I
     haven't figured out  a good way to keep bread,   except either to
     eat it quickly or to make it onsite.

     Most of the food I cook at Wars is nonperishable,  at least under
     sanitary conditions I can live with at all: lots of grains, dried
     beans, dried fruit, nuts, honey,  flour,  fresh fruit and veggies
     from either the Coopers or the grocery.  Lots of sekanjabin syrup
     and its  relatives (lemon,   rhubarb,  pomegranate,   etc.)   And
     there's always PB&J.

     Oh,  were  you going to  eat meat?    OK,  jerky is  easily made,
     stored,  and transported;  you can either  chew it out of hand or
     cut it into boiling  water for a stew.   I have  used the "Lord's
     Salt"  recipe  in  Cariadoc's  "Miscellany"  to  preserve  cooked
     chicken;  if  you use it  in a recipe  that was going  to contain
     vinegar anyway, and don't mind the cinnamon, it tastes fine.  The
     various  kinds of  sausage were  invented to  store meat  without
     refrigeration,  and they  do it quite well.   I  find the biggest
     problems with storing food at War to be insects and dust, both of
     which can  be dealt  with by using  Tupperware or  (slightly less
     jarring) glass jars leftover from storebought jelly,  applesauce,
     etc.   Neither  is a period solution.    Nor is the  flypaper the
     Coopers sell, but I use it anyway.

     Now...  cooking  all that  yummy stuff.   A  cookfire is  hard to
     maintain safely without a good-sized encampment sharing the work,
     and there are mornings when you NEED SOMETHING HOT NOW, so I take
     a  Coleman stove  for  those  purposes.   But  if  you  can do  a
     cookfire,  it adds  immensely to the ambience,  and  doubles as a
     sitting-around-chatting-staying-warm fire (you can't do that with
     a Coleman).  There are merchants at Pennsic who sell all sorts of
     iron tripods and pot-hooks,  and others who will deliver firewood
     to your  encampment.   A merchant at  Estrella last year  sold at
     least a dozen  different sizes and shapes of  Dutch ovens.   Fire
     extinguishers should need no discussion: you need them.

     By the way, if you happen to be a morning person,  you can become
     either very  unpopular (by  being wide-awake  when others  emerge
     from their tents uncertain which way  is up)  or very popular (by
     handing them a mug of coffee,  tea,  hot sekanjabin,  or whatever
     when they  emerge from  their tents uncertain  which way  is up).
     (Joshua ibn Eleazar)

         If you're going to bring perishables, an ordinary 18"x18"x36"
     cooler will stay cold  on about one block of ice  every two days,
     if  you  keep it  out  of  the  sun.   This is  enough  room  for
     perishables for several people.   Use block  ice,  not cubes - it
     will last  a little  longer.  Keep  everything in  the cooler  in
     garbage bags:  this will keep them dry _and_ quite naturally lend
     itself to cleaning up at the end of the War.  Check the ice block
     and drain  the cooler regularly.  I  normally bring two  or three
     frozen one-gallon containers of water for myself that serve as my
     ice for the first three-five days  and then double as clean water
     supply. (If you do this, freeze them with an inch or two of water
     taken out,  so  they don't split.)  Smaller  coolers will require
     less ice,  but keep them out of the sun and out of enclosed tents
     (the worlds most annoying ovens).

         Buy extremely perishable items like fruit,  juice,  milk,  et
     cetera at the Coopers store or in town,  and only buy enough at a
     time to use before it goes bad.

         Sealable freezer  bags of  various sizes  are light  and will
     keep bugs out.

         Hard boiled  eggs keep quite well  for a week or  so.  Yogurt
     (Mongols take note) is already fermented milk - it takes a lot to
     destroy it.    I've had no  problems with  yogurt going bad  in a
     weeks time if kept out of boiling hot tents. Bread lovers, I have
     a product endorsement:   Kings Hawaiian Bread (sp?)   which keeps
     without refrigeration for  weeks.  Tasty,  too.  I  sometimes get
     breakfast  with it  by wandering  into an  encampment and  saying
     "Anyone want some bread?"

         Non-perishables:  jerky,  sausage,  nuts (good for keeping up
     your  food  level  without  having  to  take  the  time  to  cook
     something), dried fruit and such. Non-period stuff includes (eek)
     PopTarts, which give a quick 200 calories when you have a fighter
     or someone else who hasn't been eating enough.

         Take some  one-a-day style  vitamins - we  all know  that you
     won't eat properly.

         Cooking is  best handled  as a group  activity.  Work  with a
     group,  bring enough or buy enough  to make up your contribution.
     Stews are easy,   rice is _easy_ and  can have nuts/spices/greens
     thrown in as well.  If you get desperate, hit Sades or one of the
     other food merchants.  Splitting cooking among a group means that
     everyone may only have  to cook one meal that week,   and you can
     certainly manage that.

         It's not period, but a few cans of stew or chili can hold you
     for dinner if you need to resort to that.

         Bring Gatorade. You will need it, or something like it. If it
     tastes good, you need to drink more.  (Donallain)

     Jerky and  dried fruit - This  year (via someone's  suggestion on
     the  Rialto)   we purchased  "The  Happy  Hiker's Guide  to  Good
     Cooking".   One  of the best books  of it's kind I've  ever seen.
     After building  a dehydrator out of  about $20 worth  of supplies
     (from the directions in the  book),  we started drying everything
     in sight!   We  were much happier with the taste  and contents of
     homemade as compared to store bought.  We also had the delightful
     ability to  leave the  tent in  the morning  with a  cloth napkin
     filled  with jerky,   fruit and  bread--tastes  great for  lunch,
     travels well and feels absolutely delightful to be able to do.

     Bread - The above mentioned cookbook  has many recipes for breads
     designed to be tasty and able to  travel for a week with a hiker.
     I make  a couple of  loafs of her soda  bread and rye  bread (and
     blueberry cake :-),  then froze them.    None of them went bad on
     me.   It also  felt great to be able  to pull out a  loaf of home
     baked bread--without  having to bake it  at Pennsic.   I  have to
     confess  that I'm  rarely in  the mood  to  take the  time to  do
     serious baking at a  camping event.   The more I can  do at home,
     the happier I am.

     Frozen other meals - Most people  probably thought of this option
     already, but here goes.   I cook stew and a curry at home, freeze
     it, use it as ice in the cooler and eat it at Pennsic.  (Caitrin)

     Indian food keeps  real well.   I've had curries  and yogurt that
     lasted several days of Pennsic heat.  Ditto marinades in vinegar.
     One rice  salad with onions,   tomatoes and bits  of meat/chicken
     lasted a looong time.
         Stir fry is a good way  to make yummy,  satisfying,  easy-to-
     cook meals with what's available at the Coopers.
         Planned for this year:  (1991)  We are going to try to have a
     24 hour stew pot over the cook  fire.   As volume gets lower,  we
     just add more stuff. Let you know how this works out.  Kumis is a
     good way to keep milk from spoiling! :)  (Yaakov)

         Figure  out  a meal  plan  that's  simple and  unless  you're
     planning  something very  unusual,  buy  your groceries  locally.
     (More space saved in the vehicle.)  A short distance from Pennsic
     are some good (large)  markets.   One of them will even take your
     out of state personal checks.  In fact they got so sick and tired
     of having to key in my 14 digit acct.  number and my NYS driver's
     license no. that they issued me a check cashing card.  They might
     do the same for you.   Also when you go shopping,  bring a cooler
     with you for the perishable stuff.   Ice is cheaper at the market
     and the food gets back to  camp without spoilage.  [It also gives
     you the option of doing some other shopping or doing laundry in a
     large laundromat while in town.]

     YES - keep coolers out of the sun.   A great cover for them which
     helps keep them  insulated can be made from  those inflatable air
     mattresses that have sprung one leak too many.  Some of them even
     come in great colors.  [When dumping the excess fluid, be sure to
     do so away from tents, water supply, power lines and the road.]

     YES - block ice does last longer  but having some cubes around is
     also handy.    Keeping a  small cooler for  just cubes  keeps ice
     available for  chilling drinks  and saves  cooler space.    Those
     soda/juice/other  beverage   cans  &   bottles  can   be  stacked
     elsewhere.   Doing this  also helps to convince  people to always
     make use of  period looking drinking vessels  instead of drinking
     out of  the can/bottle.    Milk in  pints &  quart sizes  are now
     available in shelf storage containers  in many areas.   Such milk
     locally comes in 'Skim', 2%, Whole and 2% Chocolate.   Shelf life
     (not refrigerated until  opened)  is about 6  months.   That's an
     item worth toting to war as I've never seen it in the stores down
     there and the small sizes are real handy.  "Sealable freezer bags
     of various sizes  are light and will  keep bugs out.  "   This is
     useful but 'tupper-ware  type containers have more  uses and keep
     the water from your cooler out  of your food better.   Fresh eggs
     need not be refrigerated  - just kept in the shade  and they will
     last for a week.  (Make sure there  are no cracks or pin holes by
     sinking them in water.   Cracked eggs should be thrown away - NOT
     eaten.)  You also might want to consider pickled eggs - they last
     for months.   Most commercial Yogurts  must be refrigerated under
     Pennsic conditions - check with any doctor and likely he/she will
     confirm this.    " Bread lovers,   I have a  product endorsement:
     Kings Hawaiian Bread (sp?)  which keeps without refrigeration for
     weeks."  I second  that endorsement.   Black breads  also tend to
     last much longer than white breads,  hard breads longer than soft
     - unless  you're eating the kinds  with all the  additives.   The
     Food Arena (Lyndora),   my favorite market for  Pennsic offer rye
     and pumpernickel rolls  as well as oat and whole  wheat and these
     individual sizes offer greater variety and keep well.

         "Cooking is best handled as a group activity."  My experience
     has been that having one or two  reliable cooks for a group works
     out better  than sharing this chore.    Of course those  who cook
     have no other work  to do and those who cook,   or the chief cook
     the one that does all the shopping.

