I’ve taken to watching video clips or listening to podcasts while I wash eggs in the evening – it’s roughly a 20 minute job, which would probably go faster if I stood up and did it like I used to since I’d be less distracted, but hey, what else am I going to do at 9 o’clock at night? So, I relax with it and do some learning while I get a boring job done.
Gavin Webber at Greening of Gavin does podcasts on a fairly regular basis. These run a wide gamut of topics but tend to focus around sustainable living practices, coping with climate change, peak oil, etc. His Aussie accent makes them easy to stay focused for this Northerner, and his sound quality is the best of possibly all the podcasts I listen to. One of his best podcasts in my opinion was his interview with Linda Woodrow who lived in Cuba during the Special Period. A bonus is that Gavin is an organized guy and keeps a podcast archive in his sidebar. Once in the podcast part of his site, the podcasts are archived by month and year.
Ethan Book at The Beginning Farmer just recently started doing podcasts. In his mid-20’s, Ethan is growing a pasture based farm (mainly hogs and beef), raising a young family, working as a pastor in his church and coaching community sports on the side. I have no idea where he finds the time to record podcasts, but he does. The format is friendly and casual, the recording quality is good, and each post gives a useful outline of what he’ll be touching on in the podcast. Topics focus on farming issues, be they animals and fencing or budgeting and time management.
Peak Moment TV has been around for ages, and I check back once in a while to choose a video to watch. Again, the topics are wide ranging, and as you might guess from the site name, centred around the concept of peak oil; lots of homesteading, sustainability, renewable energy and the like. Most videos are interviews on site with the show host Janaia Donaldson. They tend to be too long for an egg washing session, so I’ve watched a lot of half episodes. If it’s particularly engaging, I might sit and finish the rest of the episode with a cup of tea, but often, the 15-20 min has been enough.
Handpicked Nation is a polished, beautifully presented site, with a whole bunch of short videos I’ve been working my way through. These are centred on food, food producing, local food, local farming, and more. I found Handpicked Nation when Joel Salatin was featured about a year ago, and I check back once in a while to see what they’ve added.
Chris Stelzer does videos and podcasts on pasture farming on his website Agricultural Insights. I just recently came across this site when Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm posted that he’d been interviewed for a podcast. Chris has done an internship with Greg Judy, one of the leading grazing management gurus in North America and also with Ian Mitchell-Innes of South Africa, famous for his grazing techniques and soil regeneration through holistic management. I’m finding video quality kind of irritating, and podcast quality ditto, compared to the sites so far mentioned, but they’re adequate, and the subject matter has been meaty and interesting every time I’ve listened/watched.
Pasture Promise is a fairly new website, with dozens of videos of very high quality. Obvious from the name, this site is all about grass farming, but it’s aim is education of both farmers and consumers and to that end is sub categorized into farming, health, food, environment. The video production is very high quality, the farming interviews (the only ones I’ve watched so far) are interesting and diverse; I watched one on the benefits of robotic milking for the small farmer, and another with a farmer managing hundreds of acres, who was passionate about wildlife and maintaining habitat. This is not a homesteading level of farming, but is focused on farming sustainably for profit. There seems to be a wide range of pasture management methodology covered, from moving cattle every 12 hours, to classic crop rotations.
John Suscovich of Farm Marketing Solutions interviewed Ethan Book not long ago, which is how I discovered this site full of useful podcasts. John is a beginning farmer himself, but has a strong marketing background. The podcasts are usually interviews with other farmers around North America who talk with John about business aspects of farming – particularly marketing. Like the Beginning Farmer podcast posts (maybe Ethan got the idea here), each podcast post has an agenda that will be covered in the podcast.
There are some TV series I like to revisit occasionally too – Tales from the Green Valley, Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, (all available from the same site) and Wartime Farm, all out of the UK, feature the same three historian/archaeologists living the life of whichever period for the course of a year, demonstrating and discussing the farming methods of that time. All of them are far better value than the old PBS series Frontier House and Colonial House, which could have been good had they not taken on the reality TV format, complete with marriage breakups, “rule” breaking and teenage rebellion. The UK series mentioned above are about exploring the methods, trying out the tools, learning the “why” of things, rather than testing the ability of 21st century people to live in a previous century’s culture.
And of course, there’s always YouTube.
So there you have it – a dozen ways to entertain yourself while washing eggs. Like you needed more reasons to sit in front of your computer in Springtime on a farm….