Friday, January 09, 2015

One Genuine Inauthentic Awesome Viking Tent

In my research for this {most anticipated post} I discovered an early account of Viking history, told here at Chickenblog, in 2007. Apparently our affinity for Viking culture goes back a bit further than our visit to the Viking Festival, last September. Anyway, today I am going to share the full scoop on our very own, still in development, genuine and inauthentic Van Viking tent. We fell in love with the small village of tents, crafts and trades that we discovered at a local Viking Festival, and by the time we were planning our Solstice party, and thinking about Christmas gifts, and activities, we became even more enamored of the idea of making a tent of our own, and enjoying some of the more festive, and loosely related cultural interests of ancient peoples who explored, built, crafted, ate, slept, and hung out, in and around Viking lands, which as it turns out is a very broad geographic and aesthetic swath of the planet. {Whoa, that was a long sentence. Almost lost my way, there.} So, yeah. We totally got stoked to design, build, and party in our own Viking Van Viking tent!

Our tent is inspired by Alex's extensive research into Viking tents and lodges, and by what we saw at the Festival. Then, Alex and I looked into available resources at the local hardware store, and ran our initial ideas by Geoff. Geoff loves aluminum... he can weld it, and it's strong, and since we were leaning toward something big. Big. We figured that a fifteen foot wood ridge beam would be very, very heavy, and possibly flex too much, so Geoff proposed an aluminum ridge.


Canvas: Two 12' x 15' canvas pieces from the paint department. {These are actually smaller than said "12 x 15", which is something we are trying to trouble shoot, now. Though smaller than advertised, they are still massively heavy and were quite a handful to sew together.} I sewed canvas strips to make ties, and hand sewed those around the tent canvas.

Wood: We employed four 2" x 8" pieces, 14' long, for the A-frame. Geoff and Alex designed dragon wings at the peaks, which will later be carved for detail. At the base sides of the tent floor there are two pieces of 2" x 4".

The pole is 1/8" wall, 6061 aluminum, and 15' long. Geoff made end caps, and added 6" x 1/2" galvanized steel bolts threaded into the caps. These are to attach the wood A-frame pieces.

Rope: 3/4" natural fiber. It's there to maintain tension in the frame to keep it from flexing.

We still need to make and add canvas doors, and this will include extending the length of the canvas, since it's at least six inches shorter than we anticipated. Also, to go with the dragon wings, Alex is carving dragon heads that will fit over the bolts at the peak of the tent... like a figurehead on a ship. And we are also developing a forge, making more wooden swords, and shields, we want to make those sturdy Viking chairs, and a long boat, maybe get some sheep and start spinning wool. Basic stuff like that.

When things didn't go as we had hoped for Solistice, we were disappointed, but not defeated. More slowly, with less pressure to meet a deadline, we rallied to get the tent standing in time for our Christmas celebration. And after exchanging gifts, and enjoying a happy morning around the Christmas tree, we shifted our activities outside... we made waffles outdoors, played games, and raised the Van Viking tent for more holiday fun!

The first night it was up, we had a Swedish-Viking-ish dinner... with meatballs, and veggie-not-meatballs, Irish soda bread, roasted cabbage, salad, steamed potatoes, and lingonberry sauce. Then we hunkered together in the dark, and watched The Hobbit. Outside is such a marvelous place to watch a Tolkien adventure unfold. It was so flippin' awesome, and cold, and dark, and cozy, and awesome. For my birthday, Alex, Max and Maria presented me with my very own shield/serving tray... Alex took Maria's chicken sketch, and used it for inspiration for this gorgeous fat hen. Max helped with chiseling, and Alex finished the dear with paint! We've had naps, games, breakfast, lunches, talks, visits, all in the Van Viking tent, and more ideas and plans keep popping into our heads.

The best thing about a tent, or a fort, a tree house, sandcastle, or an idea... ? Sharing it with friends. I would like to thank Sweet Life Farm, and My Home Among the Hills, and Come Away With Me, blogging friends, all, for kindly taking my hints, and nudging me to share.

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Geoff, Simone, and Maria, communing with the locals.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Christmas Eve In The Morning

Something I often say, "If you do it two years in a row, it's a tradition." Christmas Eve in the morning, enjoying brunch with Ruth, Holly and Rich, the cousins... this is a lovely tradition! And I really must emphasize how appreciative I am, because it's so easy... for us! Ruth and Holly tackle most of the cooking and prepping, and it's Ruth's home that is sweetly decorated and open to receive the masses. We get to sleep in, then bring drinks, and a dessert, and arrive ready to enjoy a relaxed visit, play, exchange gifts. Ruth hosting Christmas Eve in the morning is the real gift!

The poppers were so charming. The prettiest I've seen, with their Nutcracker theme. And each one had a whistle, and a riddle. The riddles were awful, which was fun and brought a lot of laughter. The eight whistles played different notes, and came with a musical chart. Holly conducted a recital. We were outside, tooting our horns for all the world to enjoy. I am _sure_ we were _awesome_. hahahaha

Yes, the sky was blue, with those wispy feathered clouds. We're spoiled. Naturally, some of us still wish for snow and clouds, but no one should complain about a day this beautiful.

Speaking of two year old traditions... we kept Christmas quiet, at home, and blissfully peaceful. No gifts. No hurries. No stress. Same as last year, when the children voted to make the schedule of opening gifts fit work schedules. Choosing when, and how, to celebrate gives us control, and frees us from doing things rushed, short of time. I love-love-love separating Christmas day from present day! Love it. On the actual day of Christmas we snuck around hiding and wrapping gifts, we did some cleaning, and cooking, and making. We did a lot more to complete the viking tent... like hand sewing ties, then raising the frame. {Honestly, as soon as one person asks about the VanViking tent, I will be giddy with inspiration to write a ridiculously long post, with pictures. Just so you know.} When things slow down, and the family is together with nothing on the agenda but spiritual warmth and gratitude... it makes the whole day feel good. We took the Viking-Swedish inspired dinner that we had planned for Winter Solstice, and enjoyed it for Christmas dinner, in the VanViking tent! It was wonderful.