After a weekend buried under palettes of paint and canvas’, coupled with a lovely visit from my little sister and her husband (“little” being the literal and figurative term: my eldest son, 13, is half a head taller than her), we went down to the bog yesterday evening- it was cut 2 weeks ago, but has been too wet and soft to go near. I love seeing it before anyone “works” it (every family have their own tradition and style of stacking in order to dry it. These bogs have been worked (to dry the bog/turf as fuel) by these families for centuries)
We drive down little overgrown tracks to get there; narrow roads with deep ditches either side, filled with wild flowers and flag irises
Fields of bog with bog cotton grown on it (our boys picked armfuls of this soft fluffy stuff!)
This is the part which is “cut-away”:
And then laid out (they are extruded through a special bog cutting machine into lines to dry):
We don’t own any bog, but rent some every year. Despite having a large protruding belly that will hinder me no end, there is a great sense of excitement in our house at the thoughts of the bog season beginning (and for the boys, getting paid for the work is a great encouragement!!)
This year, my interest in the bog is two-fold, as I have been painting this exact area of bog, using aerial photographs and old maps.
So when we walked it yesterday, it was an extraordinary feeling of knowing, knowing where we were standing in the greater picture of things, amidst all these ancient bogs and field systems;
where families have worked, and been warmed and sustained by them, for generations.