Feb 14, 2011

  Brains, Bravado and Brawn!

Some years ago the village of Eden had to replace the old culverts made from cut stones in the 1800's with a more modern metal type.  These culverts were used to control the excess water from mountains and forests, especially the Spring run-off, so that it would bypass the village,  flow along the  fägata (fair-gotta) and down to the lake. 

 The fägata is a common and very well-traveled albeit relatively narrow grassy path or throughway that runs along one side of our farm.  
It was used  daily by all the farmers for herding the cows up to the nearby fields and forests where they would graze  short term when the weather warmed in the late Spring. Then later during the summer months, the cows would be taken via the fägata to the fäbod (fair-bode) which was a longer term grazing area farther up in the mountains or in the forest where the fäbod jänta (fair-bode yenta), a young woman who stayed in a small cabin and watched over the animals,  would hand-milk them twice a day and make cheese and butter.  There could be more than one fäbod as the herd was rotated from field to field or forest to forest depending on where the pasture was best.
Still later, as Fall approached, the cows would be brought down the fägata
 to the fields nearer to home. 
By that time the grasses had grown up again providing feed until it was time for them  to be taken in for the winter. 
Fall and winter forest management and logging work, often done with sleds, utilized the fägata as the access roadway to the forests and surrounding work areas.  The older people will tell you there was more traffic on the fägata in those days then there is on the E-4 today, and yet, with all the work that had to be done they still took time to visit with each other as they passed along on the fägata.  They will also insist that MORE work was accomplished then, even with the visiting, than there ever is today.
 Over the last few years, we have had a significant run-off problem every Spring, and if you look very closely at this picture you can see what caused it.
Just above the top right hand corner of this section of the new cement culvert you can see two of the old sections of metal culvert - the brownish colored ones laying on the ground...
The Swedes in this area are determined to do things
the right way from the beginning,
so they will last,
and our Pappa is no exception.
This past Autumn, after living with several seasons of flooding that was wreaking havoc with our sewage system,  it was obvious that the moment had come to replace the old metal culvert pipes.  Being the only remaining family who actively dairy farms in this village, the decision of  how to do that and the actual execution of the task  fell to us.
After the insertion of the word "us" in that last paragraph, the age-old question could be asked, "Do you have a mouse in your pocket?" because it wasn't "us" was "Hans".
Measuring, assesing, ordering, following up, all had to be done  by the brains of the outfit.

A call from Pappa to Bengt Ivan Stenmark,  brought the man and the machine.

 The old pipes had to be removed, the trenches re-dug and cleaned up of earth and debris and foundational supports put in place.

Then they began one by one:

Pappa hooked, Bengt Ivan lifted,

Pappa guided, Bengt Ivan placed,

It was cold and it was wet and it was slippery. 
More than once the sections rolled off the supports and had to be hooked and lifted and positioned again. 

But finally....

the last of the first ten sections went in under the actual fägata by our land,

and the continuation of the last ten sections towards the center of the village was in place shortly afterward.  Before the snow came it was covered and completed.
There were 20 sections in all, each with an interior span of a meter in diameter and even larger on the outside, not to mention the gross weight of each.  Despite Hans' protestations to the contrary, this was without question, in everyone's view, a Herculean task.

Above is one of the first pictures I ever saw of Hans before we met.  He looked so austere and serious in it, that I was surprised that I felt so drawn to him.  But when I look at it now the only word that comes to my mind is
He is a Man of Substance in every sense of the word.
 Just as the title of this post says, he is the perfect combination of 
 "Brains, Bravado and Brawn".
He has the brains - incredible intelligence - although he is too modest to ever see himself that way.
He has the bravado - seemingly unending courage both emotionally and  spiritually - to lead our family unerringly through every situation.
And he has the brawn - the physical strength and ability - to consistently handle every challenge that our farm and family life has to offer.
We are so blessed to have him in our lives.

Happy Valentine's Day Hans/Pappa,
We love you!!

1 comment:

Alan Klain said...

We love following your stories and life and are so very happy that you are all so happy
Happy Valentines Day
Dallin will be leaving for the West Virginia Charleston Mission next month.
Life is good