This brilliant, six episode BBC series stars historian Ruth Goodman, and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn as they recreate a year in the life of Victorian era farmers. If you have a penchant for the "old ways", you won't be able to stop at just one episode. This is some serious homesteading crack. Ruth shells out all sorts of fascinating tidbits about 19th century domesticity, housekeeping, preserving, and cooking, while the boys are off raising the animals and growing the crops. The show gives wonderful insight into day to day Victorian life as it must have been by recreating the mundane tasks, as well as the celebratory occasions. We see how wheat crops were grown and harvested using only the tools available in the 1800s, how laundry was cleaned (you will worship your wash machine after you see how the Victorians had to do it), how cooking was done on a coal range, what preservation methods were available at the time, how dairying, beekeeping, and shepherding were done in the 19th century, the kinds of artisan crafts that were popular, and how holidays were celebrated. In one episode, they show a great trick for preventing rats from getting into your feed. My daughter watched this episode with me after having woken up from a nightmare. Nonetheless, in her half-sleep haze, she pointedly made me take note that this was something I should keep in mind: "Mommy, remember that thing about keeping the rats away. You need to remember that." She's a good little farmer girl. I found the series inspirational on so many levels: seeing old school skills in action that I could apply to life even in the modern age (not the washing bit, of course - I'm not that big of a masochist.), peering through the looking glass into a bygone era and observing what it might have been like for farmers of the day, watching the daily struggles with crops and animals that any farmer in any time period could relate to, hearing the history of long gone skills recounted and illustrated by local experts who keep the old fashioned crafts alive, if only by a faint heartbeat. So if you love history, farming, the d.i.y. life, traditional skills, and/or have a crush on Peter Ginn like I do, you will want to watch this series again and again and again. The same team also did two other fabulous BBC programs, which I will post about in upcoming weeks.