18th Century Cooking

We stumbled across these great, family friendly videos from Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. illustrating so many of the cooking techniques that have been otherwise lost as a result of the invention of fast foods and modern cooking techniques. Recent findings have shown that much of the research that showed how much healthier cooking with things such as hydrogenated vegetable oils is over more traditional animal fats was driven by money and profit goals of big corporations and not real science.

In fact, numerous authoritative studies have shown that people who often live the longest around the world, consume the most traditional foods and the least amount of processed foods. If readers have other helpful links on heritage cooking and self-reliance, please send them to us so we can share them on our website.

“Hand Made Creations by Humans” Exhibit Oct 7-8

Handmade Creations Exhibit Oct 7 and 8
Handmade Creations Exhibit Oct 7 and 8, 2016

Heritage Center is sponsoring a public exhibition of hand-made articles and inventions.

Many individuals in the Bluff Country area have tool shops where they have created useful items for farm and home use, including children’s toys and scale replicas of farm buildings and other things. The Heritage Center would like to document them and exhibit them both indoors and in Enger Garden. The exhibit will run from Friday at 1:00 pm until Saturday at 6:00 pm.

The idea for this event came from Dr. Jim Gray who has been fascinated for 50 years by the useful creations which he saw on area farms. He says, “Farmers created gate latches, hand tools and livestock paraphernalia that were totally original and very useful.” Early in his career he enjoyed seeing shop creations by almost-pioneer farmers: Andy Kjome, Palmer Bergsgaard, Bert and Lloyd Deters, Orvel Treangen, Gil Myrah, Harold Rosendahl, Elling Solum, Nels Gulbranson, Lowell Vatland, Cy Casterton, Alvin Swenson, Luther Storlie, Leonard Sylling and many, many more. Unfortunately none of these persons can be filmed talking about how they used what they made, although their descendants are invited to bring their pieces in and tell stories in their stead.

We are asking that anyone who has hand-made pieces, old or new, should bring them to the Heritage Center for this event in advance of the 1:00 Friday, October 7 opening. Please bring a written description naming who made it, how it was used, photos of its location or use, and any background information you may have about it. Giant’s purpose for the exhibition is to showcase talent and ingenuity, and to create a permanent digital record by filming brief descriptions of them, how and why things were made and used.
Any exhibition questions can be answered by coordinators Ed Myrah at 507.696.7243 or Dr. Gray at 507.459.9188.

Both men and women are welcome to exhibit creations. There is no fee to participate and no fee to attend, although Giants is a non-profit, and all donations are gratefully accepted.

All exhibits should be picked up between 5:00 and 6:00 pm on Saturday, or at other times arranged previous to the opening.

The Bluff Country Artists Gallery on the opposite end of Main Street is hosting a gala fundraiser “8 by 8 Equals Art” beginning at 6:30 pm Saturday.

The Piecemakers are hosting their annual Festival of Quilts Show and Sale from 12 noon Friday through Saturday at 5:00 at the Fest Building.

“Inventions at Work” focuses on adaptations farmers and others have made to make their work easier.

“Inventions at Play” focuses on how all ages experience various playful habits of mind that underlie invention, such as curiosity, imagination, visual thinking, model building and problem solving. This category includes toys for children and musical instruments.

1. Selection and Examination of the Inventions

All are invited to bring their Hand-made items to the Heritage Center for documentation and an interview. We will ask your permission to film your interview especially so it can be shared with residents at the Care Center and Assisted Living who may not be able to view them during the exhibition. Smaller pieces should be brought in any time the week of October 3rd. Please bring a photo of the inventor if it isn’t you. Larger pieces will be displayed in Enger Garden and need to be in place as early in the morning as possible on October 7. They will need to be taken home by 5 PM on October 8.

Before the items are put on display at the exhibition, they will be examined at two levels. First, the items must be examined for creative innovation by a Giants Judges panel. Second, the judges are invited to assess the novelty and usefulness of the inventions.

2. It is not necessary that the invention be old. It is encouraged to make something special for this event. Judges will be offering preferential treatment to the inventions made by primary and middle school students. The award-winning rate for primary and middle school students is 10% higher than that of the adult inventors.

3. People’s Choice Award at the Exhibition
The public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite inventions.

Download (DOCX, 86KB)

Be Your Family’s Hero

Lack of TVNZ News Oct 31, 2012.
With Hurricane Sandy beating down on millions; millions without power; and a rising death count-a lot of people are glad they thought this through in advance. Those who didn’t are wondering “What was I thinking?–that I could go indefinitely without a natural disaster happening to me?

