Hands-On Things we're Doing

Under our nonprofit purpose clauses we define the type of activities that we will be working on. 

These can be grouped into 6 buckets:  Q – V – T – H – F – E

Q – Quality of Life (Community)
  Improve the quality of life, promote the arts, health, culture, and well being of the community, its residents, or visitors to it.

V – Vikings & Norse Culture
  Creating and operating programs that research, inform, and educate all about early Norse way of life, art, culture, food, sports, music, beliefs, and history.

T – Technology meets Historical
  Use historical skills and methods, as well as new technology, as a medium and as subject matter or techniques to be taught.

H – Healthy Lifestyle
  Researching and providing activities and education that promote living a healthy lifestyle.

F – Festivals & Events
  Hosting and or co-sponsoring events and activities that are consistent with the foundations purpose and By-Laws.

E – Educate and Disseminate
  Disseminating information via  pamphlets, the web, or by holding classes open to the general public.

These areas however may overlap at times with a given project or activity falling under more than a single area. For instance offering a free ice skating rink during a “Home for the Holidays” festival promotes a healthy lifestyle of exercise and outdoor activities, would be an opportunity for the community to come together along with spanning generations to help enrich their quality of life, would be a festival, and the rink could be made available to groups or other nonprofits for use. Such as the NWAC which brings winter fitness plans to youth via healthy food and exercise on its ski slope, or Kiwanis, or local public schools. We also are considering to then use it again for a second festival. This would make it available for the annual NJ Special Olympics, which are held in Vernon the 1st week of Feb., until the end of Presidents week.

We currently are limited by volunteers and financing so working on items that cross over areas is a responsible methodology for us to use. It also means that initially we may need to limit the number and scope of our projects increasing the length of time they will encompass. We need to acknowledge the idiom that “our eyes may be bigger than our stomachs” so taking this approach can help us to achieve small positive results while working toward larger goals.

Part of the reason why we mention and break out ‘community’ in a predominantly Viking and early Norse foundation is because it was so important to them. Indeed the health and success of the community was critical to every individuals survival. The world’s oldest functioning legislative assembly is in Iceland created in 930 AD derived from the community meetings held to hear, present, and make decisions affecting individuals and the community at large. The ‘Quality of Life’ of the community so to say. All of our projects, events, and activities take this into account and thus are under this umbrella.

What follows is our current “to-do” list. For items on it, in parenthesis, are the letters that correspond to areas that activity falls under (ie Q or Q, H). A short description is provided and rough estimate timeline for an item.

Annual Winternights Viking Festival ( Q, V, T, F, E ):

Part of this festivals value is its website which contains information on the Vikings and their culture, as well as that it was an actual festival held by the Vikings. Indeed we were contacted earlier this year and gave permission for some of the info on our website to be used by 2019 Fjallkona for the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, Islendingadagurinn, held since 1890.

Our event is held on the Sunday before the Halloween weekend or roughly around 21st of October. This year (2019) we have scheduled the event for Oct 20th (then in 2020- Oct 25th, 2021- Oct 24th, etc). Preparation and holding this event is time extensive and will require volunteers prior to, during, and for clean-up after it. To prepare for this years event there are several work projects that will need to be done or at least partially completed.

Follow updates info on our Huggin-Monnin  Blog.

Find us listed at Friends of Whofish.Org 

Build DISIR - a Viking Longship ( Q, V, T, H, F, E ):

This is our largest project and already has taken several years to get to this point. This point being the design of a scaled down semi-replica of the Viking Longship Gokstad. We say semi-replica because we are not attempting to make an exact duplicate but rather to utilize the design parameters and construction techniques used by the Vikings.

We have been in contact with and working with scholars and master ship builders from Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. This includes and we would like to thank Jan Bill, professor & curator of the Viking Ship Collection, at Oslo Universitet for responding immediately with providing helpful info along with wishing us well on the reconstruct.

Also Thomas Finderup who built the 4 large replica viking ships at the famous Roskilde viking ship museum in Denmark. Nobody alive knows more about Viking shipbuilding or tools. He recently participated in a “Viking Lecture Series: How to build a Viking Ship with Danish Boat Builder Thomas Finderup” at in Seattle, WA.

