Winter in Sweden, 1948

From my Dad’s memories of spending a winter felling trees north of Stockholm (1948).

I longed to get back into the clean air and went to the labour office that gave me an address in Dalarne north of Stockholm for logging timber.

I left my Harley bike with a friend of Angelo’s and took the train north. There were supposed to be eight more men coming but I was the only one that showed up.

I was put in a 10 x 10 foot cabin with a potbelly stove for heating and cooking. Snow had to be melted for water and baths were out of the question.

It was a very cold and snowy season with six feet of snow in the bush. Even though the sun softened the snow in the afternoon there would always be hard crust on it in the morning.

I divided up my work for the course of the day with felling, limbing, bucking and debarking.
Dad's painting of cutting timber in Sweden, 1948 The timber was all Baltic pine growing within a wide canyon. Once a week a small farmer came up the mountain with his big Ardenner horse Plato and hauled the logs out of there to a site on the road below the mountain.
Dad's painting of a horse running through the snowIt would be dark when I walked up the mountain in the morning and dark when I came back down. If my clothes got wet in the afternoon from the melting snow they would be like armour plates by the time I got back to the cabin. The evening was spent drying clothes and cooking.

There was a store a mile down the road where I loaded up my packsack with bread and lingon berries on Saturdays, and old newspapers for reading and fire making. Milk and meat I picked up from a farmer on the way back from work.

After four months my arms began to hurt a lot and I decided to quit as I had a pretty good stake anyway.

The wild turkeys had begun their spring dances in the forest drumming the coming of spring even though there was still three feet of snow on the ground in the middle of April.

On the way to the railroad I stopped at a hairdresser’s place to have my hair cut. She took one look at me and slammed the door in my face.

So I went to the railroad station and bought a ticket for Gotenburgh. Once there I headed straight to the public bathhouse and first had a tub bath and then to the Turkish bath and after that to a barbershop where I had a haircut and shave and even a full manicure. I was treated as a very important eccentric, and man did that make me feel good.

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