Fitness Cartoon

One of the worst heritages we are passing down to our children is a sedentary lifestyle. Many physicians are calling SEDENTARY DEATH SYNDROME the leading cause of death in America–and avoidable medical costs resulting from Americans’ sedentary habits are bankrupting America.

Ironically, many of the most out-of-shape people work the hardest and longest hours. Their strong work ethic causes them to view exercise as something for the leisure class. But the irony is that working extended sedentary hours consumes more resources than it generates because people who don’t exercise become debilitated and unable to work 20 years earlier than those that do. Our ancestors generally didn’t have so many health problems because they engaged in vigorous physical activity for at least one hour a day. They didn’t have all these labor saving devices.

Back in the olden days when people worked so hard physically, it was okay that their leisure activities were sedentary. Today, just look around. Our work is generally sedentary, so it is essential that our leisure activities be physically vigorous–or else we will have what we have right now. So scheduling sedentary leisure activities for ourselves in the evenings and weekends after a week of sedentary work is like putting butter on your lard. Let’s stop sentencing ourselves and our children to an early death.

Let’s do something STARTING NOW.  Resolve not to watch another moment of television unless you are on the floor alternating between situps, pushups, and other exercises. Let’s put treadmills in the cinemas. Let’s make resolutions to go for family walks rather than sit in front of the TV. Why read a book when you could listen to one for an hour every day and get in 5 miles of walking or 10 miles of jogging? Have you ever met a fat person who has been jogging 10 or more miles a day for any length of time. Excess fat cannot endure such exercise and it disappears.

Poor exercise habits are almost always a choice and not something people can’t do anything about, so let’s stop dancing around this issue for fear that someone might take offense. Like every other habit, bad habits are infectious, so without active counter measures bad habits frequently spread. Although it is good to worry about not hurting out-of-shape people’s feelings–obviously brushing this issue under the rug is not working for our kids. We need a serious propaganda campaign to demonize bad habits if we are to not lose those we care about to an early, unnecessary death.

Bad habits, including and especially overscheduling sedentary activities, are the number one killer in America. In short, if you are home now and have spent a whole day sitting, stop reading this blog and go for a jog and listen to a book on tape instead. Come back when you are pleasantly sore and resume your reading. And, if you want to help create a culture that empowers healthy habits, please share this article with your friends on facebook or through email.


Contagion Review

A recent movie, Contagion, brings up a number of variables which parents, community leaders, and pretty much every other mature adult should be aware of. Briefly, the science is quite good compared to most previous movies on the topic and the scenario is all-too-plausible. (My specialty is human virology and vaccine development.)


Sir Isaac Newton’s Scriptural Crytpogram

“Let me therefore beg of thee not to trust to the opinion of any man concerning these things…search the scriptures thyself…if thou desirest to find the truth. Which if thou shalt at length attain thou wilt value above all other treasures…search into these scriptures which God hath given to be a guide…and be not discouraged by the gainsaying which these things will meet with in the world…

And whither they will believe it or not, there are greater judgments hang over the Christians for their remissness than ever the Jews yet felt. But the world loves to be deceived, they will not understand, they never consider equally, but are wholly led by prejudice, interest, the praise of men, and authority of the Church they live in… There are but few that seek to understand the religion they profess, and those that study for understanding therein, do it rather for worldly ends, or that they may defend it, than…to examine whether it be true with a resolution to choose and profess that religion which in their judgment appears the truest…” -Sir Isaac Newton

False paradigm falls from the sky 2500 years later

Trueheritage.org holds the key to fully understand Newton’s decryption of the scriptural cryptogram. Members can find it in our Secret Stuff section. If you are strong and of good courage, click on the wormwood image below to learn how to knock on the door to our inner chamber.

What is wormwood? Doomrow si tahw?

Huge Demand for Heirloom Skills & Heirloom Ideas

Spring Grove ancestors were self-reliant through interdependence.

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts…” Constitution of the United States, Section 8 (emphasis added)

Online advertisers know how to monitor the online pulse of internet users in any given population. We can see the keywords that anonymous people living in any particular region in the US are typing into Google, Bing, etc. In addition to exercise-related keywords, in the last few years there has been a massive resurrection of interest in words that were the staple of our ancestors lives for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years. People are craving heritage information on canning, farming, gardening, raising animals, hunting, etc.

