On Øster Skaarup, my father’s farm in Thy
the 39 hectares were divided almost equally
in good and bad soil:
to the west of Vilsbøl Plantage lay the sandy moors,
to the east the dark but loamy soil.
If there was a storm in spring,
before the crops had grown up properly,
the fields to the west threatened
to blow sand into the fields in the east.
When the sand flew ragingly,
with long little sand dunes across the fields,
my grandfather wanted to sell Øster Skaarup.
But my father kept on knocking – despite
the coming harvest yields
often became poor, and the revenue was minimal.
Øster Skaarup was first sold in 2004
since my father could no longer keep up
with all the work on the farm.
It was five years before the financial crisis.
None of us siblings wished to take the fight
against the sandy moors.
In retrospect, that was actually a kind of luck…
My grandfather, Harry,
had bought Øster Skaarup just before the great war
because he could not settle with his brother
and run Spanggaard at Østerild.
So he wanted to try his luck with Øster Skaarup instead.
The farm had suddenly been put up for sale
because the owner had made a maid pregnant
while his wife was hospitalized at the county hospital.
And that was not okay in Home Mission at the time.
The couple had to move – to Vejle possibly …
Hans Fisker, who owned the neighboring farm,
had mighty green anchor tattoos on both arms
from his time as a real tough sailor
on fishing vessels going out from Hanstholm harbor.
It was from his struggles on the big North Sea
he had earned money
for buying the viable farm.
He said to my sister and me
that he would like to have pony tails,
just like Pippi Longstocking,
even though he was bald as an egg.
And he also made us believe
that dangerous John Deere tractors
stood in a circle
and threatened to fly up
like massive green aircraft in rubber and steel
if we didn’t list us past them
with giant, silent steps.
The Troldborg Man drove milk in his lorry
from all the farms in my homeland area.
He had an ironic smile
where nothing could be misunderstood.
He could turn into a hare
and run around among the farmhouses,
listening with long ears to
what people said behind the curtains.
He could even think of
rubbing the cows on their back
so they threw the calf before time.
It was a kind of terror
even children could understand.
My dad always had to listen to
the “weather forecast” on the radio
– ‘Æ Waihle’- he called the radio program.
The harvest did not come in,
if the weather did not allow it.
The sugar beets could remain on the fields
until it was frost at night
because it had rained all autumn.
The deep mud on the fields
had made the sugar beets impossible to harvest
with the beet-harvester’s sensible machinery.
My dad looked at the barometer in the living room
which he had inherited from his father:
“It’ll be raining again tomorrow.”
Did the rain continue until Seven Sleepers’ Day,
it would be raining cats and dogs
the next seven weeks.
From the top of the ancient mound
in my father’s moor fields,
near Vilsbøl Plantage,
one could you actually get a glimpse of the North Sea.
My dad painted a painting
of the North Sea when he was young.
The painting is now hanging in the living room
in my aging parents’
detached pensioner house
in the middle of the old railway town,