In some areas of the old Norway, it was common for farm families to move out of the main house during the summer months. One particular family moved into the cowshed.
The old Norwegian farm
There are many types of cheese slicers, but Norwegian furniture-maker Thor Bjørklund invented the Norwegian version in 1925.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse is one of today’s oldest horse breeds. Its historical habitat is Norway’s western coast, with its deep fjords and steep mountainsides.
In the coastal districts of the old Norway, a strandsitter was a beach dweller – a man who rented a small piece of land close to the seafront – but owned the house that he built on it. His livelihood was usually connected to the sea.
The Norwegian Buhund – a spitz dog – is 1 of 7 registered Norwegian dog breeds. The first breed-standard came in 1926, and the modern-day Buhund was primarily bred to be a herding dog. Historically, the Norwegian word buhund had a much wider meaning, and described an all-purpose farm dog.
6 January is the 13th day of Christmas, marking the end of the holiday season on the old Norwegian farm. Now was the time to fully return to the everyday grind.
In the old Norwegian farming society, a husmann was a man who was allowed to build his home on a small section of a farm’s land – and pay with his labour rather than rent. His simple holding was called a husmannsplass.
In 1935, Aslaug Engnæs published a guidance book on how to milk the cow – with tips and suggestions – aimed at the Norwegian smallholders of the day.
The old Norwegians split the year into two main seasons: summer and winter – and used a two-sided wooden calendar-stick to guide them.
The Norwegian geography and climate have significant variations. The old Norwegian farm was always a result of its location, and the local availability of resources.
February was the month when the historical Norwegian farmer had to be vigilant about the housebound livestock’s remaining fodder. It was still only midwinter.
In the old Norwegian farming society, nature dictated the flow of the working year. To secure sufficient manual labour during the working seasons, farmworkers could only leave their jobs on 2 specific days of the year – on 14 April and 14 October.
On 22 July 1964, a stray muskox bull killed 73-year-old Ole P. Stølen from Oppdal, Trøndelag, Norway. Local authorities shot the animal to prevent further attacks.
If the weather has been mild in the days leading up to the old Catholic Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, then be sure that the frost will return.
In Norway, the Italian pizza appeared as an exotic newcomer in the 1970s. But bread topped with foodstuffs is nothing new in Norwegian food history. Even the Vikings ate pizza – but they called it bread-dish.
Klippfisk – or klipfish – is fish preserved through salting and drying. Since the early 1700s, the Norwegians have been large-scale klippfisk producers and exporters.
The traditional Norwegians are drawn to their cabins, whether it is in the mountains, in a forest, or by the sea. Some might argue that they are a people obsessed.
For many, it may come as a surprise that the history of Norwegian rose painting, and the art form’s place in Norwegian folk art, is not as old as one might think.
In the spring, the snow covering most of the Norwegian mountains melts and turns into creeks, rivers, and magnificent waterfalls.
The first half of the 1900s came with a momentous change to Norwegian society: the ancient hunter-gatherer-farming-culture was rapidly dying.
Our foremothers were hardworking and inventive – and doing the laundry in olden times was no small job. This is how it was done on a mountain farm in Norway – towards the end of the 1800s.
When the ice melted after the last ice age, herds of reindeer followed in its wake and populated what we today call the Scandinavian peninsula. And with the animals came their main predator: the humans.
It has been said that all people are equal in Heaven, but the historical churchyard shows us that no such equality applied here on Earth.
Like all buildings on the traditional Norwegian farm, the stabbur had a clear purpose: to be a storage for food, fine clothing, and other fragile possessions.
In my childhood, life was simple. And the small joys of Christmas lifted our spirits – and delivered us safely into the new year.
When the industrial revolution brought machinery to the Norwegian farms, it didn’t just change the way people worked, it also changed the layout and the look of the farmland.
Some claim that porridge is the oldest hot dish in the Norwegian diet. For millennia, porridge was to the Norwegians what the oven-baked bread is to the modern family of today.
The Norwegian word for farmer is bonde – which stems from the old Norse búandi, which means a person with a fixed abode – a person living in one place.
Norwegian folklore and old folk tales often depict The Black Death in the shape of an ashen-faced old woman – and her name is Pesta.
An ancient fishing method was to catch the fish in the dark, using a multi-pronged spear and a torch. The Norwegians call it lystring – the English leistering.
One of the oldest Norwegian folk instruments is the birch trumpet – the lur. Originally, it was a practical tool, helping people in their everyday lives.
The Norwegians rarely allow alien species into their fauna, with one notable exception, the muskox – first welcomed back to Norway from Greenland in 1924.
Throughout history and well into the 1900’s, the Norwegian fjords and the often ferocious waters along Norway’s long-stretched coastline were the country’s main “highway”.
The word ski comes from the Old Norse language and means cleft wood. The old Norwegians were hunters, and have used skis to their advantage for over 5000 years.
In 1720, in the community of Meldal in Trøndelag, Norway, Vellik Andersson died aged 37, after being bitten by a wild wolf. He was buried on 8 September.
The Norwegian word skjemat means food eaten with a spoon – often before or after the main course at dinner. It could be porridge, soup, dessert, and more.
In 1836, a Scandinavian brown bear attacked milkmaid Kari Moen. She was from the community of Sauherad – in Telemark, Norway. Kari nearly lost her life that day.