some special work such as baking, distilling or brewing needed to
be done in olden days, the wife rose early in the grey morning. The
right time to leave the bed was 5 a.m. The fire was made in the fireplace
using as kindling the big high mound of shavings, generally from the
previous evening's work, that had been on the cottage floor. Soon
the sparks, like a broom, swept out the dark night. The firelight
glimmered from the windows and aperatures. The well handle bent and
dipped deep, balanced itself and the big bucket was filled. The water
was then carried to the cattle shed where the hay and grain gave off
the scent of new-mown hay. The smoke swirled, and rose through the
door opening. Life was seething long before cock-crow and sunrise.
fire under the copper coffeepot burned calmly and gently. And the
covered dough rose with the heat. The small kegs were constructed
with care by the old men. In the old village one can look at small
kegs so finely wrapped that they resemble the work of a goldsmith
rather than that of a carpenter.
old village the days had their varied activities. The production of
barrels took a long time. Those who tarred the barrels for sale usually
worked indoors. But some worked on the barrels in the drying shed.
There the staves were piled up for drying behind closed doors while
the smoke belched out and, in time, various tools were used. We now
look with amazement at those tools in museums. There stood the old
man straining his knees and back among the bottomless barrel staves
while he used the barrel axe and various planers along with the big
a glorious time when the tar was heated. The woods were full of shouting
men and the notes of the meadow curlews were like happy flute players.
Father Forsbacka in Nederlappfors who burned the valley, allowed his
son Anders to watch after eating a fish meal. His wife cleaned the
perch and cooked it. Anders remembered it all his life.
think back to the community fellowship with a feeling that something
irreplaceable has been lost. They were refreshing with their wooden
flasks and packages of food as they set out to the crowded woods or
to join teams for haymaking.
the cavalier who struck the broadest blows. There was the queen who
had a smile on her face when the hard workday ended at last. Now the
woman chooses one way and the man another way where willpower and
ability do not require a decision. Perhaps it is why so many marriages
are formed blindly and fall apart when the test comes.
we would not trade with the old folks. But they were admirable in
their dexterity and stamina. Without falling into a romantic dream
about their era, one can safely say that the memory it brings gets
lost in the increasing industrialization.