Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Day of the Mills
The first Sunday in July is a day here in Scania when the working mills open and the general public can come and see how they function. Some mills sell various kinds of flour for baking and other kinds of food preparation and you can actually watch the various kinds of grains being crushed and milled. Commonly used is wheat, rye, oats and barley. Last year John and his "gang" were here and we visited several of the mills close to us.
Amazingly there are not two wind mills that are the same. When one thinks of the age of these structures as some mills are more than 300 years old, our mill being one of the youngest in the region, built in 1887. Mills were constructed without blue prints, built with enormous timbers with nothing but raw manpower and pure brawn. To complete a structure could take many years, the mill in Kulla Gunnarstorp took 8 years to build, just as an example. It was completed around 1789 and is one of the older mills in Skåne.
Operating these windmills was not an easy task, with sails and wind power! Very similar to sailing in a sense, or so I imagine it to be.
There are of course various kinds of mills such as stubb (stump) mills, those the first mills using wind power in Sweden. In Europe these mills were in use as early as 1100, came to Sweden around 1200 and were very common during the 1600s. Water mills were older still. Came to use when people wanted more power than horses and mules could provide.
Awe inspiring to say the least! Who said we are smarter today?? All this handmade construction to the very last little detail!
Eventually some of the millers immigrated to America and as Vilhelm Moberg tells us, they brought their precious mill stones with them to the new land!