LIFE BY THE RIVER:
Observations on nature
Barley and rye were widely cultivated in the Tornionlaakso Valley area
and hop was cultivated for brewing ale. Some farmers even cultivated
hemp but it usually remained very low grown. The fields were broken
up by spades and harvested with sickles. Hay was cut with long narrow-bladed
scathes. Barley and rye ripened at the same time. Outhier minutely describes
the process of drying barley as well as the instruments and constructions
that were used.
Among domestic animals Outhier mentions the horses, hens, sheep and
cows. Hens were found in the rectory of Ylitornio but not further north.
The horses were used only in winter time. They were not only used for
several work purposes but also for transport, just like the reindeer.
Between Tornio and Pello there were several exchange places, houses
that kept horses for the travellers. In summer time the horses were
let loose in the wild and they made their ways to their own herds. The
Frenchmen found this utterly peculiar. If someone needed a horse in
the summer, the farmer fetched a horse from the place where he knew
the animals were herding and afterwards let the horse loose again. The
owners knew the summer routes of their horses. In the autumn when the
weather got colder the horses made their way back to the farmhouse,
each to their owners at their own time.
These animals were tough and calm, and got along with very little, just
like their owners.
The cows were kept in herds close to the farmhouses where they were
brought daily to be milked. In the town of Tornio there were scarcely
any cows in summer, instead the cows were kept and milked on the mainland
where enough grazing land was found. The cows in Lapland are small,
white and mostly without horns.
Réginald Outhier, Journal of a Voyage to the North in the
Years 1736 - 1737:
On agriculture (pp. 304-305)
Threshing barley (p. 294)
On horses (p. 295)
On cows (p. 296)
(Drawings by Outhier)