Now He Belongs to the Ages

Sesquicentennial of the death of Abraham Lincoln Poem


Today marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. As a tribute I have written this poem:


Now He Belongs to the Ages


Our country rejoices in peace come at last,

Now avarice and strife are confined to the past.

The sword it is shivered and there in its stead,

The olive branch waves o’er the field of the dead.


The four years long struggle is finally done,

The dark night is finished and bright dawns the sun,

The cannons have ceased their deafening roar,

While the shriek of the fife resounds never more.


Our banner victorious, we broke tyranny’s chain,

And joined North and South together again.

Exult all ye people, from East to the West,

We have withstood the fires and passed through the test!


But what is this shadow that’s lending its pall,

And turned sweetest vict’ry to bitterest gall?

The loathsome assassin has fired a blow,

That found its dread mark and laid our Chief low.


The Jubilee is quenched on this blackest of days,

And hope fallen cold where our brave Captain lays.

The time of our triumph intended for gladness,

Is drained of its joy and instead changed to sadness.


How little we valued while he was yet ours,

And failed to acknowledge the strength of his powers.

When he was among us, his greatness too near,

Now that he’s left us the truth becomes clear.


He was man of the people and yet stood alone,

Whom many have seen, but little have known.

Open and frank, yet guarded, contained,

Laughingly cheerful mixed with sadness and pain.


He was kind and forgiving, but solid and steady,

Deliberate and patient, yet active and ready,

Humble of character and humble of birth,

That belied his significance and obscured his worth.


Oh anomaly of men! Our comprehension failed,

Until his spirit had already passed through the veil.

Now he is counted among the rulers and sages,

He is no longer ours, now he belongs to the ages.


-Michaela Richmond

April 15, 2015

Braveheart: Part II

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II

Yesterday I posted about the tunic I sewed for a friend’s Braveheart costume. Today I’ll share about the exciting part, the kilt!

(If you didn’t see yesterday’s post you can read it here.)

First I’ll say, there has probably never been a kilt quite like this one ever sewn before. The main object was to make the kilt look like the one William Wallace wears in Braveheart. The movie kilt is a version of the Feileadh Mor, or “Great Kilt”, which is traditionally a large piece of wool, 60 inches wide and up to nine yards long. Each time the garment is worn it has to be re-pleated and then belted around the waist. My objective was to sew a faux Feileadh Mor that didn’t need to be re-pleated each time it was worn, and that only used 3 1/2 yards of 54″ wide material. The good news is, I have a hunch that the movie kilt used some cheater tricks also.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II, the inspiration (
The inspiration picture from the movie

I settled on a design featuring a wrapped, pleated skirt and then a piece of fabric extending off the end to drape over the shoulder.

The fabric that I used was a gorgeous 8 oz. Scottish wool in the authentic Ancient Royal Stewart tartan design. I chose not to prewash the fabric because I didn’t want it to lose its finish or become fuzzy.

First I measured and cut the fabric, pulling a weft thread to make sure I was cutting on grain. Then I sewed the breadths together to make a piece 24.5″ wide and 270″ long, being careful to match the design of the plaid.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II, pulling a weft thread (
Pulling a weft thread for the cutting line

The wool was rather lightweight so we decided to line it with white Kona cotton to give it some body. I used “Mrs. Pullan’s Skirt Lining Technique” taken from the 19th century book Beadle’s Dime Guide to Dressmaking. To sew the lining you lay the fashion fabric and lining fabric wrong sides together, fold back the fabric to expose the first seam allowance, and join the two pieces together by sewing through the seam allowance (you can read a better explanation of the technique here). I didn’t use this method to be “authentic” or anything, but because it provides a tidy lining, with no raw edges or stitches showing.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II, the lining (
Mrs. Pullan’s Lining Technique

60″ inches of the wool was kept unlined to use as the part of the kilt that drapes over the shoulder.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: the lining (
The lining

To finish the edges of the unlined part I hand sewed a narrow turned hem. For the lined part of the kilt I put in a faced hem. This technique uses only a 1/2″ of the fashion fabric, while giving body and weight to the bottom edge of the garment so that it will hang nicely. The facing was sewn on with the machine and then finished by hand so the stitches wouldn’t show on the right side.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: (
The faced hem

