Spotlight: Stórfréttir

The Seneschal’s Spotlight will be a monthly feature that highlights an aspect of the Barony and its people.

As some of you already know, we have an online Blog called “Stórfréttir” (“breaking news” in Icelandic) as part of our website. It was the centerpiece of Ishiyama’s time as Webminister and made its debut about two years ago. Since then, there have been many efforts to make it more useful to everyone . As part of that, I want to share some helpful information about how you can use and/or contribute to it by doing a little Q&A.

~Odriana, Seneschal

Who can have an account to post to Stórfréttir?

Officers, heads of a Guild, or Deputy Officers are the only ones who may have a login to post to Stórfréttir.

If I can’t have a login, but I’d like to:
1. Post about an event
2. Share something that I’ve learned.
3. Would like to contribute an article about an event I recently attended.
4. Share documentation or a class handout that I created so that people may use it.
..or something else that would benefit the Barony by seeing it. How do I get that posted to Stórfréttir?

You can send it to the Webminister or any Officer and ask for them to post it for you.

Does Stórfréttir replace the Althing?

No. Stórfréttir is another way to share information and announcements. It was not created to replace the Althing and does not intend to replace the Althing.

I’m not super technically literate and I’m a little intimidated by the idea of learning how to use the WordPress interface to post to Stórfréttir.

No worries, the interface is pretty intuitive, there are multiple people that can walk you through the process, and there is always the option of having someone else post for you.

When I am posting an announcement or other information, I have to cut and paste it on multiple platforms. Isn’t Stórfréttir yet another place I have to cut and paste information to?

Anything posted to Stórfréttir will automatically appear on the BMDL Announcements Facebook Page, BMDL Twitter Account, the Baronial email list, and the BMDL Announcements G+ Page. The only group it does not automatically publish to is the BMDL Populace Discussion Group on Facebook. This means that you can post it once to Stórfréttir and then paste the URL to the entry onto the Populace Discussion Group. That’s two places, rather than four.

There’s also a really cool thing available to guilds who post to Stórfréttir – in the media folder that is available to everyone with a login – Kameshima has created personalized badges for all of the BMDL’s guilds. Here are just a couple —

For the BMDL Choir:

For the BMDL Fiber Arts Guild:

I hope that this has answered the big questions and that you will consider submitting something to share on Stórfréttir or including Stórfréttir in how you make announcements about your guild/practice/meeting/etc.

Minutes from the October Business Meeting

These are the minutes from the October Business Meeting held on 4 October 2017.

Debatable Lands Meeting Minutes_20171004

The Officers of the Debatable Lands are elected by the membership and is made up of members of the populace, just like you. The Officers are responsible for ensuring that the policies of the Kingdom and Barony are followed and are accountable to the populace of the Debatable Lands. The Business meeting is open to everyone in the Barony and attendance by the populace is encouraged.

Have a thought you’d like to share with the Officers? Email

Minutes from the October Business Meeting

These are the minutes from the October Business Meeting held on 4 October 2017.

Debatable Lands Meeting Minutes_20171004

The Officers of the Debatable Lands are elected by the membership and is made up of members of the populace, just like you. The Officers are responsible for ensuring that the policies of the Kingdom and Barony are followed and are accountable to the populace of the Debatable Lands. The Business meeting is open to everyone in the Barony and attendance by the populace is encouraged.

Have a thought you’d like to share with the Officers? Email

Chronicler term is up

Greetings from your Chronicler.  My term is up in December, so I am calling for letters for the position.  Please email your letter to both myself, and our seneschal. The position requires someone both organized, stubborn and unwavering in asking/pestering people for articles and letters.  The newsletter is published once every quarter, but you can change that should you feel particularly enthusiastic and have enough content.  The job takes about 4-8 hours of time every quarter to put together.  You will need the ability to publish a PDF, and do some photo editing, you will also need to be confident in scouring the net/library for additional content .  If you have any questions about the job, please feel free to email me or my deputy.

Mistress Constance Glyn Dwr


The date for BMDL 12h Night has been changed to 13 January 2018. Nothing else has changed, only the date.

