September 26, 2017 (September 25, 3018)

Frodo & Co. reach Crickhollow in Buckland

Shire Reckoning: September 25, 3018 (Halimath 25, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.ShortCutToMushrooms (start) – FR.ConspiracyUnmasked (end)

A Drinking Song, by Tolkien Ensemble. Goes on a bit long for a song that is cut off short in the text, but still fun to sing along with.
Bathsong, by The Hobbitons. This song may seem silly, but trust me, this version is short and sweet, and just really great!!
Farewell We Call To Hearth and Hall, by Adele McAllister. One of my favorites from the queen of Tolkien covers herself.

Events: (Long but two full chapters’ worth so…)
– Frodo wakes up late, feeling rested after the night with the Elves. Pippin is eager to get going and inquisitive about the Black Riders, but Frodo brushes off his concern.
– Sam commits to coming with Frodo on his journey as planned, despite the situation having changed a bit.
– After walking a while in the rain, the trio are nearly seen by a black rider. To escape him, they follow the Stockbrook river for a while, towards Bucklebury (the goal for the day).
– After lunch, the sun comes out and the hobbits try to cheer each other up with a drinking song (link above).
– They are interrupted by the iconic screech of black riders in the distance. Spooked, the hobbits continue on in silence.
– When they finally leave the woods, they see they are a bit off course, and must make their way back over open fields towards Bucklebury. Soon they reach farmlands, and the home of Farmer Maggot.
– Frodo had stolen mushrooms from Maggot in the past, and is still afraid of the Farmer’s dogs (which admittedly sound terrifying). Luckily, Maggot is in a jovial mood, despite having also seen a black rider. He recounts his conversation with the Rider, and treats the hobbits to beer and dinner.
– After dinner, Maggot takes them to Bucklebury Ferry in his cart. There they meet Merry, who takes them back to Crickhollow.
– In Frodo’s new home at Crickhollow, the three travelers take a bath and have a second dinner prepared by Merry. (and Fatty, who is also… there.)
– Merry reveals a grand plan orchestrated by him, Pippin, and Sam. They knew all about the Ring, the plan to leave, and such and insist on coming with Frodo. This is a shock to Frodo who had been trying to keep everything a secret. As it turns out, he mutters a lot and Sam snitched.
– After trying to dissuade them, Frodo agrees and seems quite happy about having two more companions. Merry and Pippin celebrate with a classic song (link above).
– Before going to bed, the plan is finalized. The four hobbits will go into the Old Forest first thing in the morning, so as to avoid the attention that they would get along the main road out of the Shire. Meanwhile, Fatty will stay behind to update Gandalf when (if) he arrives and keep Frodo’s departure a secret for as long as possible.
– At night, Frodo has a crazy dream sequence, seeing a creepy forest, followed by the sea and a white tower.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– Farmer Maggot, and other residents of the Stock area are called “house-dwellers,” showing that not all Hobbits lived in the famous hobbit-holes.
– These two chapters begin to show the contrast between Merry and Pippin. Although they are often together, you will notice that Pippin is more playful and joking, while Merry is more level-headed and serious. For example, Pippin complains throughout and splashes excessively in the bath, but Merry unveils the conspiracy and convinces Frodo to follow along with their plan.
– Can’t help but feel pleased that Sam gets a bath too. Kinda makes up for being excluded from the birthday party a few days ago…
– Fun hobbit detail #574: most hobbits can’t swim, although some Bucklanders do. In fact, the Brandybucks are quite a bit more daring than most Hobbits, taking trips into the Old Forest and using boats as well.
– Really, um, ‘scary’ quotes from the Black Rider’s conversation with Maggot. For example: “‘I come from yonder … Have you seen Baggins?'”

Featured Artist: MatejCadil
MatejCadil is an amazing Czech artist I found on DeviantArt who does lots of Tolkien-related illustrations, as well as other cool stuff (like architecture, scenery, and crafts). Check him out here. For today I have:
Budgeford. A town that the hobbits miss by not taking the main road.
Green Hill Country. Fall colors in the Shire; this was the area the Hobbits have been walking through since leaving Hobbiton.
Crickhollow. Really accurate and useful depiction of the house that the hobbits stay at tonight.
Brandy Hall. The huge hobbit-hole that the main Brandybuck family inhabits.

