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Doco: a Farm From 1620...

Alex Ojeda
volunteer

Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 285
    
  20
I thought everyone would like this documentary where three historians and archaeologists rebuild an English farm from the 1600s. They run it for a year using only technology and techniques from the 1600s.

All of the episodes are below.
Matt Smith


Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
Thanks so much for posting this. I've watched Edwardian Farm before and truly enjoyed it. Very educational. This appears to be a similar show.
Eric Thomas


Joined: Mar 19, 2011
Posts: 54
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Zone 6b,
Just one wee problem.... "Modern health and safety laws prohibit anyone from actually living on the farm...." They're kidding, right? >


Learn to live, and live to learn,
Ignorance like a fire doth burn,
Little tasks make large return.
-- Bayard Taylor
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5320
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
They're probably not kidding. Some jurisdictions don't let people live in structures without running water, electricity, and sewerage. Though one can create modern appropriate housing which does not include those things via the grid, a home from the 1600s does not include appropriate modern technology such as water filtration, composting toilets, etc. And even with the modern technology it may be hard to get permission to live off-grid, never mind living in the manner of the 1600s....

A little cholera or typhoid, anyone?


Idle dreamer

Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1316
Location: Chihuahua Desert
    
    6
it seems less accurate without typhoid, but I guess we can let that pass...


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Eric Thomas


Joined: Mar 19, 2011
Posts: 54
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Zone 6b,
I guess I was queuing in more on the "safety" aspects, water-borne illness aside, you're all of course dead on (pun intended). YOu may temper my remark as the result of a 60+year resistance to g'ubmint regulation as a substitute for common sense. Although my Amish and non-Amish neighbors in the '60's, and still to this day I'm sure, had no issues with the privy. Of course, they had the good sense and basic understanding of the biology to make sure it was downhill from the well and away from any springs. This has to raise the question of whether the good folks of 1620 had the common sense to make the association between where they pooped and where they ate (or drank). Is there a Cultural Anthropologist in the house?

Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1316
Location: Chihuahua Desert
    
    6
a lot of health issues that seem common sense today were major issues in 1620. Breaking your leg could mean death, or at the very least, crippled for life. Dental problems often led to death. Infection was a major killer. And it had less to do with hygiene than modern medical advances (antibiotics).

That's one of the reasons the life expectancy was so slow.

These types of re-enactments are entertaining, for sure, but they are far from accurate. Disease and death were very much a part of daily life.
Matt Smith


Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
Coyote Way wrote:I guess I was queuing in more on the "safety" aspects, water-borne illness aside, you're all of course dead on (pun intended). YOu may temper my remark as the result of a 60+year resistance to g'ubmint regulation as a substitute for common sense. Although my Amish and non-Amish neighbors in the '60's, and still to this day I'm sure, had no issues with the privy. Of course, they had the good sense and basic understanding of the biology to make sure it was downhill from the well and away from any springs. This has to raise the question of whether the good folks of 1620 had the common sense to make the association between where they pooped and where they ate (or drank). Is there a Cultural Anthropologist in the house?



If I'm reading the description of the show correctly, there may be a cultural anthropologist in the cast.
Eric Thomas


Joined: Mar 19, 2011
Posts: 54
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Zone 6b,
If I could watch the whole thing in one sitting I would have probably caught that. Catching snippets between chores...Bad time of year to be having these kinds of distractions.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5320
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Back in Ye Olde Days you were generally MUCH safer living in the country than the city. This wasn't because country folks had more "common sense" or ability to handle humanure properly (sorry, germ theory didn't exist yet, hence no "common sense" could be had about the subject), it was just that people weren't packed as closely together so disease couldn't spread as fast. But death to disease was huge no matter where you were, it was just less in the country. Again, not because of any common sense, but because of less density of people.
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1316
Location: Chihuahua Desert
    
    6
Back in Ye Olde Days you were generally MUCH safer living in the country than the city. This wasn't because country folks had more "common sense" or ability to handle humanure properly (sorry, germ theory didn't exist yet, hence no "common sense" could be had about the subject), it was just that people weren't packed as closely together so disease couldn't spread as fast. But death to disease was huge no matter where you were, it was just less in the country. Again, not because of any common sense, but because of less density of people.

they left that part out of the documentary...
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 3949
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
130
I've just watched the first episode - wow! AND it was made in my old home-land of Wales, albeit on the borders...

I suspect that the health and safety stuff was because the people in the experiment were workers rather than volunteers. The UK is a bit anally-retentive like that.

The first episode was set in September and the first part covered -

4.22 ploughing with Oxen (that's plowing to you Americans) and continued in segments at 8.26, 9.27, 11.32, 12.46
7.25 baking bread in a bread oven, continued at 8.49, 10.24, 12.05
13.39 clothes of the period, including woollen britches/breeches, corsets, doublets.

