Monday, November 06, 2006
In knitting news, I love this Regia cotton sock yarn. I've made three pairs out of it, and have skeins to make 2 more. It is so sweet and soft to knit with. Mmmmm. Softy goodness. One of these pairs is a Christmas gift, which means I'm thinking a bit more ahead this year! I'm also knitting a hat for a little girl at school. My mom made her a pair of mittens, at the girl's request, that were brown and orange (!!!). There was enough yarn left, so a hat will be had! I also made a pair of blue mittens for a little guy I know, but - again quoting Elizabeth Zimmerman, whom I really enjoy reading - I made three mittens instead of two. Smart, eh? You just know he's going to lose one. Not cool for little guys to have the string thru the coat thing, I guess. Then again, it wasn't ever really 'cool' for me, either. *sigh* Mom made me do it anyway. Thanks, Mom!
So I was driving home from church yesterday, listening to the happy chirping of my kids and my nieces, and I heard something on Public Radio about scientists and the year 1500 A.D. That's all the better I can classify what I heard, because I was only aware enough to think, "Hmm, how much info did they save from the 1500's?" I know nothing about 1500 A.D.! Well, thanks to that great modern mechanism called Google, I sat down to spend ten minutes finding out. What I learned was that science actually knew very little.... they thought, for instance, that the Black Plague was caused by a bad gas in the air, and many people died because of it. There were other interesting tidbits, tho, like - da da dum.....
Things I learned about the years 1200-1500 A.D.:
In castles, food was served on something called a Trencher, which is the equivalent of our plate, but the trencher was a hard piece of flat bread, to soak up the extra juices of dinner. Also, castles frequently kept their own honey bees, to make honey to cook with. Good idea!
Commoners lived in shacks made of cement, wood and/or straw. They farmed their own little field, and if their crop season was bad, they starved. Peasants made their own straw hats, and their own rough clothing. Of course, the rich people could wear silks and brocades, but it was very expensive, and they were the only folk who could afford to do so.
A saint of the Christian church said that a "woman is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in a word, a perilous object". Yikes! The lady was treated like that because according to a Greek legend the first woman, Pandora, was the one who opened the forbidden box and caused war and illness to mankind. Now, is that possible? Really? Someone got a bad rap, I'm thinking...
Even though medieval medicine was partly made out of plants, they also had unusual ingredients, too. Some examples are dung beetles, bat droppings, and powdered earthworms. The medicines could be drunken or made into ointments. I wouldn't care to have had them either way, but that's just me.
There was also no such thing as injections, no completely safe ways to put a patient to sleep, and the connection between bad hygiene and disease had not yet been made. Now, thanks to Hydrogen Pyroxide, I can stave off most things that my kids worry about. Yay for science! I'm going to add that to the things I'm grateful for, come Thanksgiving here in the States.....
I found that I was more interested in the life of a commoner then that of a nobleman, obviously because I never made my fortune - or at least I haven't yet! For years we said, "When we get rich...." Now I'm rich, but with family, friends and the beauty of where I live. We are all so fortunate when compared with third-world countries, where our castoffs would be considered riches. That'll straighten out my Wish I Had More attitude.
So - today's blog deductions: Be grateful. We have science! Yay Science! I'm so glad I don't have to ingest powdered earthworms. If anyone knows any different, cuz they are a pharmacist and have inside info, please don't tell me. Also, I'm rich. Rich, Rich, Rich! So are you. Go live outside for awhile if you don't believe me. Then come on back, and we'll have a discussion about it. Finally - and I am so glad to be able to say this - Yay Mom! Thanks for the care. May we all pass it along to the next bunch of little hands.