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, September 9, 2009

What lies beneath

The old houses on McNutt's were built with stone cellars and stone foundations. You can see the remains of these cellars and foundations at several places on the island. The oldest cellar on the island may be the McNutt house cellar, which was built before 1765. The cellar of our house is below the kitchen. Jonathan Perry and his son William built this house in the late 1850s.
The steps into the cellar were made by splitting huge rocks into rectangles using a technique called plug and feather. Which I will describe later, after I have learned more about it. You can find these dressed stones -- no longer used --lying around on the island.
The stones for the cellar walls were carefully selected and carefully placed.
The cellar walls are a little higher than six feet.
In the cool dim underground light, I lay my hands on the wall and feel its past: how father and son dug the cellar, chose all these stones from around the property, hauled them to this place with an ox, and laid them in the sequence that stands today.

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