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.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wild things

Today is a wild day, after a wild night. The house is shaking from stem to stern as the wind forces her way through all the cracks and crevices. You don't want a house to be so sealed up by insulation that it can't breathe, the experts say. That's really not a problem for us. Our house breathes fine. And today it is gasping with all the excitement, inspired by the wildness that's swirling around it. The oak tree that Burnes Goulden planted for his mother seventy years ago, when he was just a lad, and which is now too big to be so close to the house, is waving its long thick branches right in our faces as we stare out the windows. The boat is dipping and leaping enthusiastically at the dock, straining its lines in the frothing crashing waves. Every island thing wants to go wild and break free and have a wild rumpus!

Yesterday in the midst of cold, strong winds we heard a pounding at the side door and opened it to greet Arnold d'Eon, who used to own the island's sheep. He finally sold the flock to LeRoy d'Entremont, and yesterday they both came up from Pubnico in an open skiff filled with eager rams. Somehow it worked out that LeRoy was out dropping off rams in the raw weather while Arnold was having tea and warming up in our house. Three or four rams are on the island now, fresh from several months of lock-up on one of the ram islands south of here. They've got quite the task: eighty or ninety ewes to impregnate a.s.a.p.

The shepherds bring on the rams at this particular time to insure that the lambs will not be born at random times, when it might be too harsh for them to survive. LeRoy and Arnold will take the rams off again next fall, back to the mythical ram island, an all-male world where they eat all the potato chips they want and watch football twenty four hours a day. "So," Arnold says, "today's the 21st. So five months minus five days -- May 16th, look for the first lambs."

Today the winds howl and the house shakes and the trees dance and the boat lunges and the waves crash and the clouds race across the sky and the sheep are having wild sex. It's a home-grown island Saturnalia. We ourselves are happy to be inside, baking cookies, keeping close to the woodstove.