Skigard | means wooden fence in Norwegian | Norway

Skigard is a Norwegian noun that means wooden fence. It is made of split tree trunks, using simple tools. Fence making and mending was a task for early summer.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
A skigard at Anno Norsk skogmuseum in Elverum, Hedmark, Norway. | Photo: Øyvind Holmstad - wikimedia.org cc by-sa.
A typical skigard at Anno Norsk skogmuseum in Elverum, Hedmark, Norway. | Photo: Øyvind Holmstad - wikimedia.org cc by-sa.

Pronunciation

Skigard

The grammar

A compound word made up of: ski + gard | noun | masculine | the indefinite form: en skigard (a skigard) | the definite form: skigarden (the skigard).

What does the word mean?

Ski: means in this context the split wooden trunk of a young tree.
Gard: means in this context a fence. The word comes from the Old Norse word garðr, which means fenced in land, fortified site, farm, garden.
Skigard: means a fence made of split wooden tree trunks.

Similar or related words

Steingard: means a stone fence.
Gjerde: means fence. This word is used in a more general way about fences, and the skigard is also a gjerde. A gjerde can be made of wood, stone, and other materials. Gjerde comes from the Old Norse word gerði, which again comes from garðr (see above). The word often comes with a prefix to indicate the type of fence: for example, steingjerde, which means a stone fence.

More on the traditional context

Simple tools

The early fence-makers only had simple tools to their disposal, and the way the skigard is made reflects this reality. Tree trunks from young trees were split into two or more lengths, and erected in a tilted – or upright – position.

Damaged by heavy snow

During the winter, large amounts of heavy snow often damaged the wooden fences. Fence making and mending was often a task performed during the Håbolla-season, which is the period between the hectic spring period – våronna – and the haymaking period – høyonna.

Hard work

Building and maintaining wooden fences is hard work. Historically, the farmer primarily built fences around fields that needed protection from both wild and domesticated animals.

Examples from books and stories

Per Sulåmo Fortelling etter fedrene – minne etter mødrene 1989
Utseendet på våre skigarder – likt med anna menneskeverk – kan nok ha tatt seg variert ut – både i kvalitet og utførelse. Gjerdebygging var imidlertid ikke ei vilkårlig opprausing av virke, det rådet bestemte systemer for bygginga.
The appearance of our skigards – just like with any other human construction – may have varied in both quality and workmanship. However, fencing was not an arbitrary pile-up of timber, there were specific systems used for its construction.

Ove Arbo Høeg Eineren i norsk natur og tradisjon 1996
I 1802 hadde Hvaler prestegård 11 km skigard som måtte fornyes og vedlikeholdes.
In 1802, the Hvaler parsonage had 11 km of skigard that had to be renewed and maintained.

Sources: Nasjonalbiblioteket nb.no | Einar Haugen’s Norwegian-English dictionary | Det Norske Akademis ordbok | Bokmålsordboka and Nynorskordboka.

Our most recent posts

My Norwegian heritage

The Heddal stave church - stavkirke - is Norway's largest remaining building of its kind. It is a woodwork masterpiece, with a history that stretches back more than 800 years.
Norway's mainland coastline, with its many fjords and islands, is the second longest in the world - next only to Canada. Here are some more facts for you.
This beautiful oil painting by Johan Christian Dahl says a lot about generations of Norwegians - and the landscape and the skills they knew.
The Norwegian landscape is wild and beautiful. And it is a lot more than just fjords and mountains.
The wild ocean world of Værøy in Lofoten, Norway, was the birthplace of Mimmi Benjaminsen – born in 1894. Here are some of her childhood memories.
In 1935, Aslaug Engnæs published a guidance book on how to milk the cow.
As a first such an event in modern times: the Norwegian counties Sør-Trøndelag and Nord-Trøndelag have now merged.
The first Norwegian Buhund breed-standard came in 1926, based on a dog that had evolved, lived, and worked with the Norwegians since time immemorial.
The Fjord horse is one of today’s oldest and purest horse breeds. Its historical habitat is Norway's western coast, with its deep fjords and steep mountainsides.
A kipe is a tall, woven basket, often made of twigs from the birch tree. It was carried on the back, and typically used when carrying loads in a landscape full of steep fields and paths.
The horse settled in the Scandinavian landscape after the last ice age. Let us meet this majestic animal - and follow in its footsteps.
The first half of the 1900s came with a momentous change to Norwegian society. The old ways of the ancient hunting and farming culture were rapidly dying.
In the olden days, people dressed up warmly and got out onto the fjord or lake to catch their Sunday dinner. Enjoy!
1769 was the year of the first complete Norwegian census. Today, Norway has a population of more than 5 million, in 1769 the number was 723,618.
In the year AD 1537, King Christian 3 of Denmark-Norway embraced the Lutheran Reformation, and the Norwegians went from being Catholics to Protestants. The king confiscated the Catholic Church’s considerable wealth, a welcomed addition to the royal coffers. Norway more or less ceased to exist as a sovereign state and became a province under Denmark.
Klippfisk - or klipfish - is fish preserved through salting and drying. Since the early 1700s, the Norwegians have been large-scale klippfisk producers and exporters.
Norway’s full independence came in AD 1905, and was the culmination of a process that had lasted for several decades.
To make sure he could tide the animals over the long and cold winter, the historical Norwegian farmer utilised all available resources.
With Christmas comes the turning of the sun, and the promise of a new year. Enjoy these traditional and vintage Norwegian Christmas cards - 24 in all.
Do you know the name of Norway’s capital city? Test yourself, friends, and family in this 10 multiple-choice questions quiz vol. 1. See the correct answer below each photo.
Once you start taking an interest in the old Norwegian farming and family history, then the people of the past start coming to the fore.

Follow us on social media

Norwegian history