          If you are camping alone or with one or two others,  instead
     of spending money at  the inns,  you might ask around  at some of
     the bigger encampments and find out if they'll let you partake of
     their meal plan.        "Bring Gatorade.    You will need it,  or
     something like it.  If it tastes  good,  you need to drink more."
     There are beverages similar to 'Gatorade"  on the market that are
     far  less  harmful  to  your  health;    the  best  of  them  are
     specifically  geared  for  children.    Children  should  not  be
     drinking a lot of undiluted 'Gatorade' - ask a pediatrician.  For
     that matter - most of us shouldn't be.  If the camp water bothers
     your system and you don't want the hassle of bottled water simply
     boil up a large batch of water first thing every morning and keep
     a cover over  it.   Boiled water rarely upsets  anyones system if
     you take the water out by dipping since you've boiled off many of
     the chemicals and many minerals will  settle to the bottom of the

          Cooking/feast gear:   Bring enough  (collectively)  for your
     encampment and  the unexpected  guest but  no more;   and,  LABEL
     everything.  Cooking over an open fire?   Soaping the bottoms and
     sides of your  pots/pans really does work but it  works best with
     real soap - not detergents.  (Alasdair)

         What this  is is an  adaptation  of  a couple of  recipes for
     corned beef and pastrami.  For the  first,  the only seasoning is
     the garlic, and you leave the meat in it- refrigerated- for three
     weeks,  for the other,  you add  the seasonings and vinegar,  and
     smoke after marination. I also leave out the saltpeter because it
     makes some of my guests nervous. It's an anti-botulism ingredient
     and you may feel nervous *without* it.
         I generally put the cauldron on as  soon as we can get a fire
     started and add such of the ingredients as I can put my hands on.
     (those of  you who have  seen my  kitchen know what  this means).
     Basically I let  it boil until I  am sure that all  the sugar and
     salt are  dissolved.   Then I  pour it over  the meat in  a large
         I use pre-cured meat: corned beef, pastrami, and ham.  I have
     used  a  wooden  bucket  (clean and  well  pre-swollen),   and  a
     stoneware crock.  We first lined the  wooden crock with a plastic
     bag, but found later that the bag leaked and the barrel didn't so
     now we dispense with it.  Frankly, because all the meat is in one
     pickle, by the end of the war it does begin to taste similar,  so
     if you  can find separate  crocks and  season each piece  of meat
     individually, I think that might be preferable.  In that case I'd
     season the ham  brine with mustard seeds and maybe  a few cloves,
     the corned beef with garlic and pepper, and the pastrami with the
     spices, and the vinegar.  Don't forget that you can make your own
     jerky- which also does not need refrigeration, and is a great hit
     with the fighters around lunch,   and serve commercially prepared
     salt beef, or even salt cod. None of which needs a cooler.
         The most  important thing  about this is  that the  meat MUST
     stay under the brine.  Put a plate or a wooden disc on top of the
     meat and weight it down with a clean rock or brick. We have a lid
     on our crock  as well.  We have  been using this system  since at
     least Pennsic  12 and have  had NO  problems with the  meat going
     bad,  or anyone getting sick.  For  me,  coolers are to keep your
     fresh chicken on ice for the one day between buying and eating. I
     suggest a fresh  meat one day,  a marinated meat  or sausages the
     next (say shish-kabob)  then something from the salt crock,  then
     something dried- then you go to the market again.  Or you can eat
     boiled salt meat all war, but I prefer variation.

         Boil 2 gallons of water (may be partially replaced with red
                     wine vinegar)
         1 pound of sugar
         2 pounds of salt
         4 cloves garlic
         1 tbsp. ginger
         1 tbsp coriander
         1 tbsp. paprika
         1 tbsp. pepper (Arastorm the Golden)

         Take a  big enough ice  chest (this  will be larger  than you
     will believe), esp.  if you are staying 1-2 weeks.   Most of what
     you take as food should be frozen hard before you leave.  It will
     thaw out over time,  add to the  coldth of the ice chest,  & keep
     longer.   as  it thaws,  you will  add ice to it,   replacing the
     volume of what you have used.    Make sure your (very large)  ice
     chest has a drain plug at one end.  Learn how to use it, & do so,
     keeping the contents from getting soggy.
         Zip-lock  bags are  a wonderful  invention.   I  particularly
     commend to your  attention the 1/2 gal.  size,   with the pleated
     bottom.   They hold more,  & stand up better.   zip lock bags are
     the most efficient way to pack food in a cooler,  & get the items
     from getting soggy or diluted.
         I strongly recommend a bag full of boiled,  peeled eggs.   It
     is my experience that normal human beings get more carnivorous at
     the war,   & that carnivorous  people.....   well,  are  best fed
         Pickles are a GOOD thing.   Vinegar of any kind is,  & people
     will eat  pickles.   The salt is  good for those sweating  a lot,
         LOTS of non-alcoholic,   non-dairy (not that I  have anything
     against  dairy  products,    on  the  contrary,   but   they  are
     ridiculously  (& artificially)   low-priced in  PA,   & they  are
     cheaper to  buy at  the campstore,   than to  bring in  with you.
     Also,  weight  over mileage = money,   if you're coming  from any
     distance.   Bring something you LIKE to drink.   A case/person is
     not unreasonable (of quart bottles) for a little over a week.  It
     is too easy  to forget to drink  at the War.   If  you've brought
     something you LIKE the taste of, you're more apt to remember.
         You don't  have to bring cooking  gear,  if you do  it right.
     Take already-cooked sausages (frozen),  like kielbasa,  or smoked
     sausage, or whatever, skewers,  & some of those mini French bread
     loaves,  about 6" long.   All you need is a friendly fire to heat
     them  over.     Are  there   any  friendly   fires  at   Pennsic?
     Naaa....:-).   Take  zip lock bags  of your favorite  stew,  made
     ahead.   DON'T TAKE anything you  haven't tried before.   Might I
     suggest beef & barley, or mutton & barley stew?
         If you  MUST have potatoes in  your stew,  & are  asked about
     them,  pretend  that they are turnips  (which are seen  in period
     stews).  Take extra stew.  Some one will be willing to heat yours
     up,  if  they can have some,   too.   Take a bag  of individually
     frozen steaks (chuck steaks actually grill quite nicely, & aren't
     too expensive).  Follow the recipe above for getting them cooked.
         Take bags of ready-to-eat  frozen fruit---my favorite grocery
     store here  used to  carry frozen  black sweet  pitted cherries--
     sigh, it was SO decadent!
         DO TAKE a plate, bowl & spoon,  your knife (of course!),  & a
         If you take cheese, put it both in a zip-lock bag & in a tray
     in the top of your ice chest.   Slimey cheese (from moisture)  is
     very unappetizing.
         Don't give the  bread valuable space in your  ice chest.   It
     will neither profit from the experience, nor appreciate it.   All
     it wants is to be away from the air.  Speaking of bread.   If you
     want hot  bread at the War,   (don't laugh,  some things  seem SO
     decadent,  after  a week of camping)   take bags of  frozen bread
     dough,  in their very own styrofoam  cooler.   They will thaw out
     over the course of the war.   Use whoever is ready that day.   If
     no one volunteers, take one bag out, & leave it (sealed) out.  It
     will thaw & rise (the bag will make room)  in it's own clean bag.
     Take a  wok with  you,  a  slotted metal  spoon,  &  a bucket  of
     lard/fat/oil.   Some  one will  lend you  their Coleman,   'cause
     they'd love some hot bread,  too.   Heat whatever fat in the wok,
     shape & flatten pieces of dough  no larger than 3x5x1/2",  & cook
     in the  hot fat,  turning to  brown the other side.    Very good.
     Better if you brought some  sugar-and-cinnamon.   There is a very
     yummy journey-bread that is period,   called Prince Biskit (well,
     the recipe was published not long  after 1600).   Scotch eggs are
     also good.  Post me if you need recipes for stew, Scotch eggs, or
     Prince Biskit (I make it with a Cuisinart).

         I suspect  that one can  make one's own  orange-banana juice,
     freeze it & carry it to the war more cheaply than one can buy it.
     In any  form,  potassium is  a GOOD THING.   It  is one of  the 2
     reasons people drink Gatorade.   I  was summoned to Oliewood last
     war, because Duke Olaf had a TERRIBLE leg cramp.   "So",  I says,
     "Had any bananas lately?"  "I  HATE bananas!" groaned Olaf,  from
     behind  gritted  teeth.    "What  about  Gatorade?"   "Gatorade's
     yucky."  "I see.   What about oysters?"  "What about oysters?   I
     love 'em!"  "Ah, will you eat some, if I fix them?"  "Sure!"
         Let me commend to you the lowly oyster, that confused mollusk
     that can't  remember which sex  it is,  but  which is one  of the
     highest  known sources  of potassium,   & which  also live  quite
     happily in  cans (which  need no refrigeration),   as well  as in
     shells.   A  casserole of oysters would  make a decadent  part of
     breakfast (better to be ahead  on potassium,  than play catch-up)
     for heavy fighters, & others who sweat a lot. (Julitta)

     >Ice in the  cooler melts,  and you  can't keep meat more  than a
     couple days >safely.

     This I have  to disagree about.   At Beltane last  year,  we were
     quite successful at packing meat for  a 10 day event.   I ordered
     the meat  in advance from our  butcher and had him  freeze it--he
     being able to freeze it more quickly and colder than I could.  We
     took one ice-chest with the frozen meat packed with dry ice.   It
     was only necessary to open that chest once a day--to take out the
     meat to be thawed for use that  day (and--it helped keep the food
     that was  only on ice  chilled as well).    It was only  the last
     couple of  days of this event  that meat was  already thawed--and
     that is  within the limits you  gave for keeping meat  under camp
     conditions.   Net result:    We lost no meat  to spoilage.   (Hal


         Bringing your own little roll of  toilet paper is a good idea
     for  when the  Porta-Castles  run out.   If  you  won't have  any
     facilities in your camp for washing up, you can get by with a)  a
     large bucket filled  with water and some bleach,   which you wash
     your hands  in before cooking  or eating,  or  b)  a good  set of
     Handi-Wipes or  baby wipes.   Wash your  utensils and  self after
     eating;  it keeps  the bugs to a  minimum.  Get rid of  your wash
     water in approved  fashion,  which is to say AWAY  FROM THE WATER
     SUPPLY!!  Ask your more experienced  people where to rid yourself
     of wash water properly.  Period  or not,  sanitation is something
     you cannot let slide.  (Donallain)

         It's work but  very worthwhile to dig a drainage  pit in your
     encampment.   Don't forget to remove the sod and save it for when
     you  refill the  pit.    Adding a  capful of  bleach  to the  pit
     everyday keeps  germs and bugs at  bay;  especially if  you DON'T
     scrape your dishes into the pit.  Bringing a small trash can with
     a lid might not look good but it makes the camp smell better.   I
     also suggest adding a few drops of  bleach to both the wash water
     and the rinse  water for all cooking/eating  equipment.   Wipe up
     all spills when they happen and if food has fallen to the ground,
     pick it up and dispose of it in the garbage.   If liquids,  other
     than water,  spill on the ground,  rinse the area off with water.
     Sweet liquids attract bugs, especially bees and other liquids may
     not  all  soak  into  the  ground   and  may  sour  -  causing  a
     disagreeable odor in your encampment  (and attracting bugs).   No
     one in our encampment has ever come  down with any of the Pennsic
     Flus or  a case of  the 'trots' and  I think that  keeping things
     clean is the main reason.
          Part of sanitation is making sure that food prep. and eating
     surfaces (tables) are also clean.   Table cloths can be picked up
     cheaply at garage &  rummage sales or can be made  out of old bed
     sheets.  Anyway, they look nicer than a bare table.

          Next to keeping things clean, the most important thing is to
     keep food properly stored.   If you want to leave a bowl of fruit
     out -  fine -   but put screening  over it.    ANY food  left out
     attracts bugs  - often bees (which  many find dangerous  to their
     health)  and flies  which can be dangerous  to everyone's health.


                       ...Keep the Campfires Burning...

                              By Baron Dur

     At Pennsic XVIII,  I wandered the War discussing fire safety with
     the assembled folk  in the guise of the  "Pennsic Fire Marshall".
     When Pennsic XIX occurred this year,   there was no such beast to
     haunt the lands (by command of the Autocrat).   Nobody died.   To
     my knowledge, nobody burned down a tent, got seriously burned, or
     was thrown off the site for "playing with fire".  However...

