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.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I looked up the definition of maroon this morning. The first definition doesn't apply to us, since it requires our having been captured by buccaneers and set ashore as punishment. But here's the second definition: to isolate as if on a desolate island. Yep, that's us. We haven't been able to leave the island for a week now, and it looks as if we won't be able to leave for another week, or even longer. And what an adventure it is!

Greg called Laura at Fort Point Fisheries to ask about Gunning Cove the other day. "Oh, yes, it's iced up," she told him. "It doesn't look too thick out there, but no boats are going out." We knew no boats had gone out for the past week or so. It has been too windy and the waves too high even for lobstermen. This isn't really their time of year anyway. Even though the official lobster season runs from the beginning of December to the end of May, most lobster boats take a break during the season when the weather is at its fiercest. It's too dangerous out there now. They'll start going out again in late April, and fish until the season comes to a close at the end of May. With ice covering the waters of Gunning Cove, and no bigger boats going in and out to break it up, Greg would not risk trying to take our little Chopper over there.

Fortunately, Greg is a serious student of weather forecasting. So he can tell me exactly what Environment Canada is predicting for the next week. It goes something like this: cold, cold, cold, wind, wind, wind, wind. Here's a little lesson I never knew until I lived here: warmth and wind go together. So does rain, but we don't care about rain. It's wind that makes the difference, and, in the winter, ice. We are not talking about light breezes when we say wind. Greg won't take little Chopper out into the harbour when the wind is blowing at 25 kilometres per hour, and these days the wind is well above that level. Right now the wind is strong and the cold is biting. And Greg says it's about to get a whole lot colder.

So, maybe he can go in next Wednesday. By then there will have been a string of warmer and windier days, maybe enough to melt the ice in Gunning Cove. On that day the wind is supposed to die down and it's supposed to get colder again, but if the ice has melted by then, there should be enough time for him to go into town and run all our errands and get home again. Or not.

The inconveniences are not that great. We have run out of butter and cheese and milk and -- horrors -- okay, this one is serious -- we are about to run out of coffee. We are running out of vegetable oil but, as people who have our priorities straight, we do have a big stock of olive oil. Greg is sad that he's almost out of garlic. But the freezer contains enough food -- green beans, moose meat, lamb, mutton, chard, chanterelles, raspberries, dried apples, et cetera -- for us to dine well into eternity or until the freezer dies, whichever comes first. And we have plenty of Greg's home-made beer and hard cider in the cellar.
We can't return or borrow books at the library but -- hooray! -- the library now offers digital downloads. So far I've been able to download and read John Casey's glorious new novel, Compass Rose (Random House Canada, 2010), Rebecca Skloot's amazing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Crown Publishers 2010), and Lewis Desoto's Emily Carr, a title in a lovely if somewhat perplexing series called Extraordinary Canadians and published by The Penguin Group. The library's online services were down for three days this week but they are up and running again and I shall go a-browsing. Marooned, but with digital library borrowing: pretty good.

With all this enforced indoor time we have both been carrying on with our various writing projects. We keep the wood stove blazing. Greg devotes a great deal of time and ingenuity to the pursuit of asymmetrical warfare against mice. And I cleaned the stove. So, you see, it's fine, really (though not for the mice). An adventure! Except for the coffee.


Vintagesouthernlife said...

So glad you have the digital library.Give me something to read and I am quite content. No that would be a serious problem. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you get into town before the coffee funs out.

Roberta said...

You have a most wonderful visual sense. I love the new photo on the blog masthead. Glad you're back!

DawnC said...

Glad you're home, sorry about the weather! The coffee situation would have me in a serious panic!