Last but not least Mr Gunnar Marel Eggertsson, he is a 3rd generation Icelandic ship builder, and has been willing to help assist us with the design and construction of ours. He built and sailed a replica viking ship that is now in Viking museum in Iceland.

At our kick off meeting on 5/27/2017 we had 22 people signed up to help with this project.

Unfortunately finding straight trees of the size and type (white oak) we needed was the greatest hinderance. We had 2 local residents Lou & Donna Villanos donate trees that had been cut down but they were to short and were rotting. Others offered by home owners were far too costly to either have cut down or transport out of residential areas in tact.

Thanks to the support of Richard & Cina Bartoline (trustees emeritus) we were able to get 3 trees from a tree forestry farm and have them delivered on 8/27/2017. This was months after our planned start date. We managed to get them debarked but health and personal issues prevented any further work plus it was important to have this project be done by and as part of foundation projects.

It already is too late this year to do much with them given all the work that needs to be done for our annual festival and limited resources. Our plan is to work on this in parallel phases /tasks. Each task will, and thus the entire project, will be done using tools and replicating how Vikings would build one.

We will create video documentation of the entire process to provide future educational experience. Volunteers will gain actual hands on learning.

  • Make dogwood wedges needed to split logs into planks from already donated dogwood trees
  •  Split logs into useable planks, trim planks to shape & size, store for assembly
  •  Gather iron ore, charcoal, and/or already forged high slag iron (same process/type Vikings)
  •  Forge and form ‘klinker’ rivets needed to assemble ship from high slag iron
  •  Shape from solid log main keel piece to attach bow, stern, and planks to
  •  Shape bow and stern pieces from curved white oak logs
  •  Create steam cavity to steam planks in to make flexible and shapeable for lapstrakes
  •  Assemble bow and stern to keel lay out markings for rest of hull assembly
  •  Attach lapstrake planks to keel using klinker rivets and tarred hemp rope
  •  (continue with all other steps needed to build a Viking longship)

Home4dHolidays Festival

Ice Rink ( Q, T, H, F, E ):

Home4dHolidays community festival from Thanksgiving to New Years to include open to public ice rink, holiday video taping of community events (tree lighting, choirs, etc), and work with local public cable TV to show it. Free public ice rink to create community spirit, healthy exercise, potential pee wee hockey tournament (size of rink limits to only this), figure skating demonstrations/show by local volunteers, etc. The rink package (liner, sides, supports, protective foam) were made possible by funds provided for same by Cina Bartoline (trustee emeritus) End of Winter festival from start of NJ Special Olympics to presidents week to include open to public ice rink, rink available for demonstrations and or competition of olympians, video taping of opening ceremonies and various athletes to create show, free DVDs, online viewing, and work with local public cable TV to air it as allowed by Special Olympics Comittee.

Classes - Learning Activities ( Q, V, H, F, E ):

We plan on introducing and holding classes on different aspects of Viking life. We expect that they may interest seniors in the community though they will be open to anyone. It will be up to the attendees to pay for any materials that may be needed, such as yarn or wool, etc.

One of the proposed classes, we say proposed as if no one signs up it wouldn’t occur, is Naelbinding. Naelbinding is the method used by early Norse people to make socks, caps, and other warm clothing. It involves using a short needle (nael) with yarn to make garments. Another proposed class is for making belts or attractive tapestries to then attach to garments. This was done via a simple compact loom that utilizes cards, wood pieces with holes to pass thread through. One need not have a loom though as any object such as a bed post or door knob to fasten one end to, various colored threads, and the cards are all that is necessary to get the job done. That and a LOT of
time. Both of these classes thus are good for making gifts for family members and to pass away long winter nights.

The other currently proposed class is part of a monthly learning and sharing class started and co-ordinated by Hurstwic. This is a translation and reading class of early Icelandic, and other sagas. It is held online so attendees can be anywhere with a computer connection to attend. It is a way to learn the early Norse language though the vikings did not actually write these sagas. They were written several hundred years later after being handed down verbally. We would like to have people meet as a group and provide a single connection to the internet with a projected (large image) so that we can discuss it also before or after the course comes online. We would print and provide any pages that are scheduled to be discussed for our attendees.

