REDHOUSE FREEPORT NS B0V1B0
(Austin TX 78747 USA)
REDHOUSE 44°16′27″N 66°19′18″W
I bought REDHOUSE, our family 65 acre saltwater farm on Digby Neck, Long Island, Freeport, NS, B0V1B0, Canada, 44°16′27″N 66°19′18″W, for many of the reasons that people buy oceanfront sanctuaries like this. That is, to have a place to get away to when the weather is warm, a place so quiet one can hear the ocean waves crashing on the Granite Basalt indestructible shoreline, the blanket of stars that appears every night with zero light pollution above my eyes, the mature hardwood forest above my head and the saltwater Bay of Fundy Tributary to the Atlantic Ocean, below my feet, undisturbed by construction or population, winds rising in the trees from a mile downstream, Mother Nature trails, whales, seals on my rugged rocky shoreline, Osprey flying above in search for fish below, Cormorants resting on my shoreline, deer trails, wildlife, the absence of Lime Disease, beckoning my senses back to a fundamental belonging within myself that existed long before I was created on this earth in my career as a human being, and which will survive long after I am returned to the ashes from which I was born.
My reason for buying REDHOUSE was a matter of simple geography; to find a place with less pavement than soil, more quadrupeds than bipeds, more nature and nurture than noise.
After many summers I have come to realize that the essence of REDHOUSE is more complicated than this. REDHOUSE is not about a place, REDHOUSE is about time. My REDHOUSE experience starts each winter as I plan my 2,750 mile exodus by car from the mass inhumanity of city life every Christmas and New Year’s evening in Austin TX, 78747, 30°16′N 97°44′W. My REDHOUSE clock starts every summer when upon arrival, following a two or three day drive from Austin, TX, 78747, and a delightful three hour crossing of the Bay Of Fundy from St. John, NB 45°16′50″N 66°04′34″W, on the MV Fundy Rose to Digby, NS B0V1A0, 44°37′20″N 65°45′38″W , I make the 40 KM drive down HWY-217 to Freeport, NS B0V1B0, Canada, 44°16′27″N 66°19′18″W, to REDHOUSE. I unlock the gated driveway access, enter my property, and quickly give a visual grep of the property from my car, noticing any immediately observable changes from my visit the previous summer. The property is called REDHOUSE because the shingle cottage is painted RED!!!!
Upon exiting my car I walk the grounds, figuratively sniffing like a dog upon rediscovering its bone, ferreting out an unfamiliar place. I notice which towering oaks, hemlocks, white birch, maples, spruce, have not survived, becoming winter casualties, and those that have, giving grace for both. I repeat the same process for the REDHOUSE camp, 800-0 FT wide by 3600-0 FT deep 65 acre property itself, like a Currier and Ives hand painted oil masterpiece; from the HWY-217 entrance to the east (151ASL), westerly along the 3600-0 FT long roadway through the forest to the shoreline (32ASL), noting if it is high tide, low tide, mean-high-low tide? High tides at REDHOUSE are 15ft to 25ft twice a day.
I take my walk from the entrance to REDHOUSE, down the 35-0 FT wide roadway I cut out of the forest, from REDHOUSE to the shoreline, noting the condition of the trees, fields, deer trails, Deer Tower, Stone Monument, returning back to REDHOUSE to inspect the shingle cottage itself. I totally rebuilt the cottage in 2014 enclosing the 8-0 FT by 36-0 FT screened porch with ranchwall, building a “BARN DOOR” to cover the porch door entrance, installing wood on the ceiling of the porch, installing wood trim on the exterior cottage corners, and in between the 4-0 FT by 8-0 FT ranchwall panels, priming and painting the entire cottage exterior and trim with marine quality paint, after hand scraping and repairing all exterior windows, trim and shingles that were needy. Just in time!!! REDHOUSE withstood 10-0 FT snow blizzard in March, 2015. I unlock the cottage itself and commission the structure for another renewed, familiar, rebirth reaching all the way into my soul. I hook up the water pump to the well, secure the water lines to the kitchen sink, and bathroom facilities that were decommissioned the previous visit, taken apart to prevent freezing during the winter, put the four glass fuses into the fuse-box in the bedroom that provide power to the kitchen, and the water pump. Power to REDHOUSE and the land line phone stay on 7*24*365. I plug in the refrigerator, stove, kitchen appliances, hot water heater, and coffee maker. Test the water faucets in the kitchen and bathroom, shower in the bathroom, toilet in the bathroom, hot water availability, fill the freezer with ice cubes for obvious reasons. Life at REDHOUSE can again begin. I unpack my car, bring in fresh vegetables I purchased in Digby 44°37′20″N 65°45′38″W at the farmer’s market, and groceries from the local supermarket, after I disembarked from the MV FUNDY ROSE Ferry, stash the cases of beer, and bottles of 101Proof Wild Turkey Bourbon alcohol purchased in Digby, into their places in the kitchen, place the fresh fish (10 pounds, caught that morning), I purchased from the fish pound in Little River, 44°26′47.5″N 66°8′39.19″W, into the fridge, make my call to Lavena’s Catch Café at the Westport Ferry, 15 HWY-217, Freeport, NS B0V 1B0, Canada 902-839-2517, to order my 6-pound lobsters, settle down for a long summers holiday.
