Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Tales From The Green Valley" Part 2

PBS Show On 17th Century Farming

This is a continuation of my findings of the show from last week. I highly recommend that you watch this show!

Episode 6

  • People drank up to eight quarts of beer a day – most of which was low alcohol. This was due to the horrible conditions of the water. Interestingly, the beer provided a lot of vitamins. When the temperance movement kicked in, it was found that a lot of people lost their only source of vitamin B and many people had malnutrition strictly from the loss of their beer. (Not to mention dehydrated. Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
  • Arsenic trysulphide was used as a pest control in the noble’s flower gardens.
  • Tax was levied on every sack of grain that was milled. (I think I might have known this, it does sound familiar.)
  • In the year 1400, the Welsh leader destroyed English mills knowing that this would sever the income of the English landowners. (reminds of the song…”In the Year 2525 )
  • “On the continent women just did not have that much freedom.” This was true of every person, not just women. Brits had much more freedom than the people in the rest of Europe.
  • Chafing dishes were very popular during the 17th century.

Episode 8

  • Holly branches dropped down the chimney to clean it.
  • Homespun wool linen or hemp for their textiles. (This may be obvious to those that are interested in clothing and other textiles.)
  • People talked about someone and how clean their hose was – it was a reflection on a woman’s character. That was true up until recently, and still is in some circles. (Don’t visit my place then!)

Episode 9

  • Charcoal making was a specialty and men traveled around “almost like gypsies.” I always wondered how charcoal was made!
  • Soak the salted bacon to take some of the salt out. I wondered why my grandma used to soak the hams, now I know!
  • Horsehair became invisible in the water, which is why it was used for fishing line.
  • Cheese cake in pastry case and was flavored with rosemary and currants.

Episode 10

  • Milk changes through the year due to the grass the cow was eating. I grew up on a farm, and I don’t remember this.
  • Chose one calf to sacrifice per year because the stomach fluid was used for cheese making. Interesting!
  • The hard cheese takes longer in the press: two to three months with turning cheese.
  • Highest income for the farmers, and the larges export especially in the form of broadcloth for the wealthy’s clothing. Broadcloth is really nice!
  • Wheat has changed in height over the years because of modern the modern wheat has been bred to have less stalk. I knew this because of my study on 18th century farming. What the show doesn’t say is that the stalks were used as bedding for the animals.
  • I loved the meat (lamb) pears. This was a food fashion of the time, to make one food look like something else.

Episode 11

  • Flux is diarrhea. Um, yucky
  • People thought that diarrhea was a cause of death no matter if it was just caused by eating too much fresh fruit.
  • Rice and bread puddings started off in the 17th century by being stuffed into animal intestines. Yeah, why eat the intestines when you don’t have to!
  • It was required that you had a permit to make soap.

Episode 12

  • Michaelmas’ main feast was goose.
  • Highland farms had more livestock than grains compared to the lowland farms. This should be obvious due to the mountains.
  • Twelve months for a full wheat field. I guess I didn’t realize how long wheat took to grow. We never had wheat on our farm.
  • The most expensive candles were made of bees wax. This too is obvious, I think, but it was interesting to watch.


  1. So glad you took my advice to watch this fabulous true series. Stuart Peachey's book of the same name is FANTASTIC, and you should read it if you get the chance. We got ours on Amazon.
    We watch the series periodically as we never get tired of it. I could move right in!

  2. I won't have a chance to read anything that I want again for another 2.5 years! But, I'll put it on my list, as I am sure others that are reading will do as well!

    Did you see that I did give you credit for the suggestion in the beginning of Part One?! I believe in credit and citations!


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