Thursday, July 10, 2008

Seam done, and some history

It rained for much of the morning and half the afternoon today. I waited, hoping the rain would stop, but finally donned boots and goretex and headed off to the Garden House to finish the last sheer seam.

Things went fairly smoothly, I rolled the strips of fibreglass up before starting so that when it came time to lay it in the seam I just had to unroll it. This worked well, I had very little problem with fibres of glass coming loose and sticking to everything.

The seams are now done, I just have to leave the kayak over night to cure. The rain stopped before I finished so I walked back in relative dryness.

In the evening I went to Mike's to talk about the next step, cutting out the coaming pieces. Mike is taking some time off work so he will be available tomorrow to help me with that.

A neighbour, Rick, stopped by with a poster for a community supper in a couple of weeks. For the next couple of hours we talked about Baxter's Harbour history, and the history of some of the families that have always lived here.

Dr. Baxter built his house around 1802 (this is Peter and Nancy's house now), and set up the Baxter Mill on the brook below his house. A wharf was built in the Harbour, but a lot of shipping actually occurred from Black Hole, a little ways down the road. It had a much better harbour and steep cliffs surrounding it. Apparently they used to throw logs over the cliffs into the water and then load them from there into great sailing ships. There was never a wharf at Black Hole, goods were simply thrown over the cliff into the water.

The area has been logged over at least twice, it is in the process of being logged over a third time now. Families here engaged in logging, farming and even shipbuilding and shipping, all at once. They would load potatoes and logs onto a sailing ship and then sail down to the Caribbean to sell in the fall, certainly a dangerous trip given the kind of weather you get on the Atlantic Coast in the autumn. But in those days there was no railroad in Nova Scotia, everything was shipped via sailing ship from the many coastal ports.

The North Mountain was economically important because of all its ports, even farmers in the rich Valley below had to bring their produce up the Mountain to have it shipped out to the world. The railroad put an end to that, and the railroad was built as part of the deal that brought Nova Scotia into Confederation. Nova Scotia never saw economic good times again, becoming part of Canada was not the best thing that ever happened here.

A number of families in the Harbour have links with New Brunswick. Baxters and McCulleys are also found in the Kennebecasis Valley of NB. They sailed there from the Harbour, going up the Saint John river and then the Kennebecasis as far as the tide would allow them, and then settled there.

We also talked about how the North Mountain is considered a backwater today. Government focuses on providing services to the Valley, ignoring both the North and South Mountains. Rick decried a recent suggestion to expand the Kings County bus service into Hants County, when there was no bus service to Canning or any other town outside of the Highway 1 corridor through the Valley. He said he sees three or four schoolbuses pass his home every day, some half empty. Why couldn't the school buses be used to provide bus service to places like the Harbour? With gas prices so high, no one could live in the Harbour and hold a job down in the Valley, the Harbour is soon going to be inhabited only by the unemployed and retirees. And all work is in the Valley, there is next to no business on the Mountain. All the little general stores are closed down, the sawmills are almost all gone, hardly anyone farms any more, and nobody fishes at all.

Well I guess that's what folks do now, talk about the good old times and complain about the bad new times.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,

How wonderful you have so many interesting and creative ways to spend your days and nights!

I loved reading the interesting history of that area and applaud the good sense of Rick's thought of using available space on the school buses for general transportation. Sounds like a good cause for the elderwomen of the area should take on! Power to the people!

Hugs, huts, and hogs! :D