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ICH - Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe
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Murray Root Cellar, Interview. Julie Pomeroy interviews Michael Murray about root cellars, Portugal Cove- St. Phillips
Descriptive TitleMurray Root Cellar, Interview. Julie Pomeroy interviews Michael Murray about root cellars, Portugal Cove- St. Phillips
TopicArchitecture, building and construction
Root cellars
DescriptionMichael Murray describes what a root cellar is by talking about the construction of cellars and the main components of a cellar in regard to drainage, high humidity, and keeping frost out; the construction of his cellar and how it is attached to the main house; family history of his ancestors moving from Grates Cove to Portugal Cove-St. Phillips and when the cellar was built dating it back to 1820; cellar being built before the house and what the cellar was used for; he is the fifth generation of Murrays on the land and discusses some of the history; speculates as to how long it would have taken to build the cellar at that time; renovations that the cellar has undergone in the past; important issues to know when building or keeping a cellar such as making it deep enough into the ground with enough back fill to keep frost out, having proper drainage and having good air drainage capacity; temperatures in a cellar in winter months and issues surrounding freezing; sanitation of cellars; original use of his cellar including storing meat and butchering process in the cellar; ancestors working with ice and milk storage; what he grows today in terms of vegetables and his family business succession plan and the history of the land and changes the farm has made through the generations; cellar has been in continuous use since it has been built and how he purchases his winter provisions from local farmers to keep in the cellar as well as plant materials; possibilities for his farms future and the original method of farming which was organic, and processes of composting, using fish offal and wood ash; business growing from a stand on the side of the road, his knowledge of farming, and how they still quarry peat and compost materials from arborist materials; possibility of passing on his knowledge and some of his father's history; how he stores vegetables in his cellar in regard to rodents etc; problematic issues such as frost and the importance to keep a barometer when one is having a relationship with the environment to be aware of the weather and keeping candles or lights burning to cut the frost; problems occur in the area where the stone wall meets the wooden sill; experiencing some form of climate change phenomena; talks about electricity in the cellar and the importance of sanitation because of mould and infected products; importance of cellar management is to be diligent in maintaining and dealing with issues immediately; smell of the cellar; how long vegetables last in the cellar and storage of cabbage; discusses insects in cellars; significance and joy of being a vegetable farmer and the superiority of local produce and organic farms being economically viable; farms that are no longer operative today and the skills and tools being lost for certain occupations and the pressures that have led to the demise for certain family farms across the province; cashless society that Newfoundland was prior to confederation; fond memory from when he was a boy when he was told by a man on a bus that everyone in the cove would have starved if it weren't for his family; cellar as a child and how it was scary; story of his father making wine in the cellar for a couple of years; advisory board he sits on and dream of owning a vineyard; creepy component of his cellar and the fondness he has for the time when he first started his business because the cellar offered solitude; fox farm history of the property; cellars being used as morgues in the winter months; finding beach rocks on the land.
CollectorPomeroy, Julie
InformantMurray, Michael
Location Depicted/DiscussedCanada-Newfoundland and Labrado-Portugal Cove-St. Phillips
Extent73:50 minutes; 134 MB
Resource TypeAudio
CollectionIntangible Cultural Heritage Inventory - Knowledge and Practices concerning Nature and the Universe
CONTENTdm file name582.mp3
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