March 23rd, 2005

d/c b&w - ethia

Working in a bakery

I need to know some general information about working in a bakery, a small, privately-owned one, the type where they both bake fresh bread in the morning and make cakes. If you're on the early shift, what time would you have to start? What would your general duties be? How much training would be required to work a job like that? If any of you have ever worked in a bakery, now's your chance to tell all!

Oh, and I have no idea if this makes a difference, but the story I'm writing is set in 1994. I don't know if there have been major advances in bakery technology since then, but I just thought I'd mention it. Thanks!
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Agriculture in a fantasy medieval setting.

I can google to get broad information on the fact that agriculture did exist before modern technology! and things like farm sizes necessary to produce a surplus, yields for various crops, leaving fields to fallow every second or third year, etc.

What I really need are day-to-day technicalities for minor laborors: The equipment (oxen, plow, how it's hooked up? someone leads it, how fast do they go?) to plow a field, methods to sow seed (scatter it by hand?), how the plants are harvested and threshed, what a weather-proof storage area would be built out of.

And, of course, things that I wouldn't even consider thinking about because I have never been a medieval agricultural laborer. The only frame of reference that I have is small vegetable gardens.

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Horses and Riding

Okay, here's the deal. I have some characters in a medevial-oid fantasy world (albeit one with a high level of anachronistic-ness that doesn't take itself that seriously). And I mention horses and travel by horse. So I need to know a few details on the buggers.

The situation:
Four characters are up at a castle during a heavy spring thunderstorm. The nearest town is about an hour away on foot. They have a pack horse with them. One character is injured severly (she is unconscious due to a magical spell gone awry) and it's decided to rush her down to the town.

1. Would an average pack horse be trained to allow a rider?
2. How much weight would the average horse be willing to tolerate? One of the characters is humanoid, but unusually dense, so weighs quite a bit more than the average human male.
3. What's the average horse's reaction to going out in what at least will be hevay rain and at most a thunderstorm? I've heard horses tend to be skittish and the rider is not an expert on horses.

I can fudge #1 by having the group of characters arrive by horseback, but that would be a bit unusual (it's fanfiction, and most of the time the characters in question travel on foot, though at least two of them can ride and access to horses is not a problem). I can also get rid of the horses all together and using flight magic all the way, but if the characters have a less-exhausting method for quick travel, they would use it.