Snooping around on the hayloft

Spring has bounded in and the snow has melted faster than anyone has expected. Access to the hayloft in the barn has been blocked by hard packed snow which has fallen from the roof during winter. I knew there was lots of interesting things to take pictures of there, but I dreaded climbing ladders with photo equipment to get there.

Last week end I was able to press the barn doors slightly ajar behind the mound of hard packed snow and got in to see all the old machines and other equipment which has been stored up there for years and years.  It always surprises me to see how beautifully things were made even back then. In our arrogance we tend to think that we invented good design, but they certainly new how to create beautiful things in the past as well.

Just look at the fantastic colors and the design of this roller,

and how age has worked on the colors, making them even more beautiful.

See how the iron is bent to form this lovely figure attaching the wood to the iron.

Look at the lovely iron work on the trestle carrying the old sewing machine and how the sun shining through the slats of the walls creates a lovely pattern on the floor.

This wheel is about a meter and a half in diameter. I really wonder what it was used for.

The hay wagon has not been in use for at least 80 years and still the grass huddles close to its wheels. The swallows have been flying in and out  of the barn, their droppings unfortunately creating a mess.

Tucked away in a corner is an old machine of sorts, the burlap which was placed over for protection has gradually slipped way, uncovering muted colors and beautiful designs.

We find it hard to disturb these things and will most probably leave them here for the next generation to come and admire them. All these things carry with them the history of the place and we feel we need to give them due respect.

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?