On the healthy lifestyle front, in addition to the ice rink, we will be teaching and holding Nordic walking classes. A very healthy and safe way to exercise (walk) utilizing walking poles. This is also great for anyone that may have balance or equilibrium issues as the poles can provide support. As allowable we will gather and provide complimentary poles to use in our sessions.

Part of the venue for our WN festival are lectures, demonstrations, and other activities that inform and teach about Viking life and culture in a fun community atmosphere.

Rebuild, Redo, Relocate - Runestones

( V, T, F, E )

Frey (rebuild), Heimdall (redo), Tyr (relocate).

Reconstruction of Freya Runestone ( V, T, F, E):

This runestone was built and unveiled almost 7 years ago for the 2nd WN festival in 2012. The design of it including the images and shape are all original but include important aspects of Viking beliefs including the goddess Freya, the Viking rune alphabet, and the meanings of the 8 runes associated with Freya. The actual construction technique was our first attempt at making a large sculpture (runestone) using a technique called hypertufa. Unfortunately though it held up for several years it began disintegrating 2 years ago. We tried resurfacing it but the underlying structure gave way last year.

This year we will rebuild it using the underlying frame originally made for it but with improvements we learned while constructing two subsequent runestones.
We will also will videotape and explain the process of actual construction. As part of the videotape we will include a narrative explaining about what a runestone is, what is depicted on it, and the relevance to the Viking culture.

We also plan on moving it. (*part of the reason for the construction technique used is the stones are actually hollow and do not weigh tons like an actual rock would. We did this in part so that they would be easier to relocate if we someday obtain property for a museum or to be able to potentially transport them on trailer to festivals or schools or museums for educational purposes).

There are updates and more info on the Huggin-Monnin Blog . 

Freya Update 11/07

Freya Update 10/24

Imaging(re) of the Heimdall Runestone ( V, T, F, E):

This runestone was built and unveiled almost 6 years ago for the 3rd WN festival in 2013. Like Freya the design of it including the images and shape are all original but this time the important aspects of Viking beliefs pertain to the god Heimdall, the Viking rune alphabet, and the meanings of the 8 runes associated with him. The same methodology of construction was used but due to timing were only able to draw the image on the runestone rather than finishing the carving of it. The image has since been weathered off with no underlying carving to fill it with paint. It is almost completely invisible so we need to redraw the image on it, carve it into the stone, and then paint in the carving. The stone is extremely hard and carving it will not be easy or perhaps doable in time for this years festival. We none the less need to make a visible image on it prior to Oct 20th, 2019. We will, like with the Freya stone, made a videotape for educational purposes including any sculpting or artistic procedures to achieve a finished runestone. If time doesn’t permit then we will finish the actual carving procedure next year rather than risking ruining the stone.

Relocation of the Tyr Runestone ( V, T, F, E):

This runestone was built and unveiled almost 4 years ago for the 4rd WN festival in 2014. This runestone, being the third using the hypertufa process, appears to be solid and holding up well to the elements. Unfortunately there are several cedar trees that we did not envision growing as close to it as they know have become. This will be our first attempt at actually moving one of the runestones but this is preferred to cutting them back, down, or relocating them instead. This doesn’t have to be done this year so it is on our project list as a nice to do but can wait until next year or 2021. As with the other 2 runestones a videotape of doing it, assuming it is doable, will be made. We also will make a separate educational video just on the 3 runestones themselves with regard to runes, the three gods, and the association of each set of 8 runes to their corresponding god/goddess.

Patching / Upgrading of Rune Wall ( V, T, F, E):

The rune wall was added to facilitate showing the complete runic alphabet with a small informational sign placed next to it. The wall itself was put up for the 2015 WN festival and consists of large plastic coated poster boards. The adhesive backing on 6 of them had weakened with them coming off this past winter. They will need to be reattached to the sheet of 4×8 plywood they were on. This can be done this year. We however would like them to not be paper and plastic but rather carved in wood as the Vikings may have done. We will be looking for volunteers with wood working skills to do this either using the current images as templates or coming up with their own design. Perhaps even their own methodology of construction. An educational videotape on the wall and the Viking alphabet will be made along with reprinting of pamphlets to be handed out or requested online. During past WN festivals we printed pamphlets that showed the runes, the runestones, and information on the meanings and their associations.