Several months ago I gave a family a tour. As I was ushering them out the front door the mother said "I could live here."
I've done this long enough to know you don't argue with anyone who says that. I really wished, at that moment, I could send her there and see how long she would last. Who would do her hair and nails? Would she actually be able to feed two meals a day to 14 people?
I love watching those shows were they take people like her and transport them to the setting of their dreams. I particularly liked Colonial House. It was set maybe 100 years earlier than the Miller's House, but many of the problem are the same. My favorite quote is, "Should I wear this dirty cap today or the other dirty cap?"
But these shows are all about taking people with unrealistic ideas and putting them in a situation in which they have to fail, and making fun of them when they do.
How well would I do if put in a situation like that? I have no idea. I think I could live with no heat, no electricity, no running water. I am not so sure I could do the amount of work necessary to get through a day. Imagine making a Thanksgiving dinner every day forever. I can spin and weave and sew, but I can't imagine those chores filling my whole day because I has to supply clothing for the family. In the end I would fail too, and viewers could laugh at me.
A couple of months ago, I found another series of shows where people who are experts in certain fields are transported to an historical setting, and live there for some time. They know how to grow crops, they know how to cook feasts over wood fires. They know how to mix and administer medication. They go back in time to test their theories and to learn more about how what they know fits into daily life. History is people's lives.
The show I am watching now is Victorian Farm. Ruth Goodman is the scholar who holds it all together. Look her up on You Tube.
In this series she and two archeologists set up housekeeping on a English farm that has been abandoned for 50 years and try to bring it back to life. They find experts, dress them properly for the time and invite them in to show the residents how to do things, a plasterer, a plowing champion, a threshing team, a shepherd.
I'm sure the participants have a dark night of the soul sometimes, but what shows on film is all up beat, all educational both for the farmers and the audience. I kept jotting things down that will help with the interpretation of the Miller's house.
Is there a salt hole in the fireplace? I will have to look. It is a small recess above the fire where a bowl of salt is kept dry to keep it from clumping. Oil of earthworms is good as a salve on a bruise. Milk gets out ink stains. Handy stuff to know.