What about Norwegian-Americans?  We don’t typically like to rock the boat, or to appear different. We have become particularly concerned with what our neighbors are up to and thinking. So it might be of interest to us to learn that our neighbors are increasingly up to learning useful skills and controversial ideas. Our neighbors are apparently thinking that many of the crafts associated with being “a good Norwegian” American are probably more of a manifestation of late 20th century boredom and lack of heritage stewardship than of anything authentically Norwegian. Some of these finer ethnic arts might not even be very recognizable to our actual ancestors. Those crafts that our ancestors would most recognize would be more practical. Some of our practical ancestors would, no doubt, claim that a person didn’t know anything if they didn’t know how to tie a certain knot or fix a certain type of wheel or something idiosyncratic like that, just as there are people in Spring Grove today who call others idiots for not knowing much about the particular skills that they learned. However, in every generation there have been the more reflective of individuals who would see the principles behind the particulars. They would say that a reverance for the particulars without the guidance of principles was foolishness.  After all, why should mere activities, or the things created by those activities receive more respect than the care and sense of responsibility that caused the people to want to do the activity? Activities should be imitated by successive generations only insofar as they are the most cost-effective means of completing each generation’s duties, as revealed by the light of each generation’s understanding of transcendental principles. If we fail to understand this, we become like those who have forgotten to “walk in the light” of their ancestors, as it is written,

Their land is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their fingers have made. (Isa 2:8)

Virtually all of our ancestors were concerned with practical activities six days a week. The seventh day was set aside for spiritually reflective or doctrinally interpretive activities. Our ancestors’ bodies and minds did not grow stagnant because their activities challenged them. Family and community elders, who were charged with stewarding culture were not afraid to provoke the population with ideas. And, because the Bible is so full of apparently conflicting ideas, they were exposed to a lot of different ideas in their religious studies. The prophets certainly were not afraid of provoking the people. For the most part, our ancestors were a people who read widely and discussed ideas while performing their chores. They knew from reading Isaiah and Jeremiah that true empowering heritage emerges out of a deliberation in which the participants all want to help “keep the most important thing the most important thing” for future generations. A deliberation without ideas cannot be one from which true heritage emerges.

Nonprofits abandon ideas, and turn to inoffensive entertainment

Today, nonprofits claiming to act as the vanguard of our cultural heritage (museums, churches, schools) are afraid of offending potential grant-givers with ideas that someone might possibly disagree with. Anything that could be deemed as too religious, too secular, too complicated, too practical, too serious, etc. must not enter into their vocabulary.  They fear more offending a donor than they fear the judgment of their grandchildren, who will remember them as having abandoned them. For that reason, most nonprofits have found it safer to focus on the non-controversial, the innocuous, the entertaining, the useless, and the decadent.

The “artist” Nero fiddled while Rome burned

Why do we have to dumb down the intellectual inheritance we’ve received from our ancestors to the lowest common denominator? Does it make us feel better about ourselves to portray them as craft-making vegetables? For those of us who have talked with elders, and who have read their writings and diaries, we know that they often read widely, thought deeply, and exercised backbone, even in the face of privation and scorn. This is because they realized that what was at stake when they were defending, deconstructing, and reconstructing their culture was their children and grandchildren. How can they possibly be honored by nonprofit yes-men whose primary duty is to keep their jobs rather than to complete the higher mission of transmitting wisdom and guidance to future generations? How will history judge a generation of spineless ones who’ve disfigured our ancestors and represented them as craftmaking automatons who were devoid of ideas? Are the pots more to be revered than the potter? The 19th century was a century of ideas and, by far, more of our Norwegian and Norwegian-American ancestors read the works of philosophy, anthropology, biology, theology, and literature than carved giant wooden spoons. So why don’t we honor real culture which exists in the height of our people’s actualization of their capacity for foresight?

What could be more offensive than an organization that disfigures your ancestors into people who were not reading, thinking, and communally deliberating people? While we might be a generation that fails to understand our responsbility to preserve, deconstruct, and refine that which we pass on to our children so that they can bring about the greatest good in life with their limited resources, we should not dishonor our ancestors by projecting our generationalist idiosyncracies upon them. To require the absence of existential or theological ideas, as has been strongly suggested, from a Heritage forum is nothing short of an abomination. To require the absence of religious references, as has been strongly suggested, in a heritage center’s writings, when religious leaders were the ones charged with heritage stewardship for thousands of years, is the ultimate irony and a blatant form of revisionism.

In this ocean of nonprofit institutions that have caved in to all the powers that be to become innocuously idea-less, we need you to stand with us and help us maintain our integrity. Even if everything written in this blog is wrong, you can be confident that as long as reason is free to combat it, a true heritage that empowers our descendants will emerge from this debate. If we cave into demands that all ideas cease, then you will have nothing but more of the same innocuous, entertaining, ethnically-associated, useless, space taking-up, kitsch to idolize. Will Giants of the Earth stay true to its charge of bringing you heritage ideas and representing your ancestors and you as people who did not shy away from ideas? That is up to you.

