Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without

Not long ago, our dear friend Caroline in the UK sent us a DVD set of a BBC series called "Victorian Farm." I am totally addicted to the hour-long episodes. And let me just say, I'm done whining for a while. The three people in this show lived for a year in a centuries-old Shropshire cottage, subsisting with only the comforts and conveniences of rural Victorian England. Yowza--that's hard core.
Now these folks are historians and Victorian era experts, so they are excited and motivated to succeed at this quest. (These are not American reality show losers who quickly devolve under duress into homicidal maniacs.) No, the one lady is an expert in the domestic sciences of the era, and the two other gents are archeologists keen on making a go of the many aspects of 19th century farming. They call on other experts when confronted with challenges, and they don't win them all, but they put on a very good showing. I'm so inspired. No Safeway, no Tractor Supply. Not even any Clorox. I've learned some fascinating recipes for Christmas dinner, household cleaners, and animal chow. And I'm inspired to find more down-to-earth solutions to problems around our farm.

If anyone is interested, I'll schedule some showings in the Little Red Barn.

What I encountered this morning was not so much a problem as an opportunity: When I went out to feed the sheep and Judah, I noticed that the canine boy is really blowing his coat - there are white clouds of Pyrenees hair blowing around the pen. So, with the Victorian motto of "waste not, want not" ringing in my ears, I gathered up the clouds and brushed Judah for fifteen minutes to add to the collection. Judah was more than happy to donate his fiber, begging me not to stop. There's plenty where that came from.

Quite a wad of dog hair here, or, as we like to call it, "chiengora." A bit of a wash and a dry, and we'll spin up this stuff to see what we get. The outer hair and the soft undercoat are mixed, so it won't be the softest yarn, but it will be from our sweet boy, and that's cool enough.

Someday I'll graduate to cooking a pig's head pie like the lucky Victorians. But not today.


  1. You should see the bag of Blue's fur I'm saving...hint, hint... *;)

  2. Jumping up and down and waving hands wildly in the air: I want to see the Victorians! If we can include some testosterone, Gene may want to watch this as well. He worked for 10 years at 2 different historical farm museums--1840s and 1890s--as a historical interpreter. It's been 20 years now and he still misses it
    (But I'll pass on the pigs head pie, thank you!)

  3. MissMoosey on Ravelry9:55 PM

    If you liked that show, then you'd probably like a lot of the reality shows that were on PBS a few years back. My favorite was Frontier House: three different families living for several months on farms and ranches from the 1880's (I belive one family had goats!). It was so much fun to watch!

  4. I saw that PBS series. Some episodes were better than others but . . quite interesting. Don't think I could've cut it back in those days!

  5. I'm off to Netlflix to get this. It will be great watching while I am spinning (not chiengora though). A woman in Santa Fe had a whole business around garments woven of dog hair. Really.

  6. I saw a couple of PBS series like this, one with a family in England and then a couple filmed in the US. I loved those shows. Later this weekend I'll post a website that has new ideas about use of pet hair.

  7. Anonymous11:31 AM

    If anyone would like more details of the Victorian Farm series, there is a website here is the link

    Some of the historians involved, also have their own sites


    and also:
    (Did I really start all this?)

    Best wishes

  8. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Just had a further look on Alex's site.......there is a picture of an Acton Scott spinning wheel on the crafts page! Acton Scott was the big house where the programmes were based! Thay would have had dogs to help care for the flocks, I wonder if..........

  9. Caroline - those links are wonderful! I want to go to Shropshire!!!! That place is incredible! Now I'm *really* hooked.


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