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Sami Raninen

Both men and women participated in the heavy agricultural work that filled the whole short summer. Barley and spring rye and also some oat and flax had to be sown not later than in early June. Turnips and hemp were sowed later in June. Grain and turnips were also grown in burn-beaten areas. The burn-beaten areas meant for winter rye or turnips were not burned until June. This was also the best time to get the birch bark needed for handicraft and roofs.

Cultivation of winter grain that was started in the Middle Ages added one more thing to the list of the work that had to be done in early summer. The areas that had been left lying fallow for the previous year were now to be ploughed. This had to be done before the clayey fields got dry and hard. It was useful if people managed to prepare the fallow more than once during the summer but this was probably sometimes left undone.

In June people worked on meadows because the hay that the cattle needed during the winter had to be scythed. There was a shortage of hay and therefore the animals, lambs especially, had to be fed also with leaf fodder, leaves of alder and birch. At the turn of August when the haymaking was finished people started to gather in the crop of grain with sickles. Winter rye and winter wheat had also to be sown in August.

The cattle had stayed in forests for the whole summer, but after the hay was gathered and the grain harvested, animals were again allowed to graze on fields and meadows for some time.

It was also important to have time to hunt and fish in summer. In early summer people seined in shallow waters and in August they sailed to outer rocks in order to catch Baltic herring. It was easy to hunt wild ducks, eiders and other water fowl during their moulting time.


  • Vilkuna 1935.
  • Vilkuna 1990.
  • Vuorela 1975.


summer fall winter spring

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