I knife pleated the skirt and set it to a waistband, using a slip stitch to finish it off.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: the waistband (
The wrong side of the waistband was slip-stitched for an invisible finish

The final step was to put in four wooden buttons and hand sewn button holes.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: buttons (

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: button holes (
Hand sewn button holes, the bane of my existence 😛
Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: hand sewn button holes (
Thankfully I think they turned out neatly enough

It’s a good thing we didn’t order any less fabric, because this was all that was left:

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: remaining fabric (A Weekend of Polite Society)
Only this little scrap was left!

Some pictures of the completed kilt:

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: the completed kilt! (
The completed kilt!
Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: the completed kilt (
The completed kilt showing the shoulder piece

The completed costume in use:

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Part II: the kilt in use! (

Fabric: 8 oz. lightweight Ancient Royal Stewart Tartan wool, 100% Kona cotton

Pattern: Drafted my own

Notions: Cotton thread, 4 wooden buttons

How historically accurate is it?: Not accurate at all, but it looks like the movie kilt, so it’s perfect! 🙂

Hours to complete: Maybe 20?


-The Farming Daughter

Braveheart: Part I

braveheart 1 pinnable

Recently, I finished sewing a neat project for my friend Stewart. Stewart has Scottish ancestors and is a fan of Braveheart, so he asked me to make a kilt and tunic similar to the one William Wallace wears in the movie. It was fun sewing a “costume” that didn’t have to be 100% authentic for a change. This post will be focus on the tunic, and part two will show the kilt construction and completed outfit.

I had just enough cotton material left over from constructing the kilt that I thought I could squeeze out a tunic. It was difficult to find any clear pictures from the movie of just the tunic, so I decided to base it off of the Bocksten Tunic. This style of tunic is accurate for the 13th-14th centuries (when William Wallace was alive), and is cut to use fabric economically (which was good since I didn’t have much material).

The cotton fabric I had was white, so I used tea bags to dye it a more “natural” color. I boiled a big pot of water, and steeped about thirty of the cheapest tea bags I could find. Then I submerged the fabric in the dye and let it soak until I thought the color was dark enough. To prevent the color from being mottled I made sure to frequently stir and turn the fabric so all of the material who absorb the dye evenly. Finally, I wrung the extra tea out and dried the fabric in the dryer on high to “set” the dye.

I drafted my own pattern, using this tutorial as a guideline. I took measurements off a T-shirt to give me a general idea on sizing.  The tunic is a very simple style, with two big rectangles as the front and back.

Braveheart Tunic Front (


Since I didn’t have much material I had to piece three rectangles together for the back.

Sewing a Braveheart Tunic Back View (


The sleeves are elbow length and are made of tapered rectangles with square gussets.

Sewing a Braveheart Tunic Sleeve View (


A triangular gore is added to each side of the tunic to add width. The gore also had to be pieced due to my small amount of fabric.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Side Gore (


I drafted the keyhole neckline facing following the instructions from this tutorial.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Neckline (

Since authenticity wasn’t a big issue, I used the sewing machine for all of the seams except for the slip stitch on the neckline. The bottom of the tunic and sleeve edges have a narrow turned hem. All of the seams, except where the sleeves are set in, are flat felled for durability.

The basic stats:

Fabric: White Kona cotton dyed using tea

Pattern: Drafted my own pattern using this tutorial as a guideline, and this tutorial for the neckline

Notions: Thread, tea bags to dye the fabric

How historically accurate is it?: The tunic is patterned after the Bocksten Tunic, and has a shape and design appropriate for the 13th-14th centuries (when William Wallace was alive). I used the machine to sew it though, which is not accurate in the least 🙂

Hours to complete: 6 maybe??? (not including the fabric dyeing)

Stay tuned for Part II: The Kilt! (And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the cow care post. I just want to get some pictures to illustrate what I’m talking about and then I’ll post, hopefully by the end of this weekend.)

-The Farming Daughter

It Took a War

So, you’ve probably heard me talk about my friend Emily Ann before. If you have, you already know what an awesome friend and talented photographer she is! But did you also know that she wrote a book?!

