Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Peat: between eight and 10 liftings by a human between hill and hearth
It takes eight physical human liftings for a single peat to leave the ground and reach fire or stove. That's not carbon burning there; it's human energy. It's time.
Casting, raising, turning, bagging, lifting bag to the roadside, lifting bag onto trailer/pickup truck/pony/passing human, lifting bag off the aforementioned following the trip home, and finally lifting said sod into the house and placing it on the flame. It could be nine or ten, actually. Some insist on turning the peats twice on the hill (part of the drying process) and others will bring the peats inside in a kishie or bucket, to rest by the fire until needed. It's complex.
We're crap at peats. We actually pay to have the banks cut, but then we do all the other stuff. The house is heated by oil, but there's a solid fuel stove in the kitchen (which is where I live and breathe and have my being, basically) and lighting it in winter reduces the oil bill dramatically. So there's an incentive to sort out our peat situation. Alas, peat turning, raising, bagging etc is unpleasant in the extreme. In fact, casting - the bit we pay someone else to do - is the only enjoyable part, in my opinion. With so much else to do, peats get left. Until far too late in the year.
And so it was that today, as dusk fell, I was dragging bags to the roadside for collection sometime this week, if I can borrow a trailer or a van. It's sore work. It's dirty. I can think of a million things I'd be better doing. In fact, this is supposed to be a holiday. I'd be far better off broadcasting, getting paid and paying someone else to get the peats home.
Or buying a wind generator and some storage heaters.