All of us students have been making individual floor plans of several “out buildings” (sheds, fish stages and root cellars) in Witless Bay. It hasn’t been easy- we’ve had to stand on top of bogs, disintegrate countless spider webs, and crawl into many dusty corners. But there’s something very interesting about spending a significant amount of time with a particular building. I gradually became quite fascinated by my out building, the Carey root cellar.
The Carey root cellar was built by John Carey in the late 50’s, and is currently cared for by Carey’s son, Eddie Ryan. Above ground, one can find a wonderful array of objects, both practical and aesthetic.
The root cellar’s appearance hasn’t changed much since John Carey’s death in 2003. However, Eddie Ryan has made some recent alterations. He’s attached two moose antlers he found in the woods to the exterior of the cellar, on either side of the front door.
I hadn’t initially intended on exploring the root cellar itself. I’d assumed that the cellar hadn’t been used for years, and I was afraid of what I might find down there. But when I discovered the functioning lightbulb (owing from the fact that the root cellar is, in fact, in use) I knew I had to venture down.
I found the root cellar to be a very mysterious place. Enormous boulders encroach upon the space, and layers of bare earth are exposed on the cellar floor. Root cellars seem to straddle a boundary between the human and the natural- it’s a human structure, but it’s also the feeling of being below the earth, inhabiting the same space as the insects.