It Took a War Cover

1861 – Sixteen year old Joe Roberts leads a mundane life as far as he’s concerned. His world spins in the same circle each day: working at his family’s store, taking his sisters on boyish escapades and bickering with his rogue of a cousin, Lucas. Joe can’t understand why his mother allows Lucas to live and work with them after all the pain he caused their family. When war is declared, Joe is quick to join up and become a soldier with the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but war is nothing like he imagined. To make matters worse, he must endure having Lucas in the same regiment. Can Joe put the pain of the past behind him? Forgiveness is easier said than done.


Look for It Took a War in both print and e-book this December! Also check out Emily’s blog here for writing updates, character sketches, and more!

150th Battle of the Wilderness

“I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer.”

-General Ulysses S. Grant


The Army of the Potomac was once again making its annual push “on to Richmond”. The same ground of Chancellorsville stood to drink the fallen heroes’ blood. Robert E. Lee still waited, determined to beat back the Federal foes. What would make this time any different than the previous attempts?

Two months earlier Lincoln promoted a man to lieutenant general, a rank not held since George Washington. This man had been unsuccessful in almost everything he tried; farmer, clerk, bill collector, real estate, selling wood, all were failures. It was only until he tried his hand at modern war did Ulysses S. Grant succeed. Now in May 1864 Grant would accompany the Army of the Potomac on a mission to finally end the bloody conflict that had started three years before. For the first time the Union army would march south, fight, and instead of retreating, continue onward. Finally the North had an opponent worthy of General Lee.


Last weekend Addie, Mason, and I went to a reenactment commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness. This was the first time General Grant and Lee faced each other in battle. For three days 101,895 Union and 61,025 Confederates engaged in intense combat in a tangled, thick, brush-choked area of land fittingly known as “the Wilderness”.

The reenactment was held in the same place as Chancellorsville was last year. On Friday we were able to visit the Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania battlefields again. We also met up with our friends from the Mumford reenactment and Addie and Mason had a great time playing with the kids. I was worried that we might get cold, but Virginia is much warmer than New York! All-in-all it was the perfect start to the reenacting season!

Addie & Mason
Addie & Mason (in their new coats!)

Wilderness 2b

Wilderness 3b

Part of our group: Mr. John, Mr. Doug, Me, Sgt. Clarence, Jimmy, Mason, & Addie
Part of our group at the Chancellor House: Mr. John, Mr. Doug, Me, Sgt. Clarence, Jimmy, Mason, & Addie
Mr. John, one of our soldiers and often times tour guide
Mr. John, one of our soldiers and often times tour guide
The Chancellor's house gave the battle of Chancellorsville its name. All that remains today is the foundation.
The Chancellor’s house gave the battle of Chancellorsville its name. All that remains today is the foundation and part of the front steps.

Wilderness 7

Wilderness 8

Wilderness 9

Catherine's Furnace then
Catherine’s Furnace then (photo from Spotsylvania Memory)
Catherine's Furnace today
Catherine’s Furnace now
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove

Wilderness 14

Mason riding a limber box
Mason riding on a limber box

Wilderness 12

Addie loved these compasses that oriented you on the battlefields
Addie loved these compasses that oriented you on the battlefields
Mason and I reading Bivouac of the Dead, chilling poem.
Mason and I reading Bivouac of the Dead by Theodore O’Hara, a very chilling poem!
Cannon at the Bloody Angle
Cannon at the Bloody Angle

Wilderness 16

Wilderness 19

Our Bucktails!
Our Bucktails!

Wilderness 21

The whole gang
The whole gang
Marching off to fight
Marching off to fight
One of the hairstyles I tried on Addie
One of the hairstyles I tried on Addie
Another 'do for Addie
Another ‘do for Addie
Dinner cooking
Dinner cooking
Mason tuckered out (he's actually faking here)
Mason tuckered out
The kids' "pet"
The kids’ “pet”. Better than the ticks we brought home!
Two of our guys were promoted to corporal, so I had to sew on some "chevrons"
Two of our guys were promoted to corporal, so I had to sew on some “chevrons”
Foxy's highly official promotion ceremony, complete with beef jerky! :)
Foxy’s highly official promotion ceremony 🙂
Mason having fun
Mason having fun
Sunset the last night
Sunset the last night


-The Farming Daughter

Public Presentations

To help improve your public speaking skills our county 4-H requires you to give a “public presentation” each year. A public presentation is a demonstration, speech, illustrated talk, recitation, or dramatic interpretation that is from 5 to 15 minutes long. Two judges evaluate your talk, give you pointers on areas you could improve, and score your presentation. If you score well enough (within the top 15%) you can advance to district level presentations.

