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, May 31, 2010

world of wind

For the past several days a strong westerly wind has blown across the island. The days are sparkling with sunlight on deep teal waters and skies that are a correspondingly intense blue, sometimes filled with racing nimbus and cumulus clouds that turn the day from cold to hot to cold again so that everything's changing, all the time, all day. Dramatic weather is one of Nova Scotia's great overlooked and unsung gifts to the world.

Today is the last day of lobster season for this district. Boats are picking up their traps and returning to the mainland. It's a challenging enterprise, bringing in a mass of heavy traps stacked high and filling the deck of the boat. A calmer day would make the effort easier, but there it is. Maybe they will hoist their stern sails, catch a tail wind, and save a bit of diesel on the run home.

In the garden I have almost finished amending the soil in the raised beds. I forked it over a few times until the tines of the fork sank down like butter, then added my half-baked compost and let it sit on top. Before I plant I'll work that compost in. There's not much dirt in this part of Nova Scotia. Rocks, yes. Moss, yes. Swampy boggy cold wet stuff lying just beneath the surface even in places where the ground looks firm enough, definitely yes.

But our vegetable garden sits where the early island settlers had theirs, I think. They did the hard work. And so the soil is good to begin with, though it was compacted when we first began. Now I'm building on the cumulative effort of the past hundred and fifty years, adding another layer.
As I work the wind sings through the mesh of the herring net that fences the garden. This magical net can catch fish in the sea and stop deer and sheep from invading the garden. But it does not even try to hold back the wind.


Janet said...

Like you - every inch of soil added to a raised bed is hard to come by and is the result of buying bags of garden soil, bales of peat moss and adding my small amount of rich compost and leaves that are like gold. I'm constantly amazed by folks who put out to the kerb their green mulch and cutings and clippings - some I know even drive their good stuff to the city composting centre - they are depleting their home turf with every green cart they give to the garbage collector!

Terry J. Deveau said...

You're so right, Janet. I've never raked leaves or grass clippings, except when helping friends who insist on it over my pleadings to the contrary. It amazes me that this obvious principle eludes the grasp of so many people. Leave your leaves and clippngs to decompose in place; your land will love you for it.