From the writings of our ancestors, we know that some of them drank deeply from the fountains of wisdom, while others only gargled.

During their six days of work, our ancestors got plenty of exercise from their practical activities, which usually kept them healthy and fit. Crafty, sedentary activities after a long day of sedentary work, were fairly foreign to them. Although there were activities, like tatting and quilting, that enabled people to be somewhat productive during their “free” time, our ancestors did not necessarily see a need to generate all the items that we think are fun to show on our mantlepieces, walls, cupboards, crutch tables, shelves, and in our spare rooms, extra houses, etc. Realizing this, Midwestern American are increasingly asking themselves, after reading national bestselling books such as One Second After, “How much good will those 37 rosemalled bowls, spoons, and lefse turners do if times get rough?” Even if times don’t get rough, their keyword searches indicate that they now believe that they could be doing something else which would better help them to understand the skills and spiritual understanding of their ancestors?

Sabbath reflection gave meaning to the rest of the week’s work

How much does seeing those 37 rosemalled items on our walls really tell us about our Norwegian ancestors’ inner pioneer strengths?

How much does seeing those 37 rosemalled items on our walls really tell us about our Norwegian ancestors’ inner pioneer strengths and their convictions about the importance of living the life of simplicity, austerity, frugality, hard work, and service to family and extended family?

Most of us must remember at least one elderly person in our family who warned us about our generation’s focusing on “fluff” and “show” and spoke of the “crafts-race” and the “nicest vehicle race” as just as dangerous as the “arms-race.” This person usually reminded us that most people in our generation had their priorities mixed up. According to them, we wanted to seem more than to actually be. We want to seem wealthy, we want to seem like we have leisure time, we want to seem smart. We rationalize our imprudent spending by saying to ourselves, like Enron executives, that, because nothing succeeds like that which appears successful, we need to look successful. So, we tell ourselves, it is absolutely imperative that we look like we are succeeding. Most people in a small community who have been around for a while know that some of the poorest looking people are those who are the richest and the richest looking people are actually the poorest. When things go bad, the poorest looking people usually can pull out massive reserves and do just fine, while the richest looking people not only are in massive debt, but their creditors are pulling in the line. They have borrowed the money to buy the rope that is now around their necks. Just watch the recent movie, The Joneses.

Did you have a grandparent who reminded you of the kind of principles that Stephen Covey writes about in his 7 Habits…, like “you can’t have trust without trustworthiness”? Did he or she tell you that “you can’t have wealth without prudent resource management”? Did they offend you by criticizing certain fun activities as “mere amusement.” Perhaps your grandparent seemed, back then, to be merely a crotchety old person. Well, judging from anonymous keyword searches conducted in the last two years by tens of millions of Americans, a lot of people are now secretly agreeing with him. Countries, like China, that allowed themselves to be ruled by crotchety old men stressing self-reliance and national self-control, now hold a disconcerting amount of America’s debt. We Americans, who pride ourselves on our wishful thinking and democratic responsiveness to generationalist whims, have let ourselves be led by those who have told us what we wanted to believe. We have ignored our crotchety old men and listened to our dreamers who appealed to our desire for instant gratification. We are not insanely in debt to countries who have a human rights records as bad as Egypt under the Pharoahs. As a result, we are now in more relative debt than the Hebrews were to the Egyptians before they were enslaved by them. This realization seems to trouble some Americans.

Massive online input of keywords related to practical and spiritual heirlooms? Why?

From Monday through Saturday, practical activities were a major part of our ancestors’ lives: if these activities had not been…their children would not have survived in tough times and, consequently, we would not be here today. On Sunday, our ancestors reflected, both as a group and individually, on stories that had been passed down in texts, covering issues of stewardship, sustainability, and duty. Their familiarity with scripture, and different doctinal interpretations of it, allowed them to understand a deeper meaning of the “double edged sword” they called the Word. These days,  everyone appears to be typing in “The Lost Word” and Americans are gobbling up Dan Brown’s latest work, which hints of a deeper meaning to the parables–one that becomes evident only with scriptural familiarity and critical reflection. Whether or not Dan Brown actually understands this Lost Word is not apparent in his writing, but it is apparent that he has talked with people who are “in the know” and they have given him very descriptive hints which he has passed along. The deeper meaning of the Word is self-sealing in the sense that, when one discovers it, in very short order they also discover the reason to keep it semi-sealed in allegory. If Dan Brown is actually in the know, this may be the reason why there are so many red herrings in his writings, so as to apparently lead the unworthy astray. It is rare to find an exception to this, that is, someone in the know who is willing to share his pearls. Some might hold them guilty, but it is a case much like in Wag the Dog, when Robert DeNiro’s character (Brean) is released from questioning for faking a war, and he says to himself  “…they just hadn’t thought it through…”

