Jan 9, 2011

"Shifting Gears"

When we said Goodbye to Maxie, we felt like we were saying Goodbye to the summer as well.  In just a few days school would be starting and that meant we had to really hit it to get the last things done in the fields.

Gustav was on his own this year in emptying the urine pit and spraying the fertilizer on the fields, tank after tank after tankfull.  He did a superb and efficient job, as he usually does, and got every bit of it done in record time.

By the end of the summer the new tractor had been used
 and was playing to mixed reviews.
Pappa had a hard time getting used to it..
he missed the old familiar one with not so much glitz.
 Gustav LOVED it with it's bells, whistles and flashy features.
(Could this possibly be generational?) 
 But both agreed that they wanted a different loader,
 so here it was being sent off for the fitting. 

In the golden-green fields across the road Pappa was doing what he loved,

plowing in the warm Autumn sun in preparation for next year's planting season.


  The last few pieces of used farm equipment were arriving,

and Pappa continued the tradition of giving a wedge of our beautiful and delicious cheese to each transport driver.
The two of them look pretty serious in this picture, but in every case the drivers  were always surprised and thrilled!

Then...there was getting ready for school.

In Sweden a student's career plan is decided much earlier than in North America.  Upon finishing junior high he is required to attend the "Gymnasiet" that offers training in whatever field he chooses.  As a result, many children leave home at age 15, only seeing their parents on weekends and sometimes not even then, for the three years they are in senior high school.
 They live unsupervised in apartments on their own, something that seems so strange to us who are accustomed to our children's teenage years being spent at home with their family.
We were fortunate that Gustav chose to do building and carpentry which makes it possible for him to get on the bus each morning at 7:00 A.M. in Junsele and travel to Sollefteå, about an hour away, for his education at the specialized high school there.  He comes back each evening at 5:00 and we pick him up and bring him home to the farm.  We feel so blessed to be able to do that and have him with us, benefitting from the family environment and influences, until he graduates and goes on his mission. 

This is what the schoolbus looks like as it makes it's way through downtown Sollefteå towards the school, 

and this is the Gudlavbilderskola just outside Sollefteå where he attends each day, learning his carpentry and building skills.

By the third week in August we had indeed
 "shifted gears".
We had to be into bed by 9:00 each night, even though it was still daylight outside.
We had to be into the barn each morning between 4:45 and 5:00 o'clock A.M. in order to have everything done on schedule.

 Because the weather changes so quickly from warm to cool, especially in the early Fall mornings, it would only be a short time before 
 we had to be up even earlier because we had to have the woodstove "ashed out", loaded with logs and lit to do our daily cooking,

including the full breakfast of wholegrain porridge, lingonsylt, milk, breads, meats (yes, that is our own homemade corned beef),  vegetables and cheeses.

Don't forget the devotional before each meal of hymnsinging, family prayers and a chapter of the scriptures read.

The rainy days would begin, and we had to be doing our best to make sure there was enough time to do the barn, devotional, eat, get "duded up", brush teeth, 
and make the 6 km run into the parking lot of the the Byggvaruhuset (contractor's supply store) in Junsele where the schoolbus would be waiting.

And this year, how did we do?   

  Here's the car with the door flung open, ready to be driven in reverse through the puddles to the door of the house where Gustav will be charging out to jump in....
Doesn't look too bad, right? 
We're doing OK in the "Shifting Gears" department right?

 Look again....

This picture on one particular morning
 - admittedly not our finest - 
1.  The sum total of the magnificent farm breakfast that morning - bread, butter,  cheese and water.
 (It was all homemade...does that count?)
2.  The sum total of the hygiene and "duding up" factor - a bottle full of water, some of which is to be drunk and the rest used for brushing teeth.

But we did do the barn, we did do the devotional and we did make the bus!

So, in the eternal scheme of things,
(and knowing that as the days went by we would get better and better)

We called it GOOD!