Farming for a Living

There’s no such thing as a slow news day in a small town.  Not when you have long-term residents willing to tell you their story and dig up a couple of old photos to go with it.

This “news” article was published in the People section of the Port Elgin Beacon Times on July 28, 1999 when my dad was 85.  There are a few mistakes in it, the funniest one being where they say our youngest sister is “Barbara” which isn’t even close to her real name.  That’s okay, she likes to remain anonymous.

Dad was the 8th of 10 children, not 9, but his youngest brother died in a bicycle accident when he was just a boy.  Maybe dad chose to skip over that part.

Hope you enjoy this little slice of history.
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I lived here until I was 5 or 6 so my memories of it are vague. There was a hand pump in the kitchen for water, and we had baths in a big wash tub on the kitchen floor. The next farm-house we lived in had hot and cold running water and a bath tub upstairs. Now if people have fewer than four bathrooms in a house they are likely to complain. How times change.

Sweet Land, the Movie

SweetLand

Let us hope that we are preceded in this world by a love story.  That’s a rather beautiful sentiment, isn’t it?

This is the synopsis from IMDb:

When Lars Torviks grandmother Inge dies in 2004, he is faced with a decision to sell the family farm on which she lived since 1920, or cling to the legacy of the land. Seeking advice, he turns to the memory of Inge and the stories that she passed on to him.

Inge arrives in Minnesota in 1920 to marry a young Norwegian farmer named Olaf. Her German heritage and lack of official immigration papers make her an object of suspicion in the small town, and she and Olaf are forbidden to marry. Alone and adrift, Inge goes to live with the family of Olafs friend and neighbor Frandsen and his wife Brownie, where she learns the English language, American ways, and a hard-won independence.

Inge and Olaf slowly come to know each other, and against the backdrop of endless farmland and cathedral skies they fall in love, a man and a woman united by the elemental forces of nature. Still unable to marry, they live together openly, despite the scorn of the neighbors and the disapproval of the local minister. But when his friend Frandsens farm is threatened by foreclosure, Olaf takes a stand, and the community unites around the young couple, finally accepting Inge as one of their own. 

I also read, after watching the movie, that most of the Norwegian and German (which of course sounded fine to me) was made up by the actors during filming and is complete gibberish with terrible accents.  I guess that’s why there’s no sub-titles for those parts!  And if you’re paying any kind of attention at all you will notice that Inge and Olaf harvest a gigantic field of corn and when they get it back to the barn it turns into wheat.

Oh well.  It’s a love story.  The details don’t really matter.  I think Elizabeth Reaser is amazing in this. You can skip to part four for the trailer, because if you play all six parts of this YouTube video, you won’t have time to watch the actual movie!  I’m still going to recommend it though.  It isn’t perfect, but there are beautiful scenes that will stay with you for a long time.