I walk the 3600-0 FT roadway from REDHOUSE to the shoreline, listening to the waves crashing on my granite, basalt rugged Bay Of Fundy BOF sanctuary. A camp year at REDHOUSE is approximately five months long, May through September, so the property does not get worn out very quickly by population and the wildlife can enjoy the property the remaining seven months undisturbed. Usually, the forest has shifted almost imperceptibly beyond any windfall trees from the winter. BOF 15-0 FT & 25-0 FT, high and low tides are slow but steady, ebbing and flowing twice each day. I usually find little dramatic change along the hundred-foot flood plan.
Camp, is an elusive noun subject to many interpretations. Essentially camp is a subset of summer home and a sibling of cottage. In NovaScotia, camp usually refers to a place that is not inhabited year-round, tends to be inland. Cottages tend to be coastal. REDHOUSE is coastal, sitting on the Bay of Fundy BOF, just north of Grand Passage and Brier Island, 44°15′32″N 66°21′44″W , on the Digby Neck, at the southwest most land mass in NovaScotia, where the BOF meets the Atlantic Ocean. What would be called a camp in Maine is called a cottage in Canada.
After I return in the summer, I spend several days wandering the acreage, a part of my seasonal cadence, an annual ritual, but at a certain point, usually a week, my sense of occupying a calendar schedule composed of hours, days, weeks, fades, and I begin to notice the daily short-cycle rhythms of sun-up to sun-down Summer lifestyle, enjoying my small non-polluting existence, being of an unpretentious organic unevenness, shaped by time and weather, where, with the application of time, memories are crafted.
Daily activities include getting up with the sun, crafting breakfast of some nature, then walking the REDHOUSE property, re-discovering every nook and cranny to be seen. Lunchtime includes a 5 minute trip from REDHOUSE by ferry to Westport NS on Brier Island NS, to walk the southwest most accessible saltwater sanctuary sandy beach, a true marine eco-system in action at Pond Cove; one of Brier Island's most popular destinations. A short walk winding through ecologically sensitive sand dunes leads to the spectacular Pond Cove Beach. Sandy at low tide and rockier at high tide, the beach is a treasure-trove of natural wonders.
A few meters inland behind the beach is Big Pond and Little Pond. These saline water ponds and the surrounding marshes are home to a wide variety of plants and a proliferation of birds. Western Light lighthouse, Northern Light lighthouse and Peter’s Island Lighthouse are each easily accessible for obvious reasons. Hiking trails to seal cove provide full day activity beyond compare. No trip to Brier Island is complete without a visit to Robicheau hardware and restaurant, 225 Water Street Westport, NS, Canada, B0V1H0, for lobster rolls and ice cream, and to the Brier Island Lodge for 5-star breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Dinners at Lavena’s Catch Café, 15 NS-217, +1 902-839-2517, Freeport, NS B0V 1B0, Canada now renamed The Captain's Daughter Resturant, +1 902-839-2060 in Freeport by the Westport Ferry offers the most succulent scallops, seafood, hospitality , beyond belief, imaginable.
Closing up for the summer is much faster than opening up for the season. I decommission the cottage for the winter. I take one final walk around the property, take any final pictures of REDHOUSE, get into my car and leave with one final look back, continually straining my neck, as long as REDHOUSE stays in sight. Leaving REDHOUSE is sad, I am leaving the camp to the critters that inhabit this space year round, the winter wildlife, towering trees, the woods, snow, until the next Spring thaws return REDHOUSE to my imagination, Christmas, New Year’s planning for the upcoming summer retreat.