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Specialist or Generalist?
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Pit
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 139
Location: Corydon Indiana
Real Name: Michael J Goodwin

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out THE AMERICAN JOURNALS OF Lt JOHN ENYS for a interesting account of raiding on the frontier New England in the Rev war.

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Jim Jacobs
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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carlilex
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Jacobs wrote:
In fact it does now. Every time I "trek" or reenact as a hunter or Indian Trader the right provisions are carried and eaten, and I know intimately where they come from. And it matters to me whether or not it does to anyone else.


Amen. That pretty much sums it up. Whether you are doing it for the public or yourself it should matter. Next year I will be bringing live chickens to events, but they won't be leaving that way. My group will know that their food didn't come from the local Wally World, but from my micro farm, grown and raised the old way.

Jim, I miss your old posts on the other board with regards to what you were carrying on your scouts, right down to the weights. I found it an interesting read. However, I understand how time consuming that can be.

Keep doing what you're doing, someday I hope our paths cross.

Dave
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Jim Jacobs
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same here Dave, and thank you. I'm glad you've gotten something from my posts. And speaking of Chickens, I hope to be getting with you in the next few years about getting some of the dunghill fowl you're developing, just as soon as my youngest starts school and (hopefully) frees me up a little bit.

And by the way, I wanted to thank you for your book recommendation, Ann Leighton's American Gardens in the 18th century. Just got it yesterday and was browsing through it, and it looks like a good one.
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carlilex
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Jacobs wrote:
Same here Dave, and thank you. I'm glad you've gotten something from my posts. And speaking of Chickens, I hope to be getting with you in the next few years about getting some of the dunghill fowl you're developing, just as soon as my youngest starts school and (hopefully) frees me up a little bit.

And by the way, I wanted to thank you for your book recommendation, Ann Leighton's American Gardens in the 18th century. Just got it yesterday and was browsing through it, and it looks like a good one.


Thanks Jim, if you have someone local who can incubate them for you I will send you hatching eggs for free. I should have 2nd generation dunghills ready by Spring of 2011. Let me know when you are ready.
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ditmurier
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 88

Real Name: Mike Tharp

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm?
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carlilex
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ditmurier wrote:
Hmm?


Mike,
If you want to get together with Jim on the hatching egg deal, I can send a couple of dozen. For anyone else interested, I will be selling hatching eggs for $7.00 / dozen, plus shipping. 1st gen. this Spring, 2nd Gen Spring of 2011.

Now back to the regualr scheduled program.
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Pit
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 139
Location: Corydon Indiana
Real Name: Michael J Goodwin

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that i have found that does greatly change things for me is foot wear.Wether I go out in period dress or modern dress I always wear my waist belt and all of the same accoutrements.It rides totally different in period shoes from modern shoes and it comes from how I walk differently in period foot wear verses my Wolverine boots.I have a different gait in moccasins verses my ligonier shoes too.Anyone else have the same observation?

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carlilex
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pit wrote:
One thing that i have found that does greatly change things for me is foot wear.Wether I go out in period dress or modern dress I always wear my waist belt and all of the same accoutrements.It rides totally different in period shoes from modern shoes and it comes from how I walk differently in period foot wear verses my Wolverine boots.I have a different gait in moccasins verses my ligonier shoes too.Anyone else have the same observation?

Yes, I think for me its because I have more confidence in my rubber soled treaded Timberlands than I do in leather soled shoes or mocs. I don't neccesarily walk softer in mocs, but I walk "smoother" in my Timberlands, not as concerned about sliding on wet leaves, rocks, etc. You would think that after all these years it would be different, but to me, still noticable.
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Michael Archer
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 290
Location: West of Fort Pitt
Real Name: Curt Schmidt

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How d' ye!

In my heresies...

It depends upon one's Mental Picture, and what needs to be present, or can absent, for the environment or community ones frequents for one to have a Believeable Image and to Suspend Disbelief (assuming those concepts are part of one's Mental Picture.)

For me, I see it as a journey not a destination.
For me, I see as starting with a basic, general, working and workable "impression" more as a visual skeleton. And then over time, interest, knowledge, skill, and experience build organs, muscle, and tissue on those bare bones to arrive at a Believeable Image not only in appearance (material culture) but also:

1. persona or the elements of the mental and physical man (or woman) in terms of education, upbringing, family, occupation, religion, politics, Life experience, etc.,

2. environment and/or the activities to employ the knowledge and skill set, or elements of one's chosen impression or mopre developed persona.

First create the mannequin. Then dress and equip it. Then animate it for yourself and your pards.

It is not an event, it is a journey so far down a chosen Path.
(And we tend to chose, for ourselves, differently.)

Others' heresies, and mileage, will vary...

Michael Archer
Over the river, and through the woods, down the Path I go

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Michael Archer
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Jim Jacobs
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good thoughts Curt. That's pretty much the way I see it. And anymore I believe that the limits of culture exceed our capacity to understand, and so we're left to set arbitrary limits on our understanding.