Links to Other Content:
– Two recipes from Feast of Starlight, a great fantasy-themed recipe blog: Farmer Maggot’s Mushroom Pie, and Farmer Maggot’s Mushroom Toast.
Mushrooms and Delinquency, by smokygouda. Really cute sketches of the mushroom saga. First we see young Frodo stealing the treats, then being chased by Maggot’s dogs; then current Frodo with the basket of mushrooms from Mrs. Maggot.
Hobbit Bath, by beoka. Really cute coloring of the bath in Crickhollow! To be fair Merry didn’t need a bath (as he hadn’t been walking all day), and they had three separate bathtubs… but it’s still adorable!!
Fonstad Map of Buckland. Useful for visualizing the area around Bucklebury Ferry.

Notes: Sorry if these are spiraling out of control. There’s just so many details! The history of Brandy Hall, the mushroom obsession of hobbits, the scenery during their walk, and the stay at Farmer Maggot’s are some highlights of today I couldn’t even touch on. ~Tom


August 20, 2017 (August 18, 3018)

Summer passes in the Shire

Shire Reckoning: August 18, 3018 (Wedmath 18, 1419)

Page To Read:
-FR.ThreeIsCompany “The Shire had seldom seen so fair a summer, or so rich an autumn: the tress were laden with apples, honey was dripping in the combs, and the corn was tall and full” (~p.3)

– Summer passes in the Shire! Frodo & co. are (still) just hanging out, unaware of Gandalf’s plight. As far as they know, he’s still set to come back before they leave in the fall.


Links to Other Content:
Apples, by s-u-w-i. Adorable picture of Merry and Pippin!
Blackberry Tart recipe, by Feast of Starlight. We haven’t technically reached the Prancing Pony yet, but there won’t be time to focus on a fun Shire-themed recipe when we do! This tart looks amazing, I really want to try and make it. In fact I just might…

Notes: Not much to say; Tolkien only gives us basically one sentence to describe the Hobbits’ summer. There’s a little bit more background info to cover, and then the real adventure starts around September 15. ~Tom

May 17, 2017

Middle Earth Recipes!!

Today I’d like to share a few fun LOTR-themed recipes. I will be completely honest, despite my habit of baking when stressed, I have not tried these specific recipes so I can’t say anything more than that they look good! They all come from LOTR Scrapbook, which is an old fan website that has good collections of poetry, recipes, image galleries and more.

Scones for Frodo – could definitely pass for a scrumptious Shire treat
Lembas Bread – we of course haven’t covered this yet, but Lembas bread is a special type of bread made my Elves
Bilbo’s Tea Cake – simple cake recipe, the site says to “serve it to Gandalf for afternoon tea”

Notes: Enjoy baking! Leave a comment on the blog telling us how they turn out 🙂 ~Tom

March 11, 2017 (Hobbit Day 3)

Hobbit Appreciation Day 3 – Chapters 7-10

– ‘Queer Lodgings’ – The Dwarves, Bilbo, and Gandalf receive food, shelter, and a short rest in the house of Beorn.
– ‘Flies and Spiders’ – things go awry during the trek through Mirkwood
– ‘Barrels Out Of Bond’ – Bilbo saves the Dwarves from the Wood-elves
– ‘A Warm Welcome’ – the party makes it to Laketown and receive… a warm welcome

– “‘I’m always last and I don’t like it,’ said Bombur. … ‘You should not be so fat.'”
– “Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves of of anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins.”

Links to Other Content:
– Art: Meeting Beorn
– Recipes: , Two different recipes for Beorn’s cakes! Haven’t tried these yet, but I will soon and report back
– Music: The Wind Was On The Withered Heath (song)
– Art: Mirkwood, by aegeri
– Featured Art: more abstract representation of the Mirkwood adventure (Norloth does amazing art; expect to see more)
– Art: really fun portrait of the Elven king by s-u-w-i
– Music: , songs from Barrels Out Of Bond and A Warm Welcome

Notes: Lots of links today to go along with the 4 chapters covered. Again, the pace for Lord Of The Rings will be much, MUCH slower. Classic adventures in Mirkwood today; enjoy the music and pretty pictures! ~Tom