The second part had -

0.00 more about clothes
0.29 pigs - they used a wild-boar/tamworth hybrid
1.32 traditional Welsh longhouse
2.58 Blackthorn, the Fell pony, who is to work on the farm
3.19 lighting fires using a flint and steel
4.19 the apple harvest
5.15 experiences about settling in and coping with life on the farm
6.19 sowing wheat by broadcasting by hand
7.24 pigeons - preparation, cooking, recipes - continued at 8.48, 11.00, 12.04
8.09 using a branch of hawthorn as a horse-drawn harrow - continued at 10.27, 11.19

Oh, and the name of the series is Tales from the Green Valley

EDITED to update link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBW8YpcYcEc&list=PLFnr4t5RkJy9qaosYDylAMF3dMmj21qVK jp

What is a Mother Tree ?
Duncan Dalby


Joined: Jan 22, 2012
Posts: 36
Location: England, Midlands.
Burra Maluca wrote:I suspect that the health and safety stuff was because the people in the experiment were workers rather than volunteers. The UK is a bit anally-retentive like that.


I imagine it was more to do with insurance issues than laws. You have to remember they were wearing period clothes, shoes and bedding. They could easily have ended up with trench foot, pneumonia etc, witch could cost money to treat and have interfered with filming.

But yes I watched this when it was on TV, its a very good series. Very realistic and done cheerfully and with enthusiasm.

They also did A Tudor Feast at Christmas, Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm witch were also very interesting. As well as a spin off, Victorian pharmacy.
Alex Ojeda
volunteer

Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 285
    
  20
Dang Burra! Thank you very much for that shot list! Very, very handy! I love this show and things like it. They go in with the pretense that they are trying to recreate, but they are up front about the fact that they are weakling modern people raise on modern conveniences and they are doing their best to relive the past. I love the fact that they answer questions and raise questions. My first thought was, "you poor people. You are throwing yourself in there without the benefit of the experience of growing up in this world and without the help of others that know what's going on". I then looked at the credits and saw the support staff that help them out.

It was a real bummer to hear they didn't live on this farm exclusively. That, to me, makes the experience much more amazing both for those in the experiment and those watching. I noticed that they didn't loose weight during any of these productions which led me to believe that there was a team of people just off camera that got the job done and disappeared while our stars were on camera.

Very educational. The actors are amazing and cheerful and the things that the do on this show, I believe, are more and more relevant every day.

If anyone knows of any other shows like this, please share!
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 3949
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
130
I was absolutely enthralled with it myself.

I loved Arthur and Lancelot, the two English Longhorn oxen they used for the ploughing, and the close-ups of the period wooden plough they were using. A lot of the other stuff they used, like the cauldron, the wooden tray for raising the dough, the stone buildings for the pigs, using baskets tied by the handles and thrown over the horse's back, are things that I still see going on in Portugal. Those cauldrons are still readily available in the markets. I bought one for making bone sauce and had to pretend I was going to use it for cooking food 'for the animals' in it as my Portuguese wasn't really up to explaining about using them to pyrolyse old bones, and the wooden trays are still made too. I'm glad to say the ploughs have been improved since then - mine looks much more effective than that wooden one.

I loved watching Blackthorn, the Fell pony, harrowing with a hawthorne branch to cover the wheat seed. Hawthorne is a better choice than blackthorn (the tree, not the horse) as the spines on blackthorn are mildly toxic and can cause nasty reactions so you won't want to be handling them too much.

I'm going to go and find threads on all those things and put links to the video in them, then start on Episode 2!
Lloyd George


Joined: Jan 25, 2012
Posts: 159
glad they figured out the plow stock was riding too high..that was almost physically painful for me.
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 3949
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
130
Yeah - it's hard standing back and letting people make their own mistakes so they can learn how to learn!

I nearly started shouting at them when I saw poor Blackthorn's improvised breast-collar had slipped down below her shoulder, but she seemed to take it in her stride. At least she was only pulling a branch, not trying to plough like that.
Alex Ojeda
volunteer

Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 285
    
  20
Burra Maluca wrote:I was absolutely enthralled with it myself.

I loved Arthur and Lancelot, the two English Longhorn oxen they used for the ploughing, and the close-ups of the period wooden plough they were using. A lot of the other stuff they used, like the cauldron, the wooden tray for raising the dough, the stone buildings for the pigs, using baskets tied by the handles and thrown over the horse's back, are things that I still see going on in Portugal. Those cauldrons are still readily available in the markets. I bought one for making bone sauce and had to pretend I was going to use it for cooking food 'for the animals' in it as my Portuguese wasn't really up to explaining about using them to pyrolyse old bones, and the wooden trays are still made too. I'm glad to say the ploughs have been improved since then - mine looks much more effective than that wooden one.

