DIY network has brought back the reality show Frontier House. I think it was on public television before. Three modern, urban families try their hand at homesteading in Montana with the trappings of 1883. First two episodes were aired last night, it was pretty good. Hopefully it is available on their web site, netflix, something.
__________________ It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with the simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
I remember that one. Takes place in Montana, right?
One of the fathers lost so much weight he was convinced he was starving. He has a video diary entry where he shows us how emaciated he is by lifting his shirt. "Do you see?? I'm starving! This place is going to kill me!"
DH looked down at himself and said, "He looks just like me! Welcome to a life of labor." lol
The show brought in a Navy doctor who said, yeah, he was fine. He was probably ideal, actually.
I didn't like that one. As the series progresses you see one marriage just fall apart. The wife turns into a real shrew and they wound up divorcing after the show.
There are lots of other shows on youtube where people go back and live in a different time period. I'd recommend any of the following: 1940 House, 1900 House, Coal House, Coal House at War, Manor House and Regency House Party. That last one has more to do with the exploring marriage and social standing in the early 1800s. It's very Jane Austen-like.
There's also a couple where the participants are not "regular people" but historians and archaeologists. Tales from the Green Valley is set in Wales in the 1600s. Some of the same people from that show went on to make Victorian Farm, Victorian Farm Christmas, and Edwardian Farm. All but the Christmas special show what life was like on a farm for an entire year during each time period.
While the shows may be interesting, they really don't prove much. The people involved have had experienced modern conveniences, so it's much harder to learn to live without them. Those who never had them don't know what they are missing.
IMHO, a much better series was "Pioneer Quest - A Year in the Real West." Pioneer Quest was a thouand times more realist than Frontier House in that the family arrived in a covered wagon and had only the supplies in the wagon to survive on for an entire year. They had to grown their own food, make their own cabin and barn, and survive one of the most ferocious winters in Manitoba's history. There wasn't much time for drama and complaining like there was in Frontier House.
I enjoyed Frontier House rather a lot. Enough so that we bought the DVDs and the book.
You do have to understand the premise though. It wasn't simply a recreation of frontier life as a how-to. It was a recreation of the sorts of people that moved to the frontiers and what they experienced. At least so much as they were able to do so. Six out of ten who filed homestead claims could not stick it out for the five years to prove their claims. Of the remaining forty percent I'd be willing to bet a significant part of them ended up selling out before another five years were up. Even for the folks who had never experienced modern conveniences that life was tough. A great many of those folks really had no idea of what life on the western frontier was going to be like and many ended up trying to homestead in areas where they simply could not make a living no matter what they did.
I've been thinking of Frontier House a lot these last several weeks as I was finishing up reading all nine of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books to my youngest as well as Rose Wilders Lane's book. For a lot of folks it was defeat after defeat after defeat even for those who knew what they were doing. Some were able to stick it out, many could not. The Frontier House series was a lot better if you also read the book and the associated website which is still up at PBS - Frontier House.
The mental and emotional toll of what they were recreating was every bit as important as the physical. Some stuck it out and made it through. Many could not. Some places were homesteaded where it should never have been attempted.
Back when we received dvds from Netflix, I watched Frontier House. It was interesting but that one family irked me beyond belief. I was just checking out the DIY network's FB page and everyone says it's the same show that PBS showed originally. I don't get DIY so I won't be tuning in.
IMHO, a much better series was "Pioneer Quest - A Year in the Real West." Pioneer Quest was a thouand times more realist than Frontier House in that the family arrived in a covered wagon and had only the supplies in the wagon to survive on for an entire year....
What a great thread! Thank you for starting this. I love Frontier House and Colonial House. I have both sets on DVD and even re watch them once in awhile.
For me, it is about the reality that life changes, and for many of us, those changes may at first appear to be a step backward. I have a big house in the suburbs, that is all my youngest knows. I can no longer keep the house, and I no longer want this lifestyle. I have changed along with my finances.
I have a set amount of money each month...and just like the pioneers of old, I have to decide how best to use that money ( resources ) to provide the best life possible for my family. So, I have decided to move to a homestead and to create a "new norm". We will have a healthier, safer, less stressful life. I will have a place with the youngest and my middle son will have a place with his wife and future family. We hope the oldest son joins us eventually.
I have experienced the hollows of Eastern Ky and WVa. I truly enjoy the land in Central Ky. ( Adiar, Casey counties ).
So, while I know we will quickly adjust and will LOVE it, there will be issues, failures, and psychological/ social dymanics to be expected. The series brought to mind the damage conflict can create, the need for socializing, etc. I especially loved the assessments...if there was not enough wood chopped and stored, woe!
Well, I went online in search of Pioneer Quest. I was only able to find the series for sale on one site...and the shipping and handling alone is ridiculous. I need to find it a bit less expensive before I can buy the series.
Pioneer Quest was awesome. The producer of that show also did several other similar series -- Quest for Gold (about the Klondike gold rush), Quest for the Bay (about the Yorkmen/fur trade), Quest for the Sea (about living in a early 20th century fishing outpost in Newfoundland).
I enjoyed Frontier House on one level -- kind of like watching a different kind of Survivor -- but the actual "living in the old west?" Uh, no.
Whining, complaining kids who smuggled in makeup, everyone moaning about how hard it was and how much they wanted toilet paper, or soda, and that one idiot complaining CONSTANTLY that he was sick, when he was nothing more than lazy and annoying, not to mention the one family who didn't play by the rules, at ALL.
No, give me Pioneer Quest, thanks.
Ignorance is the true enemy.
I've seen the village, and I don't want it raising my children.