Bringing in the Hay on a Farm

Bringing in the Hay on a Farm above Geiranger Fiord, near Marok, Norway.
The valley here is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the Sondmore district of Norway. These waters which are as calm and clear as a lake in Switzerland form the head of one of the countless crooked arms of the ocean that reach among the Norwegian mountains of the western coast. The island town of Aalesund, on the ocean, is only about forty miles away in a straight line, but the fiord is so crooked, turning this way and that way around the heights, that it takes nearly twelve hours to make the voyage by steamship.

At the very end of Geiranger Fiord where the mountains draw back a little from the shore and pale green rivers of melted snow foam down to its waters, lie a few acres of meadow and hay. It is but a mere handful of hay that can be made here but Norse thrift turns every available patch of sunny ground to account. The winter season is long up here and fodder must be provided for the cows and goats. The goats are much more common as they are cheaper and can be more economically fed.

Not far from here, nestling on an old moraine at the foot of the mountains, lies the little village of Marok. So shut in is it by the mountains that for three months in midwinter the people see the sun for only two or three hours a day.

The life of the women on Norway's farms is a hard one. They do a large share of the heavy field work and work shoulder to shoulder with the men. They have always been expected to handle heavy tasks, partly because of the scarcity of farm labor and because few farmers can afford to hire farm help. A good housewife is expected to be capable of performing almost every task in addition to which she must also keep up her home duties.

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