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the storm ate my homework

January 16, 2011

I want to get in the practice of posting daily and early.  To that end, I

stayed up until midnight for today’s entry.  Jude and I had to get up

at 5 am to take her son Nathan to the airport, and I knew we’d be gone

until at least 7 pm.  Problem was, at midnight we were having a pound-

ing rainstorm that somehow convinced our satellite connection  and

computer to eat today’s post, orginally entitled “not a clinker in the

bunch”.  I went to bed for five hours of fitful sleep with an apocalyptic

backbeat.  Anyway, here ’tis:

Finding our farm followed the Goldilocks story arc.  Jude and I liked

the idea of living on an island.  We had several in mind.  The first one

was too big and remote.  The second was too small and overcrowded.

We were rethinking our preference when we visited a third for an arts

and crafts tour.  It was jut right for us, with a cozy magic that we

didn’t find on the others.  So we found a property on the net and

started negotiating.

The island has about 2500 citizens: a rowdy farrago of artists, loggers,

First Nation tribe members, musicians, Tories, fishermen/women,

environmentalists, B&B owners, vintners, writers, curmudgeons,

nihilists, unemployed and none of the above.  Our neighbourhood

Jehovah’s Witness is a U.S. draft dodger.  Think of us as a fine blend

of Lake Woebegone, Brigadoon and the Cicely, Alaska, of “Northern


Logic on the island claims no affiliation or affinity to organized

thought.  I was recently in the library as the lone worker talked to

another patron on speakerphone.  “They’ll be due on the 24th,

Christmas Eve,” he told her.  “I’m an agnostic,” she replied, as if

that would affect the return date.

While Jude and I waited for the sale of the farm to be finalized, the

owners invited us to The Garden Party, a yearly event that progresses

from home to home of all who want to show off their flowers, fruits

and veggies.  We met most of our future neighbours, 30 or so hardy

souls who talked and laughed in an all-day drizzle.  There wasn’t a

clinker in the bunch.

Our community is isolated, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the nearest

shopping, 25 km (15 mi.) from the ferry terminal.  Everyone was off

the grid until last summer.  There’s a strong streak of pioneer spirit

in the group, with just the right tickle of anarchy.  People here look

out for one another without getting in each other’s way.  When we

needed brush and small trees cleared to string electric poles, most

everybody showed up.  When we needed flaggers for the heavy

equipment to remove big trees, we sent four of us to traffic control

school to save money.

The neighbourhood, which stretches for 8 km (5 mi.), is a terrific

fusion of age groups and skill sets.  Nearly every man here except

me can build a house from bottom to top, the traditional method.

These are the folks you’d want around in a crisis or emergency.

They’re teaching Jude and I how to survive here (Rule One:

always have a chain saw in your vehicle, preferably a four-wheel

drive).  After 5+ years here, we feel like they’ve really accepted us.

That, or they’re just fattening us up for the cookout at the next

Garden Party.

  1. January 17, 2011 5:43 am

    Looking forward to 2 things:

    1. Hearing more about your home and
    2. Your moderating your comments so I can read them!

  2. January 17, 2011 4:33 pm

    Hey, Coach. I think I just learned how to do #2.
    Of your comments, that is.

Comments are closed.

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