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Odd Stuff

A talk given

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Blog, Featured | 2 comments

A talk given

I had the privilege to be the guest speaker for a meeting of the Friends of Interstate Park. It was a fun evening and things went well in spite of a horrible cold. It was also sort of odd dressing in my historical clothing but with a beard (hopefully the authenticity police will excuse me as I am typically clean shaven for such things).  I will be giving a similar talk for the Oshkosh Public Museum on the 21st. of this month.  Come and check it...

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A Highland Pistol

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 2 comments

A Highland Pistol

In 2013, I picked up a French pistol that I loved.  Within a year, I sold it off in order to afford a trade gun that had more use to me.  Ever since, I have missed having a flintlock pistol.   With an interest in all things Highland and Scottish and a desire for a flintlock pistol, the idea of a Highland steel pistol has been quite appealing.  Knowing that many clerks and gentlemen in the NorthWest Company had pistols (including William McGillivray having an engraved steel pistol), I thought a Scottish pistol might be a fun...

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First Piping Gig

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 0 comments

First Piping Gig

Back in May, I had my first paid bagpiping gig… and it was historic, of course.  The Chippewa Falls Historical Society puts on a little historical even every year and this year I was honored to be asked to play bagpipes for it.  On Friday of the event, I spent the day with 4th graders from around the area.  I played pipes and talked about the Scottish history of the NorthWest Company.  On Sat. I talked to the general public and played more.   I have never played bagpipes so much in such a short period of time.   For the...

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An early kilt

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 1 comment

An early kilt

As I prepare to portray a bagpiper of the NorthWest Co., I decided that I needed a correct kilt (fèileadh beag in Gàidhlig or anglicized to philabeg).  Although I have a number of really nice, traditional kilts, they are not correct to the 1790s and early 1800s.   Much has been written about the historic fèileadh beag by great folks such as Bob Martin, Matthew Newsome, and Peter MacDonald, and there are even a few extant kilts from this period.  Because of this, I will not go into length on the evolution of the kilt...

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Bagpipe Banners

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 0 comments

Bagpipe Banners

For quite a while, I have had an interest in bagpipe banners.  Maybe it is my love of bagpipes.  Perhaps it is my interest in heraldry.  Maybe I am just odd.  Anyway, as a historical event recently contacted me, asking for me to portray a historic piper for the NorthWest Co., I decided to make a couple conjectural banners to use as interpretive tools.   We know that there were bagpipers present in North America, working for the NWC0 and/or its owners.  My good friend, historian, and piper, Jeremy Kingsbury has done considerable...

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A Highland Dirk – Trial by Fire

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 2 comments

A Highland Dirk – Trial by Fire

Perhaps I am a bit crazy and over ambitious, but I recently decided that I want to try making a Scottish Highland Dirk (biodag in Gaelic/Gàidhlig).  I am only just starting blacksmithing, and my tools are a bit simple, small, and crude.  Between the forging, the artistry needed to build the handle, and the leatherworking for the sheath, this was far more involved and difficult than I am truly capable of.  In spite of this, I struggled on and ended up with a dirk that I will happily use at reenactment (and when not, let it rest on...

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Some bigger thoughts on moccasins

Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 in Blog, Featured | 3 comments

Some bigger thoughts on moccasins

This past year at the NAVC (North American Voyageur Council) Fall Gathering, I did a lecture on “The Hidden Language of Moccasins.” It was a two-fold presentation that first looked at the universal design of moccasins as a simple shoe from around the world, and then looked at a bigger idea of how moccasins actually affected biomechanics, changing the way humans wearing them walked. Here is the first part of the talk.  I will let the images do the talking, but basically this style of “shoe” is ancient as...

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Vintage Victorian

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Featured, Odd Stuff | 0 comments

Vintage Victorian

With a full winter beard about to be shaven, I decided that I would leave some hair at first and have some historical fun. Having some large mutton chops, I then pulled a random selection of clothing to create a Victorian look as a Scottish bagpiper. Using my bellows-blown smallpipes, I then took some photos and a brief video. The playing in the video shows my newbie status at piping, my struggle with maintaining constant air pressure with the bellows, and the issues caused by wind and cold. Anyway, it was a fun look and a fun history...

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Old Year Reflection and a New Year’s Goals

Posted by on Jan 1, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 0 comments

Old Year Reflection and a New Year’s Goals

  It is January 1st, and we have made it through another year.  As I sit here, I would like to review some of my historical highlights from 2016 as well as officially set forth some goals for 2017. Highlights from the past year (in no particular order)… I built my forge and am now blacksmithing a bit Progressed from practice chanter to full bagpipes Noelle (eldest daughter) shaved a minute off her winning fire-starting time from last year at Grand Portage (although it took 2nd place this year in spite of that). Noelle...

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Merry Christmas

Posted by on Dec 24, 2016 in Featured, Odd Stuff | 1 comment

Merry Christmas

  It is Christmas Eve and I figured I would share a couple of videos of some Christmas bagpiping to share the season’s cheer. This first video is of a medley of Christmas tunes that I transcribed and put together.  Forgive my lack of musical arranging skills as well as my beginner bagpiping… This video is a small clip of just one Christmas tune.  The fun of it is that it is being played on my new set of bellows-blown Scottish smallpipes.  They just arrived a couple days ago from Wayne Fisher of Ontario.  It is...

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