     Let me start this story with  what happened months before Pennsic
     XIX.   The report written about exploits of the Pennsic XVII Fire
     Marshal was published in _Pikestaff_, the East kingdom newsletter
     in the June edition, in all its gory details.  Then, word reached
     me that the Autocrat  for the War didn't want a  Fire Marshal for
     the war, me in particular.   While the second part of the message
     didn't bother me, the first part did.  But, it was her assets and
     therefore her problem.

     Some good-hearted  soul who read the  article in the  news letter
     was apparently so impressed with the  urgency of fire safety that
     they called me in the wee hours one  day.   He said he had a line
     on a fire truck, and he wanted to know what to do with it.   So I
     told him.  Call the autocrat.

     Fearing that  this would  continue,  and  possibly undermine  the
     office of the autocrat,  I contacted the East Kingdom Chronicler.
     "Would you please publish a short announcement to the effect that
     I am NOT the Fire Marshal for  this Pennsic War,  and that people
     should instead go to the Autocrat?"  The announcement appeared in
     the following _Pikestaff_ (July).

     However,  the news never got to  any outside of the East Kingdom.
     When I arrived at  the War this year,  people were  comming to me
     with  questions  on fire  safety,   and  asking  if I  was  still
     patroling the  site.   Arval was enlisted  to spread the  news to
     ensure that  people would not  seek me,   but go to  the Security
     Force with their concerns.   "Baron Dur  is NOT the Fire Marshal"
     was cried to the camp.  (Later, Arnoff had them change the cry to
     "..is STILL not the Fire Marshal.  He is Smokey the Baron!")

     Even after  all that,  people STILL  wanted to know who  the Fire
     Marshal was.    I told them to  ask the autocrat.   That  was her
     problem, not mine.

     Arnoff later recruited me to the  Chirurgeon General Staff as the
     Combustible Consultant.   Everybody  then waited for me  to burst
     into flames, I guess.  This is what you get for practicing safety
     without a licence, a silly title and more paperwork.   The job is
     to observe, evaluate, and report on fire safety issues within the

     This War,  only  four issues were noted as  significant,  and are
     summarized hereafter.

     Torches:  Four separate incidents were either observed or told to

     First:   Someone was  walking through the campsites  with a torch
     canister on top of a long pole, held high above their head.   The
     pole was waving back and forth as  the gentle weaved his way down
     the road.   The distance between the observer and the culprit was
     large enough that  the observer was not  able to catch up  to him
     and advise him of the consequences of his actions.

     Second:   The  short (two feet  long)  canister tiki  torches are
     appearantly  being labeled  by the  manufacturer  as "hand  held"
     these days.  On three separate instances, young men were observed
     carrying these around the camp.  They were accosted, and asked to
     extinguish them,  which they did.   I happened to follow one pair
     of gents back  to Trimaris encampment,  which seemed  to be their
     home.   In another incident, the gentle identified himself as one
     of Baldar's squires (Trimaris).

     Third:   The placement, care,  and feeding of torches was still a
     problem this year.   I observed  several cases where torches were
     placed under dining  flys,  or where they would fall  on tents if
     knocked over.  Several torches were overfilled, or the wicks were
     loaded up with soot,  causing fire to spit and spark from the top
     of the torches.

     Fourth:  At a large gathering, a gentle tripped over a tent rope,
     and  knocked a  torch canister  off the  top of  its pole.    The
     canister broke open,   and covered the ground  with burning fuel,
     all of  this adjacent  to one  of the  rental pavillions  (Grimms
     Tents).   He got up and tried to stamp out the fire, but the pool
     of fuel was too  large for him to be effective  (about three feet
     across).   The rest of the story is almost comical,  if it wasn't
     for the situation.

     The  crowd drew  back from  the  fire,  as  the gentle  continued
     valiantly to stamp away at the fire.   Many of the camp occupants
     rushed away to  find their fire extinguishers,   while my protege
     started hollering "Fire!".  I got up, and was walking over to the
     fire to smother it  with my large jacket,  when one  of the "camp
     firefighters" slammed  me in  the chest  with the  warning,  "Get
     Back!   We're  waiting for  the Fire  Extinguishers!"  I  stepped
     back,  as  I could see someone  arriving with a  thirty-pound CO2
     extinguisher.   With three blasts,  they  dealt the fire a mortal
     blow.   A great cheer went up from the crowd at the completion of
     the evolution.   As the excitement died down,  the party returned
     to normal.

     I thought the  incident was closed,  until  the chirurgeons later
     complained to me about the number  of injuries resulting from the
     fire.   Seems that the responders had  been so zealous in running
     to get their  firefighting equipment,  that they  had tripped and
     fallen and hurt themselves trying to save the camp.

     Awareness and  Misdemeanors:   Many cases  were observed  of both
     preparedness and carelessness.   Several  folk who remembered the
     discussions from the previous year were eager to show me how well
     they addressed the issue of fire safety in their camp.   My kudos
     goes to those who took this to heart.   But, for every good deed,
     it shall  not go  un-punished.   There  were an  equal number  of
     occasions where  the danger of  fire was increased  through plain

     I observed  numerous cases  of liquid fuels  stored next  to fire
     sources,  tents staked too close to  fire pits,  fires burning in
     unattended,  crowded campsites,  and yes,   open flame sources in
     tents.   I interviewed several of the security teams to determine
     what,   if  any,   briefing  they had  received  on  fire  safety
     enforcement.   Less than  half of them had  been instructed,  and
     less than one in ten had any idea  what to do if they came apon a
     fire situation, other than call it in on the radio.

     As a  side note,   one of the  PA Volunteer  Fireman on  site had
     brought his  personal turn-out  gear (fire-fighting  clothing and
     helmet),  and had it stored readily  available at his camp.   I'm
     glad it was not needed.

     Felonious Firebugs:  At least this year the firebugs waited until
     the War was over.   Sunday night's Calontir Bonfire was again the
     scene of the "Burn everything on site" fire fest,  with the usual
     stupid Peer pouring flammable liquids on a roaring blaze.  I hope
     he still can grow hair on his arms.

     Offical Preparation and Regulation:   Pennsic XIX was atypical in
     that information was widely available and clearly defined well in
     advance of the event.   My compliments to the appropriate members
     of the staff.

     The regulations for Pennsic XIX concerning fire safety (listed in
     various publications) were adequate from a legal standpoint.  The
     issue of structure proximity (tent spacing) and equipage (amounts
     and placement of  fire fighting gear)  were the best  thus far of
     any war.

     However,  promulgation  of this  information assumes  that people
     will  "read  and  heed".    The fact  that  there  were  multiple
     violations   of   these  strictures   indicates   either   wanton
     misbehavior or ignorance of the rules.    Worse yet,  some of the
     rules are misinterpreted and further  increase the dangers of the
     incident.   People will  respond better to a personal  visit by a
     designated advocate than to an impersonal edict from on high.

     An example of  misinterpretation would be the  "Fire Extingusher"
     requirements.    Most   of  those   brought  to   the  War   were
     inappropriate for the situation.    They were either under-rated,
     or were not rated  at all.   The most likely of  fires would have
     burned out  of control while three  and even four of  these units
     were discharged.   In the case of the torch fire mentioned above,
     the  extinguisher was  improperly  employed,  requiring  multiple
     attacks to douse the fire.   This  lack of training is too common
     to  make  any   of  the  "required"  equipment   even  marginally
     functional (see the report on last year's tent fire for example).

     Obviously,   the situation,   while improved,   is not  resolved.
     However,  some are working towards  a possible solution.   Two of
     the large  household camps at the  War instituted their  own fire
     safety advocacy,  superior to that provided by the Pennsic staff.
     This idea has great merit.

     Therefore,   I  propose  that _every_  camp  have  a  fire-safety
     advocate.  This designated person must report for daily training,
     and  is responsible  to  conduct training  at  their camp.    The
     indoctrination  and  training  of  the   advocates  should  be  a
     responsibility of the Pennsic _Safety_ and Security staff.

     Historically,   the Roman's  response  to fire  was  to create  a
     nightwatch called the Vigilants.   Their responsibilities were to
     raise the alarm in  the event of fire,  and then  combat the fire
     with the citizens.  As the War continues to become more civilized
     (citified),   those  who  attend (its  citizens)   need  be  more
     vigilant.   Remember  the outrage of  Rome when  the "Christians"
     were blamed  for causing  the fire?    Be outraged  at those  who
     through ignorance or misbehavior endanger you, your kin, and your

     Dur the Nasty, Baron of Grey Matter

     PS  As a fireman,  I've "bagged and tagged" enough strangers.   I
     don't  want to  do  that  to my  friends  too.    (Dur of  Hidden



     2.  WARNINGS

     There  are possibilities  for  danger   in   any  camping   trip,
     knowing  what   they are  and how to  deal with  them can  be the
     difference  between  a   little   excitement   and  a   disaster.
     Included  here  are  some  of the things to be aware of, and have
     plans for,   when you  go to  Pennsic.   This  is by  no means  a
     complete coverage of dangers,  but it  hits the points that cause
     the most trouble to most folks.

     2.1  Storms

     I would like to emphasize a climatological fact.    The  area the
     War  is  held  in  is  part  of the Great Plains weather pattern.
     This means the  area is subject to disturbances   at the  leading
     edge  of  a  cold  front  (a  15  to 40 degree temperature drop).
     Friends  from  the  East  (and  West)   Kingdom  have   variously
     referred    to     these    as     monsoons,     typhoons     and
     Storms_of_Great_Ferocity_and_Note.   Those of us  who grew  up in
     the  Midwest  call them thunder showers,  except for some folks I
     know from Kansas who  call it mild rain  (no  twister  and it did
     not flatten  the crops).    These storm cells  are 15  minutes to
     three hours  of high  winds (50 plus  knots),   heavy  rain,  and
     spectacular lightning.   A storm may be followed by several hours
     of rain.   The  fronts  seem  to  roll  through every six to nine
     days in August.  I advise all to expect at least one storm.

     The people  who grew  up with  the weather  do  not   ignore  the
     storms,  these  folks respect and plan  for the weather.    It is
     unpleasant,  but  need not be   a  disaster.    Some   things  to

      * Do not panic.   If you are truly terrified,   tell  someone so
     they can keep an eye on you,  keep busy so you will not have time
     to panic  until the camp is   secured,   and  then  find  company
     and  cuddle  or  sing  or give back rubs or whatever  it takes to
     get through the storm (this can make storms fun).

      * Storms usually come from the west.  Avoid setting up your tent
     with the door  facing due west.   A  slight cant to the  north or
     south will keep  things  drier  and  lessen  the chance of having
     the tent blow down or tear.

      * Make sure that your tent is set  up with all of  its  pegs and
     tie downs (dome tents may need  extra guy lines;  once they start
     rolling, they are hard to catch).  If  you  do this  in the first
     place,  you will spend  less time in the rain doing  it after the
     storm hits.

