For over 15 years, I have been a gardener. Specifically, an heirloom gardener and an organic gardener. Although I have always had at least a passing interest in gardening and farming because of my grandparents, I developed an intense interest in them after I started volunteering at Burritt Museum and Park (now known as Burritt on the Mountain) way back in 1995. With some very good mentors (the curator and some experienced guides from the historic park) I quickly learned how to appreciate the older varieties of vegetables that would have been recognizable to someone living in the 19th century. I also learned about herbs and their long history of cultivation.
Geoff and I both have Parents With Email. This is often a good thing as it is easy to get in touch with one another. We can email family photos and wedding related things back and forth. Things that 10 years ago would have required a carefully timed phone call can now be handled over the internet.
Except for the forwards. You know, those forwarded emails that you sometimes get? Our anecdotal research suggests that you are 1000.00% more likely to receive them from your parents than from anyone else you know. Or have ever met. Or will ever meet.
This past Thursday was the first day in a VERY long time that both Kelly and I were working. And that, in my mind, is progress. I now have two part-time jobs at historic sites, and even if I find full-time work again, I think I am going to try to keep these jobs. I like them a lot so far. And what’s more, with all the walking I have to do now I am getting a lot more exercise, and it feels good.
As some of you are no doubt aware, I am fascinated with 19th century America, and one of the most significant developments in maritime history happened 150 years ago this week. For the first time ever, a battle was fought between ironclad warships in Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9, 1862. The Confederates had recovered the sunken steam frigate U.S.S. Merrimack and rebuilt it, converting it to a casemate ironclad vessel that they renamed C.S.S. Virginia. The Union’s vessel, the U.S.S. Monitor, was a technological marvel, made almost entirely of iron and containing a revolving gun turret, as well as flush toilets, a forced air ventilation system, and a couple dozen other new inventions. I have found the ship fascinating ever since I was a kid. Perhaps one day I will get a chance to see the recovered parts of the ship at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News.
Our bizarre winter weather continues. Today we may just break another old record here in Boston for temperature. It’s yet another shorts day for me. It is so strange. I can’t really say that this winter is over, because Boston has been known to have snow this late in the season, even as late as April. But it is starting to feel like winter is over. We are going to have above-average temperatures for most of this week, I think. So although some colder weather might still be possible, it seems to be becoming a lot less likely.
ETA: Another record is broken. The temperature hit 71 degrees Fahrenheit today, breaking the old record of 69 degrees set in 1902.
As of today I got a part-time job as a docent at a historic site here in Boston. I go in for training the weekend after next. Thank God for small blessings. Between that and some of the freelance IT stuff I am getting at least I am making a little money. Not much, but some.
In the process of doing some research into foods and beverages of the Middle Ages, I made a fascinating discovery. There may be some historical truth behind the beverage “Butterbeer” from the Harry Potter books and films. I am guessing that J.K. Rowling probably had heard of the old beverage called Buttered Beere, which was literally beer that had been flavored with butter and spices and served hot. I made some tonight using a white lager as a base and it turned out beautifully. I hope to do some more experimenting and see what kind makes the best buttered beer.
OK, 2012 is finally here. I don’t really care about how many times people may have seen that over-the-top movie with John Cusack. I seriously doubt that the world is going to end this year, or that is it is specifically going to end on or soon after December 21st of this year.
It looks like this year is going to be a HUGE year for history geeks like me.
Yesterday Kelly and I put Rerun and Thumbelina in the car, drove up to Lowell to pick up my Aunt Donna, and then drove to New Hampshire to see Liz, Dan, and the kids. Once again the dogs ran around with their cousin Ralph for a while, and poor little Ralph was so excited to see us that he literally peed everywhere. And I did not help keep a clean carpet either, as I accidentally tracked dirt and mud into the house myself. That’s because I am a genius. Really.