Gunnar Oddsson

Today I went to the farm of Flatatunga in Skagafjorður. Five Icelandic sheep dogs surrounded my car as I was driving up to the farmhouse, so I decided to stop the car and get out. The farmer, who was turning hay in his tractor, got out and walked up to me. I introduced myself, he introduced himself. I told him I wanted to take some pictures, he said sure, and said when I was done, I should come into the farm house to have some coffee and cakes. We chatted about the history of the farm: he told me about the time two young men tried to lift a large flat stone said to be covering the grave of a landnámsmaður, back when his grandfather owned the farm, about the time Kristján Eldjan came to speak to his father, and about the fire on the property when his great-grandfather was running it.

I had of course little in the way of narrative to offer up to him in response, but I think he appreciated my observation that farms in California do not have 1000 years of history behind them. However cool or hip or  fancy a house in California might be, it will never have the cache of Flatatunga in my book.


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