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 15, 2010

the bog beyond the yard

We have a front yard, which probably should not be called anything so grand as a lawn. It is randomly studded with huge half-submerged boulders and equally randomly cropped by the sheep. When, for reasons known only to them, the flock's visits become increasingly random, as they did this summer -- in fact downright unreliable, though who are we to complain -- then the yard is mowed by Greg, with his push gas-powered mower, which is not designed for boulders and magically appearing stumps.
Just beyond the yard the ground dips into a low swath of bog, before it rises again at the lower orchard. Where the yard ends wildness begins. Like all the island's bogs, it is filled with soft mossy places, little streams and pools where you least expect them, deadfall lying in wait to trip you up, ferns, and grasses. It is criss-crossed with narrow deer paths. The bog is a good hiding place for the deer, easy for them to travel through without being noticed.
There are several varieties of berry-producing bushes in the bog.
Here is some sort of holly -- I think winterberry (Ilex verticillata) but I'm not sure.
And I think this sort is different from the first two. I think it is Indian Pear, which is also called shadbush or eastern serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis).
Its berries change colour from creamy white to pink to deep cranberry to dark inky purple. I don't know whether it is edible for the likes of us.
Here is bayberry, beloved by the warblers. Well, I expect the birds love all these berries.
And here are wild rose hips, just beginning to turn from orange toward dark crimson. In a few weeks the bog will be an Impressionist landscape of bronze and copper and red and mossy green and grey, with occasional dabs of goldenrod and blue aster.

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