Monday, July 09, 2007

Baron's War Logistics

Sometimes it seems like getting anything done with my family is as logistically complicated as Hannibal crossing the alps. Preparing for the Baron's War is no exception.

Costumes (aka "garb" in the SCA world): Well, everybody's gotta have some, and most of the kids will need at least two outfits. Knuckles can't go anywhere there'll be food served without three outfits, because he'll toss his cookies if somebody leaves a stray bread crust lying about. (See food below.) Bagel is liable to throw himself into a muddy ditch for fun. Sonshine is very sensitive to clothing textures and needs to be desensitized to the medieval clothing style, or else the act of wearing something that different will use up all his mental flexibility. And of course Princess is my little dress-up doll (and she loves it). We can borrow some from my brother's knight, but I just know that won't be enough for my kids. They'll need at least one outfit to wash and another to wear. So I'm making some basic tunics for everyone. I made a little leather belt pouch for Sonshine out of a pair of suede elbow patches and some fine hemp twine. He adores the pouch and wears it every day now.

Food: The big issue here, of course, is Knuckles' food allergies. Surprisingly, medieval cooking is proving to be adaptable. There are lots of common, period-correct foods he can't have, but there are also many he can, or that we can easily make a simple ingredient substitution in. A nice pottage of lentils will be an excellent food for him. Also, since a lot of period breads are made of low-gluten barley, I could probably get away with subbing brown rice flour plus a bit of xanthan gum. I've had trouble duplicating the high-gluten wheat bread texture, but how hard can it be to duplicate the rock-hard-lump texture of barley bread, especially when I've had such success with it already? Plus I can always bring boxes of his favorite gluten-free cookies. He never fails to eat several (dozen) of those. Knuckles can spot a box of GF cookies from about 100 yards.

For the family, the menu plan currently includes not just pottage of lentils, but also gluten-free oatmeal and chicken vinha d'alhos. Stuff I can make with just one pot, since space for cooking gear will be at a premium.

Merchandise: This is actually the only area I have pretty well in hand already. The ointments are done, and my brother's blending the strewing herbs, but even if he forgets to do it, we can do it on-site. The silk cloth arrived today and the hemp belts should be here next week.

Gear: This is going to be one of the hardest areas, since we have (A) limited vehicle space and (B) limited funds with which to buy gear. We have a (modern) tent and sleeping bags, although we could probably do with a few more since a couple of them now have broken zippers. My parents have some we could borrow, and there are always bedrolls. Some bedding items from home are de rigueur when traveling with Aspies. We can't go anywhere without Sonshine's special blanket and pillow and toy armadillo, and we'll want Knuckles' weighted blanket and Bagel's new weighted vest. If I have time, I will need to design a weighted tabard or vest for Sonshine to wear. I think it might help him. And you can never have enough rope when you're camping.

We also need a camp stove, which I will have to sit down and discuss with FH. He loves propane so I might want to get one that's propane powered. On the other hand there are just so many medieval propane tanks to choose from, that I can't make up my mind. [/sarcasm] I think this is where we might have to invoke the "anachronism" clause. We also need mess gear. We had a nice set of camping pots and plates and cups and such, but it was only for four, and that was before everybody kicked it over, dragged the cups upstairs for bathroom water experiments, and took the pots outside and stepped on them. I want to get everyone a little tin cup, of a size suitable to hang on a belt. We can bring our own silverware, but I don't think Corelle plates emblazoned with gaily colored fruits are "period", so I may have to buy some inexpensive plates. D.I., here I come!

Finally, there will have to be a handwashing station. There's no compromising on that one; Sonshine is already stretched to his limit by the mere contemplation of a porta-john. The idea of a chamber pot blows his little mind. We bought him a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep in his little belt pouch.