by John Andreasen, Kringen Lodge President
The old-time family farm gets ready for summer by moving livestock and a few necessary items up the steep trails to the mountain pasture – the seter. Farmers cut the grassy hay lands in the valley to provide forage for the winter, but the lush mountain meadows welcome the goats, sheep, cows, pigs and horses to a summer pasture. The farming operation at the seter, often run by the women and the girls, milked cows and goats, churned butter, and made cheese. They herded the cattle with the help of a tinkling cowbell. Nestled in the mountains, along lakes and streams, the workers enjoyed the drawn-out evenings with the almost-never setting sun.
Today, many of the old seters still survive. Owners have fixed them up to be attractive year-round cabins, ideal for winter skiing and summer hiking. While there may still be a few cattle grazing in the summer highlands and hikers hear an occasional cowbell, the work at the seter has changed dramatically. The mountain cabin is now a place of relaxation and refreshment enjoying the beauty of Norway’s outdoor paradise.
As we move into another summer season in the Red River Valley, many maintain the Norwegian tradition of transitioning to a summer cottage or lake home. It’s a time to seek refreshment in the “lakes country” with water sports and family gatherings. May you find time and opportunities this summer to make a trip – “Til seters!”
Note: The Arvid Benson Seter conference room at the Kringen Klub, also known as the Viking Room, was decorated by noted Norwegian artist Arvid “Chris” Kristoffersen from Kragero, Telemark, Norway. It is styled to look like the interior of a traditional Norwegian seter.