I am Norwegian. And German. And Russian. And dozens of other European descents (including "Italian Gypsy" if you asked my Grandma Lee). But mostly I've always felt Norwegian. The Norwegian stories were the stories I heard often as a child. The Norwegian spinning wheel (belonging to my great-great-grandma, made by my great-great-grandpa) sits next to my modern spinning wheel in my living room. Holidays since childhood have brimmed with Norwegian foods and customs, and I, personally, am in charge of lefse (yes, me, gluten free and all) for my entire family. I am Norwegian. Even if it is less than 1/2 of my blood.
This weekend we headed to a nearby Norwegian heritage center for a fall celebration, the "Threshing Bee". Lefse. Brown cheese. Threshing. Flailing. Rope-making. Grain-grinding. This place, suspended in time and space, feels somehow like coming home. And while we may already know how to blacksmith and make butter and cheese and keep animals, it's still a perfectly magical day brimming with wide-eyed learning. We feel normal here in some strange lost-in-time way.
12 thoughts on “A day out of time and place.”
Visits back in time like these are a reminder of quieter, simpler times. Times you and I integrate into our lives now because we are drawn to this calm simplicity. From our own grain grinder clamped to our kitchen table, to our garden, and our own outbuildings for gardening tools, the honey extractor, and smoking meat…all reminders that there is something intriguingly wonderful about living simply.
Might this be Old World Wisconsin? We go at least once a year. My kids love it and love listening to stories of the “pioneer” times on CD at lunch. Either way, it looks like a place we would love to go!!
I love this post. I am so intrigued by heritage and which ones people identify with. One of my friends is half Italian, but was raised 100% Italian, and I was always a little jealous of her strong heritage because I am a mix of a lot of cultures, most of which have been in this country forever, and didn’t have a strong culture to identify with, but through lots of family research I have been able to uncover stories about my ancestry in this country (a mayflower passenger, boston tea party member, stories of orphanages, and coming to America) that she doesn’t have…long comment short, I’m loving seeing how each family has their own things they identify with…they may be different, but equally special and important. Thanks for sharing your family’s story!
We could be sisters! I too am only partially Noweigian (and Scottish, English, Irish, and Canadian Native peoples)but I too identify most with being Norweigian! It is totally my dream to go there on a big family trip and show my kids and mostly Dutch husband the beauty, simplicity and history of Norway! Thanks so much for your post today, and every day:)
What a lovely post, Rachel.
…says my Norwegian friend. 🙂 xo R
It is so interesting how one culture dominates our identity. Maybe its on a soul level…
In our culture we are a bit adrift. We are American but that doesnt have a rich cultural tradition that we hold close to our hearts – not for many of us anyway. Im all for creating our own traditions as well as finding a family history that resonates for us!
No, it is Norskedalen in Coon Valley (South of La Crosse). I havent yet taken my kids to OWW! Thanks for that reminder!
My great-grandma Astrid came from Norway – I remember her taking two trips back to her birthplace in the time I knew her. She brought us little gifts and told us of family and friends we knew from cards and letters. What a fun day you had celebrating that history! We try to attend similar celebrations whenever we can find them. (Although I think this one might be a bit of a jaunt!) 🙂
Another “mutt” of partial Norski descent here. Mostly Scottish/Irish, with a little German, Welsh, English, and Native American thrown in on my dad’s side, but my mom was apparently Norwegian and … Irish? No real clue. I wish I knew more about her heritage!
Lutefisk has not yet won my heart, but lefse is lovely. And I see that Lupine found a pony…might one find its way onto your farm one day? I know Sage rides…I was raised with horses so that’s totally “my thing” — would love to help if equines are something they’re interested in. 🙂
Thanks for the offer, Casey! I might take you up on it. (P.S. I am ordering the nuts and coconut soon!)