Having previously confessed devotion to DIY television shows, mostly on PBS, it should come as no surprise that I also have a touch of a weakness for the BBC. Not Sherlock, not Dr. Who, and definitely not Downton Abbey, but Tales From the Green Valley, a documentary series about a team of historians and archeologists recreating life on an English farm in the 1620s. TFGV dedicates one half-hour to each month in the farming year, explaining the tools, technologies, and processes at work. It came out in 2005, and is available pretty much in full on YouTube.
I stumbled across it via a later spin-off show, Tudor Monastery Farm, discovered through the urban homesteading blog Root Simple. TMF itself is really just one branch of the rabbit hole, however, as TFGV has spun off half-a-dozen shows, including Wartime Farm, Edwardian Farm, and Victorian Farm. The format for each is a kind of modified reality show: what happens when four historians are locked in a thatch-roof stone house, dressed in weird woolen underwear, fed a 17th century diet, and forced to work for their supper? It is unclear the extent to which the participants are actually living the lifestyle 24/7, as the show is edited a series of explanatory segments.Read More