I loved watching Blackthorn, the Fell pony, harrowing with a hawthorne branch to cover the wheat seed. Hawthorne is a better choice than blackthorn (the tree, not the horse) as the spines on blackthorn are mildly toxic and can cause nasty reactions so you won't want to be handling them too much.

I'm going to go and find threads on all those things and put links to the video in them, then start on Episode 2!


The two oxen looked absolutely prehistoric to me! I loved that too. I especially like the music by David Poore and am sad to find that it doesn't seem to be available anywhere!
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    5
We've had this DVD for 3 years now and every WWOOFer that comes here gets the chance to watch it in the evenings. I'm consequently almost word perfect and my children can impersonate the beginning bit as good as the original - it's quite funny hearing them doing it. Yes it's a wonderful series and many of the things they do have been an inspiration for us here on our farm as we're striving to work with only hand tools (haven't got oxen yet though).

We also have The Edwardian Farm and that's good too. But then last year they did The Georgian Farm and that was crap IMO - only quick soundbites and no substance.
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 3949
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
130
Here's a run down of the second episode - October.

Part one covers...

1.05 putting rafters on the cow shed.
2.38 chickens
4.23 rain and clothing
5.03 4000 calorie daily diet for labourers
4.32 in the garden, salad greens, rocket
6.21 making roof pegs for the rafters using a draw knife
7.16 securing the rafters
7.57 harvesting the pears
8.54 rodding the roof by weaving sticks between the rafters, ready for thatching
10.20 using a boy and a shepherd's crook to pick pears
10.45 hazel rods and dangers of working on the roof
11.30 problems with footwear
12.46 cutting bracken for the basecoat of the thatch
13.44 Keith Paynes, thatcher, starts work
14.47 Blackthorn, the Fell pony

Part two covers...

0.00 Blackthorn's collar, and loading her sled with bracken
0.56 Keith thatching
1.24 Blackthorn brings home the bracken. Only 10 more to go...
2.07 taking the pigs to the woods
3.08 John Letts helps with thatching
4.02 moving pigs, importance of the right speed and amount of discipline
5.38 the bracken basecoat for the thatch, and uncertainties as the amount of shrinkage caused by using green, not dry, bracken
6.21 meet the pigs, especially Arthur and Guinevere, who clear scrubland and provide bacon
7.14 sewing bracken into the base layer of the thatch using flax string a giant needle
8.17 preparing a shoulder of mutton for a spit roast. spikes stop the meat slipping.
9.39 storing fruit in a cool, dry loft with good air circulation.
10.31 boiling beetroot in a cauldron
11.00 organising the fruit storage according to keeping qualites of the different varieties
11.45 removing the roast mutton from the spit
12.09 gathering for the evening meal

EDITED to update link





Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 3949
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
130
Third episode - November

Part one covers...

1.16 cow shed needs wattle and daub wall; using auger to make holes; stripping hazel rods and fitting them.
2.55 preparing for the pig slaughter; cleaning out a half-barrel
3.28 Neil Jones, a local butcher and slaughter-man, is called in to kill Arthur, the wild-boar/Tamworth pig; throat slit, blood collected in a bowl for use later to make blood sausage and black pudding; killing at home reduces stress to the animal; everyone helps move the pig carcass
5.08 old brewing vat is scrubbed out and swilled
5.42 gutting the pig; intestines to be used to make sausages; pigs caul used to make faggots (giant meat-balls made of pigs' offal)
6.42 remove sweetbreads ("boar's bollocks"); a delicacy when fried with salt, pepper and little flour
7.23 threading hundreds of hazel rods to make the 'wattle' for the cow-shed wall; ventilation gap to allow moisture and ammonia to escape
8.12 singeing the bristles off the hairy period breed pig using a bonfire, not a gas blow torch; singe only, don't cook
9.47 continue wattling the front wall
10.07 100kg pig carcass dragged on sled and lifted onto table by three people
11.06 dawn start, wattling finished, daub applied to weatherproof. 1 part dung, 3 or 4 parts clay, and chaff
11.42 spade with a weighty head has lots of force
12.00 skin of pig is scrubbed clean of soot ready for salting; skin is darker than with modern breeds
12.23 using hands to apply daub between wands and rods to ensure no air spaces; very cold on hands; straw and rods are rough
13.01 butchering performed by farmer's wife; remove head - lots of meat at back of head and in cheeks; pig will feed family of six for three months; use brain, trotters, everything except the squeak
14.01 daub applied both sides; tools no use for this job; result is solid, sturdy, and wind and rain proof.
14.45 medlar fruit harvest

Part two covers...