Parents provided hints for generations to their children to help them “think things through” and find a deeper meaning. Grandparents told grandchildren how to read between the lines and make connections to earlier scripture that would inoculate them from the dark winnowing sayings. Intelligent people who were familiar with scriptures understood from other passages in the Bible what passages such as Mark 16:18 meant when they read “they shall handle serpents, and if they drink any mortal poison, it shall do them no hurt.” They knew that handling poisonous snakes and drinking deadly poison had both a deeper meaning and a shallower meaning. Only those who fail to understand the deeper meaning feel the foolhardy need to handle actual poisonous snakes or drink actual poisons to prove their beliefs. And many, many have died from being bitten or drinking poison, indicating that they actually failed to understand the deeper meaning. At some point, the ability of the spiritually actualized grandparents to direct the studies of the youth was broken by changes in social structure. A greater portion of our ancestors’ time was spent paying for a growing Federal government and interest on a growing Federal debt through taxes, or keeping up with a hidden tax known as inflation, in which the government devalued the people’s savings by printing money out of thin air to pay for its consumption. A greater portion of their children’s time was spent doing homework and being involved with activities organized by a public education system. While these changes may have benefitted the majority of people in the short run, the activation energy necessary to uncover the esoteric meaning of The Word was lost and so to, the mature stewardship that stems from that deeper understanding. Today, Americans are googling like never before to find that “Lost Word.” How will they find the meaning that allowed their spiritually actualized ancestors to do those simple, practical things that just a few years ago, in our confidence in steady progress, seemed so insignificant to us? Will they, in their anger against the failings of the secular way, introduce their children to a literal intepretation of the gospel and begin handling literal snakes? Or will they, in their love for their children, repeat the words of Solomon

“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight…” Proverbs 3:21

Today, kids are baraged with advice to listen to their hearts from commercials and commercialized entertainment rather than to follow the dictates of sound judgment. Of course, our ancestors always had the temptation to squander money on the impractical and showy, but back then, there was no short supply of starving families who exemplified the story of the grasshopper and the ant. Thus, when our ancestors settled in Spring Grove, they built a simple cabin and barn to keep their families alive, but, before they built a nice house for themselves, they helped build a church–because they knew that empowering self-control, community cooperation, and wisdom were far more important than living in a luxurious house during hard times and even during easy times. Most people today say publicly that they are not concerned about hard times and that everything will be fine in the future. We computer administrators know, however, that many of those same people must be going back home and typing in keywords to learn about self-reliance, just in case.

It is pretty safe to say that we all desire a sustainable higher quality of life for ourselves and our descendants, under all potential future conditions. We italicize the word “sustainable” because history has taught us that just when people have smugly believed they could predict the future, they fall flat on their face because a paradigm shift occurs that upsets  those things upon which they assumed they could always rely. Today we want appear confident and optimistic.  Yet never before have communities been so dependent upon technologies that no one fully understands or can fix without other fragile technologies, should they fail. Never before have the supply lines for those things we need to keep our loved ones alive been so long and delicate. Just think of where most of our suppliers get their medicine, their food, their fuel for heat. How long they could continue to supply us if they were not resupplied, on a daily or weekly?

On a slightly different, but interconnected note, we might add that never before have people’s primary source of experiences been through technological mediums. Communication through many of these technological mediums are recorded for electronic phishing analysis (like your cell phone conversations and your internet communications) so that your all-benevolent government can protect you from yourself, or, in the case of emails, so advertisers can find you. Advertisers have access to all sorts of your activities, and not just the ones you do online. Once you buy your first diaper using a credit card it seems you go on a list to receive 20 lbs of junk mail a week for newborn parents. People’s behaviors and opinions have never been more monitored, as you can see in the beginning of this article, anyone can monitor online keyword popularity in a region with a few hours of work. Further, our sense of reality no longer comes from interacting with people, but through a television-induced pseudoreality in which whole groups of people can be demonized with ease and in which activities that are dangerous or unsustainable can be glamorized. We recreate these scenes in our daily interactions, much like children replay the activities they see in their shows. By the time a generation has learned how little free will it has exercised and how much it has been a puppet, the next generation enters in, just as foolhardy and susceptible to the siren songs of the media.

