The Other Half of Ollila became Turula

The Ollila farm was established in the mid-18th century. It was owned by the same family until 1995, when the state bought it and it was included into Koli National Park. The first owner of the farm was Olli Turunen in 1750–91, after whom the farm was presumably named. The main source of livelihood for the early residents was slash-and-burn farming. More modern techniques began at the end of the 19th century, when agriculture and animal husbandry became the most important livelihoods. In the 20th century, the farms had large areas of cultivated fields and meadows, 30 hectares at its height. However, the slash-and-burn tradition was maintained, and the last slash-and-burn fires blazed on the Ollila lands at the beginning of the 20th century, and the areas were used to grow rye and turnip. According to folk memory, the old slash-and-burn areas were covered with alder stands in the 1950s, but today they are covered with forests. In recent decades, slash-and-burn fires have again smouldered in Koli with the aim of preserving the traditional landscape. Some of Ollila's old slash-and-burn areas have also been taken into use.

Turula in winter. Photo: Arto Saari

The Ollila farm was divided between two brothers in the 1930s. The fields and meadows were divided in two, and the main structure at Ollila, built of logs, was also cut in half. The Turula house was constructed from the resulting pieces at a distance of 200 metres from the Ollila main building. Ollila's owner, Erkki Olavi Turunen, was killed in action during the war in 1944. He had willed the Ollila farm to his brother Johannes, who owned the Turula farm. The farms were thus re-united. A new main building was built at Ollila in 1955, and the farmyard received its present appearance. The drying barn and the row of storehouses represent older building stock, dating back to the 19th century.

In the summer, the cows grazed in the forest from where they would come to the yard to be milked. There were seven or eight milking cows and their calves. The cows were milked by hand. When the cows were being milked in the summer, smouldering fires from resinous tree stumps – collected from mires and dried – covered with turf, were kept alight so that the insects would not disturb them. The milk was kept in a well before churning or being taken to the milk lorry.