      * If  you are  camped on  an   incline  (probable),    then  you
     might  consider a small drainage ditch  on the uphill side of the
     tent.   This  channels  water  around   rather  than through your

      * Do  not use  heroic  measures   to  save   a  dining   fly  or
     awning.    Some  things were not meant  to stand high  winds.   A
     flapping piece of  plastic with a pole  attached  to   it can  do
     a lot of damage,   both to people and to property.    If the wind
     gets high  and the fly   starts  to   take  off,  drop   it  down
     over what you want covered and weight the edges.

     2.2  Temperature Extremes

     A  more  subtle   climatological  fact   is   that  the   average
     temperature  and humidity in August is horrendous during the day,
     while the nights  can be down right cold.   (Can  you  say frost?
     I  knew   you  could.)    Either of  these extremes  can lead  to
     health problems  that have one  symptom in common:   the affected
     person  gets   stupid.   As someone  who has suffered  from these
     medical conditions,  I   can  think  of  no   better description.
     The   mental processes  slow (or  shut)  down  and you  are in  a
     walking stupor.    The sufferer  stops  listening  to  reasonable
     advice  and   will  do   things that will  seem stupid   to  them
     when  they  have   recovered.    Many  other injuries    at   the
     War  are  probably   related  to  these conditions.    Watch your
     friends and yourself.

     2.2.1   Heat Daytime  high temperatures  average   in  the   high
     90's  with humidity  to match.   If you are not used to this,  or
     are not in prime condition, take_it_easy.   More people, fighters
     and spectators,   are  lost  to  heat  than  all  other  types of
     injuries.   Folks who are used to  desert heat are  as  likely to
     drop as  any.   The high humidity,   which they are not  used to,
     slows heat loss via sweating.  If  the  temperature  and humidity
     get  high,  drink  lots of water,  stay in the  shade,  eat fruit
     (especially   bananas)-,    and  occasionally   taste  metabolite
     replacement drinks  (drinks that replace  minerals that  the body
     sweats out).  While Gator-Aid is not the best, __________

       -  If you  are  not used  to  eating lots  of  fruit,  you  may
     experience  some  intestinal  changes.   Some  fruits  can  cause
     constipation,  others make you watery.   Heat illnesses and water
     change  can have  similar effects,   especially diarrhea.    Just
     another warning.

     it is easy to get (too high  a concentration of mineral salts and
     too much sugar; dilute with water for best effect).  If Gator-Aid
     does not  taste bad,   drink up  until  it   does,   you  are  in
     trouble.    (How  is  that for rough and  ready sports medicine?)
     Go  easy  on  the  alcoholic   beverages.     An occasional  beer
     or  wine  cooler  is a relief,  but alcohol speeds dehydration by
     replacing  water  in  the  body  and   then  using   more  to  be
     metabolized,  so,  in quantity,  it is  a very bad thing.   Other
     symptoms  of  heat  disorders include  flushed  and   dry   skin,
     lethargy,  no sweat, and, as I said, acting stupid.

     2.2.2   Cold The   large   difference    between   daytime    and
     nighttime temperatures  (night  temperatures   range from mid 30s
     to the 50s, e.g.  chilly)  common  to  the  area  can  also  lead
     to another  problem  encountered at the War,  hypothermia.   This
     is a drop of the core temperature of  the  body,  which  can lead
     to coma  and death  if not  treated.   Treatment  is to  warm the
     person  up  as quickly  as  possible.    It  is easier  to  avoid
     hypothermia  by  changing out of  wet clothes,  drying  off,  and
     getting warm.   If a friend is wet (say after  being  out  in the
     rain)  and getting cold (since the temperature dropped 30 degrees
     in the last hour) help them out.  Get them into  dry clothes  and
     get  them  warm.   Strong drink (liquor)   is not advised if they
     are still  wet or cold.   While  they may  seem to   feel warmer,
     drinking alcohol speeds heat loss,  which  is what you are trying
     to avoid.

     2.3  Fire

     The next point I will touch on moves from cold back to  hot, i.e.
     fire.    This wonderful tool is like any other,  it will turn and
     bite you if you mishandle   it.    The  Chirurgeonate would  like
     to  mandate  a  minimum of 10 feet between open flames and tents.
     I wish them luck since  common   sense  is hardly  common.    The
     rule of thumb I use is far enough away so that the fire cannot be
     knocked  into  the   tent.    Never have  an  open   flame  in  a
     tent.   Lanterns in tents are an  issue I will not address except
     to point  out I   use  battery  lamps  in   tents.   Most  modern
     fabrics melt too fast and too hot for me to want to take chances.

     In  case of  tent fires  (Heaven forfend!),   the  Autocrat   has
     demanded  3.5 feet  between tent walls,  hoping this  will keep a
     fire from spreading if and when.    If  this  seems  like  a lot,
     look  at the  guy lines from a properly set  3-person Aframe tent
     and you will find  that two of them  will  end   up having  their
     walls  three  to four  feet apart.    If they  use that  much (my
     pavillion uses  more),  I  find  this  request reasonable.

     As  for   campfires,   if   you  are   not  good   friends   with
     Prometheus,   be   very  careful.     Amateurs  make  me nervous.
     There are  very  few   people  in   the  world   (let  alone   at
     Pennsic)   who   are  good   at  treating  amateur fire  gods who
     become burn victims.

     2.4  Invertebrates (Bugs)

     If you have never been camping,  you are about  to  find  out one
     of the less thrilling things about nature; God must love insects,
     he sure made a lot of them.   Something  for  folks from the left
     coast to remember is that there are a lot more insects, both type
     and number,  on this side of the   Rockies.   I  never saw a tent
     with zip-out  netting until I  helped Duke Paul  set his up  at a
     Pennsic.  They just are not sold in the Midwest  or  East.  Bring
     mosquito  netting and  bug spray  and remember  to keep  garbage,
     coolers and tent  netting  closed.  If  you  are  allergic to bee
     stings, bring your medication!  Some types of note:

     o House  flies -  That friend you  thought you  left at   home is
     here  at the war,  too.   Just like  at home,  he never wipes his
     feet before landing on your table  (or  food),  no  matter  where
     he  was  last.   Keep  food and  garbage covered  and clean  food
     preparation areas, just like  at home.

     o Horse and deer flies - While you can go the  whole  war without
     seeing them,  these beauties are not uncommon in the area.   They
     both bite  and  leave  a  welt.   Horse flies are slightly larger
     than house flies.   Deer flies are  dark with white "eyes" on the
     wing and are slightly smaller    than  house  flies.    They  are
     both  easily discouraged by using insect repellent.

     o Ticks - Both Woods and Deer Tick are indigenous to  the region,
     each  can  vector  for  some  nasty  diseases.   Insect repellent
     works, but a "tick check" twice a  day is still a good idea.

     o Mosquitos - While not in the  same class as the ones  in Alaska
     or  Minnesota  ("It is  awe inspiring to  watch as  the mosquitos
     majestically flap   their  wings  as   they carry  off  sheep and
     small children."),  mosquitos  are a pest in the  wooded and  low
     areas.    Insect  repellent makes the evenings more pleasant (and

     o Ground Hornets  and Wasps - There  are   usually  several nests
     in the  woods.   If you  find one,  mark  the area and  walk away
     passively.  Do_not disturb the nest.  Contact site security about
     it, if it is in a high traffic area they will probably bomb it.

     There are  other bugs  out there  -- ants  will  find   any  open
     food,   given   time,   and  a  cricket   is  not  an  ideal tent
     companion --  but they  are not  threats to  health or   comfort.
     Some   are  downright   good companions.    A Cranefly  (Mosquito
     hawk),  for instance,   looks like a mosquito,   but eats several
     times  its  weight  in mosquitos a day.  Spiders are also on your
     side, unless you rile them.



     DRINK ENOUGH WATER!!!   Doctors usually recommend at least half a
     gallon a  day for  adults,  under  NORMAL conditions.    More for
     Pennsic.   I dunno just how much (I  try for a full gallon),  nor
     what to do about kids.   Drink extra water (and,  at night,  wear
     warmer  clothes)  whenever  you drink  alcohol;   this will  help
     prevent hangovers too!   (Which reminds me,  do NOT drink alcohol
     if you're on antihistamines!!!)  (Simon)

     Keep Aloe or burn cream in  an easily accessible place very close
     to the fire.  Make sure everyone knows where it is.  I treated--I
     think--three burned hands at my campfire last year.

     (Our medical set up was:   1 massive medkit containing everything
     we could think of, including air-splints.   I am a Chirurgeon and
     my lady  is a  Pharmacist.  We  sat down  and went  through every
     possible accident  and what we could  do about it.  As  you might
     imagine, we missed one that happened.

     2. My "portable" medkit to take on duty.  Pretty much what was in
     1) but not as much of it.

     3.   The "fireside" medkit.   A plastic bag full of Aloe, alcohol
     wipes, first-aid cream, and band-aids.

     4.  My "pocket" medkit.   A small pouch I carry at all times with
     alchohol swabs, first-aid cream, and band-aids.

     We went through a lot of bandaids.

     Oh yeah, don't forget insect repellent and caladryl,  for bites.)

         SAFETY:    Establish fire  safety rules  and  stick to  them.
     Don't  forget the  fire extinguishers.    1 for  the firepit  (if
     you're going to have one),  1 for  the cooking area,  1 for every
     three or 4 tents.   Keep them highly visible, let everyone in the
     encampment know where they are and how  and when to use them (ABC
     variety  is best).    Drive stakes  as  deep into  the ground  as
     possible and put reflective  tape on the tops as well  as on tent
     lines.    If you  have  smokers,  use  ashtrays  not the  ground,
     drainage pit or fire pit.  Do not burn garbage.   If you must use
     tiki  torches  or similar  lamps  make  sure  wicks are  in  good
     condition and that  the torches can't be knocked  over.   It goes
     without saying that they should never be within striking distance
     of any tent/pavillion/tarp/etc. and should NEVER be inside.  Keep
     fuels out of the sun and away from flames.  (Alasdair)


                            PENNSIC TERRORISTS

     As a regular  warrior of the Wars  and a hunting master  of these
     same woods,   I often  engage the menaces  which lurk  beside the
     trails.   As yet,  they have not brought me down for I am wary of
     their ways.   However,  I fear many  of the campfollowers and un-
     seasoned  warriors may  be  ensnared unwittingly.    Furthermore,
     without proper  training in  the combat  of these  dangers places
     them and those who aid them at greater risk.

     The terrorists  of which I  speak are  three in number,   and are
     present along all  wooded paths of these  forests.   Their names:
     Brown,  American Dog,  and Deer (Tick).   These highway men match
     the peak of their activity coincident  with the months of battle.
     Of the three, the most likely to attack man is American Dog,  and
     he may be found on any pet anywhere.

     Some characteristics of these terrorists are as follows:  All are
     attracted by the carbon dioxide  of the victims breath.   Sensing
     this, they will move from the bush or branch from where they rest
     towards its source.   Once aboard the  victim,  they may mate and
     the female will  lay her eggs before feeding.    Then,  they will
     penetrate the skin with their mouth parts, which the victim never
     feels.  Next, a cement is secreted which bonds the mouth parts to
     the skin ("stuck like a tick").

