The Summer Pasture Farm

Press release   •   Feb 16, 2011 12:32 GMT

The Summer Pasture Farm (Fäboden) consists of buildings from northern Dalarna. Since the Mora Farmstead is intended to be one of the farms that owned the Summer Pasture Farm, by seeing both of the farms one gains an idea of how people lived and worked in the farm down in the village and in the farm on the summer grazing grounds in one of Sweden’s oldest inhabited districts.

There was little arable land available in these villages in forest country and so animal husbandry was the principal activity and grazing had to be found for the animals in the forest. The summer pasture farms were built where there was forest grazing for cattle and were often far distant from the farms.

At the summer pasture farms girls looked after the cows, sheep and goats during the summer. A farm girl often looked after animals from several farms. The animals were milked in the morning and grazed in the forest throughout the day before being taken back to the farm to be milked in the evening. The milk was turned into products that would keep such as sour milk, butter, cheese and soft-whey cheese. These dairy products were kept at the farm until it was time to return to the village in the autumn.

People used to distinguish between home summer pasture farms which were fairly close to the village and distant farms which might be several tens of kilometres away.

The Summer Pasture Farm at Skansen shows a distant farm and it consists of two dwellings with fireplaces, a milk shed, a leaf barn and six small sheds within a fenced area for the animals.

The dwellings are built of coarse, split logs. Inside there is a fireplace in the middle of the floor. There was no chimney but the smoke found its way out through a hole in the roof. There were benches along the walls which were used for sitting on and for sleeping.

The two dwellings date from 1659 and 1768 and they illustrate a very ancient type of dwelling that survived in certain of these summer farms right up to the twentieth century.

Opposite one of the dwellings is the milk shed where the dairy products were stored until it was time to take them back to the main farm. The floor of the milk shed is dug down into the earth to keep the products as cool as possible. The six animal sheds have a fenced area in front of them where the animals could move freely. The animals are all native Swedish breeds.