Rev. Nils Giere:
More than a month ago I received your letter dated December 28th in thepast year and it will afford me great pleasure and joy to furnish youinformation about Gire, the homestead of your forefathers of which I am thepresent owner and about which I have sought to gather some data. Yourgrandfather (Ann's great great great grandfather), and probably your father,were the owners of the homestead which I now occupy, and also the owners ofthe abutting homestead situated to the south, which homestead bears the nameof Krestiandelen (Christian's portion). The latter had undoubtedly been ownedby the owners of Giregaarden for 95 years, and operated in connection with it.Dr. Raeder, who resides in Oslo, is the present owner and he occupies theplace as a summer home. Had our gradnparent's properties remained intact tothis day, unpartitioned, and in the original glory and beauty, they would havebeen surely worth 300,000 Crowns, based and computed on present values. But,alas, several timber lands and grazing lands have been sold off since.
LOCATION: Giregaarden (Giere-dwelling) is situated on Gireflaget(Giere-cliff or shelf) with drainage away from the buildings towards thesouthwest into Gireelven (Giere-river). The dwellings are on a cliff or shelfand are the highest altitude in Nes, being somewhat over 700 meters above sealevel (about 2296 feet). Here the sun shines every clear day of the year. theair is light, a mixture of forest and mountain air. Southwesterly from thebuildings one sees the timbered Skriverfjeld, and toward the west the loftyand imposing Fekjafjeld. While in the foreground, for many miles, appear thedark evergreen forests. If one takes a five minute walk to the rear ofbuildings towards the edge of the shelf one may view the grand and impressivescenery of the district and valleys below. Directly below one seesSandengaarden (Sanden-dwelling) and to the east Bromma Legreid, while to thesouth Bortnesgaarden, all of them protected by lofty forest covered bluffs,and at the bottom the Bromma shining like a ribbon of silver. It is a sightthat equals the scenery of Flomsdalen at Myrdal. Should you prefer to go tothe very edge of the cliff, one had better take a strong grip on the fir treethere and avoid dizziness, when looking into this mightly Giant's Kettle. Thedistance to the highway at Sanden is about 4.5 km. (2.4 miles) and thedistance to the village of Nes via Paaverud is about 10km. (5.4 mi.) or aboutone ancient Norwegian mile. Both roads are heavy and hard to travel. The roadto Sanden is an ordinary cliff road.
AREA: About four and one-half acres of plowed land and about five acresof hay land. There is a little over one acre of level land where my buildingsare situated. The soil is a black loam with an underlayer of clay. During awarm summer one can raise excellent barley and fine potatoes, about 64 bushelsof barley and 48 bushels of potatoes, and grazing is abundant and luxuriant.During cold and rainy summers barley is the only grain that will grow,although it has great dufficulty in maturing. The farm usually feeds six cows,two heiffers, two calves, twenty head of young stock and a horse. WereKrestiensdelen, which was also owned by your grandfather, added to my estate,it would constitute about one-half of my lands, and the crops and stock wouldaccordingly be that much greater, based upon the same method of farming.
Now a few words about myself. I was the third Andrew in the family when youvisited Norway in 1882. I am now 78 years old, a widower, and I have a lifeestate. Grandfather died in 1888, and the age of 94 years, and my father diedtwo years before him, about 70 years old. The fourth Andrew, who is my oldestson, emigrated to America and died there a few years ago. My son Peter, ownsthe Gire farm and he is also a widower, his wife having died at the GovernmentHospital about a year ago. He has only one daughter, age eight years. Shouldany of your sons come to Norway they shall be welcome at Gire. I shall arrangeto have a photograph taken this summer and shall then inform you what it willcost. My hearty greetings go to you and yours.