Maintenance and Growth
If you are standing on top of the original Hay Barn in the early Summer and looking to the north out over the fields and forest,
this is what you see.
It's another large hay/animal barn that can be used to house animals, store hay and bags of cut wood, or put machinery "under roof".
To the side is the Machine Hall Extension where farm machinery and implements are stored.
On our farm, we have all the calving once a year within a six-week period from mid-March until the end of April. We do it that way because we want our optimum milk production during the grazing time in the summer resulting in superior milk quality and taste for cheese and butter making. When calving season approaches in March, we move some of the animals out to the new barn pictured above. That makes room in the Main Barn complex for the "maternity ward" where the new babies will be born,
most of the time in rapid succession.
In early March the weather is not as severe and there is shelter and sunshine in the barn outside.
The animals love it.
The following pictures were taken at that time and you can still see the snow on the ground.
|The pens are set up and|
a new bale of hay is in the feeder.
|Next, the animals are|
|We needed a new feeding|
trough for the grain so we built
it in the Carpentry,
| brought it out, and put it in place.|
It fit perfectly.
|Fresh air, sunshine and good food. |
What else do we need? Oh yes...water.
Hauling water every day in the dead of Winter (or even early Spring)
to a green plastic water tub that allows the water to freeze almost instantly it seems,
(bring your own axe when you come),
real old, real fast.
(no hauling sloshing water buckets or axe swinging required),
last Autumn Pappa and the men installed two automatic, no-freeze
water cups, ran all the piping underground and made sure they were totally functional.
You can also use the same pens in that new barn
to bring in the sheep...
and get them all sheared.
When the hay wagon has done it's work, is cleaned and serviced,
it's put away under roof.
When the baler has done it's work, is cleaned and serviced,
it's put away under roof.
When the urine pit is full and ready to be emptied and it's contents spread on the fields, and when the dung heap is overflowing after a long winter of "mucking out" and the dung spreader is hooked up and ready for fertilizing...
you guessed it,
put away under roof.
The same goes for each of the tractors or any other piece of machinery or equipment.
Get the idea?
It really is about maintenance.
The Machine Hall Extension makes it possible
to put well-maintained and well-serviced equipment away in a secure, protected environment.
This aerial view gives us a panorama of the Duett garage, the Outdoor Toilet (small door on the right of the red building), the Stable (black double door on the same building), the Workshop (unpainted extensions in the back), the Woodshed (unpainted with the red tile roof by the wood bags), and
the "Pig Hotel" (you can barely see it back there on the left in the far field).
The Duett garage currently houses the Volvo Duett, our favorite farm vehicle when we do fencing, trimming and other assorted farm tasks.
We love this old blue baby from the 60's, with her wide-opening back doors and her super strong roof rack. She is a real workhorse for our use when it comes to loading and hauling.
As you can see, it's a tidy fit to get her in that small garage. Look at the overview again and the position of this garage - now envision that the building is lifted away from it's current location, moved over to the left beyond the open space, and the same area is used for the new Slaughter and Butchering Facility planned for that site. With it's close proximity to the Main Barn complex and already established outside water lines, it's a sure winner.
Can you say
And just before we go around the corner from the Duett garage, let's take a little detour to the...
(No snickering allowed!)
This is not just ANY
Outdoor Toilet behind that small black door....
this is a totally insulated, "two-person at a time" facility. Incredibly common even now on many farms in Sweden it speaks to the inconvenience of having to change all your barn clothes or work clothes and boots from the skin out if you have to go into the houses that are used as residences when nature calls.
Sparkling clean and always well-maintained it is a tradition that makes life a lot easier when you are up to your ears in work on a busy day on the farm.
As one old gentleman in our village said,
"For thousands of years people went in to eat and out to go to the bathroom. Now we go out to eat and in to go to the bathroom".
Go back around the corner,
hop across the driveway from the Duett garage
and you are ready to enter the Workshop.
The Workshop is a full scale facility for the storage, repair and maintenance of all farm equipment, machines and vehicles.
