National Geographic : 1973 Aug
The first farmer to use Baltic water for ir rigation, Mr. Kebbe gambled on its low salin ity. The Baltic, originally a freshwater lake, was formed some 12,000 years ago by the melting of the ice cap. It still assays at only six-tenths of one percent salt. Through 18 miles of tubing, Mr. Kebbe drips the Baltic to the tree roots-6,000 pounds of salt an acre every year; most leaches away, but what re mains could mean trouble. "For 13 years I've tested," he said. "By now every acre has accumulated 4,000 pounds of salt, three times as much as when I began. Still no salt has reached the leaves, where it could be fatal. But who knows in another 13 years? Salt farming is tricky." Tricky is the word for Gotland farming, salt or not. Per-Anders Croon on his 350 acres at Lummelunda produced crops that brought his family-a working wife and two children -$5,800 in 1971. It was his best year, at the age of 33, after almost a decade of farming. "My biggest year till then was 1967-but not from farming. I plowed into a little hill and silver shot out all over." It proved to be the largest hoard ever found, cached 800 years ago: 17 pounds of silver bars and 3,000 silver coins weighing almost 6 pounds. Enjoined by Swedish law to turn in this treasure, farmer Croon was entitled to the current value of the silver, plus an eighth. But since the find was so important, the gov ernment awarded him more: $3,600. "I had never earned so much in any year of farming," he said. "But then the government ordered me to pay income tax on it-to give back half or more. I am still fighting this in the courts."