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Breacan an Fhéilidh

As I prepare to do some bagpiping at a historic event, I have decided to do a little post on the Breacan an Fhéilidh or belted plaid.  This was the start of the kilt in its biggest, bulkiest, crudest form.  The reason I am drawn to blog on this is two-fold.  1.) I have a few 1750s reenactors that have been asking about building and putting on the fèileadh, and 2.) I have seen many people wearing these at historic events and...

Always a proud papa!

Since winning the fire starting contest at Grand Portage when she was 8, Noelle had wanted her own fire kit. She started doing the wool appliqué and beading and now, a few years later… I helped her finish the bag.  The design of the appliqué came from an early 19th century pair of leggings and garters in the Musée du Quai Branley in Paris.  As an 8 year old, I do not think she knew the Catholic symbolism of the design,...

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...

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...

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...

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...