Get a cheap HD quality flip camera or pocket camera, usually for under $200 and make sure it is dust and waterproof. The more durable the better. Then get one of those flexible tripods: http://joby.com/gorillapod/
I use the flexible tripods all the time! You can stick the camera + tripod on the barn fence, or wrap it around something and it's usually pretty secure. I aim it into the middle of the ring and try to do work in front of it to get the best shots... sure beats someone holding it, unsteady hands, etc.