Sunday, March 18, 2012

another 14th century day...

Things have slowed down back to a normal pace. I'm just in from morning feeding and chores. Everyone is chomping away at their breakfast and I just put a pot of coffee on the stove. I'll be whipping up some eggs for a quick chomp and then off to train with Merlin for an hour or so. We'll lunge first, then ride, and then cool down with a walk side-by-side around the arena. While he was a bit miserable Friday, he was fine yesterday. I rode him for half an hour and without a single flinch on his part. His walk and trot as steady as a 30-year-old schoolhorse. Part of me was a little scared, after he reared yesterday. But I refuse to let that get in the way of this partnership. I trust him.

Most of this is trust.

After a lazy morning of eggs, coffee, and a Fell Pony I'll be gearing up 14th-century style for my first archery practice with my shire of the SCA! I have a 6-foot long hickory long bow, three wooden arrows, and a leather quiver lined with sheepskin and decorated with two Celtic wolf heads. Items I slowly collected to take up this new sport, which I've always wanted to get better at. Besides summer archery camp as a girl scout, and looking at complicated compound bows in sporting good store: I'm a novice in this martial art. I'm interested in the target practice, contests, medals and games...but honestly, as a small land-owner I would feel far more comfortable taking a scrub doe in my garden with a bow than out hunting with a high-powered rifle. I like the idea of low-tech hunting, and a summer being trained as an archer with wooden traditional gear—it's all leading up to dinner... On the next few months I'll collect more arrows, set up a practice range at the farm, and shot at fake deer in my woods. I feel like a Daughton Boy.

I have always been drawn to the bow, but it took reading the Dies the Fire books, by S.M. Stirling, to really push me to the point to order a hickory longbow from a traditional bowyer. (Not as expensive as you think, it's a stick with a string). I got mine from, and it has "The Lord is my Shepherd" burned onto it near a leather hand grip. Juniper Mackenzie would appreciate that.

What's the SCA? It's a modern club for historical reenactors. In the SCA you pick a period (pre 1600) and a country to base your studies on. Not surprisingly: mine is 1300's Scotland. In the Society I have a Scottish peasant name, and my persona is pretty much the exact same thing I am in my mundane life: a shepherd on a hill. Only in the SCA I'm just like everyone else with a bow and a Border Collie and a pony. Just another geek not afraid to to divulge in a little fantasy to make this life a little more interesting.

(And in the case of learning to bow hunt: more delicious.)

So that is my day: livestock care, cooking, riding practice, archery, and then more cooking and livestock care, then bed. Not too different than a shepherd in 1300, no? Well, with antibiotics and a Dodge Dakota, but I'll take those.

Yup, I'm a dork. Proud to be.

psssst....and guess what's next...

photo from


Blogger mdoe37 said...

Yes, there is nothing like bow hunting for deer!! I also rifle and muzzleloader hunt, but you have to be sooo much closer. I think its a more fair hunt and you have to meet the animal on its terms in its living room.

I'm soo excited for you!

March 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger onesilentwinter said...

my draft tolstoy is amazingly calm and kind. the best my vet and farrier have ever seen, yet one noise only bothers him to act in the way you described merlin did the other day and that is the sound of truck backing up or starting their engine while we pass.

glad all is well with him and the sheep a beautiful day around here is promised.

March 18, 2012 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger sash said...

So awesome!! I have an affinity for those sports!

March 18, 2012 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Bex said...

I've always wanted to learn the bow. Maybe I'll pick up that little recurve set I saw at big 5. Or even better I'll find a real archery place in the area. I know there's one. I swear I've seen it. Best of luck in your adventures!

March 18, 2012 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

OMG Jenna, I can so see you and the Fell taking in the Hastiludes. What a striking vision.

Hope the garden cart is serving you well.

Your friend from PA

March 18, 2012 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yikes! You pack more living into a 24 hour period than anyone I know! I'm surprised your body can keep up with you.

Simple life? yes. Active life? Hell, yeah.

When does the boredom set in, Jenna?

March 18, 2012 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Jim Cobb said...

Be very careful! Archery & bowhunting is very addictive. I know I've been an addict since high school archery with a recurve. The hunting is great whether or not you see a deer. The stalk, the sights, the smells, are unimaginable by someone who sleeps in and eats from the grocery store. The first time you lose an arrow at a deer is humbling. You will feel total respect for your craft, your ancestors, and your prey. If you don't there's something wrong with you. Good luck.

March 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Christee said...