This generation is more susceptible than ever to subversion because of our unhealthy dependency on others who don’t care about us. The recognition of our dependency makes us conscious of the fact that we are in a state of heteronomy.

heteronomy: the state or condition of being under the influence or domination, in a moral, spiritual, or similar sense, of another person, entity, force, etc. Cf. autonomy.heteronomous, adj (Free Online Dictionary)

Our recognition that we are in a state of heteronomy then leads us to recognize the inauthenticity of our actions. Many believe themselves capable of  a life of irony, claiming to be a patriot while habitually compromising on our founding principles. In the end, each compromise leads them closer to the slippery slope from which no patriot ever returns. Down this slope go the type of psychophants that Samuel Adams spoke about when he said:

“If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel… Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” – Samuel Adams

Unhealthy dependency leads to insecurity; heteronomy leads people to stop thinking for themselves and start posturing themselves in a way that they believe those monitoring them would most desire;  inauthenticity leads people to become out of touch with reality and have unrealistic expectations. If one of the greatest parts of our heritage, as Ole Rolvaag spoke of, is our freedom, then we must act to safeguard that freedom by promoting the capacity for healthy local interdependent self-sufficiency, as well as the capacity for autonomy, in order to promote authenticity, without which there is no freedom.

Who Mourned the Loss of Interdependent Self-Reliance, Autonomy, Authenticity?

Even our incumbant leaders tell us that the future is very uncertain, with problems ranging from dysfunctional, perhaps criminal, stewardship of national monetary policy; to age-old geopolitical subversion entering new technological mediums; to new threats such as electro-magnetic pulse weapons-which could easily wipe out nearly all of America’s electronic devices and the vehicles that depend on them. The recent best seller, One Second After, portrays graphically American’s absolute dependence on electronic equipment that would fail all across America one second after the detonation of three small EMPs at strategic locations in the atmosphere. Realizing most Americans’ absolute dependence upon transportation and electricity for their survival and security, hundreds of thousands of families are quietly getting prepared by following FEMA guidelines to stock 3 days of food. Stewardship-conscious small communities are recognizing that it will take much longer than 3 days to recover from an EMP and that true self-reliance can only happen at the community level. Further, looking at Hurrican Katrina, or areas around the world where UN police actions have occurred, some people in small town America aren’t sure if the response wouldn’t be as bad as the problem. They are trying to understand what they can do now to preserve those things that they hold dearest, no matter what conditions may come. Further, as tyrants from days of old have never let a crisis go to unexploited, one of our best defenses against tyrany would be to minimize the chances of a crisis that would temporarily blind the people’s eyes to the dangers of forfeiting their rights.

Thus, to promote freedom and a quality of life, for ourselves and our children, at a time when almost nothing can be taken for granted, we are looking to the past, to glean from the actions of our ancestors the principles and skills that allowed them to succeed and raise their family while still passing the torch of freedom. Despite the great uncertainties that they faced, they were Giants of the Earth. For generations, our ancestors used technology to improve their security. Today, our complete dependence on technology might be the greatest threat to our security. To regain a healthy amount of local self-sufficiency, we plan on:

1. Providing fun community entertainment and social arts for our members to promote the intergenerational family and community dialogue, trust, and friendships that are each important for optimizing local interdependence and cooperation. Further, these activities can be performed for their own sake, unconditionally and without the requirement that members affirm any particular institution-serving dogma.

2. Collecting meaningful stories from our citizens through oral history video interviews, particularly our senior citizens, in order to preserve and share the wisdom they have as individuals and groups as they reflect on the many experiences of life.

3. Making those video stories widely available to younger family members and community members for generations to come through our large online family tree, by linking those stories to people and events recorded in that tree.

4. Providing online and in-person small group forums and discussions where people of all ages can hear and interpret these stories and extrapolate core values that they hope will not be lost in the changing times.

