This has happened to barns and barn landscapes in Finland. When the tractor displaced the horse and dried hay instead of feeding fresh feed to the cows, the barns were no longer needed or serviced. They rot, sink to the ground or are dismantled. Many meadows now also grow forest.
HS’s new photo series presents Finland, which has been abandoned in some way. Places and things that are deserted. There are enough of these in Finland, both in the country and in cities: closed banks, closed mines, former village shops, empty tennis courts, abandoned cars.
In the first part, an HS photographer Jukka Gröndahl has photographed Finnish barns. Barns are the former backbone of Finnish agriculture.
MAgriculture arrived in Finland about 5,000 years ago. At its core has always been the cooperation between hay field, cow and man. Man has taken care of the meadow, the meadow of the cow and the cow of the man.
In the nonfiction Finnish barn Juha Kuisma writes that a farmhouse is a solar-powered ecosystem in which the barn has been a very central part. The hay, straw and other needs stored in the barn have always carried the ecosystem over the winter.
The gray or red barn is a supi-Finnish sight, and much has been inferred about the size and size of the barn from the style and size of the barn. But barns have, of course, been built all over Europe and the world.
In Finland, the barn has pushed into every culture: language, legend, nomenclature, painting, the rural romance of Finnish films.
Pirjo Poutiainen’s home farm in Vehmersalmi was a typical Finnish small farm. There were a couple of cows and a horse in addition to them.
After the hay was first mowed, it was lifted onto the rods to dry. They were then ridden on a horse in front of the barn. When Dad threw hay into the barn, Poutiainen’s job was to tread them so that the grass in the entire meadow would fit in the barn. Dry hay scratched feet on wounds, which were then stinged. Dad threw salt into the hay, which absorbed moisture and improved the shelf life of the hay.
Pedaling was dusty and awkward, but according to Poutiainen, it was still a fun thing to do. When Poutiainen grew up, he was given new tasks in the hay field. He moved the haystacks and pushed the pins into them, on which the hay dried airily.
Sthe great transformation of Uomian agriculture began soon after the mid-1950s. The machines reduced the need for labor and the countryside began to empty. Even in Hormalahti, the landscape changed. A road was built nearby, which was later later called a Member of Parliament Veikko Vennamon according to Vennamonti.
Pirjo Poutiainen also left for Sweden in his twenties and met a Finnish man there. They married and started a family. Poutiainen recalls that her last hay summer would have been in 1972. She was expecting her first child at the time.
Sometimes at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, Poutiainen’s father planted birches in the meadow, which are now long hontel trees.
The barn is dilapidated. Its exact age is not known, but the earliest aerial photographs of the National Land Survey of the late 1930s are from it.
For some, memories of a hay field include brutal grubbing, compulsive long days, heat, and gossip. But for Pirjo Poutiainen, they are warm and wonderful moments.
“Such very romantic memories.”
Jukka Gröndahl, pictures
Esa Lilja, text
Anssi Miettinen, editing
Linda Manner, net fold
National Land Survey, aerial photographs of 1951 and 2018
PUBLISHED ON 25 JULY 2021 © Helsingin Sanomat