Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Colonial New England - peat for warmth

A few years ago, I found a large section of peat on the tidal flats of Brewster.   I haven't seen it uncovered since then. Whenever I walk the flats at low tide,  I continue to look for the elusive formations. It makes me think of how the inhabitants of colonial Cape Cod stayed warm through their bitter winters. Wood was scarce from all the building that took place as people settled into the New World and peat was abundant along the coastline. The rectangle of stones reflect the cutting away of the peat for drying and storing.
What is peat?

Notice the hard edges of the spade as it cut into the peat centuries ago. Thankfully it was preserved for us so we could catch a glimpse back in time.

The next time you have a chance to walk the bay beaches in Brewster at low tide, keep your eyes peeled for this fascinating peek into the 1700s - 1800s.

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