Monday, June 10, 2013

Gathering winter summer. To the peat hill!

I would like to say I cut those peats, But I did not. My vintage tushkar has lain unused for many years. Our friend Lornie did the job, and there's enough fuel there to see us through several winters, even with the new, mighty, all-consuming Rayburn.

The thing with peat is the number of actions necessary before actually achieving burning: Clearing the hill, flaying ('fleeing') or clearing the initial turf layer, cutting (and consequent creation of the 'peat dyke' pictured), which in Shetland is a one-person job, usually a man's. Then there's raising (putting into little piles for further drying), followed by the stage I don't know the name of where you put them in bigger piles for even more drying. 

Then you have to get them home. Either by bagging them (old salmon feed or fertiliser bags) then barrowing them to the road, then loading onto a trailer, taking them home, emptying the bags and finally stacking the individual peats. OR, you can get a tractor or quad with a trailer and just put the dried peats in loose, emptying it out at home and stacking.

However you look at it, it's seriously labour intensive. 

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