Stoney Creek, Day 1, Wednesday

On the first weekend of June, I had the experience of a lifetime. I got to relive history! On June 6 1813, 205 years ago, the British Redcoats engaged the American army in what we know as The Battle of Stoney Creek, a small but decisive conflict that was a part of The War of 1812.

I was given the opportunity to go work at the reenactment of the battle, as a ‘sutler’, or ‘merchant.’ I was working in the kettle corn tent, selling bags of the good stuff to all kinds of people as they went by on the way to the battle or to look at the historic sites. My boss, Dana, is a real history buff, with about a million and five (at least) stories to tell about everything under the sun. He’s my kind of guy, and the kind of boss you actually want to hang out with.

Here is the story of my adventure, which I will release in a number of segments so that it is a bit more reader friendly. If you have any questions please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Enjoy!

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Stoney Creek, Day 1, Wednesday:

At around noon, Dana drove up to my house in his big red truck, pulling an equally large silver enclosed trailer. The trailer was jam-packed chock full of popcorn making equipment, supplies, corn, sugar, oil, salt, the whole deal. The truck was loaded high with canvas, coolers, and camping supplies. Somehow we found enough room for me to ride shotgun, and I threw my bag on top of the precarious pile already threatening to topple in the back seat.

The drive was about an hour and a half or so, which we filled with yakking about Dana’s service over in Afghanistan, which I found really interesting. I had just read Dana’s book – if you want to hear a firsthand account of what it’s like to be right out there where the fighting happens, you definitely should read it, click here – and so Dana was able to tell me lots more stories about some crazy stuff. What an experience to have.

When we got to the Stoney Creek Battlefield House Park, we began unloading and setting up. On the right side of us, Jeff, or ‘Sutler Cyrus,’ sells the very creative (and delicious) Cartridge Candy, and is currently running a political campaign for Willy the Weasel, an aspiring rodent politician who doesn’t mind admitting that he’s only in it for the money. For more about Willy, head over here.

On the left side, was Four and Twenty Blackbirds, a period bakeshop that sells amazing baked goods of all shapes and sizes, including… butter tarts! Oooh those tarts were good! They also sold lemonade in green glass bottles, which was a huge hit when it got hot.

Since the vendors are part of the reenactment, everything had to be period accurate, or in other words, everything must look as if it was from 1812. All the guys wore button up pants with suspenders, and all the ladies wore long dresses. The tents were of real canvass, with wood pole supports and blacksmithed tent pegs. Everything modern got tucked away in the back of the supply tent.

After setting up everything, I met all Dana’s reenactor friends. One guy, Mike, was an amazing photographer, and since I had brought my camera along, we naturally started chatting. We talked about everything from photography tactics to the history of the War, and everything in between.

Dana and I then walked to a nearby restaurant for a fantastic fish and chips supper. When we returned we got a campfire started and all the sutlers pulled up lawn chairs, and sat around chatting until it was time to turn in. And that was the first day!

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Business Ideas/Crochet

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As someone who is interested in the outdoors, camping, fishing, hiking, and other parts of scout craft, you my need to have the means by which to purchase equipment such as knives, fishing rods, etc.  A good way to do this is to learn how to make (or grow) something that other people will want, so that you can sell it to them.  Not only might it earn you money, but it is also good to learn new skills if there is a good opportunity.

For example, several years ago I asked a relative to teach me how to crochet (pronounced Crow-Shay).  Crocheting is a little bit like knitting except that you use a little hook to pull the yarn in and out.  In my opinion it is also quite a bit faster than knitting.

I learned how to crochet, and then made a hat.  I gave it as a Christmas gift.  Then I started making dishcloths, which are fairly easy, because they are just a big square.  I started learning different tricks about how to make hats and cloths look better.  I also taught myself to do a border around the edges, which makes it look much more finished.  I started selling dishcloths and I sold a lot.  I was able to show customers the different colours of yarn I had, and then I could make custom made dishcloths.

There are lots of things you can make or grow to sell to other people.  But you don’t have to sell stuff.  Instead of selling something, you might be able to trade it for something else.  I traded one of my homemade hats to a friend for a hat that had his business logo on it.  Or you can trade something in return for an experience.

If you live on a farm maybe you could raise animals (like chickens or turkeys).  Or if you don’t have enough space for animals, you might be able to grow flowers, vegetables, or fruit.  Or maybe you will find that it is easier to learn to make something (like dishcloths) that you can make while sitting still.

Depending on where you live, the laws and regulations will be different about whether of not you can sell certain goods.

You don’t have to make something, either.  In the city, you could shovel other people’s driveways, rake leaves, or mow lawns.

There are tons of ways to make money, wherever you live!