Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

9. January 20, 1868 Part 2

In this second part of the letter, Johan August writes more about what to expect in America.

If you have been like me, when I was in Sweden, I was well and healthy and free from illness and misery. Then you come here and get sick, which many experience.  How much fun is that?

Here sometimes we have nether warmth nor cold.  In the summer it is warmer here than in Sweden and in the winter it is much colder here than there.  That is difficult to bear.  Perhaps, you do not believe that, but if I am writing it, that is true.  You will see that if you come here.

I will say that you can get work here if you have strength to work, so you need not be in Sweden for that reason.  Here there is little difference between clergyman or parish clerk or organist or farmer.

If you work with the soil, you are free 3 months during the winter, when nothing under the sky grows, but you can earn enough for your food if you look after the cattle.  Do not be afraid that you will be without work.

The houses here are of the same sort as there with walls, roof, windows and doors.  There are iron stoves, the size dependent on your resources.

For a barn, you put poles in the ground and nail boards around it and put a thatched roof on top.  The size is different dependent on the size of the house and what you need as food during the year.  For what we sell we make a place on the field where we thresh.  It is built of poles and put in a square and we make a pile of what we need.  Then we put straw on the sides to stop the grain coming out.  There will be straw in the grain but it is no matter, because the mill grinds and sifts at the same time.  Here we use a barn for hay like in Sweden, but no straw on the sides.  The grain in the barn we give to our cattle.

(This is his description of  corn)  A grain cone is like a spruce cone.  The grains are around on a block, like the scale of a spruce cone and you get a "kabb" left. A cone which is 10 inches long and about 4 inches around is sitting so close something like a pile of boards and straw to roof.

For our cattle we use only straw as a roof even when it is cold.  Otherwise they are out on the whole field.  The stalks left in the field are their food during the winter.

You ask if the wheat bread is as good as in Sweden.  I cannot answer that because when I was in Sweden I could not afford to eat wheat bread.  I have eaten it here and it tasted nice, better than your rye bread.

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