5. Acting to promote the sustainability of each person’s, each family’s, and each community’s commitment to their core principles by imagining and preparing for times and conditions that would most test their ability to remain true to their commitment. We hope to preserve and share practical heirloom skills that have sustained small communities through hard times. These are the skills that allowed for community and family self-reliance and self-sufficiency for generations: harvesting maple syrup, animal husbandry, milking cows, making flour, butchering animals, gardening, cooking from scratch, and bartering locally. Looking at hurricane Katrina, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan, and Sarajevo (remember what happened to that pretty little town that hosted the 1984 Olympics?), it is easy to understand the fragility of values in the face of insecurity (real or imagined). We hope to prepare to ensure the lower Maslowian needs can be met at a familial and hopefully a community level in all conceivable situations. We hope to pass down to our children and grandchildren the virtues that helped our pioneer ancestors make it through rough times: physical stamina, practical skills, positive mental attitude, realistic expectations, neighborliness, and the practical intelligence that understands how values arise out of a committment to principles. We want future generations to make the best of whatever hand fate deals to them. Further, as mentioned above with respect to autonomy vs. heteronomoy, a healthy self-reliance has been shown to be important for the integrity of a democratic republic, as desperate individuals who are overly dependent upon others, especially foreign powers, tend to be easily coerced with the mere withholding of staples, such as food or energy resources.

6. Honoring our ancestors by being better stewards of those things that they have entrusted to us. Since good stewardship requires good understanding of reality rather than wishful thinking and positivity-posturing, we will be researching our ancestors’ diaries and other writings to help us deconstruct our current assumptions about reality. If history has shown us one thing, it is that “reality”, among the various human herds, is a slippery notion, more dependent upon what people “believe” others expect of them than an authentic critical/rational interaction with physical/objective realities. In every community there are numerous colloquialisms that have arisen through chance, laziness, or mere stupidity. These are not easy to do battle with. Thus, we seek authoritative and objective data with which to shape our common notions of reality, with the hopes of cultivating a better understanding of: 1) the genes we are born with, 2) the habits that are conditioned into us, and 3) the mind that can either merely find homeostasis between the id and the superego, or transcend those particular appetites and subsume them (using the Logos) under abstract transcendental principles. Thus, it is our minds that have the potential to give us free will, which is relative freedom from both our nature and our nurture.

To free ourselves from dogmatic slumber, our center is using state of the art genetic ancestral research, genetic relative finding, written & oral histories, family tree indexing, collaborative sharing, and heirloom technical and interpretive decryption. The latter will allow us share esoteric interpretations of texts and stories that have been passed down through the ages.

7. Recognizing that some of the most dysfunctional core values we hold arose through more nefarious means, also known as black magic, wizardry, active subversion, or psychological warfare, we hope to promote a better way to understand and free ourselves from the dark sayings that have been bugs in our people’s ear for centuries. These dark sayings have been around far longer than even Sun Tzu’s 5th century BCE chapter covering subversion in his famous Art of War. As subversive strategists, like Sun Tzu, tend to be extremely good chess players, they always can predict a community’s next move to counteract the toxic effects of their initial move. Brilliantly, they create memetic viruses that are designed to induce conflicting phenomenologies within a community and thus lead to pandemonium. Then, they use phenomenological judo to turn one element of a community against another element.

Psychological viruses not only infect and cripple families and communities in the short term, but they are designed to actively destroy the means by which families and communities can regain health by ensuring that feedback mechanisms that would normally restore health, such as the wisdom of elders, not be cultivated or, if cultivated, not be respected by younger members of the community. The means of doing this are dark–very dark. Venture no further, unless you are good at chess and are not easily coerced by empty flattery or empty threats. If you are good at chess, and love your community, then we welcome you to enter through the narrowest of gates and become familiar with the esoteric interpretations of texts we once thought we understood.

Local self-sufficiency is only possible if we are not afraid to get our hands dirty.

Speaker from Norway Nov 18th

Norwegian Roar Moe speaks at Spring Grove Cinema Nov 18 at 715 pm v2 poster

Roar Moe, teacher, historian, sailor .. the last husmann?

November 18th, Thursday night at 7:15 Spring Grove Cinema shares with the public his concerns and successes – Here in SE MINN, NE IA, SW WI—Spring Grove and Norwegian Ridge, Minnesota
As technology develops, we ignore the traditional skills and practical problem-solving abilities of our earlier and immigrant ancestors?  Do we always buy a new one or call someone to fix everything? Are we in front of a tv too often?
Follow the trail from the past of Norway’s fishing and farming coast through a story in pictures of self-sufficiency and practical skills without the engine or computer.  Discuss where this story is heading and what it means to students attending Roar Moe`s Litle Færøy Coastal Academy.

See the attached flier and please forward this invitation to friends.  Please post in any local bulletin boards.  Students will enjoy this engaging presentation as well.  Invite them to dinner in Spring Grove (Ivy Grove, Doc`s Blue Moose, The Skyline) before the program and free coffee and goodies afterwards with Sons of Norway Valheim Lodge at Giants of the Earth Heritage Center next to the Cinema at the Ballard House.  You can see the new renovation and Sigmund Årseth’s artistic depiction of the immigration from Norway and early days of Spring Grove and Norwegian Ridge.

