B8 The Year’s Cycle

The Year’s Cycle

In the course of a year, tasks on the farm were decided by red-letter days. By considering the weather on certain red-letter days, one could foretell if it was going to be a good or bad year and if the crops would be good.

Red-letter days were based on Holy days and Saints days, like Christmas, Midsummer Day, spring and autumnal equinox, and the phases of the moon. One job had to be done before another and at the right time.

In this way, people’s ideas were connected to the tasks which had to be done, and the tools connected to these tasks.

And so everything which exists is connected.

Also today one makes arrangements according to red-letter days.


No 2

The goat, it was just milk and skin, it wasn’t something to be eaten. But goat’s milk, that had saved us through an entire winter if we hadn’t had anything else. Crisp bread and goat’s milk, then we had survived!

Harald O. Lindbach


No 3

Spring was the time for fetching seaweed and reindeer moss. The cow gave a lot of milk when it got seaweed. It was good food when there was little hay.

Adolf Nystø


No 4

We chopped cord wood and left for Lofoten to sell it. We used a cargo boat that took nine to ten fathoms.

Adolf Nystø


No 5

In my youth, there were masses of ptarmigan in the mountains. Snares were used at Ruossavagge, but I myself have only used a gun. In my youth we could take two to four hundred ptarmigans in a season.

Peder Mikkelsen


No 6

…it was usual for the animals to get the rest of the sedge during a shortage of food in the spring –

Paul Amundsen


No 7

We stripped the rowan. We took off the bark and gave it to the animals. We were in the forest and tore up the heather. One had to do it when life was hard. In these times one didn’t get much for nothing.



No 8

Many of the chores were left to the womenfolk, except for the horse, of course. It was almost as if the horse got all the food and just stood there thick and fat, and the other animals, they had to be content if they managed to creep out of the cowshed in the spring.

Harald O. Lindbach


No 9

They grew potatoes and corn, and they put as many creatures – cattle, goats and sheep – that they could possibly feed.

Thorbjørn Storjord


No 12

We used a horse for cloudberry picking. We were in Ravdda, on the Swedish side. The horse went off in the night. In the end we found it. I had gone towards the border.

Adolf Nystø


No 13

Sheep’s wool was used for clothing and by no means least for sails on the boats. And how are you going to get to Lofoten without woollen socks and Lofoten mitts? It is impossible to consider a day on Lofoten without sheep.

Harald O. Lindbach