Saturday, October 4, 2014

For the love of the land.......

Once more the harvest season is coming to an end.

The grain has already gone and for us harvesting potatoes the end is in sight as well. The last few acres will be collected next week and then that's done. Our own harvesting has been very modest this year. Next to no berries were to be picked and the apples too were quite small. It has been way to dry and hot for them, I guess. We do have a good handfull of wild rosehips (rosa canina), though and we might get some of the rosa rugosa as well. That would make a serious vitamin C-addition to the morning yoghurt coming winter.

We have been enjoying a wonderfull autumn so far with very good weather, unseasonably high temperatures, but with cold nights and thick morningfogs. We already have had some nights with frost and that leads to great displays of colour. I have the privilege of seeing that each day for prolonged periods of time when working and having some hot coffee and a snack during the (cold morning) breaks only increases the feeling of joy and a deeper sense of happiness! The fact of actually doing this physical work gives a sense of purpose which probably only adds to that and when you get to look at the many small surprises the Great Mother presents one with.....
Some of the more noteworthy I'll try to describe, since having a camera with me was no option....except for the crappy one on my cellphone and by the quality of those pictures you might guess its age.

This I actually did take....

One of the more notable ones was the visit of a buzzard, when harvesting certain fields. It would sit in the trees next to the field and sometimes, when a row had been taken and the soil was upturned, it would land there and walk around, looking for edible morsels. I saw it take of with something looking like a big worm! Never saw a buzzard behaving like that before! And it did that multiple times. It did not seem too worried or scared of that big, noisy, bright red and yellow humanthing, rumbling through the fields.
Neither did a couple of deer, who were feeding right next to us, as we rumbled by. They remained in place, about 15 meters away from us, looking at us when we came by and continuing feeding when we had passed. I could have a good look at the brownish grey and the bright copperbrown one several times! I even did get to see a honeybee a week ago! Buzzing around the harvester, its hind legs heavy with pollen. Many beekeepers, including myself if I can even call myself that, have already made the bees winter ready and yet here still was one, still hard at work. It gives me good hope that my swarm will have sufficient stores to get through the winter and live to see next year's spring. Hopefully as a strong colony, so I can increase the numbers of colonies.
On a particular foggy morning, when I thought I saw clouds drift across the surface, I witnessed the sun all of a sudden break through an opening in the gradually thinning fog and the mist evaporated within 30 minutes, exposing the still damp soil to the sun's rays, leaving it steaming. I just saw the very source of the fog, how it came to be and the sun's rays, striking the wafts of vapour from behind created an almost magical, fairytale-like atmosphere.
Yesterday that feat was recreated in another field, but this time with the backdrop of a dark treeline, giving it a more dark, ominous atmosphere.

My wife and I are also seeing many moose, especially last week, when she takes me to work early in the morning, just before sunrise. On one day we saw a young cow trotting across the road and on another day 2 adult moose without antlers, walking around in the fields, partially hidden by groundfogs, occassionally stopping to look at us as we looked at them. On 2 mornings we saw a
moose cow with 2 calves and on yet another day, when I was alone, I came across a young bull out in the open, close to the road and some houses with nothing but open fields for hundreds of meters around him. With behaviour like that I do not expect him to become too old. Not with the moosehuntingseason closing in. Which will bring another post to this blog soon, because I have been invited to join that hunt as an onlooker and that was approved by the head of the local huntersleague.
Yep, I am going to witness a moosehunt! And to say I am excited is putting it mildly!

The potatoharvest did not just provide me with a way to keep busy, be productive, create some extra income, supply me with loads of fresh air and the sight of scenery and wildlife next to tons and tons of potatoes.
It gave me some tangible samples of years gone by. On several occasions the harvester coughed up more than potatoes, stones and plants or their remains. Sometimes some machineparts or junk, lost during previous years, but also some quite old reminders of the ways these lands have been used by previous generations; horseshoes!
It brought to me the image of farmers, walking behind their horses as the plodded across the fields, plowing, sowing or harvesting. A far cry from today's methods, although the basics remain the same. And maybe I am a hopeless romantic, but I feel that the land was treated with more respect and love back then than it is today. I also do think that the connection of many a farmer to his lands was much more close and intimate, despite the hard, backbreaking work it took to have food on the table.
And for some reason I do believe that the methods used in those days were much less harmful to these lands and more in harmony with their surroundings then they are today.
It also reminded me of a film we received as a gift, right after we moved here. A film about our village and the old farming ways. I must have a look at it again, now that we actually can understand what the narrator is saying, even though the images speak for themselves.
The following clip is the only one I could find online;

And speaking of films; we had a filmingcrew visiting us, while harvesting and they shot a film about a manifestation, called "matspanarna" or food scouts. This is a cooperation between several groundschools/kindergardens, local farmers and the local authorities to show and teach kids where food is actually coming from, learning about the process from soil to plate. A much needed lesson indeed! The children are taken to a farm and, apart from some lectures, get to get some experiences hands on themselves.
The following clip is from the participating broadcastingstation, showing some interviews, including my employer and a bit on potatoeharvesting, including a 1949 vintage tractor, an old potatoharvester and a new one, which unfortunately for you, shows the author of this blog in the blink of an eye...


  1. Great write-up, like how you observe and report about the behaviour of the animals in your surroundings.

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  3. Buzzard with a "worm", indeed...SHE has a weird sense of humour sometimes...;-) Anyway, your post is full of autumn, of a slow breathing in cold and clear air and good, honest work. I am with you that the methods of those days were better for the land. But that was before industrialization.

    It is great to see you passing your knowledge on;-) if only in the blink of an eye;-). That project certainly was inspiring, and I will introduce it in the next work group gremium session in my day job. Working in a city management sometimes even gives opportunities to change something...