     The feeding tick uses an enzyme to  break down the blood,  and if
     the tick is diseased, this enzyme can transmit the disease to the
     host.    (It is  uncommon  for dogs  to  be  infected with  these
     diseases.)  These include such maladies as Rocky Mountain spotted
     fever and  Lyme disease (common in  the East Kingdom,   by moving
     into Atlantia and the Middle as well.)  Rare,  but still included
     are tick paralysis and tularemia though uncommon in humans.

     Removal of  these pests  is hazarduous,   because of  the disease
     bearing enzymes and secretions.   Tweezers should be used to hold
     and gently  pull the  tick off the  victim.  this  will hopefully
     remove the  embedded mouthparts  as well.    If tweezers  are not
     available, tissue paper or disposable gloves may be used instead.
     Extreme care should be observed  when removing ticks bloated with
     blood,   so as  not to  squash  the beastie  and spread  diseases
     contained in its (or yours) bodily fluids.

     Once the tick is removed,  the area  must be washed with soap and
     covered with  antiseptic.   If the  bite becomes infected  or the
     victim ill, a doctor should be notified immediately.

     Prevention  (and education)   is the  best medicine  that can  be
     proscribed to combat these fiends.    As they tend to concentrate
     along paths frequented by potential hosts,  appropriate attire is
     the first line of defence.   Long sleeves, trousers, boots, and a
     hat  are strongly  recommended.   Ticks  initially  crawl into  a
     person's clothes and  not the skin.   It will then  search for an
     exposed area on the victims body.

     It takes a  tick about two hours  to get oriented on  the victim.
     Then, it will generally move to head,  underarms,  waist or groin
     as feeding sites.  Repellents applied to the skin will discourage
     them from attaching themselves.  From experience, some repellents
     will cause feeding ticks to detach, and they may simply be washed

     Man is not a natural host for these villains.   However, children
     tend to  be at  risk,  as they  like to  play in  areas generally
     inhabited by these pests.  Parents would be wise to regularly and
     often inspect their kinder so that they may not suffer overlong.

     On a more  factual note,  ticks are not insects.    They are more
     closely related  to mites and  spiders.   Adult ticks  have eight
     legs, not six as do insects.  Those persons who use period "straw
     ticks" for their  rope beds are not subject to  attacks by ticks,
     but by mites.   I'm aware that  some herbs are natural repellents
     to these buggers,   but I'm not sure which ones,    You could add
     these herbs as  well as other sweet  smelling ones to the  mix of
     straw and have a truly fine "bower" for a bed.  (Dur)

     Sunblock! A very good thing, for fighters as well as wenches with
     off-the-shoulder blouses.   I have seen  some pretty badly burned
     nose & eye areas )all that the  sun could get to,  thru the helm,
     but it did  double duty there.   23  or higher,  no paba,   is my
     preference.  (Julitta)


     Oscad writes:    >Another Pennsic myth(?)   is that the  idea for
     Pennsic  was put  forth  by >Cariadoc  when he  was  King of  the
     Midrealm;  The war took place when he >was King of the Eastrealm.
     Thus  becoming the  first king  to declare  >war on  *himself*...
     and lose.

     Well,  it's  a myth,   but it's  not *that*  far from  the truth.
     Cariadoc may not have declared the War,  but he was in large part
     responsible for inciting  it.  As the story goes,  on  one of his
     many back-and-forth trips between the East and Middle, he brought
     word back  to the Midrealm  King that,   while the East  had many
     valiant fighters, the Middle could take them in combat;  then, on
     a later trip,   he brought the War  Arrow before the King  of the
     East,   who  then  broke it,   accepting  the  challenge.   Never
     underestimate the influence of ambassadors on history...

     (Of course, Cariadoc himself tells the story beautifully,  and in
     vastly more detail; it's well worth hearing, if you can catch him
     at a campfire sometime...)  (Justin du Coeur mka Mark Waks)

          I  have been playing around with a certain idea  lately  and
     decided  to  share it with you. Those who know me, and  many  who
     don't,  but  have heard of me, think of me as an  expert  on  SCA
     camping-  the lady who wrote a booklet on it, whose packing  list
     is  in  the Known Worlde Handbook, who has the  *BIGGEST*  viking
     tent at Pennsic, etc.
          But,  really, what I do isn't camping. Camping  is  roughing
     it.  Camping is taking as little as you can,  simplifying,  doing
     without...  None of that is what I do. I sleep in a bed  (and  if
     you  have  never slept on feather bed, you must try it!);  I  eat
     sitting  down at a table, but I cook and wash my dishes  standing
     up,  and   when I have done, I put them away in  cupboards.  This
     year  I  will  be  sleeping within four  wooden  walls,  with  my
     children upstairs- albeit the roof will be cloth.
          When  I raise and bake yeast bread in a dome oven,  this  is
     not  a simplification. What it is is a celebration.  I  celebrate
     the life of the Dark Ages- I do it because it is a joy. I am  not
     at  the  war because it is the only place I can fight  with  2000
     other fighters at once, or sell to a captive audience of 7000, or
     go to workshops that are not available elsewhere (although  these
     are perfectly valid reasons for going to the war and are probably
     the  main reasons for many other people who go). I go because  it
     is  a  place where I can be in a medieval village (or  city?)  of
     7000+  for two weeks- where I can *BE*, without  distraction,  my
     persona for long enough so that when I wake up, it isn't a  shock
     to look around and see nothing modern. Sure, I must, as  everyone
     else  at  the War, see selectively, I ignore the  coke  cans  and
     popsicles,  the  buttons, and tapes and T shirts. As  anyone  who
     wishes  to be negative can tell you, we do a unique culture,  but
     it isn't medieval- but I can feel as medieval as I want to in it.
          Why  am I mentioning this?  Because I am just exploring  the
     concept  and  would  welcome  new  perspectives.  I  have  always
     wondered  why anyone would go to the War- or any  camping  event-
     and eat corn on the cob or chili. I *think* I may have figured it
     out-  they  ARE camping.  They are living in tents  because  they
     can't  afford (one way or another) a hotel room. The main  reason
     for  being there is not to live medieval life, but to  fight,  or
     talk  to other artists, or sell, or whatever. Food is  just  fuel
     and shelter is just protection. To those of you who already  knew
     that I must seem rather dimwitted, but it is still sinking in....
     Wow!   there   are  some  people   who  aren't  doing   this  for
     the opportunity to be medieval.
          Probably  Lady Tudor Glitz could have told me this  a  while
     ago-  but I might not have been able to hear it- I wonder if  I'm
     getting it right even now.
          And, of course, this is the basis of conflicts over how  the
     war  should  be organised. Without the basic  understanding  that
     there are large bodies of people, often within the same  campsite
     who  have different reasons for being there, you  can't  consider
     their  different needs. Wow. I will be happy to hear from  anyone
     on this subject. Thanks.  (Arastorm)

     Those bored with Pennsic discussions -- please skip this message.

     I agree  with Countess  Arastorm's theory  of why  Pennsic is  so
     special.   There  is a distinct  "Brigadoon-like" quality  to the
     event.   Every August this village springs up,  with the "houses"
     and shops in about the same  place every year.   Mentally,  I too
     experience the  "yesterday" or  "last week"  phenomena,  when  it
     seems that  I'd just taken a  short,  one-week vacation  and come
     back home to my camp at Pennsic.   Of course,  that "week" was 50
     or so mundane weeks,   but it all seems to vanish  once I get the
     car unpacked,  the camp set up,  and  get garbed and head for the
     barn to see whether Merowald and  Thrym are still "holding court"
     on the steps of the Cooper's store,   to see who's dancing in the
     barn, and to see whether any of my other friends have come "home"
     yet.   Perhaps  this is  why people's  "no-shit" stories  tend to
     blend  wars  together   --  they  really  can't   remember  which
     particular war it was as they all blend into one experience.

     My first war was PW-9, so I've been used to the larger wars,  not
     having experienced the early days of  500 people.   But after two
     or three wars,  I started  to notice this phenomenon,  especially
     after being  involved on the staff  of the "Pennsic  Progress" --
     the first newspaper at the Pennsic Wars,  published PW-11 through
     14.   Even  though we  are no  longer involved  in the  newspaper
     business, the ex-staff and friends still camp together as a loose
     collection of households.   For almost  10 years we camped across
     from where the  Sated Tyger used to  be.   It still gives  me the
     feeling of "home" when I go to  visit the Cooper's in the fall or
     spring,  and take a walk around the lake,  cutting through to the
     place where "our" camp usually sets up -- even though the site is
     empty in the offseason.

     Last year we camped in the boats.  It was weird, but actually was
     a better  site.   This  year,  who  knows?   I  like the  idea of
     "traditional" camping sites.  You can easily find everyone.    It
     gives the feeling of "home".   You can refer to your camping spot
     or someone  else's as  being "next to  Ostgardr" or  "across from
     Horde hill" (or "Dagan's Hill" if you still remember it as such),
     or  down by  the Tuchux,   or next  to the  Runestone field,   or
     whatever, and have a good idea of just *where* that is!

     The other interesting thing is  that Pennsic provides a microcosm
     of the whole Known Worlde.   You can visit Indiana and Ealdormere
     and Calontir -- all in the same day!

     It's my  annual "end-of-the-year" celebration.   My  personal new
     year begins when I get home from Pennsic, dazed and confused.

     It's a  wonderful experience  -- worth  dealing with  all of  the
     hassles and details that we must to put on such an event.

     A  lady in  my  group came  up  with an  interesting  idea --  If
     everyone who attended  Pennsic (or any other large  event or war)
     donated  2  hours  of service  *anywhere*  --  troll,   security,
     chirurgeon's point,   scribes,  guard  duty,  cleanup,   -- there
     wouldn't be  enough jobs to go  around,  and everything  would be
     taken care of.

