Winter 2010-2011 has been without any vacation for the farmers, but we have been trying to accomplish the same effect: relaxation through entertainment and enrichment.
We have, as usual, been taking in some films, but for the first time this year we have indulged in a couple of television shows. Specifically we've been watching Mad Men.
Our interns (the life-blood of what is new and hip here at Broadturn) originally shared with us this series which revolves around the 1960's office and social life of Madison Avenue advertising men and women.
It's a very entertaining show, and it drew us in. (I worry that other television shows would do the same-- and that is the reason that I'd rather stick to movies: you can love 'em then leave 'em after two hours.) Well, Mad Men features lots of cocktails, cigarettes, and womanizing (love 'em and leave 'em) but we kept on watching all the way through till season 3 (the latest available from-- you guessed it-- Minerva interlibrary loan).One of the things I appreciate about the show is the frequent tie-ins with what socially and politically is going on throughout the early '60s. Certainly not a history lesson, but episodes will reflect the details of the age in interesting ways: the splash that the Volkswagon bug ads had in the US; the effect of Jacqueline Kennedy's redecoration of the White House had on women; and obviously the repercussions of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War.
But still, Mad Men satisfies our entertainment quota: according to Stacy a movie is usually two hours long, and a tv episode is only 40 minutes, so it is totally OK to watch three episodes a night and still not languish as vegetative couch potatoes.
As for the enrichment, I have been enjoying listening to Podcasts while I work outside-- cutting firewood, building furniture, pushing snow around... It has taken me a while to figure out the ipod, but aside from listening to music (that's so "walkman 1990's") , it has been great to download news shows, science reports, history lectures, and even a few fiction "books-on-tape" (oh, that's so "family roadtrip 1980's"). The best podcasts for me are just straight up documentary, and NPR, PBS, and the BBC have some good ones. I heard a great series the other day from the BBC, called Food that Makes Billions. (of course that caught my ear! Did you think there was any other reason I chose to be a farmer?!) It's a 3 part documentary focusing on bottled water, breakfast cereal, and yogurt as industrial products which epitomize a very troubling reality in the global food system. (I have not actually listened to the last installment yet, but I doubt yogurt is really gonna turn this topic around for me!) The common thread through this series, and this blog entry-- I hope!, is the advertising that made these products what they are today. I can imagine Don Draper
--lead character in Mad Men, musing over his whiskey, "what if we could sell tap water in a bottle?" "How much sugar can we add to flakes of processed corn before people will realize its just candy in a cereal bowl?" "Can yogurt be healthy, sweet, fun, and convenient?" This is revolutionary stuff, and by the way the answer to that last question is very simply: no.
Oh wait, what breed of cow makes "Go-gurt"?
Could it be a Holstein crossed with a Frubes? Frizzix? Only click on those links if you want to see how far from the cow dairy can get. Yoplait has come a long long long way. (at least the Mad Men have the product on grass-- or grass-like plastic!)
Well, it gets dark early and we are on the far side of the calendar from fresh garden vegetables. We've wallowed in the couch-time, and I've indulged my critique of food culture, and its time to look ahead.
The farm is our source of life and joy. Join the CSA. It's is a wonderful way to experience that. It's goodness.
It's Don Draper's dream come true if only it didn't lack the means to make billions.
(pictured above: one of the three new lambs with her mama Goldie... the bed of herbs buried in snow... wood chopped for next year's stove)
Blessings on the meal,