Michael Archer wrote:
It depends upon one's Mental Picture, and what needs to be present, or can absent, for the environment or community ones frequents for one to have a Believeable Image and to Suspend Disbelief (assuming those concepts are part of one's Mental Picture.)

Those concepts are a part of my "mental picture", and have been for quite some time. But I will say that at this point I'm too much of a realist to be able to suspend disbelief with a simple change of costume and tools. For me it takes being immersed in situations that transcend all time periods and material culture, for example listening to the night sounds while staring into a campfire, or being caught out in a violent squall. The clothing you're wearing or your equipment does get you nearer to a period experience, true, but I don't think anyone who has an acceptable level of understanding can really suspend disbelief but on an ageless, visceral level.
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Isaac
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Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 289
Location: Ouisconsing, Pays d'en Haut
Real Name: Isaac Walters

PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been following this thread, but as of yet have not posted... I guess this is because I am not sure if I am fully able to explain which I am. If I had to say, I am a bit of both. In order to do what my goal is (being able to portray a "french" person in WI from 1650-1830) I DEFINATELY have to be a generalist. I think I really need to know a lot of different things to do this well and therefore try to get to know as much as I can about a LARGE variety of topics. This said, it is not as hard as one would think as many of the experiences, occupations, lifestyles, and even some of the material culture was the same or similar for this range. BUT... in spite of this need for generalization, I am pulled toward really trying to nail certain important things down and at times use a more specialist approach. Our efforts in horticulture, animal husbandry (especially regarding chickens and our "work" dog), and etc. definately push more toward the specialist range. Ultimately... I don't know... I am crazy and just try to do as much as I can to the deepest level that I am able and then hope to all heck that it helps me better understand and portray history.

IW

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red squirrel
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Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 80
Location: Illinois
Real Name: Simeon England

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:30 pm    Post subject: specialist or generalist Reply with quote

Been following this too, very interesting. I think someone reenacting a historical persona in the time periods mentioned here, one has to be at least somewhat both. I believe for example a blacksmith would have primarly been a specialist because of the investment of the tools needed and craft skill. That doesnt mean he couldnt do a little carpentry, or farming, or leathercraft. I believe people in these time periods were very smart and inovative and could do a lot for themselves concerning their personal living without help. But when the time came that they needed a service that they themselves couldnt produce, they could make something to barter for a specialists services. Im thinking of Daniel Boone, (near my country at the end of his life). At some point he was away hunting and his wife built a chimney in a small house that was uncompleted. Daniel returned and claimed that chimney had the best draft he ever had. Rebekah was not a stone layer specialist, but was a generalist. These people could do most anything. Were they experts? Some certainly were and at more than one thing.
The short way of my point is we need both in camp to portray our time periods. I love at least trying to make everything I can to further my persona. However that means I may not be really good at any one thing. I admire the ones who can learn a trade and get really good at it.
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Jim Jacobs
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So often we hear the complaint on one hand about the "one day wonder" new to Living History that starts at one end of trader's row with a large bankroll, and ends up coming out the other end looking immaculate, but with little understanding to go with the look. Then on the other hand we occasionally hear the complaint about folks trying to understand the persona's world and world view before getting themselves properly outfitted. Fair enough, two camps, two schools of thought, though the opposing complaints do get a little suspect when they come from the same person or camp. (Isn't it odd that some who are prone to criticize attempts at understanding period mindset are likewise prone to criticize "Deedles" and "Baker Clones"?) But I digress.

As far as I'm concerned, it's hazardous to use a snapshot of a work in progress to judge its possible outcome, or judge it as an outcome, if indeed it is a work in progress. Likewise I think it's hazardous to settle and focus strictly on any one aspect of a persona or his world for too long, lest you end up with a one dimensional, incomplete or wooden portrayal. If you look right without any understanding as to why, you might as well be a manequin, and the only way you're going to gain any semblance of that understanding is to explore as many aspects of your persona's world as possible, to the greatest extent possible. And, it's not all going to be done in a day.

The best way I can describe my own approach to persona development is that I more or less repeatedly make the same rounds in my research (intellectual and practical, subjective and objective), from studies in material culture to studies related to mindset, in an ever expanding circle encompassing an increasing number of skill sets and aspects, and each time I complete a round I understand just a little bit more than I did before.

No, it's not such a bad thing to be a jack of all trades, especially if you can tie them together in the end. Your progress will be slower, true, but it'll also be more compleat every step of the way. I agree, you really have to do both, specialize on one level, while generalizing on another. And it is all a work in progress, and it always will be.
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Isaac
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Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 289
Location: Ouisconsing, Pays d'en Haut
Real Name: Isaac Walters

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Jacobs wrote:

Likewise I think it's hazardous to settle and focus strictly on any one aspect of a persona or his world for too long, lest you end up with a one dimensional, incomplete or wooden portrayal. If you look right without any understanding as to why, you might as well be a manequin, and the only way you're going to gain any semblance of that understanding is to explore as many aspects of your persona's world as possible, to the greatest extent possible. And, it's not all going to be done in a day..


Amen!

IW

BTW... what is a "Deedle" I am lost on that one

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We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.
Aldo Leopold
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