The three large blue doors open
accordion- style for wide machinery to be driven in easily.
This is the view of the center section left and right during most of the year.
Until we have the new butchering and slaughtering facility built, this is also the perfect place to do that task each November so it's handy to have the sink and water there on the back wall for clean-up.
It's so good to be able to use the same space for a different task during a different season. All the wooden braces are set up to hang the sides of beef, pork, and lamb, ready for the assembly-line butchering to begin.
Go through to the right wing. There are two work benches, tool storage and a large open work area.
The door you see in the right picture leads to this room below used for sharpening implements and storing trimmers.
In the left wing of the Workshop building is a beautifully organized storage room with metal shelving stands and a multi-compartment wall unit to hold all small hardware items.
Beyond that in the left wing is the Stable.
Look back at the aerial view and you will see how the unpainted wing connects with the Stable (black double doors) on the other side.
The small window with the flower box seen next to the Stable doors is in the Stable you are seeing here.
We don't have a horse right now, so the Stable is used for storage, but is set up to house two adult horses and a foal.
The door on the left leads into the Stable itself and the entryway here houses all the tack for the horses...
bridles, saddles, harnesses, etc.
Moving to the West....
here's a clearer view of:
The "Pig Hotel",
The Pump House,
The Weaving House
First, "The Pig Hotel"...
(that's the small building way up in the back field with the metal roof)
A sturdy wooden hut filled with fresh clean straw and a grain feeder, both set in a soft green field that gives a choice of sun or shade, depending on the time of day,
the "Pig Hotel" is a great favorite on the farm. It stays amazingly cool on a warm day and amazing warm on a cold day.
Each Spring we get ready for the piglets to come. A bucket of warm, soapy water is carried down to the "Pig Hotel" and the white ceramic feeder is scrubbed clean.
Pappa and Tomas are always careful to put up the sheep fence (it has a much finer grid) around the entire perimeter of the field to ensure the little piglets will be safe.
Most years we can go to the pig farm in a village called Görvik and hand-select two little piglets that we will raise throughout the Summer and Fall, but one year when the farm in Görvik was overbooked and had no baby pigs available, we found a pig farmer who was delivering a hay wagon from southern Sweden and he brought us two little girl piggies in it all the way to our farm in Eden. They arrived in pristine condition!
(So kind of him..)
Most years we get two little girls...these two were Fern and Charlotte.
But last year when we got to the pig farm in Görvik, the farmer had THREE for us instead of two (two girls and a boy), and we were happy to take them,
but there was a problem.
and surprisingly, they almost always name them after themselves.
That year we didn't have two girls as interns at the time, and the names the boy farm interns had in mind wouldn't work, so Pappa and I had to come up with names very quickly.
These are the royal children of the King and Queen of Sweden
- left to right they are:
Prince Carl Philip, Princess Madeleine and Crown Princess Victoria.
Our three little porkers were dubbed,
Vicki, Madeleine and Phil!
All Summer and into the Fall they are fed on the vasle (whey) that is a by-product of the cheesemaking. They eat up their barley, drink their fresh water, lay in the sun in their lush green field, and
grow and grow
until the early Winter when they are taken to be turned into smoked bacon, pork roasts, chops and steaks, and Christmas hams.
Before we leave this section, we feel we must add
a "Pig Hotel" sidenote:
This is not our son. We found this picture on the internet.
But it is dangerously close to an incident that actually happened when one of our sons, in a moment of "staying up too late the night before" fatigue, snuggled up in the comfy straw with the piggies
in the "Pig Hotel".
After an intensive search of the farm, we found him there, sound asleep,
Next, The Pump House...
In all seasons of the year it's a busy place inside and out. The faucets on the exterior wall just above the stainless steel work bench make it ideal for cleaning and bagging summer garden produce.
Inside the walls hold the gardening tools and other supplies as well as the rain gear that we use Spring, Summer and Fall.
An antique cabinet works well for storing the clean coveralls according to size ready for working in the barn.
