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Culture

10 – The Forest in Nivernais – Coalmen – Kiln construction

21 June 2018

The tenth postcard of the series “The Forest in Nivernais” depicts a coalman erecting a charcoal kiln.

The tenth postcard of the series “The Forest in Nivernais” depicts a coalman erecting a charcoal kiln.

First, the coalman puts a wood stake into the ground from which to delineate the kiln’s circumference. To build it, he stacks branches to form two superimposed domes. He covers the domes with dry leaves and moss on which he puts a layer of compact earth so that no air can pass through. Afterward, the coalman starts the fire by a chimney made in the center of the kiln and contains the combustion opening blowholes in the kiln.

Achille Millien embellishes the postcard with some verses on the coalmen who used to work in the forest after woodcutters: “Des bûcherons coupeurs de chênes / Quand le travail vient de finir, / Alors pour les tâches prochaines / Les charbonniers peuvent venir. / Toi d’abord, dans une clairière, / Dispose en amas circulaire / Les bûches d’égale longueur / Et dresse ton fourneau, dresseur !

 

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