Week 10 – Bachelor Uncle

As my ‘Bachelor Uncle’ I have chosen Rasmus Peter Rasmussen, my mother’s cousin, whom I met as a child and therefore knew a little.

Name: Rasmus Peter Rasmussen
Birth: 7/10/1920 – Over-Fløjstrup, Beder, Ning, Århus
Death: 10/4/2002 – Over-Fløjstrup, Beder, Ning, Århus
Rasmus with his sister Helga – about 12 years old?

Farming was to become Rasmus’ livelihood. He was trained in farm management by his father from a very early age, and later took over the family farm of Toftegaard i Over-Fløjstrup.

Animals were perhaps his greatest love and he won many prizes over the years for his cows and their milk and butter production. Articles from Århus Stiftstidende of 1965 and 1970, mentions Rasmus because of his cows outstanding production of butter. Countrywide, in 1970/71, Rasmus had a cow among the top 33 cows, where she produced 8,155 litres of milk and 426 kg of butter. Those are amazing numbers.

Farming was not just about the animals. Cultivating sugar beets was a good money spinner, but the crop was very labour intensive. The small plants, whilst sowed in rows which were weeded by machine, the plants needed room to develop the large beets and therefore the individual rows needed thinning out to about 10-15 cm between each plant. This was backbreaking work and labour was hard to find.

Heros in the Beet-war in 1964

Above is a newspaper article which tells how Rasmus managed to find soldiers from Jydske Telegraf-regiment, who were willing to assist with the beet work. Payment was a rate of three Kroner per 200 meters covered plus lunch and transport. The top photo shows the soldiers with the hoeing implements instead of guns, and the other depicts them having lunch.

Rasmus did not have a housekeeper, but his mother lived on the farm till she died in 1977 and would have been of some assistance indoors. In addition he was very well liked in the neighbourhood and the local wives helped with hot meals from time to time.

His ‘fodermester‘ (special assistant to help with the animals) was a married man, who stayed with Rasmus for many years. In addition to the normal wages, Rasmus provided him and his family with a house nearby. This also meant that Rasmus had a woman to call upon, should help be needed in the house, such as feeding the extra manpower during busy times. I am sure she is the one serving the soldiers on the above photo.

Rasmus’ sister Helga, was only 15 months younger than him, so when her husband died in 1992, it seemed natural she would move back to the farm and help wherever she could. Unfortunately, Helga had health problems and their neighbours kept a sharp eye on them and ensured they had a hot meal from time to time.

Rasmus died on the 10th of April 2002 and, strangely, Helga died the day after on the 11th of April. A combined service was held for them at nearby Beder Church.

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