     Two hours is  a very short period  of time when you  are spending
     two weeks at an event.   Think about  how you can best donate two
     hours  of service  at  Pennsic XX.    (Or at  the  event of  your
     choice.)  (Countess Genevieve du Vent Argent, OP)

          I  realize  that  those on the coast sinistre  can't  go  to
     Pennsic,  and this is not going to be another suggestion to  just
     skip  any item that doesn't interest you- it *is* frustrating  to
     go  to the net and find that there are 50 items of which  only  5
     are something you want to read.
         However,  I  hope I can explain at least a  bit  WHY  Pennsic
     looms so large in the right coast SCA experience.
          Obviously,  it isn't just camping talk that bothers  you-  I
     expect  that  advice on camping with kids, or  camping  where  no
     ground  fires are allowed, or making your camp look  more  period
     doesn't  bother  you,  because it would  be  just  as  applicable
     anywhere  in  the SCA. (Personally, I would love  to  hear  about
     camping  in the snow in Wintersgate, or what is  different  about
     camping in Lothac.) So it must be Pennsic alone that bothers you.
          I must start by mentioning in our defense that we *do*  camp
     out  a  lot (I assume this is true in the  Middle,  Calontir  and
     Atlantia as much as the East.) Looking at the May Pikestaff-  the
     East  Kingdom newsletter- let me run down the next  few  weekends
     (leaving  out Drachenwald); first number: camping events,  second
     number:  non-camping events: 5:2, 3:0, 4:1, 2:1, 9:1,  4:1,  5:1,
     5:2.  *If*  one camps seems to be as  much  a  personal/lifestyle
     choice as *how* one camps. (For us, the more complex I have  made
     it,  the less we seem to actually make the events- we used to  go
     every  weekend,  and now try for two a month- and  miss  some  of
     those.  But  I  also blame it on our having  four  kids  who  are
     getting   to   the  ages  that  they   have   other   conflicting
          But  even  when  we do camp other places-  3  to  four  days
     running, Pennsic is special. Now, when those kids are old  enough
     to leave behind, I would love to go to Estrella, or Burro  Creek,
     or  some  of the other long-large events in other  parts  of  the
     Known  world.  But there is a phenomenon many  of  us  experience
     which  makes  it  special.  And simply that is  when  we  get  to
     Pennsic,  we are *HOME*. (Dorothy hugs her dog and her eyes  mist
     up: "Home, Toto!" The audience sighs, collectively.)  After  your
     camp  is  set  up the intervening 50 weeks  disappear.  Yes,  the
     configuration of tents is a little different, but the land is the
     same, the people are the same, the roads are the same, the market
     is  the  same.  It is hard to remember that this is  not  just  a
     continuation of last year- and the year before that.
          My husband remarked the first day, as he pulled the cart  up
     the  the Great Middle Highway,: "This hill seemed so much  easier
     yesterday!"  Many, many people who we have spoken  to  experience
     the  same thing. We may have a mortgage, more time elapsed,  etc.
     on  our  white clapboard house in New England, but  for  whatever
     reason, Pennsic is far more home than this is. It may be that  it
     *is*  because  it is the same site, and one can  say  "the  Great
     Middle  Highway",  "Horde Hill",  "the  Marketplace",  "Runestone
     Point",  and 7000 other people will know where you mean.  If  so,
     changing sites, might be disastrous, even if it got us more space
     and  services.  It  may be because we know more  people  well  at
     Pennsic  than  we  do in our "mundane"  neighborhoods-  we  share
     common  attitudes, as the perhaps mythological  neighborhoods  of
     the  fifties did. It may be that we have in those two weeks  more
     "quality time" than we do in the 50 with our "mundane" neighbors.
     But for whatever reason, I have found that about half the  people
     I have spoken to have experienced it.
          And  more  important  to  the discussion  of  why  we  right
     coasters  bore you with discussions of land allotment  and  other
     specifically Pennsic problems, last year the magic didn't  happen
     to  me. It is an awful thing to admit, because I set up the  same
     camp, the same tents I've used for seven years; but I never  felt
     the feeling of home. It *shouldn't* have mattered that Our barony
     was  forced to park in the parking lot, I've camped in  at  least
     seven  completely different places at Cooper's lake, and  I  know
     other people have been stuck walking around parked cars and boats
     at  Pennsic before. But it did. (Maybe those are the  people  who
     don't  get the feeling of home.) For me, last year's Pennsic  was
     just another camping event.- and I want and expect Pennsic to  be
     home.  If you only got home two weeks a year, you would  want  it
          That's  WHY  we talk Pennsic to death. That's why it  is  so
     important  to  us  to  try to develop a  system  of  real  estate
     planning  that  will  allow  people  to  experience  the  special
     something that Pennsic offers. Does Estrella do that for you  out
     west?  I  hope so. I hope you can have that  experience.  On  the
     other hand, I have heard that many out west think of the trip  to
     Pennsic  as  the medieval English thought of  the  pilgrimage  to
     Jerusalem.  It  is something that you do once in  your  life,  at
     great  expense in money and disruption to your normal  life,  for
     which  the  rewards  are largely spiritual. As  a  concept,  that
          Sorry  that  this  was  so long, but I  hope  it  helps  you
     understand.  (Arastorm)


     This has probably already been said, but -- don't be afraid to go
     into the enchanted ground. Duke Cariadoc is a gentleman who would
     always welcome visitors- just leave the future behind.
         Of course, since this won't have reassured you at all, let me
     suggest  that you  sneak  in  under the  cover  of  dark.  In  my
     experience,  this is the Best Time  to make acquaintance with the
     enchanted ground. It's dark.  All you can see is the dim shape of
     tents from the  glow of a campfire.  Before you  are black shapes
     directly in  front of  a blazing fire-  some one  adds a  log and
     sparks fly off into the stars. Behind the fire you can see faces.
     You approach.  There  is a voice singing or  speaking.   Slide in
     around where the  people are the thickest.  His Grace  is a short
     dark man  in a turban and  eastern clothes.  If he  hasn't missed
     your coming,  he  will smile and nod- no one  interupts the story
     teller or bard who  is performing- but he may not  see you.   Sit
     down and listen.  There will  be marvelous entertainment.  If you
     are carrying a musical instrument, or if you seem to be trying to
     catch his eye,  his Grace will ask you if you would care to share
     some bit of  music or history with  the crowd- a simple  shake of
     the head  is all  it takes to  decline.  Stay  and be  wrapped in
     magic.  Slip away when you must (I  have never managed to stay up
     to the end, parenting has cut into partying a bit),  it is better
     to not thank your host than to interrupt the current performer.
         See how simple it is?  If  you stay outside the golden ribbon
     you will not be able to hear enough. Go in! There isn't any test.
     No one frisks you at the gate  to find out if you've hand stiched
     all your seams (or even secreted a  flashlight you used to get to
     the gate under your cape).
         Actually, in my experience, if you go by the enchanted ground
     during the light,  you may well find  no one there.  His Grace is
     often at workshops or  in the market from early in  the day until
     just before dark.
         I do solicit correction if I am wrong, Cariadoc. And I expect
     that  by the  time  this reaches  the Rialto  it  will have  been
     preceded by several other similar messages.  However, I feel that
     I may have contributed to Enchantedgroundophobia a bit,  so I did
     want to help combat it.  (Arastorm)

     From His Grace, Duke Sir Cariadoc of the Bow:

           The Enchanted Ground: An Invitation

     As many of you know,  I regularly run an in-persona encampment at
     Pennsic.  The  purpose of this note  is to invite people  to camp
     with us and to visit.

     Many people  seem to assume that  our requirements are  much more
     difficult than they  actually are.  We do not  generally speak in
     Latin or Arabic,  we do not spend  our time talking about what is
     happening in  January of 1103 A.D.,   we do not care  whether you
     used a sewing machine to make your garb.

     What we do care  about is whether we are talking  and acting in a
     way  that makes  it  unnecessarily obvious  that  we  are in  the
     twentieth  century.   In the  case  of  the bardic  circle,   for
     instance,  I do  not mind if the song someone  sings was actually
     written in 1660,  provided there is nothing in it that makes that
     fact  obvious  (i.e.  it  does  not  mention dates  or  prominent
     events).  I object  very much to an  introduction apologizing for
     the  fact  that  the  song  was   written  in  1660,   since  the
     introduction,   unlike the  song,  is  obviously  out of  period.
     Similarly,   we normally  light our  fires  with matches  (unless
     Aelfwyne happens to be around), but we do not talk about matches.

     If  you want  to visit,   the only  requirement is  that you  are
     willing to  behave appropriately--to  talk about  things as  your
     persona,  not as you talking about  your persona.  If you want to
     camp  with us,   there is  the additional  requirement that  your
     equipment  not be  obviously  and  unnecessarily out  of  period.
     Obviously  means ripstop  nylon,  poptents,   coleman stoves  and
     lanterns and the like.  An example of something that is permitted
     because it is too hard for some people to do without, although it
     is obviously out of period, is a modern pair of glasses.  We just
     don't notice  them.  Our  restrictions do  not apply  inside your
     tent, where nobody else can see you.

     If you are interested in camping with us, or have questions,  get
     in touch by EMail, phone,  or letter as soon as practical,  since
     we will be making our plans in the next few weeks.

     Arastorm, in her recent posting, mentioned that the encampment is
     often empty during the day.  That was true a few years ago.  As a
     way  of dealing  with the  problem  (and for  other reasons)   we
     started  the Academy.   It  consists of  in  persona classes  and
     conversations,  and  is held after  lunch in the  encampment;  in
     persona  classes  are  classes where  teacher  and  students  are
     speaking as their  personas.  Anyone is welcome.  If  you want to
     teach a class or lead a  discussion,  get in touch with Madeleine
     (Rhe6@Midway.Chicago.Edu); she is in charge of the Academy.

     Come on in, the water's fine.


     From Lady Madeleine:

     | NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is an outdated version of material that    |
     | I give to people who will be in the Enchanted Ground.  I am currently |
     | preparing an updated version.                                         |

     Visit  the scenic  Enchanted Ground!    Attend  the colorful  and
     stimulating Academy!   See the Majestic  Duke!  (My boyfriend was
     squired by a Duke once.  No, really...)

     The Enchanted Ground really is great  fun.   If you are uncertain
     what to expect or have heard dubious rumors about us,  let me try
     to give you  an idea of what  to expect and not  to expect should
     you decide to honour us with your company.

     We will welcome  you,  introduce ourselves,  ask  your name,  and
     invite you to join the Academy or  the Bardic Circle if either is
     going on.  We will offer you refreshment.   If I am there, I will
     set wafers and spiced wine before  you (Cariadoc will frown but I
     will not  care)  and be  utterly charming  to you,  even  you are
     English.  If there is not an Academy or Bardic Circle going on, I
     will speak to you about various and  sundry.   If you are a lady,
     perhaps  I will  talk  about Christine  de  Pisan's latest  book,
     gossip about how handsome Sir Whosits looks in his armor,  or ask
     you where you  got that charming gown.   If you  are a gentleman,
     perhaps  I  will flirt  ever  so  decorously  with you  and  then
     Cariadoc will ask you  if you want to marry me  (Pay him no mind.
     He does this  all the time,  poor deluded soul.    Seems to think
     it's  part of  his  guardian duties  or  somesuch)   If  Rebecca,
     Cariadoc and Elizabeth's daughter,  is about,  then all attention
     will be focused on her and we  will all exclaim over how adorable
     she is and ask her what the cat says so that she will say "Meow."


     Contrary to contrary opinion we  are not the Authenticity Police.
     To be Authenticity Police is both  tedious and un-medieval and we
     are neither.   Medieval people did not go around lighting threads
     on other people's clothing and talking about polyester and we are
     pretending to be medieval people.   I, for one, don't care if you
     are wearing a  Swatch or purple leather underwear as  long as you
     don't show them  or tell me about  them.   Nor will ask  you what
     century you are from or whether  that Italian Renaissance gown is
     proper for a Scots bard.   Since we are pretending to be medieval
     people we  can not comprehend that  there can be anyone  from any
     other time than our own  wandering around.   This attitude neatly
     eliminates any need for any mention  of centuries,  or,  for that
     matter,  of the  Middle Ages.   We are pretending  to be medieval
     people and  medieval people didn't  know that they  were medieval
     (Can you imagine what ghastly epitaphs they're going to put on US
     in 500 years?   I'd rather not even think about it.)  We will not
     give you persona history quizzes.  We may ask you how the weather
     in Venice is,  but that's about the extent of it.   Most of us in
     the  Enchanted Ground  don't know  lots about  our own  persona's
     period, let alone anyone else's, and even if we did,  we wouldn't
     grill  you on  them.   We  want to  make you  feel welcome,   not
     uncomfortable.  We also won't talk about specifically SCA related
     things,  like whether  or not the Laurel  Herald passed SoandSo's
     badge or the  outrageous things that were passed at  the last BOD
     meeting,   or how  Lord Whatsis  has just  completely ruined  the
     baronial newsletter.

