Mar 12, 2010


Only a few short days ago this was the scene at 10:00 A.M. in the morning.  It was -32 degrees, the wind was howling, and the roads were packed with snow and ice.  It was SO COLD.

This morning at 10:00 A.M. the same area looked like this.  We've had some warm, breezy days.  The sun is shining, it is currently a full thirty degrees warmer at -2 and the snow has begun to melt off  the roofs.  Positively balmy.

Spring is coming.

                                                           The 9-10 weeks between the first of January and the first part of March, traditionally filled with handwork projects of every kind, are coming to an end.  The old woollen socks are mended and new ones are knitted and ready to be put in the drawers.

The weaving looms with their flying shuttles in every vävstuga (weaving house), are still.  And the rugs that have been produced from strips of worn out clothing are hung in the källarboden next to the tanned skins from previous hunting seasons.

Hand towels (handdukar), pillowcases (örngott), and wallhangings (väggbonader),  handwoven on looms then embroidered with designs and initials are all finished for this year, cold-mangled smoothly and stacked in the linen cupboard (linneskåp) or hung up on the wall.  

(This wallhanging says: "Small, small words of love, spoken every day, spread over the home, sunshine and grace")

And they're selling tulips at ICA.
(So Fun!)

Last night as I was finishing the milking I bent over to dump the wash water into the dung ditch (now there's a statement I never thought  would be coming out of MY mouth in this lifetime..). 
 As I did I saw something out of the corner of my eye. When I looked it was Margot, our chocolate brown heifer (affectionately named after Dame Margot Fonteyn for her dark hair and significant kicking abilities),
and she was
(a sign that she is getting read to calf)

That means that the winter quiet of the "Handarbete" (handwork) time is over. The calm before the storm of lambing and calfing is fading and we will soon be in the thick of it with all the new 'fur babies' arriving.

In the world of farmlife, it's definitely a time of  Transition each year.

 There will be cows that do fine and those that do not.  There will be heifers to milk in and small calves to bottle feed.  The milk room in the main barn will seem like Grand Central Station on a bad day.  There will be newborn baby lambs to protect and watch over  in the chilly Spring weather, and bulls to put out as the temperature warms.
It can feel overwhelming just thinking about it.
But it will also be GREAT! 

It will be a new season and new life all around us.  It will be terrific to see the completion of some of our winter projects geared to making the farm run more smoothly.  It will be happy days and hard days and when we have done it we will also be different and hopefully better people.
This is Hans' favorite time of year.  He loves the cold snap in the air and the brilliance of the Spring sun on the snow.  But I think the part he loves the most is the promise of another season on the farm.   
With another year's experience the real goal is that the word "transition"  will mean we are still moving forward from



Lauralee said...

Your non-farm sister had to look up what "making an udder" meant. Now I understand Margot is likely pregnant.

The darning I do recognize, but did you do that embroidery? At -2 it looks like tropical weather is returning to Eden.

Amazing post, lots to learn, that's for sure.

Lauralee said...

Also wondering if Sweden does Daylight Savings Time there? If so, does that make any difference in your overall operation?

midnight hysteria said...

i love reading your comments; i used to live on a small farm in northern british columbia, canada, and reading your blog brings back sooo many wonderful, sweet memories ... those days of -30, -40, --more, and thinking -2 was a *spring day* was so reminiscent of that time ... when my children attended school in vanderhoof, bc, even the school buses ran when it was -30 (we moved to coeur d'alene, idaho for a short time in 1984) and school was canceled on day because there was a small amount of snow on the road (we called it *a skiff*) -- i thought my kids cut school that day when they came home from the bus stop in the morning ... anyway, thank you for your updates; they are wonderful ... good luck with the calving and lambing coming soon -- it IS how you know it's spring!!

midnight hysteria said...

oh, yea, i forgot that not only the calving and lambing heralded spring, but also there was THE MUD!!! we always laughed and said, vanderhoof had three seasons: mud season, bug season, and winter!