When you drive to the north a lot of the scenery is trees. When Angelo and I were driving along the Midnight Sun Road the trees were abundant to the point of being boring. We saw a lot of forest between the attractions we filmed. I dreamt, what if all the trees were attractions.
We wanted to find an attractive tree among all these trees. One early Saturday morning we rigged the camera for a day out on Storforsen, the nature reserve and amazing water rapids north of Piteå. Then we spotted a handwritten sign “Kolmila 11 am”.
Our dream came true. What is better than experiencing a charcoal kiln in the middle of wood‐land. In a not so distant past, the people used to extract tar and make coal of some the trees. Most of the trees have been exported from the area as timber.
Coal is an important source of fossil fuel to produce electricity and heat throughout the world. The natural processes before vegetation becomes coal last millions of years. The coal production traditions Mr. Dick Öhman and his colleagues at the Norrbotten Museum are passing on, may only last a hundred years. One hundred years for the birch tree to grow,and a “few” days to convert it to coal.
Öhman explains the procedure and why people of the Arctic forest would make tar and coal.
Primarily, the farmers wanted to make some money. The farmers needed extra income in order to
buy necessities, and tar/coal were products in demand.
They stack firewood around a hole in the middle. Then the stack is covered, allowing only a little air to sip through at the bottom of the stack. The slow burning process of the small charcoal kiln this year is 48 – 50 hours.
This is good barbecue coal, says Öhman. Indeed it is, we bought some coal produced a couple of years ago at Storforsen. And, we can verify that the coal of the big rapids make the steaks run big in parties.
Do you know any other places where they produce tar and coal this way?
The Coal Maker – The Best Barbecue Coal