The used coveralls hang on hooks
and the barn boots are stacked along the wall.
In the winter, the floor heating
makes it cozy and warm in there when the "house clothes" are hung up on wooden pegs and traded for hoodies and long underwear worn under the coveralls while "doing the barn".
In the right hand picture the dark squares on the floor cover the access to the main incoming water line, the well, and the outgoing water lines to the various buildings on the farm.
Each morning of each season the day begins in the Pump House.
This warm and cozy place is full of fun and 'quick change artists' on their way to the early morning barn chores.
One frosty day these three farm interns from Germany, Holland and South Korea pulled down one of the long icicles from the side eaves, dipped it in the snow and drew a picture of this little guy on the front of the Pump House.
It was so cold outside it lasted an entire week!
Later one of them said that it was the right thing to draw that happy little man on the pump house wall
the fun of the pump house is for everyone!
Last, The Weaving House...
But for us, the Weaving House is beautiful at all times of the year,
whether it be a chilly afternoon in the early Spring,
a crisp Autumn evening,
In the early days in this part of Sweden the farm family would move out to the weaving house as soon as the Winter broke and the Spring and Summer work began. Then the looms were still, being used primarily in the cold Winter months. But in many weaving houses they also had baking facilities for tunnbröd which was made in the early Spring as well as in the Autumn. Some also called it the Brewing House because all the brewing of beer was done in this house as well.
The Weaving House was much smaller and easier to maintain than the Main House when the press of the Summer's demands was the greatest. It had an open fireplace before the current wood stove for cooking was in the alcove you see here, and the updated version now also has indoor water and plumbing facilities.
On the main floor, besides the kitchen and eating area, is a bedroom, now used as a guest room.
As you enter the bedroom, an interesting touch of the past remains intact with the original painted bedroom door dating from the late 1600's, early 1700's.
Up the steep wooden stairway to the second floor,
and you are in the work area where all weaving, sewing, knitting and handwork of every kind was done.
From mending existing socks, to knitting new ones for the coming year.
Or sewing up pants, shirts, jackets, aprons,
that would be needed for the family in the coming year.
You learn quickly on the farm that if you don't do it when it is the appropriate season,
you must wait until the next year to get the chance to do it again.
Patchwork quilts were rarely found in this rural area where all outgrown or worn out clothing was stored according to color in large canvas bags ready to be cut into long strips that were sewn together end-to-end and then rolled into balls, ready for the looms.
It was a tedious task, cutting around heavy seams and removing buttons to be used again and again. Nothing was wasted, tedious or not. It was a culture of thrift and discipline.
Some have even been found in northern Canada.
Used for the storage of grain and other foodstuffs, they were specifically made to be rodent-proof.
In some cases they were also used as a sleeping area for workers in the Summer months.
Ours, dating from the 18th century, are typical in that they were built according to the common pattern and away from the other farm buildings in case of fire.
I had to go into one of them one day when Pappa was away in Norway.
I called him to ask:
Where are the keys to the Härbre?
In the key cupboard in the front hall.
But how will I know which ones of all the keys in there are the right keys for the Härbre?
(Look really hard on the far right of the key box)
The BIG ones.
The main floor holds wooden bins(lighter wood panels side to side behind the wooden table) that were once full of grain, carefully made to keep out vermin of any kind for the entire Winter. A steep wooden staircase leads to the upstairs where long poles stretch the entire length of each building, front to back, draped with used animal skins, leather Lapplander boots with upturned toes, and children's shoes.
especially the one on the right, lifting and leveling it by replacing the foundation boulders that have settled over the centuries...
just a small facelift for a couple of
very handsome fellows.
Maintenance, Support, Exception
(such as an exception or appendage to a legal document)
|(from right to left beyond the garden - Weaving House, Härbre, Lillstuga)|
Built in the late 1800's on the same general floor plan as the Storstuga
(Main House), it was much smaller in accordance with the principles of Födoråd.
Födoråd was a common practice dating back many generations to a time when most Swedish families lived on farms. In 1909 it became a dependable right of legal protection when it was written into Swedish law.
