The Means of Livelihood

At the cowshed there were, at better times, two cows, a few calves and a couple of sheep. In the farm, a draught reindeer was used as a means of transport until 1939, when they bought a horse. The farm had nothing to sell - the household consumed everything that was produced by the cattle.

There were also a couple of sheep at the cowshed, which was common in those days. Photo: Markku Pirttimaa

This small-scale farming did not offer the dwellers an easy living, so they needed additional income. Logging was the main external source of income. The older Jaakko Härkönen frequently worked at logging sites. He was the penultimate master of the Tiainen tenant farm. After him, it was only his son, also named Jaakko Härkönen, who lived on the farm. Logging also brought income because the workmen of the nearby logging sites came to the Tiainen house to lodge overnight. They paid for food and accommodation. 


The life in the Tiainen tenant farm was quiet and peaceful during the whole lifecycle of the farm. The Tiainen building stock is also a sign of the small-scale and modest lifestyle on the farm. In the survey carried out in 1911 by the Puolanka forestry area, it was recorded that the Tiainen tenant farm comprised the following buildings: a dwelling building with a bark roofing (in this building there was a main room, a bedroom and a porch) as well as a cowshed, a storehouse, a barn and a sauna with board roofs. It was only in 1980 that a road was built that could be used by car to access the Tiainen farm. The farm was never connected to the electricity network. 

Building a Home in the Wilds 

The Tiainen tenant farm was established some time in the 1880s, when Juho Parkkinen, a vagabond from Auho village in the Puolanka municipality, established a home for himself and his wife Elsa Parkkinen on the shores of Lake Kalhamanjärvi in the roadless backwoods. The exact year of establishment is not known but the year of 1886 has been carved in the end log of the house. In the Church's communion book, there is also a record that Johan Parkkinen was confirmed in the same year. 

The Tiainen tenant farm was mentioned for the first time in Metsähallitus' documents in 1887, when it was estimated that the Tiainen tenant farm was established in the year 1880. In other words, it is not known for certain in what year the Tiainen tenant farm was established, which is rather typical of the establishment of the Crown tenant farms of that time. Dwellings were often built without the permission of the land owner, i.e. the State. That way the dwellers managed to avoid paying tax and rent. 

The Long Arm of the State 

In time, the Tiainen tenant farm came to the notice of the authorities and it became liable to pay rent. However, there was a change of ownership at the Tiainen tenant farm before the first rental contract was made. According to the documents, the first contract was made in 1902, when Pekka Moilanen and his wife Kreetta Stiina Hiltunen lived in the Tiainen tenant farm. The records do not contain any information on the exact contents of this rental contract nor on the contract made in 1908 with tenant farmer Pekka Väisänen. 

After Väisänen had gone to America to seek his fortune, Jaakko Härkönen became master of the Tiainen tenant farm. The rental contract made between Metsähallitus and Jaakko Härkönen required that Härkönen paid an annual rent of 31 litres of grain. It was agreed that half of the grain would be rye and half barley. The contract allowed Härkönen to clear land for cultivation, if necessary, to a maximum of 0.9 hectares. The 1914 rental contract mentions that Tiainen tenant farm had 0.1 hectares of fields and 3 hectares of meadows. Tiainen's fields were at their greatest in 1956, when the farm had 0.96 hectares of fields. 

The Crown tenant farmers had a significant additional right: they had a permit to acquire wood from the State forest for household use without a separate charge. Likewise, their cattle were allowed to graze freely in the forest. 

In 1922, an Act was adopted on the redemption rights of the tenant farms located on State land. However, this Act was implemented slowly in practice and the Tiainen tenant farm became an independent farm no sooner than 1930, when the farm was named Alanne. 

The End and a New Beginning 

Gradually, modern times also reached the wilds of Kainuu and the lifestyle that Tiainen farm represented became outdated. When the younger Jaakko Härkönen had grown old without establishing a family or making any large changes to the house, the Tiainen farm did not attract any new dwellers after Härkönen had moved to Puolanka village in 1977. The condition of the empty buildings deteriorated until the last owner died and the farm was transferred to State ownership in 1994. 

In 1997 it was decided that the Tiainen farm should be renovated. A renovation plan was drawn up in cooperation with Metsähallitus, Kainuu Museum and the Kainuu Regional Environment Centre. The work commenced. The materials and work methods were carefully selected in order to make them correspond to the practices of former times. The renovation was completed in 1999, when the Tiainen farm shifted to Metsähallitus' management and possession. Thanks to the restoration work, there is now a Crown tenant farm by Lake Kalhamajärvi in Puolanka, Kainuu that looks exactly as it did in the past. Visitors can easily imagine how life was in the wilds of Kainuu until the early part of the 1900s.