Celebrate Twelfth Night with us in the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands! All are Welcome on this day to enjoy music and song and dancing, gift giving and getting, good food, and good friends!

The Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands announces that Twelfth Night Festivities will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at the Lodge in North Park, (no street number) North Ridge Drive, Allison Park, PA 15101. The site will open at 10 AM and close at 10 PM.

The Officers of the Debatable Lands again will sponsor our celebration so that this is a FREE event! No reservations are required. Bring a dish to share for the Potluck. Check the list of dishes and list your own dish on Bring your feast gear and your potent potables – adult beverages are welcome!

The co-autocrats are Lady Kathryn Tantzel (contact info: designsbymlb (at) gmail (dot) com or Shelly Bauer, 512 Russellwood Ave, McKees Rocks, PA 15212; 412.532.8712) and THL Muirgheal inghean Dubhghaill (contact info: Muirgheall (at) or Heather Cogan, 111 Mulberry street, Coraopolis, PA 15108, 724.683.7558). Contact either one with questions.

Please note that many activities are being planned for adults and children. More information and directions will be available in the upcoming Althings and online.

Notes from the autocrats:
• Service animals welcome.
• Handicap parking spaces are at the curb in front of the Lodge
• If you enter the address of the Lodge into your GPS you are very likely to go wrong. Follow these directions or use the following latitude and longitude: N 40°33.904′ W 080°02.477′
• The speed limit of 25 mph is enforced.
• Watch for animals of all types on the road: geese, raccoons, crows, turkeys, and herds of deer that do not run away and clearly believe the park belongs to them.
• If you feel the least bit uncertain, the autocrat may be reached by phone at 724.683.7558

A Cook’s Tale of 20th Year – And a Recipe (of course)

From Dame Illadore, the Lunch Cook at AEthelmearc 20th Year:

About two weeks ago, I was procrastinating about what I wanted to serve at Crown lunch for 300. Then I got a call from Muirgheall – no ovens. We had six burners but no ovens. The site had promised to fix the ovens but nope. No dice.

Well, OK then.

I pushed into high gear and came up with a menu from Bartolomeo Scappi- because the man literally has thousands of recipes. One recipe for sheep’s head is really more like 4-5 recipes. And then he’ll say things like, “Or you could do this like we did with that other recipe 20 recipes ago.”

My plan: Use roasters for everything. Roast chicken overnight and serve cold. Make pulled pork (which Jorundr made into smoked pork for us instead), hard boiled eggs, almond rice, bread, salad (because that required no cooking), lentils, garbanzo beans, and cookies that Lucreta had already made. (Yay!) I only had $4 a person and thought this would be a decent lunch for the price.

I consult with lots of cooks (thank you Katja for keeping me from panicking) and decide this menu will work. I am pretty sure I am going to be on budget.

On Friday, Jorundr and I go to Restaurant Depot to buy food for Lunch. Jorundr did the pork the night before and it’s delicious – and it had been on sale. Chicken is on sale. Everything is on sale. We get everything we had planned – and came up under budget. WAAAY under budget.

Shockingly under budget.

This is where we start giggling and come up with crazy plans. We go back into Restaurant Depot and then have existential questions like, “What will make people happier? Cheese or asparagus?” We decide to get both. We get 50 giant white onions because they were stupid cheap. Same for cucumbers. We decide to make Mac and Cheese because so many adults wanted to raid the kids menu. 🙂 We also go crazy at Breadworks – getting 15 2 pound loves for about $60 bucks. More giggling ensues. The counterperson at Breadworks helps us take the bread out to the van and goes “holy ****” when she sees the amount of food we have and asks if she can come to our house. We say yes. And we head towards site, giggling at the amount of food we have, and yet, we’re still under budget.
Jorundr scours the internet for onion sop recipes on the drive up. 🙂 We decide to make our own chicken stock – from leftover chicken parts. It’s so rich when we’re done making it, that its almost like chicken syrup than chicken stock. I feel so medieval, basically using every part of the animal and making do with what I have on hand. 🙂

The chicken gets done in record time, with Jorundr cleaving the chicken parts and me parboiling. More people start coming into help. YAY! Onions get chopped by people other than me. (Winning!) We cheat and decide to make the onions in the roasters and that turned out perfect. (Another Jorundr idea.) Eggs get hard boiled. Garlic gets minced. We stop cooking around 9, turn the onions on at 11, and then go to bed. My body decides sleep is for the weak and I get a couple of hours at best.

