The Lord did not give to Finland fertile soil, but gave her a hardworking people. In the past, the Finns managed to transform the endless forests of Suomi into a thriving agricultural land.
Every year in Finnish North Karelia, recreating in smallest details the process, which in scientific maner of speaking is called “slash and burn agriculture” (kaskenpoltto).
Transformation of the forest into a field by this method can be simplified to several successive steps: trees are cut down, they are burned on the spot and cereals are planted in the ash.
At time of my arrival the pines had been felled and set on fire. From the outside, for an inexperienced person, the whole thing looked like a forest fire, but must be admitted that the farmers made all to prevent the fire from spreading to the thickets and trees in the forest.
A huge “bonfire” rose several meters up, at times forming intricate fiery whirlwinds. The sight was mesmerizing, but the heat did not make it possible to be close for a long time.
However, the ultra-high temperatures did not seem to disturb of the local farmers – with long poles, they busily turned over the huge logs and were in places where a ordinary man could not stay even a minute.
The most active were women, where the men were giving in, women together rolled the burning logs and snags … well, how can you not believe in the Finnish matriarchy … 🙂