Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My new home in the Harbour

My blog posts are going to be somewhat sporadic now, I don't have regular internet access. But I will definitely post when I can. Since starting this blogging process I find my internal conversation chattering on as if I was mentally writing my blog. If only there was some technology for transferring those mental conversations to my blog without having to actually sit down in front of a computer and laboriously type them up and then find an internet connection to transfer them here!

I arrived in Wolfville late on Thursday night and spent the next couple of days doing not a heck of a lot. Saturday morning I went with Carolyn to the Wolfville farm market to pick out some plants for Carolyn's garden and run into folks and have coffee and some lunch. Then we went off to the local strip mall to do some more "conventional" shopping, including a women's summer clothing sale at Zeller's. We tried on various shirts and pants and I ended up buying a couple of shirts that I didn't really need (but the sale price was so good!). On Sunday we made a chicken dinner for Carolyn's sister and parents after church, although for various reasons Carolyn's parents didn't come. I missed Carolyn's parents but it was a nice chance to reconnect with her sister Heather.

Later on Sunday I went up to Baxter's Harbour to drop off most of my stuff at the house I was going to be living in for the next month or two. The previous occupant, Dennis, was moving out the last of his things when I arrived. There was a small get together of neighbours next door at Mike and Ruth's place, apparently trying out a hammock tent. After some chat and unpacking I had dinner with Mike and Ruth and then headed back down to the Valley. On Sundays Carolyn's sister Heather runs a Women's Drumming Circle at her home, I went there for a rousing session of Djembe drumming. Then Ruth and Carolyn and I headed down to Paddy's for Celtic night where Mike plays his Celtic drum.

Baxter's Harbour is located on the shore of the Bay of Fundy, on the North Mountain of the Annapolis-Cornwallis Valley. From the Harbour you can see Cape Split, the backside of Blomidon, and Parrsboro across the Bay. It was named for a Dr. Baxter who was also a sea captain who had a ship moored here. It was once a harbour for sailing ships that plied the Bay and the coast of New England. Further up the coast from Baxter's Harbour is Black Hole; there are tales of buccaneers and smugglers using Black Hole as a hidden harbour to moor their more clandestine ships.

When I first came to Baxter's Harbour in 1975 it was a small village in serious decline. Most of the residents belonged to one of three families, the Schofields, Irvings and McCullys. The Schofields and Irvings were mostly farmers, the McCullys mostly fishermen. The fishing was not so great, farming was only slightly better, growing potatoes and cabbage in thin stoney soil. Then there was us, the hippies in the woods. A small group bought about a hundred acres in the early '70s from Willy Schofield, part of his old woodlot. It had no road frontage, so he included a right-of-way across his property to the land. In 1975 we built or started 5 or 6 "houses" in those woods, to the great amusement of Willy and his brother Sam. My house burned down in 1993, Terry and Jeanie's house was abandoned, as was Peter and Beth's. They still stand but are beyond salvage.

Mike has occupied his house continuously since that summer, Fritz and Carolyn's house has not been occupied continuously but it has been kept up. More property was bought to give the land road frontage, and a couple of the original members of the group now own houses on the road. A third house was bought and rented out, with the hope that eventually that property could be used as a real road into the property. Currently they still use the old right-of-way to get onto the land. Willy and Sam are long gone, but the right-of-way is still there.

Today Baxter's Harbour is reviving, a number of people have "discovered" it as a nice little retirement spot on the Bay of Fundy. The United Church used to conduct services in the small local church building until attendance declined, and then they shut it down. The local community got together and made an offer to the Church for the buildings and land and that offer was accepted. The Church even pitched in some money to repair the old Community Hall so that it could be used for community suppers. The old cemetery is maintained by the community and funerals and burials are still conducted in the church building next to it. But there are no stores or shops in the Harbour, the nearest shops are in Canning about 15 km away, and the nearest gas station another 10 km away in Greenwich.

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