This is the third year of our efforts at cutting turf the traditional way with a spade. It is the first year that the weather this far has been totally in our favour at the cutting stage. April whilst not the warmest of months was definitely one of the driest on record. Then on Monday 1st of May we awoke to clear blue skies and a beaming sun with a cool easterly wind, just perfect cutting and drying conditions. These weather conditions gradually improved with the temperature increasing before it finally broke on Friday 12th of May. All in all we had a 6 week window of fine dry weather enabling us to get cracking out on the bog. Remarkably we finished all this years cutting plus even getting the first batch of dry turf home, well a sacks worth anyway!
After our three years experience this year our team approach worked like clockwork. Callum wielded the turf spade (called a slean in Irish) and did most of the cutting, I was the barrow man and Darragh took charge of the spreading of the turf sods. Like a well oiled machine the three of us cut through the turf bog from top floor down to 5 floors below (a depth of approximately 2m). On the days I ventured out when the two boys were at school it was much harder to do all three tasks by myself but at least I had Bailey Dog for company.
The exceptional drying conditions meant that the turf cut in April is now all footed. Plus we dried turf on pallets and as an experiment in plastic crates that stack on top of one another, we could be on to something here!
As I write this now the normal Atlantic weather system has replaced the easterly airflow and we are getting rain showers that wouldn’t look out of place in April. Despite this I am content that with all our turf cut and the longest and (hopefully) warmest days to come that we can get all our turf dried and home by the end of June. Ambitious? Perhaps, but I do like a challenge, so watch this space. Of course, you can come along and get some hands on experience of a turf bog with one of our Turf Bog Tours