In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I do love the way laundry claims order out of chaos on such a managable scale. When we arrived here way back in the summer of ought seven, the house had neither electricity nor plumbing. For a month or so I drew water by the pail full from an old stone-lined well, heated it on the Coleman camp stove, and washed our clothes under an ancient apple tree, by hand. There was a washboard in the house when we arrived, and I used that, too, and a galvanized tub. In my hazy memory of that summer, the sky was always blue and the sun bounced off the glittering harbour waters spread out before me as I stepped, awed, into a pre-industrial life.

But as much as I enjoyed washing the clothes that summer, I like our washing machine even better.  It's quite a basic machine, and it uses lots more energy than the new-fangled ones do.  So we wait until a sunny and windy day, like today, to wash the clothes. Of course those are the best days for drying laundry anyway, so everything hangs together: another small sign of order.  

After years of throwing the clothes in the dryer, I take enormous pleasure in hanging them on the line. I love that the sun and the wind have their way with them.   And I love drying the dishes with these fresh dish towels and sleeping on these fresh sheets. 

Skipper gave me a forked spruce pole to keep the line from sagging. Our clothes line is suspended between two of the old apple trees -- these two haven't been pruned in decades, since Greg didn't get to them last spring. The tree on the left is a golden russet, a wonderful and beautiful apple.  We haven't yet identified the tree on the right, though our notes say its fruit has a pear-like taste.   The stone walls are probably filled with dozing creatures, undisturbed by flapping dish towels or thoughts of domestic order, just drifting off for their winter sleep.