Helter skelter in the “stabbur”

“Stabbur” is the Norwegian name for the house where grains and other food were stored on the farms before the time of fridges and freezers. This was also where cured meats were hung to dry. These houses were built so that mice and other rodents couldn’t enter. Some are still in use for air drying meat and to keep a freezer or two, but mostly these houses are now used as storage space.

Our stabbur has definitely been used for storage, and the way things have been put down wherever there was some empty space has created a fascinating mess. No one seems to have tidied up or thought about sorting out things for the last 100 years or so. It is fascinating to go in there and just look and try to figure out what things have been used for. There are at least a thousand and one mysteries to solve. My thoughts also turn to the people who used these things; who used them, why, and why put things just there?

Snow shoes for the horse ...

I go into a kind of trance looking at these things, some of them are really beautiful. The wood planer is worn smooth and oiled by rough hands that have held it for hours on end. The handle on the meat grinder likewise.

An old door handle lies in the corner, the brass gone dull by not having been in use. Wooden strap-on skates hang from a nail, the curly tipped blades gone rusty.

Leather skistraps

Home made skies and sticks hang on a beam above my head. It is not hard to imagine the strength needed to move forward on these skies in unprepared tracks, whereas we glide along silky, smooth ski tracks on super light skis. I wonder who are the lucky ones? The ones who made the skies themselves and then conquered the snow slopes on skies they really could be proud of … or us who don’t have to struggle much for what we have.

A decrepid ladies bicycle stands in a corner – something must have been broken otherwise it wouldn’t have been carried up to the loft and tucked away in a corner, or perhaps the person who owned it was too old to use it?

In another corner are all kinds of carpentry tools, each one a wonder to behold. How on earth did they manage to get things done with these things? Things must have taken time – but then again by having to use time on making things, they probably appreciated them much more.

The women on the farm wove most of the linens. There are still beautiful items in some of the drawers. In the corner of the loft the old loom lies in pieces; it would be an interesting challenge to put it together again. Whether or not it can be put to use is a different matter.

It is nearly a shame to sort this out, but by cataloging it in pictures, some of the memories will hopefully be retained. We aim to try to sort this out one day and display the things on the farm where future generations can see what has gone on before them.

I wonder what Miss Piggy thinks of this, hanging there by the door, staring at intruders with her big eyes? Will she be there for the next generation?

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4 thoughts on “Helter skelter in the “stabbur”

    • Yes, aren’t they fascinating? I can just see the horse plodding along in deep snow (hopefully not too deep, even these wouldn’t hold the weight of a horse in really deep snow).

  1. What wonderful photographs and I can really feel you walking around in there and connecting with those who have used all these things.Clearing out old things from family long gone brings us all so close. Wonderful. Thank you. x

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