Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Another job you probably wouldn't want to do, Cutting peat

A peat bog is composed of marshy vegetation  growing and then decomposing over hundreds or thousands of years. The anaerobic conditions form an acidic bath that partially preserves the compressed organic material making a dense burnable not-quite-coal that was used by people in the surrounding locale as fuel for heating and cooking. When the peat dries out in the summer, the peat is harvestable, dug out into brick shaped pieces which are transported home where they are stacked to dry for later burning.
Backbreaking, all hand-done back in the day. 
An interesting aside is that the acidic conditions causes iron to precipitate out into a ferric oxide which must have been where iron as a useful material was first discovered. 
Of course these days, peat harvesting is mechanized, dramatic video here

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