Danny was the first to arrive on the September after 7th and, after he’d settled in, Mason arrived hairless causing a great deal of confusion over who he was. The girls arrived later in the day, though Meagan lucked out and her flight was on time Rose was delayed yet again. The group enjoyed their first family meal together strenuously prepared by their project leader Adam. Over the next few days the group toured the town and national park while revisiting the ever familiar SCA rules and protocols. Our training also included learning how to identify and key out local and native plant speices that we would be seeing regularly in the field. We met the park’s botanist Dan Mason, much to his amusement that the crew had a Dan and a Mason in homage to his name. He welcomed Rose back with a new nickname – “Swamp Fox” – much to her delight. Friday night the group bonded over the Cotton Eye Joe and Cha Cha Slide and the rest of the weekend was spent visiting the local European Market, Popcorn Festival, and relaxing before their hard work started.
Brain arrived Monday to begin teaching us how to properly use and maintain chainsaws, IT WAS AWESOME!!! Though the Sassafras trees proved to be resistant to our masterful chainsaw skills we each managed to fell at least one tree. We learned firsthand the value of carefully checking all of the safety features before using a chainsaw so that we could walk away unscathed. After successfully completely the training the team felt confident in their ability to survive the coming zombie apocalypse and the coming season. We spent most of Wednesday morning performing an inventory of all the necessary supplies that we would need to keep the chainsaws in running order and shopping for other materials that would be required during the season. In the afternoon we returned to the park service station and transplanted a number of Carex lurida to get a feeling of what we would be doing in the field and on rainy days.
The crew had the next two days off. Danny and Rose went on a hike around Cowles Bog and they saw a sweet baby snake (yet to be identified) and a number of dead Monarch Butterflies along the beach. Saturday the gang participated in a groovy beach clean-up in Michigan City. They spent the morning combing the beach for assorted colors of plastic, building materials, and balloons. All together we ended up removing 295 pounds of debris and trash in a 2.5 hour time span. We then returned to Chesterton to check out the biggest “Wizard of Oz” festival in the country and spent our lunch hour perusing a number of booths with Wizard of Oz merchandise and watching the “Best Dorothy” contest (they had the most awesome cheese sticks ever). When our break was over we travelled to the Bailey Homestead at the national park to attend Heritage Days. We travelled back in time and learned how to churn butter, prepare hides, make sugar, and gather honey. The real excitement of the day was when we returned home and played Settlers of Catan, many enemies were made. Overall it was a very enjoyable first week and we are all glad to be back working for the SCA. That’s all for now, everybody wang chung tonight.