SEE YOU THERE 7:15 November 18th.. NEXT THURSDAY!  Meet Roar after the program at The Ballard House.

Health Secret: Warrior Mentality

Can history reveal the secret to keeping fighting fit?

“…In the course of a long peace, the people relax into sloth and indolence…”-Manners of the Germanic Tribes by Cornelius Tacitus (end of 1st Century CE)

Perhaps the secret to health is recognizing the reciprocal duty and bonds between oneself and ones countrymen–and endeavoring to maintain the health reserves you could potentially need to pull your weight in an emergency.

Consider the lyrics of the Norwegian National Anthem:

“And, as warrior sires have made her

Wealth and fame increase,

At the call we too will aid her

Armed to guard her peace.”


–And the Norwegians take this seriously as evidenced by the popularity of the Biathlon.  Here is a video that shows just how much of an athlete one must be to do well at this sport.

IT Blog

Giants of the Earth is excited by the power that computer technology brings for storing, editing, and sharing older community videos. While ancestry.com and geni.com provide a great framework for uploading your ancestral images, they currently do not have the storage space to upload all your high definition videos to.

Giants is seriously considering providing a digitization station for Giants of the Earth members at our Heritage Center. This might be one or two stations with a VHS VCR, and one in which people can attach their own video cameras in VCR mode, whether they be digital 8, hi8, or something else.  Because demand is likely to be high for these stations, we may need to develop at first a policy in which those videos most related to the community have digitization preference. These include videos which have community events, interviews with senior citizens, trips to Norwegian family farms, important speeches and sermons, etc. In addition, pre-1995 videos that are community related are of particular importance. These are degrading quickly as the years pass and must be digitized to prevent them from degrading to the point of not being watchable.

We are currently deliberating how we might store the digitized data, and while we will certainly return the original tapes, whether or not we can initially afford to make a double density DVD copy of every video that gets brought in. Currently, Windows Movie Maker allows for very high resolution digitization, resulting in the use of 13 megabytes per hour of video. At that rate, one family that brings in 19 hours of videos could quickly fill up 1/2 TB of space (using RAID storage). Currently, the price of a terabyte of space if we went with an external hard drive is a little over $100. Thus, if we figured that we had about 40 families and that we would need to have additional space for edited projects for public Spring Grove movies that would be displayed at the Spring Grove Cinema, one could imagine that within two years we could fill up a server with expandable and hot swappable drives sufficient eventually to hold 40 TB of community videos. Alternative ideas would be to buy online storage space, but the limiting agent there is uploading, downloading, and editing, since even with a high speed connections, 13 GB per hour equals 3.6 MB/s–something that would use up much of the bandwidth for the center. Further, editing online would be limited to crawl rates unless we compressed and degraded the quality of the videos, which would be undesirable if we ever wanted to view them in higher definition.

In contrast to slow online storage, having a media uploading and editing station within the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center building would be lightning fast.  If we had an external hard drive or server with eSata connection we would get 200MB/s interaction with the media and not use up any Internet bandwidth at all. We could make videos available over the Internet to families, but this would probably require a passwords for everyone, so we would have to look into IT software which would do the work for us while maintaining people’s privacy. A starting 7.5 TB server currently runs about $2200. I have included a link below to one that could possibly suit our needs and be hot swappable so that we could expand later as we needed more drives with minimal additional expenses or changes. If families wanted to buy their own swappable drives that they could take home with them for private storage, that might help defer the cost and provide people with a sense that they had more control over what they decided to share. Again, the fastest type of connection is eSATA, so getting hardware with this connection speeds things up a lot. Personally, I would imagine that many people’s videos would contain scenes of public importance interspersed with private videos that they might not want to share. Thus, the best way for us to collect these videos would be for residents to bring in pre-made digitized media on an external hard drive that contained only those clips (at the best resolution possible) that they wanted to share with our public. Alternatively, with a server, they might be able to edit their videos at home and upload them to the server space. This might require investment in the services of an IT professional or perhaps user friendly software that does the work for us.


Finally, feel free to comment on the risks associated with different types of storage during unforeseen disasters. For example, although RAID technology helps allay fears of drive failure cauusing a loss of data, do we need to back up everything additionally online in case there is a fire? Or do we need to physically remove a backup drive/drives from the building every night? What about lightning strikes to the building we are in or other power surges? What kind of surge protectors will we need? Also include more remote concerns and affix links to help people understand new potential threats such as electromagnetic pulse weapons, computer viruses, spam, etc.