I have been hooked on Victorian Farm on YouTube for the last several days. It was suggested by a commenter on Jenna Woginrich's blog Cold Antler Farm.
Normally, I detest reality shows, mostly because they aren't real, and the people in them are generally unlikable, but this one was engrossing because the folks that were living out their year on a Victorian farm were chosen because of their fields of study: two archeologist historians and a domestic history expert, so they had a lot of good information to share. And they lived it right down to their hobnail boots. I've been thinking about that; where in the world did they find hobnail boots? The second time I watched the whole thing, I took notes. As in stopped the video and wrote it down.
I've been considering roofing the chicken coop with slate flooring because we have a lot of it- now I know how to do it.
I've thought that if things get so bad in the future that we have to bathe in a tub in front of the wood stove in the living room, well, now I know how to manage it. I hope we won't have to, but at least I'll know how.
When something needed doing that the three could not do, or if they needed particular help, there was always an expert of one kind or another in these old crafts that could help them or show them how. I don't think we have so many of those running around the states, but in Jolly Old England (Shropshire, specifically) they seem to have a lot of them. A neighboring sheep farmer, a basket maker, a wheelwright, a neighboring farmer that could drive a Shire horse, a horse-drawn plowing expert, a couple of horse-drawn binder-reaper experts- these people were there to help show how it was done, and with antique machinery.
I can't help but feel that more of this would be a very good thing. Years ago I was smitten by the Foxfire books; my parents bought me my first one for Christmas when I was a teenager. Knowing the old ways of doing things is usually, not always, but usually the more sustainable way. I think in this time of diminishing resources and tighter budgets, knowing some of these old crafts, tricks, and ways of living could be a very helpful thing. As Peter on Victorian Farm said farming isn't a living, it's a lifestyle. A very hard working but rewarding lifestyle.
I need to look for more of this kind of thing, which I hope is out there, because I'm hooked.