Yesterday we went to Eyjafjordur on the Natural Treasures tour. Today we are off to the sod farm.
Today we are on the Litliber Turf Farm tour. At first glance this may not seem very interesting to some of you city slickers, but it is.
We drove up into the Isajardardjup fjord to start our journey. It is the largest fiord in Iceland.
The low bushes are still all the colors of fall and the landscapes are amazing. There are mountains rising all around us and steam pouring up from the ground. The clouds are grey and low hanging. They are filled with rain, just waiting for the right moment to pour out onto the land.
The Birch trees that do exist here are small due to the climate and look more like bushes. The springs are short and the winters, harsh.
The turf farm tour really consists of looking at a small turf home and going inside to visit with the folks who live there. Sounds good to me. Snacks are involved as well, so let’s get the show on the road.
This small house was once a duplex. The house is two stories but the second story is small due to the slant of the roof. The house consists of a kitchen, one bathroom, a living room, a bedroom, and a dining room all on the same small first floor. If the house is more than thirty feet long and twenty feet wide, I’ll eat my hat. That’s about six hundred square feet. I really think it is smaller than that.
The rooms are small but very functional. We had three tables set up in the dining room and about twelve people seated, and that was a tight fit. We had Icelandic waffles with home made butter and maple syrup, jam , coffee and tea. Yummy.
Our local guide brought in a churn and made butter for us while we ate. It is a rough business and takes strength and patience. You get a little goopy as well when you dig into the churn to bring out all of the butter. Yes, goopy is a technical term used in making butter.
We learned that there were about fifteen or sixteen people living in here back when it was a duplex. A tight fit, I must say.
Two walls are made of stacked flat stones about five feet high. The back stone wall is cut into a small hill for insulation. The other two walls are made of wood. Wood is scarce here and expensive.
The roof is whats made of turf on this house. It is simply earth that has been scooped up and laid on a wooden roof structure. There was an underlayment of oiled paper or tar paper underneath in the old days. The roofs often leaked however and made life cold and unpleasant. Now more modern products are laid under the turf.
The turf roofs of these houses are covered in grasses and the local bushes and flowers. They are charming, if not perfect to live under.
The windows are small and help to brighten the rooms. This home had everything needed for a family or two to live in quite comfortably. Today we might ask for more creature comforts but it was sufficient a hundred years ago.
The home belongs to the state now and this family lives here on the farm and keep it in shape. I believe I heard that they are descendants of the original owners. They use the home to live in and talk to the tourists about its history. They run the farm as well.
We are now away from where the earth’s plats collide, so there is little steam or volcanos near by.
Have you ever thought what the “R” stands for when you look at or buy insulation? It’s very interesting, but I find most things interesting.
We drove up into several fiords and stopped to take photos a few times on the way up here.
The roads are being improved here in Iceland and there is something here for everyone.
It is 34 degrees today, but the windchill makes it feel colder. We are dressed properly and are quite comfortable. We have a few layers on and my Patagonia travel clothing is comfortable and light weight. Perfect.
By the way, everyone in Iceland learns to swim in school. A great idea if you are always near or on the sea.
Our travel companions have been great. Remember, you represent your country when you travel. Behave yourself.
Be nice to your fellow travelers and move on quickly so everyone else can take that great shot. Keep moving, keep moving or you might get stepped on or pushed off a—never mind.
You get the point, don’t you?