As we moved on to the next month, the days got warmer and more humid. The Lupins persisted in bloom through most of July, while the white asters and the various berries (bunchberries, lingonberries, blueberries, blackberries) were fruiting. There were blue and purple irises thriving in the bogs behind our cabin.
The garden had started taking shape and we had to put in a pea fence for the plants to grow. Soon after the porcupines started slowly decimating our beet and turnip greens! Every day we would walk to the meadow at sunset to watch it and the porcupines (a family with a baby and an adult) would be there ahead of us enjoying the sunset and having poops after which they would obviously go on to eat all the greens. We once found them hanging on to the pea fence in an attempt to get to the peas.
As the weather warmed up, we started going for longer runs in training for the half-marathon. I was still working on the online data science course about 10 hours a week and we managed a few swims in the ocean and made a few cycle trips into town for groceries. This was the month with both our birthdays and it was also the month my partner’s parents were coming to the cabin.
Project 1: Birthday projects
Our neighbours had invited us over for supper the day before my birthday which we were going to boat over to but, due to strong winds we walked instead (but not before dropping my phone in the ocean in an attempt to boat and shutting it down forever). For my birthday, during the day we made a coat rack from an old table and chairs set that was in the cabin, we used the legs of the chairs and tables and mounted them on top of one and another after which we ran to the penny auction and cake walk happening in a near by town where we managed to win 3 cakes and chalk line. Needless to say, the rest of the week went by with many cake meals!
Project 2: Tool shed prerequisites and bog paving
My partner’s parents were arriving towards the end of July and the project for when they arrived was going to be to build a tool shed. In preparation for this, we needed to (a) decide on where the toolshed will go, (b) clear out a space for the toolshed by cutting down fewest and weakest (or dead) trees, (c) find a way to dispose of the trees that were cut down to make space for the toolshed, and (d) buy the lumber for the tool shed design proposed.
We first decided on the optimal space and orientation for the tool shed so it has enough light, is a safe distance away from the cabin (for sawdust, generator noise, and other messes) and is well hidden by trees. We then calculated the space we needed to clear out for the same and marked all the trees that would need cutting. We took this opportunity to also mark a small walking trail to the bog about 200 meters from the cabin and marked trees on the path. The trees were then cut with a chainsaw and we moved them into the bog for optimal decomposition (this is the bog that had a lot of blue irises). We also went into town and placed an order for the lumber for delivery, the store delivered it to the wharf, and the neighbour—who is a lobster fisherman with a bigger boat—very kindly helped haul the lumber to the floating dock. We then moved the lumber to the site and waited to begin tool shed building.
Project 3: Barrington Half marathon birthday
My partner’s parents arrived on the 25th of July and soon after we left the cabin with them on the 27th to go to Barrington and Sable island (the Southernmost part of Nova Scotia) for a half marathon that we signed up for to celebrate his birthday. We managed to complete our first half marathon in 2 hours and 15 minutes (according to the final results) and, pretty pleased with ourselves, we have never run since.
Here we also did a little bit of sightseeing. We went to a couple of beaches. The hawk beach or the drowned forest, where at low tide, you can see the stumps of a few trees with their original peaty soil from a forest about 1500 years old. The sea level then was ~3m lower than it is today and as the sea level keeps rising and eroding the beach, more trees are being exposed. You can also see the tallest lighthouse, the cape sable lighthouse, from there.
We also went to the old meeting house, the oldest non-conformist house of worship in Canada, with its spartan pews and pulpit which have graffiti from the parishioners of the 1800’s. Graffiti in the 1800’s mostly involves drawing yourself on a boat.
We also went to the Seal Island lighthouse museum which turned out to be quite a trove of information and the patiently guided tour was very informative. It also houses the original lens from the lighthouse.
We got back in time for my partner’s birthday and the end of the month.
Next up, August!
Books read recently
Long night of the storm — Indra Bahadur Rai
I am a strange loop — Douglas R Hofstadter
Lands of lost borders — Kate Harris