Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jamestowne Ships...

are probably one of the neatest exhibits at the Jamestowne Settlement because not only are they actual replica size but they allow the kids to clamber all over them.

The three ships are the Susan Constant, the Discovery and the Godspeed. These are the three ships that the original 105 settlers came over to America in 1607. They have actual sailors who work on the ships for special exhibit events and to sail the ships up and down the James River for expeditions and events. These guys were particularly hilarious and have gone the extra mile to look authentic in hair, earrings, manner and dress. I was sure I would be forced to swab the deck.

My boys were in nautical heaven for this part of the day, and would gladly have taken a berth in the cargo hold if it had been offered. They held a couple of demonstrations that the boys were able to participate in--a cargo loading and swivel gun firing. Here are some pictures.

[caption id="attachment_787" align="alignnone" width="128" caption="Ships of Jamestowne"]Ships of Jamestowne[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_788" align="alignnone" width="128" caption="Loading ship cargo"]Loading ship cargo[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_789" align="alignnone" width="128" caption="The Susan Constant"]The Susan Constant[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_790" align="alignnone" width="128" caption="Swivel gun demo"]Swivel gun demo[/caption]

The boys also were able to help make sea biscuits. These are some amazing things for a Menu Monday. Here's the recipe:

Whole wheat flour plus dash of salt plus water. Mix together and knead into soft dough. Roll out flat and cut biscuit sized circles. Bake at 150 degrees till hard as bricks. Store in ship barrels for up to 10 years.

I'm not kidding. They related a story in fact about some barrels of sea biscuits left after the War for Independence. George Washington had them stored with other war artifact and munitions in 1781. Then, in the War of 1812, they brought the barrels out and fed the biscuits to the army. They were still edible. Somewhat.

Here's some pictures of that demo.

[caption id="attachment_791" align="alignnone" width="128" caption="Making sea biscuits"]Making sea biscuits[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_792" align="alignnone" width="128" caption="Gourmet sea biscuits"]Gourmet sea biscuits[/caption]

All in all, seeing the ships of Jamestowne was a real highlight for all of us. Again, you couldn't help but be impressed with the sheer determination of these men and later women, who desiring to start in a new world took every imaginable risk as well as unimaginable to travel in worse than really bad conditions to an unknown area and literally carve out an existence.

I'll say that the general grumble of our lives here is much less loud when it all takes to silence every one of us is for someone to mention, "At least we're not on a ship crossing the ocean with sea biscuits to eat."

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