The cultural landscape or that part of it which is still green and inviting to the eye has been shaped by the farmers’ toil down through the generations. At one time almost all of us were farmers. We see that the crofting system faded away as emigration to the towns and to America relieved the pressure.
"Humus" is a word with great meaning. It is the soil we live from, in addition to the resources we get from the ocean. This layer of earth - sometimes appearing as loose fertile organic matter; other places as scanty and acidic soil - is found in varying thicknesses over the bedrock. It is the result of 10,000 years of breakdown and erosion following the last ice age, and then several thousand years of cultivation in more recent times. The soil we can buy at the garden centre is a different product than the "natural" humus layer, formed of processes occurring far under the earth's surface. If you dig your spade into the soil where it has not been ploughed before, you will see that there is a big difference in colour, soil structure, moisture and stone content. We might say that the soil is fertile and easily worked some places, whereas other places folk might have given up trying to grow anything on their small patches of land, which then become overgrown with birch and thicket. Modern agriculture does not have room for small stumps between the piles of stone. Nowadays, machines do the job, and they require a lot of space and flat ground.
Numerous finds show that the settlement at Herdla goes back to prehistoric times, and the large estate at Herdla has enjoyed a central place in the nation’s history since High Middle Ages. As Ask, Herdla was part of the country estate Harald Hårfagre took over as he took command of the west of Norway.
The story of Knute Nelson is like the story of Jack the Dullard. From narrow and poor conditions in his home country he worked his way up to become governor and senator in the US.