Meet a fellow from the 1830's.  He materialized in the Baraga Park last night.

Meet a fellow from the 1830's. He materialized in the Baraga Park last night.

Last night a time warp occurred.  One moment you thought it was 2009.  The next moment, you knew it was 1830.  Because a fellow wearing a long coat and pants and wig and hat stood in front of his tent talking to you.  A woman stirred vegetables in a pan over an open fire over there, and further over there a voyager and his native wife lingered near an old-time canoe. 

The man with the long coat and pants and buckled shoes shared how he sewed all the buttons on his coat himself.  He utilized deer antlers and painstakingly threaded material over the antlers.  He made all his clothes himself.  A real man of the period, indeed.  (Where was the wife? one should have inquired.  But one didn’t want to ask such a personal question upon first acquaintance.  Probably lots of men back then sewed their own clothes, out of necessity.)

Historically correct sewing kit.  Scissors from China.

Historically correct sewing kit. Scissors from China.

After the fellow and I parted ways, exchanging websites (oops!  sorry!  I think I just fast-forwarded into the twenty first century) I hurried over to the voyager and his wife.  They had a contented-looking dog on a leash.  I am not sure the leash was historically correct, but it was necessary when walking the dog in the park.

Voyager, wife, dog, and canoe

Voyager, wife, dog, and canoe

Which brings us to where 2009 and 1830 met for the weekend.  It was at the Baraga State Park, an 1830’s Rendezvous Weekend featuring activities such as flint and steel fire building, lead ball making, long bow shooting, tomahawk, frying pan and hammer throwing contests (really?  wow, wouldn’t that have been fun to see!) as well as woods walks and kids games.  I believe the Upper Peninsula Muzzle Loaders Association sponsored the event.

You might be wondering how I found my way to that century for an outdoor adventure.  Here’s what happened.  Last night Barry and I went out to dinner at Carla’s and ate some really good fish.  Then he headed for the Baraga County Fair.  I opted to go to the Rendezvous and watch an owl presentation at the pavilion.  Folks were coming  to the park with rehabilitated owls and I really, really, thought that would be a neat program and topic for this blog.

So Barry dropped me off and waved goodbye.  I sat down with lots of other people to watch the owl presentation, determined to bring you photos of live up-close owls.  But guess what?  The owl folks didn’t show.  It was sad.  The young girl who organized the program was disappointed, as she had put so much work into the publicity and planning.  We all felt badly for her.  (Later it turned out that the presenters are coming tonight with their big birds, but unfortunately I am not inclined to drive way back across the bay after already spending time in town today.)

I waited for my car and husband for quite awhile, but really enjoyed mingling with people at the rendezvous and in the park.  So many nice folks! Someone suggested taking a hike behind the park, a three quarter mile trail.  That was fun.  Clintonias, or blue bead lilies, grew everywhere in this forest.

Clintonia, or blue bead lilies

Clintonia, or blue bead lilies

Do not mistake these shining innocent-looking blue berries for blueberries.  They are toxic!  Nor are you suppose to pick them, as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources thinks they should be protected, because their continued existence is precarious, according to “Michigan Wildflowers” by Harry C. Lund.  However, someone picked the berries, or they fell off the plants.  Random berries lay sprinkled along the path.  Kind of reminded me of Hansel and Gretl.  Made me wonder if someone was lost, and spreading berries to find his or her way home to this century.

Trail of berries

Trail of berries

It kind of makes you ponder how people in the 1830’s knew that the clintonia blue berry was poisonous.  Did they have to sample these plants and get sick?  Did the natives share their knowledge with them?  I think we take so much of our information about the natural world for granted, perhaps. 

(And, yes, eventually my husband did return to pick me up.  But I was glad to have the opportunity to spend the evening at the Baraga State Park, owls or no owls.) Today’s outdoor adventure was a five to six mile hike with my friend Denise and her dogs.  Photo of that tomorrow.  In 2009.

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