Three Fathom Harbour
I’m staying with Colleen just outside of Dartmouth in Three Fathom Harbour. It’s a beautiful, windswept place with the best surfing beaches in Nova Scotia. Last night we went over to Colleen and Sheldon’s neighbours for a meal and I was asked how Colleen and I knew each other. “Well”, I said, taking a deep breath “I was the evil woman that Colleen was supposed to apprentice with for 6 months, who then just disappeared in the middle of the night”.
Apparently I beat myself up about the events in May of this year a little too much. It all worked out for the best in the end. Carolyn and Colleen were able to stay together. I found them a new mentor in Andrea Berry of Hope Seeds and Perennials who was thrilled with her luck because she had just lost her own apprentice. They, no doubt, learned a huge amount from her and now Carolyn is working for a seed saving organisation in the States and Colleen feels like she could farm if she wanted to. They got what they needed and I did too. Though I often think about what would have happened if the three of us had stayed together for those 6 months.
Colleen works for Environment Canada so she and Sheldon went off to work this morning while I updated my blog, fired off some emails, updated my finances and then decided to take a walk along the shore. I was getting a bit peckish so I ate a piece of cheese before I went out but figured I’d wait to heat myself up some lasagna until I got back.
The landscape here is beautiful. Very rugged, wild and Scottish. I spent a good hour and a half wandering trails and photographing leaves, rocks, bark and water. I’m fascinated by textures and patterns in nature and a lot of my photos were in sepia, so that the eye doesn’t get distracted by the colours.
I got back to the house just as my blood sugar was beginning to drop a little and I muttered to myself about taking better care. I’m hypoglycemic and can get a bit bonkers if I don’t eat at regular intervals. I’ve made that clear at each of my host farms, but I still don’t take enough care with myself.
Sheldon had left me with a key, various comupter cables and codes and clear instructions on everything, except the fact that I had the key for the deadbolt. When I had left for my walk the alarm started making funny noises, so I slipped out the door as fast as possible, locking the other lock in the process. I had a key to the right door, but to the wrong lock.
It was nobodies fault, but it didn’t alter the fact that it was -11C out with a wind chill of -20C and they weren’t going to be back for at least 2 hours. I had cleaned out my pockets of all the junk I had in them the night before so I had no money, no credit card to try to break in, no telephone numbers and no idea about what to do next. On the positive side I had a new super-warm coat, scarf, fleece and boots from Bonnie and gloves from Alison so at least I wasn’t going to get hypothermic too quickly.
Then I had a brain wave. I would go over to Colleen’s neighbours place. Debbie would be at work but Ian might be home. Or at the very least, their house might be easier to break into than Colleen’s (which is like Fort Knox). I started off down the drive then stood there at the end of it with no clue whether I needed to turn left or right. I had a feeling that it was left, but it was pitch black when we’d walked over there so I had no landmarks for guidance and was relying totally on my sense of direction. I tried looking at the house from different angles; I’d seen the number of the house illuminated by a torch at some point, but was that when we got in back from the neighbors or when we’d arrived from the bus station? The more I played scenarios through my head the more they got confused with my memories and in the end I decided to just try walking in one direction until I saw something that made sense.
For some reason I chose to go right instead of left, ignoring my gut feeling. After 15 minutes of wandering I was still totally lost. I considered doing the same in the opposite direction but unless someone turned out the sun, it was never going to look like it did last night. I could have walked right past Debbie and Ian’s house and I would have no idea.
Also, my blood sugar was plummeting and I knew that I needed to reduce my activity levels if I was going to make it until they got home. I tried to get into their workshop but that was locked up solid. Then I tried the greenhouse. It wa a bit warmer there, under the glass and out of the wind, but after 30 mins of reading Canadian Gardener Magazine and jiggling around to keep my legs warm, I realised that I couldn’t keep it up any longer. It was time to start banging on doors.
The first house I tried was empty. I had the feeling that this was a bedroom community for Dartmouth and that everyone might be at work. I was beginning to shake a little and my concentration was going. I dug through my pocket again just in case there were a few crumbs or bits of chocolate or an old wrapper I could lick just to keep myself going for a bit longer.
In the left pocket of my new coat I found some cat treats. I’m still not sure what they were doing there, but let’s just say, they aren’t there any more. If anyone ever asks me what the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten is, I’m going to be able to respond ‘chicken feathers and ground up carcasses’.
Over the brow of the hill I spotted smoke rising from a chimney so I headed in that direction.
The trail to Steve's house
By 5:30 when Sheldon and Colleen got back from work, Steve and I had discussed everything from climate change, to intentional community to favourite places in Canada. They have been neighbours for a number of years now, but neither Colleen nor Sheldon have ever needed to bang on Steve’s door to ask if he wouldn’t mind if they warmed themselves up by his fire. When Colleen arrived to pick me up I very sincerely told Steve that I was actually quite glad that I’d gotten locked out.
During the course of our conversation, he had offered the use of his land for Colleen to use for vegetable production and it was really evident that they would get along extremely well. It’s so ironic that two neighbouring households, who both relish the thought of intentional community, had not managed to connect until the day I got myself locked out of the house.
It seems that everything really does happen for a reason.