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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The fish house

The house we live in is the last old fisherman's house left on McNutt's Island. But there are two old fish houses that still stand. In the old days the fishermen used these sheds to repair their nets and their other fishing gear, and for storage. These structures would have been all along the western shore of the island, where the fishermen kept their boats.

The fish house that's on our property probably dates to the late nineteenth century or the turn of the twentieth century. It would have belonged to William Perry. William was born on McNutt's back in the 1830s. He grew up on the island, part of the large family of Jonathan and Martha Perry. They lived in a house near the shore that was not too far from where the fish house stands. You can still see the foundation of that house. William's father Jonathan Perry was a fisherman, and so was William. So the fish house has an honest past.
Elizabeth Hyde's daughter Joanna gave us this photograph of the fish house when we moved in. It was probably taken in the 1970s or 1980s.

When we arrived in 2007 the fish house looked like this.

This is the way it looked before Greg restored it.
Here it is after. First he removed two encroaching spruce. Then he levelled and stabilized the house, which rests on a rock foundation. He used Skipper's car jack to jack up each corner of the house and check for level. He moved the single original window from the cove side to the east side. He installed four new windows along the cove side. Using an old frame that had been in the shed, he built a window in the north side, up high.

After that he re-shingled the sides and replaced the roofing. He built the deck, using both salvaged and new wood. For the railing of the deck he used a section of old fencing he found lying on the ground at the lighthouse. The entire lower part was rotten, but he could cut it off and use the top part. It was the perfect height for the deck railing. He painted everything on the outside and I painted the inside. And now it is a tiny guest house, eight feet by twelve feet.

Here's the view from the deck. Our guests can sit out there and watch the terns diving for fish -- or if that's too strenuous they can watch the rockweed waving in the water.
The inside of the door was all these beautiful colours, so we left it like that. Soon after we moved here Greg found the little wooden lobster boat wedged along the shore. He painted it red and white, just like our boat, Chopper 1.
We left Elizabeth's haulup and old skiff just where they were. Some things you really can't improve upon.

1 comment:

susan said...

That is all right..just wanted to say how tasteful your little home is...I live on Salt Spring Island on the WET coast and love my European house...and have 5 acres...i love how you got all the things together which is what i do..I have 5 acres and would love to put a small house for a both of you did a magnificent the house warm in the winter?