It existed to ensure that older parents would always have a secure home (whether in the existing house or in another house on the same farm) to depend on, and the means to support themselves in their later years.
Among other things, they were guaranteed a stable home with a wood supply to keep it warm, food, clothing, seeds and a part of a field for growing vegetables if desired, even rides to Church and pocket money on a regular basis.
The parents would then move into the smaller home and whoever was taking over would occupy the main house or the parents would be provided with living quarters in the original home.
the farm it was sold, but in the deed and title was this "exception":
The father (Pappa's grandfather, then a widower) who had built it up and maintained it for his family all through the years was guaranteed "Födoråd" which meant that although he had not built an alternate residence, he lived out his remaining years in the upstairs of the same home with the family that had purchased it, and had all his needs met.
Our Lillstuga was built for the same purpose.
However, when the farm was purchased by Pappa in the late 1980's, the previous owner chose to move into a nearby village instead.
Used now only for storage, it was, with the addition of indoor plumbing, the operative home for Pappa's family during the years that it took for the Main House (Storstuga) to be be renovated and made livable.
The Root Cellar Building (Källarboden)
the Root Cellar Building was originally in an adjacent field
until the 1700's when the farms in this village were divided and the buildings moved to different geographical locations.
At that time the "källarboden" (cellar house)
was the entry building into the entire farm complex
(but we will show you that in a minute...).
As a two story building, the top floor of the Root Cellar Building
has a landing and a room at each side over the main level.
The room at the top of the stairs on the right holds newly-tanned animal skins, beekeeping suits and smokers, slatted metal berry pickers, fishing rods, and woven rugs and mats.
In case you didn't notice it, here is a view of the outside of the Root Cellar itself. On the right of the building there is a large mound.
That is the Root Cellar.
It is below ground level under that mound.
At harvest time bring over the carrots, bring over the parsnips, bring over the turnips, or any root vegetable that you have grown in the garden. How about the leafy heads of cabbage that grow above ground? Bring it all to the root cellar,
and don't forget the potatoes...
one harvest gives an entire year's worth!
Haul it down the stone stairs along with the bottles of pickled beets sauerkraut, fruit syrups for drinks, jams, jellies, dill or bread and butter pickles...
bring it all 'down-under' until the Root Cellar is FULL!
The above pictures were taken in late September and early October,
This picture was taken at the end of the following June of the same produce.
It is phenomenal to us every year to be able to grab a bucket, go down under the earth to the Root Cellar and bring up vegetables that are crisp and delicious eight to nine months later.
again there is a room on each side.
In the room on the left side are non-electric milk separators, hand held grain grinders, toilet paper, indoor and outdoor candles, soaps, rug beaters and bird seed. In the right-hand room are four chest freezers.
At slaughter time all the meat is butchered and packaged and organized in these freezers for the coming year.
And when the pigs are skinned a hole is bored in each fatty piece and strings attached to hang them above one of the freezers for the Winter.
During the cold weather, each time we go out to the Källarboden we check the bare tree branches and the wooden bird feeder by the front double doors.
If the branches are empty and the feeder needs to be refilled it means the winter birds have been coming to dine with us and it's time to take out more birdseed and hang more fatty pig skins for our feathered buddies.
The birds come faithfully every year
and they depend on the food when the forests are frozen.
Straight ahead through the front doors you see a large cupboard against the back wall.
When you look behind it you discover that there was once an opening there, as wide as the double doors in the front. From the back you can tell where it was by looking at how it was eventually boarded up. One of the most interesting historical features on the farm...the Källarboden was once the entry to the entire farm and horse drawn wagons or visitors on foot
entered through the portal
created by that drive-through.
It's truly a page out of the past.
|Entry to the Root Celler at -38 degrees Celsius.|
but we never worry...
This plate of Sunday dinner was made at just such a time.
Every item on it from the tender gravy-smothered steak with roasted root vegetables, to the buttery mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and honeyed carrots....
came from the products stored
in the Root Cellar building!