     What we at the Enchanted Ground want to do most of all is to have
     fun pretending  to be medieval people.    If that sounds  good to
     you, please come and join us.

     All right, Madeleine,  you say,  so you've told us what to expect
     should we venture  into the Enchanted Ground.    Now,  what's the
     catch?  What do WE have to do?

     Well you  don't HAVE to do  anything really,  except die  and pay
     taxes, and,  if you have your own religion,  not even that.   But
     here are some guidelines anyway.

     What you DO NOT need to visit the Enchanted Ground:

     1. A history degree

     2. A full and detailed persona history

     3. A Laurel

     4. Meticulously researched and handsewn garb

     5. Skill in fancy, high-blown language

     6. 1001 poems, tales, or songs

     (If you  have any or  all of the  above,  you are  still welcome.
     Just don't make a big deal about the history degree)

     What we DO ask of our gentle guests:

     1.  Courtesy.  This just means be polite to folks.

     2.  Appropriate behavior.  this consists of:

         A)  Pretending you are a medieval person living in the Middle
     Ages, who has no knowledge of or contact with the modern world.

         B)  Not  talking about  non-medieval things  and not  talking
     about medieval things as if you were a modern person.

     3.  Appropriate attire.  This consists of :

         A)  A reasonable attempt at medieval clothes.   This does not
     mean fancy or hand-sewed,  though we certainly make no objections
     to your looking decorative.

         B) Not wearing, not showing,  and not mentioning non-medieval
     items.   What this  boils down to in practical  terms is:  please
     don't carry a Coke can in the encampment, keep your watch hidden,
     and don't apologize for or mention your glasses or your crutches.
     We are certainly not asking you to forgo items that are necessary
     for your health  and safety,  but it  is easier for us  to ignore
     them  if you  don't mention  them.    I myself  will probably  be
     wearing a wrist  splint (carpal tunnel,  doncha  know),  but will
     cover it with a white cloth bandage and tell all inquirers that I
     sprained it while hunting.   If no one inquires,  I won't mention

     4.    A desire to have fun.  This is indispensible.

     Oh,  and about the  Academy.  There is still room for  a few more
     classes.   Please  let me know if  you'd like to teach.   You can
     email   me  at:     rhe6@midway.uchicago.edu  or   phone  me   at
     (312)363-8271 or smail me at:  Mindy Miriam Rheingold 5322 1/2 S.
     Drexel Avenue #3B Chicago, IL 60615

     Any sort of appropriate subject  matter is welcome,  and anything
     on Philosophy, Poetry, or Theology would be most appreciated.

     {{and later -ed}}

     Okay, Madeleine, you say,  so maybe I don't need a history degree
     and  an authentically  made cote-hardie  to  visit the  Enchanted
     Ground, but I know next to nothing about my persona's history, or
     even the Middle Ages  in general!   And I'm not an  actor or even
     very much at ease socially.   I'm  the sort of person who gibbers
     helplessly at cocktail parties!  I mean, I'd really like to visit
     the Enchanted Ground,  but  I don't know what to say  and I don't
     want to look stupid or unmedieval.

     You go to cocktail parties?!

     Just relax.  You don't have to say much.   You don't even have to
     say anything.   There are plenty of us able and willing to natter
     on endlessly  in pseudomedieval  fashion,  and  you can  just sit
     there smiling and  we'll think you're merely  the strong,  silent
     type or the  shy,  modest type.   Once you've been  around us and
     listened to us a bit, you'll get an idea of what to talk about.

     But I just hate sitting there and not saying anything.

     Alright,  alright.   I  will now give you  Madeleine's Two Golden
     Rules of Social Interaction (Medieval or otherwise)

     1. Compliment

     2. Ask questions.

     We will,  no doubt,  be plying you  with food and drink.  You can
     talk about them.    Say how good the wafers taste.    Ask me what
     spices are in the wine.

     You have now  consumed a modest,  though  substantial quantity of
     wafers and wine and are feeling somewhat more at ease. you become
     less reticent.  You tell Griffin how pretty her gown is.  You ask
     if the  French ever drink beer.    You wonder why  Cariadoc tells
     every marginally eligible male that he has a ward he is trying to
     marry off.   You ask about my  dowry.   You smile winningly at me
     and say that  no doubt I am  a very accomplished young  lady.   I
     talk  about my  skill with  philters  and herbs  and mention  the
     Italian branch of my family,  smiling  sweetly all the while.   I
     offer you more wine.   You hastily decline and wax eloquent about
     remaining single.   You  discuss armor with Cariadoc  and say how
     adorable Cariadoc's daughter is.  Cariadoc offers to tell a tale.
     You listen.   You eat more wafers,  say  thank you and go back to
     your camp for dinner.

     See how easy?



     bloch@mandrill.ucsd.edu (Steve Bloch) writes:  >Now: does anybody
     have brilliant ideas on how to  store and carry >multiple musical
     instruments,   safe both  from  dampness  and from  >Authenticity

     Well,   it's hard  to say  without knowing  what instruments  are
     involved,  but here are some  suggestions.   Brilliance,  I don't
     claim, but this works for me.

     Every year I  take my hammer dulcimer and my  bodhran to Pennsic.
     The dulcimer is quite valuable and  would be expensive to replace
     if it were damaged.   It's also nearly 4 feet long in its longest
     dimension,  so it's a bit on the awkward side.  :-)   The bodhran
     has  a skin  head (rather  than the  cheap plastic  ones you  see
     sometimes).   So, both instruments require care, though there are
     certainly more fragile instruments out there.

     Your main concerns are heat, moisture,  and transportation (bangs
     and such).   I was  very worried about the heat until  I bought a
     pavillion to  replace my nylon tent;   the only reason  I brought
     instruments at all during those years is that I live less than an
     hour from Cooper's  Lake and knew I  could take them home  at the
     first sign of  trouble.   If you don't have this  option and have
     more than one of a particular instrument, you might want to leave
     the good one at home and bring a secondary one.  (I say this, but
     I was *not* willing to go back to the old dulcimer once I had the
     good one, so take this with a grain of salt.)  Anyway,  getting a
     pavillion solved the heat problem,   as it is considerably cooler
     inside than any nylon tent.   If you must keep wooden instruments
     in a nylon tent, keep all the doors and windows open all day (and
     be prepared to  run *quickly* back to  camp at the first  sign of

     The  moisture  problem can  be  mainly  dealt  with by  using  an
     appropriate case  for your instruments.    My bodhran lives  in a
     heavily  Scotch-guarded bag  (also somewhat  thick fabric).    My
     first  dulcimer had  a large  quilted  bag,  also  scotch-guarded
     inside and out.    My current one has a wooden  case instead (for
     other reasons;  the cloth bag was more convenient to haul around,
     but the wooden  case provides better protection and  doubles as a
     stand);  while  there is nothing  in the construction  that would
     seem  to  especially   guard  against  water  getting   in  (like
     overlapping "lips" at the closures), I haven't had a problem yet.
     I,  of course,  thoroughly checked  my tent (and later pavillion)
     for waterproofing,  and  I carefully consider where  inside it my
     instruments will live.   If you have  a pavillion and can build a
     little platform for  them (or put them on a  table),  you're much
     better off in case you get flooded.   A local harper who does not
     have a pavillion adds a layer of plastic (garbage bags work well)
     to his harps when  they're in his tent (at night  or on cool days
     only, I presume).

     The last  problem is protecting  your instruments when  you carry
     them around  the war.    Mostly this just  requires that  you pay
     attention to what  you're doing:  consider how close  to the fire
     you want  to get,   whether you'll have  to negotiate  any tricky
     areas with a large unwieldy object, and in general whether you'll
     be able to protect your instruments to your satisfaction,  before
     you head  out with  them.   Some  people with  large or  numerous
     instruments build carts for them.  I carry the bodhran slung over
     one shoulder  and the  dulcimer over the  other (each  strap goes
     across my back and chest; I don't mean *just* over the shoulder),
     which  makes  it easy  for  me  to  keep  track of  both  without
     sacrificing both hands all the time.    (The dulcimer in its case
     weighs 35 pounds;  I don't *just* use the shoulder strap.  :-)  )
     If you have  guitars/lutes/etc,  then you might  want to consider
     replacing the standard hard case with a good cloth bag so you can
     sling it across your back without exposing the instrument itself.
     If you have small woodwinds, you can sew a quilted bag that holds
     each in its own compartment, put a strap on it, and have them all
     out of your way at once.

     I hope some of this helps.  (Ellisif Flakkingskvinne)

     Well,  since everyone  else seems to be  posting their filksongs,
     and since I just typed this one  in for someone,  I might as well
     pass it along.   Cooked up one flaky afternoon a  couple of years
     ago. Not to be sung at any time when authenticity is a concern...

     Bound for Pennsic (To the tune  of "Banned From Argo")  by Justin
     du Coeur

     Oh,  we pulled into Cooper's Lake,   a-lookin' for the War,
     Then  searched 'round for a camping space for sixteen tents or more;
     So we went to the autocrat, who looked up with a smile,
    "Okay," she said, "set them right there, in a fifty-foot-tall pile!"

         And we're bound for Pennsic, everyone;
         Yes, we're bound for Pennsic, just to have us a little fun.
         We're gonna have a battle there, for just three days or four,
         At Cooper's Lake, at the great Pennsic War.

     We had a mighty fighter, who was powerful indeed;
     He lacked only one skill:  he never learned quite how to read.
     He died amongst the leeches from a tragical mistake;
     His tombstone reads: "Here lies a knight, consumed by Cooper's Lake".

     Our brewer  loves to  party;  he's  a gallivanter  true,
     But he vanished Friday night, and we don't know what we should do:
     The Midrealm's claiming we're unfair at how  we win our fights,
     With bottles flying out of trees and knocking out their knights!

     Now, Art went to the swimming hole,  to cool off in the shade;
     A maid rose  from the waters,   and she gave  to him a  blade.
     So Arthur took the sword from her,   but hasn't fought again --
     He's scared to be seen duelling with a weapon named "Smurfbane"...

     Our banner-bearer Bob's a loyal  soldier,  there's no doubt,
     But when he's in the woods, he doesn't know his North from South;
     We told him,  "Guard the banner",  but we didn't know the cost --
     We sent in in on Friday; it's now Sunday -- he's still lost.

     We are the finest in the East, a fighting band elite;
     Our knights are strong,  our ladies fair,  our scouts are fleet of feet;
     But now we're missing  fourteen men,  and nearly half  our gear;
     Not bad, I guess -- we'll see if it's more interesting next year!

     It's the sort of song that just cries out for more verses; if you
     come up with any, please send them along...  (Justin)




     This is not a complete list, nor should it be taken as  one.   It
     is a start based on more than 10 years of War experience and more
     general camping experience.  I still tend to use my old Boy Scout
     manual checklist,  I just substitute "garb" for "uniform" and go.
     If you  forget,  or do not   have  an  item,  you   can  probably
     obtain  it on site or near by.   The main thing to remember is to
     have fun.  See you there!



