Wednesday, 7 September 2011

It's that time of year....


It's that time of year when a load of dry hard sods are delivered to our yards from the bog and tipped handily to where it is going to be stored. This year we had a three tonne load which meant placing it in two small sheds. Fortunately a friend from a neighbouring county arrived unexpectedly and the job was completed more rapidly than it would have had we been on our own.




A three tonne heap of turf


A dusty, warming job that tests the muscles as we bend to pick up each piece, then turn and stack it to roof top height. Before reaching us men in the shed Mrs H had picked up the sods put them in a wheel-barrow and tipped them at our feet. Prior to that the people on the bog hand handled each piece at least four or five times between the drying process and the delivery. Finally from the shed to the fire they will be hefted twice more; so all in all, I calculate that each will have been handled at least eight to nine times!



Stack number one

The heat from turf (peat) is luxurious, the very distinct aroma as it burns is homely and in the winter on cold frosty nights, if you walk the roads it is to sense a welcome in the air; a similar sensation to the burning of wood smoke, for it conjures up warm comfortable images !




Stack number two


You can think of us pair warming our toes with the dog at our feet, the cats perched on the settee snoring. While Mrs H and I sit nursing a glass of homemade damson brandy each and a honey waffle in the other hand.


16 comments:

  1. So this is how Peat is cut to burn..... and it doesn't fall apart or crumble when it is dumped??? How big is each piece??
    I like the stacks and the nature of sitting by a cosy fire whether wood or your peat especially when the wind is whistling outside... and brandy in hand sounds perfect.. toasty all the way around.

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  2. I always think of peat when I drink Guinness, does it smell like Guinness when it burns?

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  3. Gwen, The peat is dried by sunshine and wind on the bog until virtually brick hard, the lengths are about 1 to 2 feet long.

    Janet' No fortunately the smell of burning turf is nothing like that of Guinness ! There is though nothing like sitting in a pub by a turf fire drinking the milk of the black cow :)

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  4. Mel, the way you write makes me almost look forward to winter, which is amazing considering I am such a sun worshipper...aah, the power of the written word is strong, isn't it? My heating on board is that of an 'olie kachel' (old fashioned oil stove). I would love to try burning peat, but I don't think it is easily available in this great port of ours. Wood burning stoves are possible, but our city slicker neighbours in the surrounding flats don't like it, so I beat the line of least resistance and stick to this very economical little stove. Wood is difficult to get at a reasonable price too in this large urban area. Peat sounds just wonderful!

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  5. VallyP,
    Some city dwellers are odd, that they prefer oil fumes to wood smoke, in that case they would not appreciate the brown smoke of turf burning either :)

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  6. The turf looks very neatly stacked. The nights are drawing in and getting colder here too. I can imagine you both snug and warm, the aroma of burning peat wafting up, not to mention the damson brandy and honey waffle. A little bit of heaven, I think! (and reward for all the hard work)

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  7. Beautifully stacked turf. I have not seen that design before. I am pondering how to describe the smell of turf burning and it is so unique, perhaps herbal, musty, mushroom like and a hint of tobacco. Perhaps Tom Ford can invent a new men's after shave - Ode de Turf.
    You deserve a break from this hard but worthwhile work
    Helen

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  8. I envy you being able to get hold of peat to burn. We have some flats opposite where the barges are and they have complained that the smoke from the woodburners spoils their view! 'Tough, it's a working boatyard' was the answer! x

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  9. When we were touring in our motor home, we were driving along a lane in Kerry, when I yelled STOP and as husband screeched to a halt, jumped out and retrieved 2 stray turves from the middle of the road. I never smelled turf burning and took them all the way back to England for our fire :-D

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  10. Kath you were absolutely right to pick up the turves :)
    When I lived in G'bury long ago there used to be a family who made their own turf, I used to see it stacked to dry somewhere in the vicinity of The Glastonbury Heath and Sharpham Grove. Also I heard that peat briquettes used to be sold in Benedict Street up to five years ago.

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  11. Hah, what an image, I envy you the turf fires, never have smelled one and I bet it's lovely. We used to burn juniper in Arizona and that is lovely smelling as well.

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  12. That is interesting. There is still an "old fashioned" iron mongers down there (in B street), with a little yard adjacent. I wonder if that's where they were sold?
    We lived in Bucks at the time of our tour and took our turves home on the ferry. I had never seen a turf until that point,Once I came to Someerset I became familiar wuth the peat works in the area. The place you mentioned still produces and there is talk of another opening nearby.

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  13. Kath I'm fairly certain we are talking about the same shop, I've just been on google earth :) it is diagonally opposite Fairfield Gardens.
    Incidentally the woman who ran the shop held a HGV licence and was all five foot 2inches tall! She might still still run the place ?

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  14. I have never experienced sitting near a peat fire, and after reading your post, I am certain I would love it!

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  15. I don't think I've ever sat by a peat fire. Now it must go on my list of "To-do's." ;^)

    I do enjoy my wood stove, although this post reminded me that soon I will begin the great amount of work involved with it. The heat that it produces is worth it, though. ;^)

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  16. Sounds like a lot of work preparing but from what I am hearing well worth it :)

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