De Maupertuis The degree measurements by de Maupertuis in the Tornionlaakso Valley 1736-1737
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LIFE BY THE RIVER:
Housing
The Lapps
Observations on nature
Agriculture
Food
Religious life

The triple rainbow

 





Observations on nature

The Frenchmen started their work on the fells of the Tornionlaakso Valley straight after Midsummer, the worst mosquito time (räkkä). Later in the summer they were harassed by gnats, the tiny flies, against which there is practically no protection at all. The water of Lake Pasmajärvi beyond Turtola village was very muddy and full of small round grains not unlike millet grains that de Maupertuis thought of as cocoons of mosquitoes and midges. It was a regular phenomenon that took place in the autumn in a lake that at other times had clear water.


Outhier states that they saw almost exclusively birches and coniferous trees on their journeys. On the cemetery of Tornio there grew trees that Outhier did not recognise. To his knowledge the berries of the tree had no use. The tree that according to Outhier resembles the acacia tree is the rowan tree. In addition Outhier makes mention of willows and tall, straight aspens.


South of Tornio they see plants and bushes that cannot be seen north of Tornio where however raspberries and currants and wild roses grow. At the Horilankero fell de Maupertuis wonders at bright red roses that grow as beautiful as in French gardens. On the meadows the Frenchmen found a plant they were well familiar with, Spectrum Carolinum. Outhier also describes several other plants and bushes he cannot name.


From the berries Outhier lists the arctic bramble (ocrubere), the cloudberry (hioutero) and the lingonberry (lingon).


We found there also an abundance of a small black fruit, which they call blober ; the plant on which it grows is seven or eight inches high, and the leaf similar to that of the myrtle ; the fruit consists of small black grains of the size of juniper berries : this fruit is met with in France.
(Outhier, Journal of a Voyage to the North, p. 285)


On the ground of the description the berry in question is the crowberry.


From the birds Outhier makes a mention of sparrows, wagtails, swallows and ducks. He also describes the collecting of the birds' eggs:


The country people fasten to the bottoms of trees, logs of wood or trunks of trees hollowed, to attract certain large birds, who come to these places to lay their eggs, which they take and eat.
(Outhier, Journal of a Voyage to the North, p. 287)



Réginald Outhier, Journal of a Voyage to the North in the Years, 1736 -1737:
 

Observations on trees and plants (pp. 305-306)



 
 

Spectrum Carolinum Rudbeckii
a. Folium radicale
b. Summa pars caulis
(drawing from the book Lappish plants by Carl von Linné, SKS Helsinki 1991. Original work: Flora Lapponica 1737)


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