0.00 medlar harvest continued; picked when hard, they taste foul until left to blett (rot); soften til gooey inside; shake tree, gather fallen fruit and store for several weeks to allow to fester to maturity
1.17 finishing touches to wattle and daub; three days work in all; all materials (hazel, clay, dung and chaff) all sourced from farm
2.04 preparations for pork banquet; scrub table with salt
2.50 Keith Paynes returns to put weathering coat of straw on top of bracken base layer; unprocessed stubble is messy and un-threshed
3.36 comb made from split hazel rod and forged nails; clean thatch and align straws to improve water flow
4.03 pork dishes - offal used first; hog's liver pudding; trotters - a bit singed as forgot to apply paste; scraps and intestines make sausages
4.49 thatching takes two weeks for a professional team, six weeks for our team
5.05 cookery books from London 1589 - 'to make white pudding of the hogs liver'
6.19 ready to fix thatch onto roof using hazel spars or pegs; split and twisted (not bent) into hairpin shape; 3000 to make and Alex can't get the technique
7.26 liver chopped, herbs added, boiled in cloth in cauldron
7.44 Alex is still failing to twist hazel spars
8.10 pork scraps beaten to form sausage-meat and stuffed into sausage skins
8.47 wheat stubble compacted onto roof; 18" thick layer of thatch altogether
9.01 parboil liver, finely chop and add other ingredients (egg, cream); more sausage stuffing - looks like a pig poop
9.59 finishing touches to the thatch; rods fixed externally run along every 8"; should be six or seven years before major maintenance; close as possible to a Tudor cow shed
12.08 pig banquet nearly ready; trotters, hogs liver pudding, sausages, but no bacon sandwiches yet

EDITED to update link jp

Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 893
    
  17
Tyler Ludens wrote:A little cholera or typhoid, anyone?


My understanding is that those are primarily urban diseases, from when people cluster together as opposed to truly rural issues. Those are disease that are transmitted by people. Lots of people have non-chlorinated springs or wells without getting sick from them. Heck, that's what I've had for half a century, what my kids have, how we water our livestock. Other people use composting toilets without getting cholera and typhoid.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop

Check out our Kickstarting the Butcher Shop project at:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sugarmtnfarm/building-a-butcher-shop-on-sugarmountainfarm
Max Kennedy


Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 453
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
seems the video's linked to have been removed by the owner. Pity.


It can be done!
Gwyneth Palmer


Joined: Jul 04, 2012
Posts: 1
Max Kennedy wrote:seems the video's linked to have been removed by the owner. Pity.


I found it here: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/tales-from-the-green-valley/

Thanks for sharing this. My hubby and love stuff like this and will enjoy it. The website I found it on looks good too.


Gwyneth
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5837
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  87
The entire series (12 episodes) is back on You Tube:

"Tales From The Green Valley"


















Glyn Tutt


Joined: Apr 18, 2013
Posts: 8
Great videos, but some of teh 'challenge' of living and surviving a year on a 17th century farm were lost on me within the first 5 minutes when teh narrator explained that "due to 20th Century Health and Safety Laws they could not stay overnight on the farm".

So the challenge of actually living on the farm is removed - the need for water to clean clothes, cook and wash is not an issue, the need to repair and maintain the farmhouse as a habitable space is not required - surely the 17th Century farm is not just a place to produce food? In a time before the Enclosure Acts that allowed Lords of the Manor to sell off land rather than collect tithes from his peasant farmers the peasants did not only grow food, but they maintained and lived in the same building over many generations.......

In reality, I know of no 'Health and Safety' Law that would not permit a group of volunteers to really try and do this properly. The reason for this probably originated from the BBC or it's supplier creating a commercial product that in turn required people to be employed - the Law only applies to employees, not volunteers who accept certain conditions that an employee, by law, cannot have in a place of 'work'.

So remember all of those longs days 'at work' followed by a hot bath and a modern bedroom and possibly a good dinner of pie and chips down the local pub....... Removing the need to actually survive makes this more of an academic study than a real one. (I'm English by the way!)
Nick Kitchener


Joined: Sep 24, 2012
Posts: 302
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    
    6
I had to laugh with the salt cod pie. He forgot to soak the salt cod for a few days in water to allow the fish to rehydrate and remove the salt. End product was described as fish chewing gum soaked in vinegar LOL!
Joseph Fields


Joined: Feb 23, 2011
Posts: 137
Location: Berea, Kentucky
    
    1
Can anyone translate the wattle wall ingredients parts from Epi 3? I think He says one part dung, 3-4 clay. How much straw? Can't wait till my hazel stand gets large enough to start building stuff.
Jon McBrayer


Joined: Jan 07, 2013
Posts: 17
Location: North Georgia
    
    1
The BBC has done many of the historical documentary TV series looking at farms and other aspects of daily live in different time periods. I've tried to outline them on the wiki page below.

http://tspwiki.com/index.php?title=BBC%27s_historical_gardening_TV_series


Jon McBrayer
http://www.jonmcbrayer.com
 
 
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