Snoozer started by telling the group that when he lived on the farm he used to cut 150 – 200 yard’s peat which would be enough to supply the house all year round. He used to cut 60 yards a day, some people used to cut around 100 yards a day.
Starting from the being of the process he turned the peat bucket upside down and lent his peat spade upside down and sharpen his spade with a file. You would always have your spade greased up so it wouldn’t go rusty over the winter. After this process you would use a one yard measuring line to line up your bank. Then you would cut length way which is called long ribbing and width would be called cross ribbing. You would then cut writs (down and then across to make square shape sods). Take the top tuff off and replace the cut ground beneath so you are not spoiling the ground. He cut the sods out and through them on the bank above. At the front of the bank you would stack 3,2 and 1 which was self-explanatory.
At the end of November, you would get all the family involved and wrinkle the peat which would look like small tower piles. This dries out the peat before carting it all home to the peat sheds or a large peat stack near the houses. Snoozer recalls as a young man carting peat with the horse and cart and after with the old type lorries. Next he showed the group how they used to chop the sods of peat in quarters before filling the peat buckets. Seven buckets of peat used to keep the house going, six buckets would stay in the porch and one by the ray burn fire. Snoozers daughters used to fill the peat buckets for their pocket money and kept tally. A full sod of peat is called a banker and is used before heading to bed, bank the fire to keep the house warm. In the morning you would have to let the ashes out before putting small bits of peat on to heat the stove up ready to boil the kettle and get the breakfast on. This was a full time job cleaning and sweeping up the dust and ashes.
The group had a go at cutting the sods of peat and laying them on the bank. After finding pigs in the wet sods and as you can imagine a few dirty hands and lots of decorated wet sods of peat with pig faces drawn.
Snoozer had a little competition, the group had to guess the weight of Snoozer, a wet sod of peat and a dry sod of peat. This was lots of fun and giggles! The winner was Brett Smith with the closest weight 135 kg and the dry sod 2 kg. Oliver Yon won guess the wet sod 10 kg. A wet sod of peat holds 8kg’s of water!! Snoozer gave out prize’s, box of chocolates to Brett and he had a sweetie scramble for everyone.
Thank you to Snoozer for a fantastic demonstration, everyone had so much fun. Learning that life in the earlier days was not so easy and was extremely heavy and hard work.