My husband borrowed a bow for me from a friend of his but I have yet to have it "fit" to me. I want to go hunting with him in the fall and get a deer myself. :-)

For your "guess what's next" line.... Chapter 3 of Birchthorn??
Here's hoping!

March 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger TwoBlueHeelers said...

Oh! The "Guess what's next" is a clickable link. There's more to explore!
Jenna, you are an inspiration for us. You show so well what can happen when we take one step at a time, even an uncertain step, toward our dreams.
Have a great day!

March 18, 2012 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Sue Steeves said...

Sounds grand!

March 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow, that sounds like a lovely time. Now it's got me thinking about what I'd choose to study in the same situation.

I look forward to seeing how the archery progresses. My only experience is from grade 11 gym (I can still remember the bruises), but I recall enjoying it.

March 18, 2012 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I seriously considered buying my husgand a long bow for Christmas last December, because he likes to work out and I figured that learning a new skill that could actually bring home dinner might be a good thing to have under one's belt. We don't have a place to practice, however, so this may have to wait until the move to the country in a few years.

March 18, 2012 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Sol said...

Loved the picture!

March 18, 2012 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger admin said...

I’m in The Kingdom of Atenveldt! I’ve never heard of SCA until now, but I’ve just spent almost an hour reading up on my kingdom and all they do and emailing for member and event information—the archery and equestrian bit looks especially fun and with a love of medieval history...excited something like this exists. It would be fun to hang with other such folk. Have fun!

March 18, 2012 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

DH's bow has kept us well supplied with venison and we're all very thankful for that. Glad you're joining the sport. :)

March 18, 2012 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

It's been years since I shot a bow, I'd forgotten how much I missed it until I read this post.

MY dad has always been and avid archer/hunter, and bought each of us kids compound bows and memberships to the local archery range, when I was about 13. I really loved the sport, but teenage life got in the way, and the bow was eventually given to a friend's son.

My 13 yr old son has been asking for a bow, and I think he's finally ready. Now might be as good a time as any for me to rekindle an old passion, and get him started on a new one.

March 18, 2012 at 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep meaning to ask, what does "lunge" mean when you're talking about work outs with Merlin?

March 18, 2012 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Lungeing is when you have the horse on a long, 30-ft (usually) leash and a whip (not to whip, but to direct) the animal in a circle around you. It's like a horse treadmill. He walks, trots, and canters (not merlin, yet) and works off some energy and a sweat before you ride. You can reinforce commands like walk, trot, and whoa and then change directions.

March 18, 2012 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger kaelak said...

@jenna and @lara - I'm in Lochmere in the SCA and I'm part of a dance reenactment group. We do performances of traditional English and Scottish country dances.

March 18, 2012 at 10:45 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I'm in the East Kingdom, shire of Glenn linn. Archery, Athenas Thimble, and eventually: equestrian!

March 19, 2012 at 6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So are you going to have any trouble with a 6' bow? I think you've mentioned you're about 5'3". I'm 5-foot-nada and I'm wondering if I can use a standard longbow or not. I'm interested in learning, but definitely want to learn "old-school" (aka not a composite bow).

March 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger SHJeffers said...

COOLEST thing EVER! I am in the Kingdom of Ansteorra and could be in either Loch Ruadh or The Barony of Elfsea. Have to check this out!

March 19, 2012 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Odd Ducks Farm said...

Ah, there are times when I miss my fellow Scadians. I was a dabbler in the Honeywine Shire, in Caid. Sadly, real life intruded and I had to give up my kilt and hose for jeans and boots. Worse things have happened, but I do miss the camaraderie and the mead, oh God the mead.

March 19, 2012 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I got such a hoot hearing from folks who discovered their kingdoms and shires. Did you know that right now in you city there are free home brewing, sewing, equestrian, archery, swordsmanship, and dance lessons in archaic traditions available to you all? People who still consider a night in front of a fire with roasting meat, vine, and a violin a way to spend a summer saturday night. Sure, there are some folks you may not like, but mostly it is solid people. And I'm proud to be a blue card carrying member of the SCA.

March 19, 2012 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger Woodhaven Place Homestead and Garden said...

So I read your blog often but I do not comment much. I had to say that my husband and I do SCA and archery! I think we are kindred spirits!

March 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM  
Anonymous S.M. Stirling said...

Yup, short people can use long bows. You hold it in the middle, so with a 6ft bow there's three feet below your hand.

The limiting factor is the length of your arms, not your legs!

That controls how far back you can draw.

May 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM  

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