For most women and children at the farms in the old days, every summer had spent at the summer pasture for the livestock to feed on the riches of the mountain while their husbands and farm hands made hay of the grass at home. Very few families still follow the tradition, since modern techniques makes it unnecessary to save the grass around the farm to have enough feed for the winter.
At the nature park, we don’t keep the livestock at the summer pasture since it’s very close to the farm itself, but during summer we arrange days when tourists and kids at camp can join us and learn about the old traditions. We bring a packed horse (often with a foal) and the herd of goats, and sometimes a cow, yak, a pig or another animal from the farm just like they’d do in the old days.
The summer pasture is visible from the farm, so the hike is not too far for little legs. Usually, the pasture was located further away than the animals would roam by themselves, so they would often use a whole day just to get there.
I guess all the animals would be brought down before this time of the year though, as the grass would be scarce towards the end of the summer. But we still use our summer pasture in the autumn holidays, so more tourists can be able to join us. And the view is magnificent up there right now, with all the trees in their finest colours.
On these arranged days, the group can participate in activities such as making charcoal sticks for drawing, collect juniper twigs to brew tea, making homemade goat cheese, chop wood and listen to the guide tell a story about the use of summer pastures in the past.
These days are great in the summer as long as the weather is nice, but the atmosphere is really different in autumn. It’s much calmer, the air is crisp and fresh, the autumn colours of course, and the lovely smell of the heather.
There are smaller groups of people attending too, as the majority comes to visit during the summer holidays. This week when I was up there as an assistant, we brought the kids from the riding camp and a couple of families. So a lot of kids, but a nice group to guide.
– A little moment of happiness when a kid at camp gave me a flower she’d picked, just out of the blue as she walked by. Such a small act, but it left a mark.
There’s an old summer pasture between the nature park and their pasture, which we guess is around 200 years old. No longer in use, the weathered buildings are slowly disappearing. It’s a sad sight, thinking of all the time and hard work someone once put into it, hoping it would last..