first_imgAt Fort Vancouver in the 1840s, you had to make everything by hand.If you wanted music, you learned to fiddle. If you wanted merriment, you learned to dance and sing. If you wanted to play, you fashioned toys out of wood. If you wanted bread, you baked it.And if you wanted fire — to keep warm, to bake that bread, to shoot a gun — you struck it with steel and flint. Once that was done, you preserved it for as long as you possibly could, according to ranger Mike Twist. Because, as Saturday’s weather made plain, generating sparks and nurturing an actual flame at this cold, wet time of year takes a lot of labor.But in the end — after many minutes of striking and puffing, striking and puffing — a little flame grew in a piece of fabric and got touched to the weapon, whose proper name is not a flintlock but a “firelock,” Twist said — and BANG! The 2 p.m. black powder demonstration, initially canceled because of rain, happened at last.Nothing could be more authentic about an 1840s Christmas at the fort — or a 2016 Christmas anywhere in the Pacific Northwest — than a teeming downpour that gives way to a rainbow. But Saturday’s shower didn’t seem to chase anybody away from Christmas at Fort Vancouver, the annual celebration and demonstration of making your own.“It’s nice. It’s real life,” said 10-year-old Karinna Yakimchuk, who attended Christmas at Fort Vancouver with her aunt Liliya Yefimov. When The Columbian bumped into them they were standing under the eaves of the central Chief Factor’s House, waiting for the rain to stop, and Yefimov was reassuring her niece that her handmade wreath would dry out again.last_img read more