Friday, March 11, 2011

" Can Do " People ! ...... and more mill history

Local Newspaper Clipping
"One has so many dreams.  Perhaps  I can make one of them come true, no matter how impossible it seems"   (quote by Magnus Börjesson)

Local Newspaper Clipping
The above from a local newspaper article dated July 1991. This article features Magnus Börjesson and his then girl friend Annika Persson who were in the midst of renovating the mill in which we now live.  The mill was built in 1887 according to this article by Tuve Ryss as he was called due to the fact that he came from Rysshusen in Kattarp parish.  The Russmill (Ryssmöllan) had a "sibling" early on but the other mill burned down after being struck by lightening.  The Russmill had been attacked by fire also, long ago, when the owner of Gunnestorps mill actually set this mill on fire due to the fact that he wanted to reduce the competition.  A deed he admitted on his deathbed according to the article. Pretty exciting stuff!  Both the mills on this property was owned and driven by Sigvard Johansson  as well as his father, they stopped using it for milling in 1975.  Sigvard was a miller for fifty years. He started working in mills at the age of fourteen, and he felt that working in a mill was a better job than working for a farmer.  He ran this mill from 1950 until 1976.  After that the mill stood unused and was close to going to reck and ruin, with the people in the neighborhood wishing it would be torn down.
Had it not been for Magnus who around year 1986, filled with optimism, and never a thought of "the impossibility" the mill would be no more.  With the communities blessing he purchased the building for 10,000 Swedish Crowns (about $1,500 at the time) and started his renovation, finding out that the job would take thousands of hours and seemingly endless various stages to complete.  The mill still stands, I would suggest very much due to Magnus and Annika, as a reminder of how things were "long ago", it still stands where it belongs, still part of this  Scanian landscape.

Local Newspaper Clipping
We had the pleasure of meeting Magnus parents the other night as we had been invited to  a wonderful dinner gathering.  As so often in my experience I  can not but be  impressed by and in awe of the enormous influence ones upbringing and ones parents have on the attitude one develops.  Magnus and his brother (as well as a sister) grew up in a household where I am quite sure  they learned that next to nothing was impossible.  These are people who are not afraid of hard work.  Share their skills and knowledge, have visions beyond what most folks would contemplate.  I am stoked and impressed.
We were allowed to borrow several articles regarding Magnus and Annikas venture, articles published in various newspapers, so I am still reading............ one of them starts out by saying: "Annika met us, just out of the shower!  The shower consists  of a hose with cold running water out back behind the mill, where the outhouse also was located at the time.

Annika and Magnus joined us for dinner a while back, something we talked about in our blog shortly after the event.  They then told us stories about living here when there was no water available in the house at all.  Water from the well only, out in the yard, a well that Magnus dug himself.  So water was carried up into the kitchen / living quarters by the bucket full.  Then the same procedure in reverse, the dirty water was carried down and dumped!  At that time there were ladders to climb rather  than stairs.  Magnus is a self taught carpenter, learning as he went.  The renovation project included building  new windows for this mill single handedly.  The top or cupola was removed and totally renovated as it was badly damaged by weather and wind, once completed  the seven ton piece was put back in place with the help of a crane, the top story, the fifth floor intended to be used as a library.  Originally Magnus just worked on the renovation part time, as on week ends and after work.  Eventually however he took time off from his ordinary job working in a print shop so he could devote all his time to the rebuilding project.

The Mill Today
We are glad he did save this old mill as we truly enjoy living in this very special place with all its ups and downs !

Today Magnus who continued working in the "building business" after his experience of reconstructing the decayed mill makes / creates / rebuilds / repairs reed and straw roofs.  A field that was close to defunct at one time.  If I recall correctly he told us that when he learned the craft there were just a handful of such artisans here in southern Sweden.  Today there are upwards of forty or so. Those roofs are not only extremely beautiful but also amazingly durable lasting upwards of fifty years if properly cared for and maintained.

From Magnus Börjesson's web page
So, back to the "Can Do" attitude of this family who still "Does"!  They are a family of boat builders, house builders, artists, cooks, mechanics, interior designers, and not to forget car manufacturers with a Morgan currently in production.  Totally handmade.  Well not the engine I suppose.

And now......  Time for "Fat Tuesday Buns" as lent is upon us once more.........  do you want one?  Are you jealous?

Photo courtesy of Flickr Blog by "Frugan"
 As I sit here ready to end this chapter I might add that this seemingly endless winter is still going strong!  It is snowing outside.  Last night it haled like crazy, totally covering the ground with loads of icy little pellets.  We have had winter here since the end of October - the break in sunny California in January is fading as a hazy memory.  Now, just having read Tom's last blog entry: " Musings of a slowly rotting mind "  with Ben as the lead character,  with his comments about bathing in a hot spring and / or rolling in the snow on the same day......... well - who wondered about jealousy?


  1. How fanatastic to have found all that history on your mill house. You should make up a little pamphelet with the info and pictures. Then if you ever open a little mill house shop and/or B&B you could make it available to your customers.

  2. Any B&B would be flooded with customers if you offer those Fat Tuesday Buns!

    We are being pounded by heavy rain tonight, with more coming the rest of the weekend. Go ahead and be jealous of Ben’s ability to go from a hot spring to snow—all we’re getting is wet!