This year I chose to do an illustrated talk about “Getting Dressed in the 1860s”. My goal was to instruct about mid 19th century women’s clothing, dispel some myths about corsets and cage crinolines (“hoop skirts”), and have an excuse to dress up in my Civil War garb 🙂 . I told about the “ideal silhouette” of the 1860s, explained how the underclothing helped build the proper foundation, and talked about my dress. I actually started out my presentation in my base layers of undergarments and added the other pieces as I explained their purpose.

Today Addie, Marcus, and I participated in the district level presentations. Since this is my last year in 4-H (next year I’ll be too old) I was really excited to do well enough to go on to state! Marcus impressed everyone with his computer savvy (his presentation was “Computer Parts”) and Addie is also going to state with her recitation of The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke!

Here are some pictures from county presentations. I have to send a *big* thank you to my friend Allison for helping me to finish my new corset in time.

County Presentation 2014 a

County Presentation 2014 c

County Presentation 2014 b

County Presentation 2014 d

I didn’t get any photos at district, but afterwards Addie kindly snapped a few quick pics of the new Civil War coat I sewed called a “paletot”. It’s actually Addie’s but she let me borrow it for today since mine’s not done yet. Mine will be the same pattern and fabric, I’m just going to make the sleeves longer. We also have to decide what color we want to trim them in. Any suggestions? As you can tell from the pictures it was quite windy out!

New paletot 1





-The Farming Daughter


Civil War Photo Shoot

Well, winter has come with a vengeance here on the farm! We’ve had several feet of snow dumped on us and the National Weather Service has been issuing snow warnings. Today the power kept winking out so frequently that Marcus and I took to wearing our headlamps around the house! The good news is we’re used to this type of weather in New York and know how to prepare for it. The cows are all snug in the barn, the young calves all have their calf coats on (you can see one of our babies with a coat on here), and we have a generator in case the power stays off for more than a minute. Of course it’s still a frigid job working outside, but our cows come first!

Three weeks ago, before we got all the snow, I was able to go see Emily and visit with Uncle Pooge who was here from California! While I was there we braved the cold and rainy weather (albeit it wasn’t a snowstorm) and did a Civil War photo shoot in her backyard. Her awesome little sister Haley joined us and we had a great time. Em even trusted me with the camera for some of them!

Here are a couple of my favorite pics from the shoot; you can see the rest (including bloopers) on Emily’s blog.

(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
isn't Haley adorable?!  (photo by me)
isn’t Haley adorable?!
(photo by me)
(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
Emily in her lovely new dress (photo by me)
Emily in her lovely new dress
(photo by me)
I told Haley to pretend she was "Laura Ingalls carrying her books and running because she was late for school" (photo by me)
I told Haley to pretend she was “Laura Ingalls carrying her books and running because she was late for school”
(photo by me)
(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
(photo by me)
(photo by me)
Haley (photo by me)
(photo by me)
Inspired by my Art Alive Tableau  (photo by Emily)
Inspired by my Art Alive Tableau
(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
I think Em looks like she's from a Fairy Tale, perhaps Snow White? (photo by me)
I think Em looks like she’s from a Fairy Tale, perhaps Snow White?
(photo by me)
three silly girls (photo by Mrs. Putzke)
three silly girls
(photo by Mrs. Putzke)        
I told Haley to pretend she was a "poor, cold, starving orphan" and this is what she came up with  (photo by me)
I told Haley to pretend she was a “poor, cold, starving orphan” and this is what she came up with
(photo by me)


Which ones are your favorites? I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying this advent season!


The Farming Daughter