         Bandaids,  sunblock (strong),  extra cup,  knife,  some extra
     rope (always useful),  soap,  and  enough $$$ for emergencies and
     that ever necessary Diet Coke when  you're running out of energy.
     Blister pads if you're susceptible or your boots are new. Aspirin
     or equivalent.

         Be careful in your boozing: camping requires some reserves of
     health,   and if  you overdo  things  you run  yourself into  the

         Drink fluids, drink fluids, drink fluids, drink fluids, drink
     fluids.  Dehydration  is one  of the worst  problems at  the war.

     Make sure that any rug rats in the immediate vicinity, especially
     your own, are properly supervised at all times.  Marion Greenleaf
     posted a msg chock-full of excellent  advice on handling rug rats
     at Pennsic a  couple years ago.   If  you don't have rug  rats of
     your own,   it's still  worth looking  at for  advice to  give to
     irresponsible parents "next door".  (Simon)

         Dur mentions bringing a tub.  I ass-u-me he means a rubber or
     waterproofed  cloth   tub  with   a  collapsible   wooden  frame.
     Excellent idea for cooling down, easy to pack,  etc.   It strikes
     me as the sort of thing that *may* even be period.  Anybody know?

         Be   very   very   careful  (we'we   hunting   wed   dwagons,
     heheheheheheh) with fire.   Dur posted some general advice on the
     topic many moons ago.

         Sadly,  it looks like locking up  valuables is starting to be
     necessary at Pennsic  and,  I would assume,   other large camping
     events.   I  have yet  to be  burgled (at  least,  of  anything I
     noticed!),  but  there was a rash  of thefts at Pennsic  the year
     before last.   Haven't  heard about this year.   You  may want to
     camp in  a group  that will always  have at  least one  person in

         Don't leave the lamp on when you and your mate are,  shall we
     say,  romantically entangled in a tent at night - unless you like
     providing x-rated shadow plays.

     Make the most of your time  there.   For instance,  I haven't had
     the pleasure of witnessing this,  but  rumor has it that Cariadoc
     tells stories while waiting in line for showers.

     And above all, BE CONSIDERATE!   If everyone within earshot isn't
     also partying loudly at 3 AM, keep yours quiet....

      > Also, Ideas for Projects for Medieval Campsites.

     There is of  course the Enchanted Grounds;  extensions  may be to
     have Grounds  of a specific place  and era,  or with  showings of
     some particular  craft that requires  "physical plant" such  as a
     smithy or glass-oven.   Someone usually  brings a Gypsy wagon (an
     early form of "mobile home")  to Pennsic,  tho I don't quite know
     how period that is (does anybody?).  (Simon)

     Washing water  - This  idea I  got from  Malice who  got it  from
     Countess Mara.    Keep a  pitcher with  water,  soap  and a  bowl
     available on a table.  It's:
       a)Handy - I rarely  wait in line for a sink  at the bath house.
     Most anything requiring a sink can be done there
       b)Healthy - I wash my hands many more times when preparing food
     than I normally  would be able to--which can sometimes  be a very
     good thing!

     Hand carried sources of light - I haven't found something that is
     comfortable to carry, "looks right" (i.e.  period) and is *safe*.
     Any ideas?  (Caitrin)

     *** Baron Dur's (Period) Pennsic Weather Predictor

     (Whether it's cold  or whether it's hot,  we  shall have weather,
     whether or not!)

     Talk of the  weather is nought but  folly;  When it rains  on the
     hill, it suns on the valley.

     When  the stars  begin to  huddle the  earth will  soon begin  to

     Pale moon doth rain, red moon doth blow,  white moon doth neither
     rain nor snow.

     Clear moon, frost soon.

     The moon and weather may change together,  but change of the moon
     does not change the weather.

     South wind brings wet weather; north wind, cold and wet together;
     west wind always brings the rain...   the east wind blows it back

     Yellow streaks in a sunset sky, wind and day-long rain is nigh.

     Evening  red and  morning grey  speed  the traveler  on his  way.
     Evening grey and morning red brings down rain upon his head.

     It rains as long as it takes the rain to come.

     The sharper the blast, the sooner it's past.

     No weather is ill if the wind is still.

     When dew is on the grass, rain will never come to pass.

     >From twelve 'till two tells what the day will do.

     Rain before seven, quit by eleven.

     Rainbow at noon, more rain soon.

     Rainbow in  the east,   sailors at peace;   rainbow in  the west,
     sailors' distress.

     Rainbow in morning,   shepherds take warning;  rainbow  at night,
     shepherds' delight.

     (These words  of weather lore have  been tested at  each Pennsic,
     and have accurately predicted the conditions each time.   Now, if
     only there was an equivalent augury for the battles....)  (Dur)

     *** Matches vs. Flint and Steel

         It's true,  we  haven't bothered to carry  matches to camping
     events for a few years (Aelfwine and I).  I used to think,  along
     with everyone else,   that flint and steel must have  been a true
     pain to get fires started with,  but since we've been using them,
     it has not  turned out to be  so.  I have actually  seen Aelfwine
     pull out  his tinder-box and  have a  flame for a  gentles (sigh)
     cigarette ready before the next gentle could "flic his bic".
         The keys are 1) Practice and 2) Dry Tinder.
         When your children become old enough  that you are willing to
     risk your  flints and  their tender  knuckles- this  may be  just
     before or about  the same time that you  institute blade training
     (oh,  I'm sorry- adults can take it  up anytime they are ready to
     invest the time  and flints)- you let them  practice making fires
     with flint and steel.  It will take time,  like sewing a straight
     seam, or throwing a straight spear. Luckily, there is in the soul
     of most folk- especially children- a burning desire to master new
     and useful skills.
         We buy our flints from Ewan, but I'm sure that there are many
     other sources.   Ask your peddlar to  show you how to  strike the
     flint.   Then practice.  There will be  a LOOONG time between the
     excitement of that  first spark,  and the assurance  that you can
     make it in a reasonable time.  It seems to be all in the angle of
     strike, and I can't teach you that in this medium.
         However.  That spark must fall into a nurturing bosom.   Your
     tinder-box should be suitable to create char-cloth. Char-cloth is
     like charcoal. To make it, you put pieces (we generally use about
     3 or 4 inch squares)  of pure  cotton (it MUST not have synthetic
     fibers in it) in an airtight, fireproof box. If you can't buy one
     you can use an old (cleaned)  shoe polish tin,  throat lozenge or
     candy tins,  any  fairly tight metal box.   Put in a dozen  or so
     layers of clothdepending  upon how big your  tinderbox is.  Throw
     this in the campfire, stick it in the back of your wood stove,  I
     guess you could leave it at the  back of your oven while you make
     a cake.  As  you heat it,  the  volatiles in the cloth  burn off,
     leaving char-cloth behind. Fish it out of the ashes, let it cool,
     and check. If it now looks like black cloth, you're set.  If not,
     stick it in a  while longer.  It will be a  bit crispy,  and will
     smudge  your  fingers,   but cleans  up  with  your  handkerchief
     alright. Leave the charcloth in the tinderbox, and when you carry
     it  around,   the   tinderbox  will  also  hold   the  flint  and
     steel.(These are removed while charring  the cloth.)   We have to
     replace the tinderbox every year or  so,  as the fire weakens the
     metal of  the box;   this would  be very  dependant upon  the box
         When you want to make a fire, set the kindling and other fuel
     ready, set the tinder ready also (see below on birch bark).  Then
     wrap a bit of this charcloth  (half a square)  around your flint.
     This  insures  that  the  spark WILL  fall  onto  the  charcloth.
     Charcloth starts  very easily,  and this  is good.  What  you are
     looking for is  a little red spot  on the charcloth.  Blow  on it
     gently.  It will jump into flame.  Now take this flame and put it
     to your tinder.
         We have the best luck with  birch bark.  Birch bark will burn
     even when wet,  so you don't need to protect it,  just keep a few
     curls with your tinder box. I suppose that for some city folk, it
     could be harder to get than excelsior, but prowl the outskirts of
     the camp at camping events.  Where there are birch trees, one can
     usually find  some spare birch bark  without pulling it  off live
     trees.   I try  to keep a small  sack of it in  the camp kitchen.
     With it I can kindle the fire without the flint from the coals in
     the ashes nine out of ten mornings.  Our children have found that
     a pack  of birchbark is  a welcome  gift on father's  or mother's
     day,  since it represents a useful item that takes work/time that
     we may not have, and we appreciate their donating.
         Do  make sure  that  you have  the bark  ready  when you  are
     striking the spark.  When the birch bark is lighted,  you can use
     it to light your cookfire, lantern or pipe. (Do have the kindling
     etc.  ready.)  {as to Master Dickens, I have never tried to light
     a fire in  Londinium,  but I have  heard that there is  fog there
     every day, and it is a city.   He probably had no birch bark, and
     continual fog would make it very hard to keep one's tinder dry}.
         I hope I  did make it clear-  I would plan and  expect to use
     up/ ruin  3 or  4 flints in  the process of  learning to  use one
     easily.   (I am still  not as good at it as  Aelfwine,  because I
     generally use the banked coals,  and  haven't put in the required
     practice.) Please take this advice as intended. You may certainly
     choose  not to  invest  the  time in  learning  how  to do  this,
     however,   I think  you  need  to know  that  once  the skill  is
     attained,  it is no  big deal to get your fires  going with flint
     and steel.   We have found  that as  with many other  things (for
     example:  wool  keeps you warm,   even if  you are wet;   a linen
     undershirt keeps you cooler;  salt meat in brine requires no ice)
     using the period solution to a problem  we run into in the SCA is
     often the MOST convenient solution.  We don't have to worry about
     matches.  We need only keep our tinder box dry.  (and since it is
     in a leather  pouch at one's side,  unless one  takes a prolonged
     dunking, it will be fine.  (oh,  if your charcloth does get damp-
     throw the tinder box back in the fire to dry it out.)
         I'll be only to happy to share the recipe for meat brine.  It
     is more than I care to deal with  to worry if the meat is good at
     hot events.   Aren't you tired  of continually bailing  your ice-
     chest?  (Arastorm)

     *** Driving Directions

     There  is a  shuttle service  of  some sort  from the  Pittsburgh
     Airport,  I am told.   It's run by  Lenz Travel.   I don't have a
     phone number to hand.

     If you're driving:  from Pittsburgh Airport, take 60 East (follow
     sign for  Pittsburgh when  leaving the  airport)  to  I-79 North.
     Take I-79 to Exit 29, Butler/Newcastle.  Turn left onto Rt.  422,
     go about half to three quarters of a mile,  and turn right on the
     first road,  labelled "Cooper's Lake" with  a small blue sign and
     probably marked by a big SCA  sign if you're not beating everyone

     More generally, I-76 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike)  intersects I-79
     south of  Cooper's Lake (Exit  25 on I-79,   I *think* Exit  3 on
     I-76).   I-80 intersects I-79 north of  Cooper's Lake (Exit 32 on
     I-79, unnumbered exit on I-80).   I-90 intersects I-79 near Erie,
     about an hour and a half north of Cooper's Lake.  (Ellisif)