I’m up at 6:30 to check the onions, start the water for rice, and make the sauces. Salad gets made. Cucumbers get sliced. Cheese gets turned into cubes. Chicken stock becomes chicken and onion soup. Around 10AM I start to panic a little, as two things become apparent – we do not have enough serving gear/utensils, etc for two stations and I do not have enough pots to boil the mac and cheese and asparagus – the two things that need to get done at the last minute.

My fabulous assistants see I am starting to lose my mind and people take off for the other kitchen to get serving gear and others start loading the food into the car. (Bless my whole crew. They were all amazing and all handled me with ease. Even when I started cursing up a storm because we kept flipping breakers with the roasters.) We get the mac and cheese done but not the asparagus – but I get everything but the asparagus down to the field by 11:58, so with two minutes to spare! Jorundr is a magician and gets the asparagus done and seasoned in no time flat and we get that down to the field.

At this point I find out we have 400 people on site, not 300. And yet, somehow, we had more than enough food. 🙂 I blame Restaurant Depot. 🙂
The only food failure that I had was the orange sauce. I should have reduced it more. It ended up being way too runny and most people passed on it. The garlic sauce was a hit; however, so I feel redeemed.

Scappi’s garlic sauce*:

To prepare a garlic sauce with fresh walnuts and almonds. Get six ounces of fresh, shelled walnuts, four ounces of fresh Milanese almonds and six parboiled garlic cloves or one and a half raw ones. Grind that in a mortar with four ounces of crustless bread soaked in a meat or fish broth that is not too salty. When that is done, put a quarter-ounce of ground ginger into it.

Get a cup of raw garlic bulbs and then mince it.
Get a cup of walnuts and then food process them into dust.
Mix the two together.
Add enough stock to make it wetish (probably less than a cup.)
Add teaspoon of ginger (more if you want it to be more bitey.)
and you’re done.

It was a good yet exhausting day. My crew was hands down amazing and I am so happy they put up with me. 🙂 Great job guys. Thank you so much.


*Note: Originally shared on Facebook. The Editor asked Dame Illadore if we could post to Storfrettir. Her response: “Yup! Wait… let me give you a citation for the Scappi translation…” We love you, Illadore! Here it is:

Scully, Terence. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570): L’arte et prudenza d’un maestro Cuoco (The Art and Craft of a Master Cook) (Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library) (Kindle Locations 5013-5016). University of Toronto Press. Kindle Edition.

News from 20th Year & Crown Tourney

Congratulations to Debatable Landers who had a remarkable weekend!

To Prince Sven and Princess Siobhan, new Heirs to the Sylvan Throne!

To Mistress Constance on her elevation to the Order of the Pelican.
To Mistress Graihne, on her writ to contemplate induction in the to Order of the Laurel, to be held at Debatable Lands 12th Night in January.
To Duke Malcolm, finalist in Crown Tourney, and new holder of the Shield of Chivalry.
To Lady Dorothea, for earning the Queen’s Inspiration for the day, and a Golden Escarbuncle.

To THL Muirgheal for masterminding and executing a truly incredible weekend for the people of this fine Kingdom! And her staff, who worked so hard and created so much joy for us all.

There are more thanks to come, of course, from every corner of the Barony. This was only a small bit of the revelry this weekend . You all worked hard, with smiles and generosity. You are truly the Jewel of AEthelmearc, and of the Knowne World.


Heraldic commenting meeting

From Mistress Elsbeth Anne Roth:

Come to Elsbeth’s heraldic commenting meeting, where we discuss submissions in process (a good way to learn more heraldry). This meeting will be discussing the latest AEthelmearc letter (, which contains the last of the Pennsic submissions.  The meeting will be held both at my house, 1194 Firwood Drive, and on Google Hangout (contact if you want an invitation — it will also be posted to the AEthelmearc Heralds list).

You will learn a lot from one of these meetings, I can assure you!

-Kieran MacRae