Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Come to the shoulder
Here's what I look like these days...The wind nearly took my hat off just as I snapped this picture. I managed to avoid another raging sunburn thanks to a major application of sunburn and this hat. I love this hat.
Jeff and I spent last weekend in Bowie, Maryland, at beautiful Belair Mansion. Saturday Jeff put his militia through their paces, and I got to use my brand new clay bean pot and cook dinner for t'lads over an open fire. It was a pretty sweet deal...for them. I spent the entire day out in the sun, hunched over a hot fire, simultaneously trying to keep the wood going and praying that I wouldn't give everyone salmonella. Thank God for the brisk wind that not only fanned the flames but also kept me cool. I really enjoyed the challenge of cooking over a live fire...it was such a departure from cooking on a stove. Most of the folks who stopped by were disappointed that there weren't more of us (apparently the local paper got our Saturday and a bigger reenactment in August mixed up), but a few of them spent a significant amount of time asking questions. Two teenagers who showed up as we were packing up actually got to pull the trigger on one of the guns that hadn't been cleaned yet.
It was refreshing to be at site that was so welcoming of reenactors. Belair was built in the 1750s and redesigned in the late 1890s. In 1957, William Levitt bought the property and set about converting the commodious lands surrounding the mansion into the newest Levittown. He used Belair as an office and left it to the local ladies' historical society upon his death. Bowie used it as a town hall until the 1980s, when it was turned into a historic site. Now they are working into returning it to its eighteenth-nineteenth and -early twentieth splendor. It was a little odd to be deep in the eighteenth century as 90s pop blared from the community pool a hundred feet away. But the private tour of the house was delightful--I especially enjoyed inspecting the original set of Hogarth's "Idle and Industrious 'Prentice" prints, and the original 1920s bellpull lights and dumbwaiter.
After a hard day's work in the sun, some of t'lads in Jeff's militia invited us to "the" local Annapolis hangout, Pussars Restaurant, where we sampled that fine company's most well known product and some local seafood. The heart of Annapolis is probably the most well preserved eighteenth century neighborhood in America...and as the night fell we drew stares walking around in our clothes admiring the architecture and a cannon from 1634 that had been dredged up from a local river. I, alas, had left my camera back at Belair, so no photos of Annapolis (or the ships that paraded up and down!) but here are some photos of the day...
Jeff with Belair in the background.
Dinner! Notice the lovely clay beanpot with chicken bubbling away. Notice also the broken cutting board on the wooden block. I attempted to crush some peppercorns on it with the bottom of my saltglaze mug...those buggers are tough.
The lads make ready.