The Off Season

What happens on an oyster farm when things slow down? We find more to do. It's not that we're at a loss. We planted some more on Tuesday during an early morning tide and more today during a mid-morning tide. If all goes well, we'll have all of our seed planted/distributed by the end of next week (fingers crossed for good weather).

This week, though, the wind blew like mad. Tuesday was a brutal day -- we rushed out to tide after a 5:30 a.m. arrival, got out to the cages in the dark and the tide just. wouldn't. move.

We had some water to play with so we got our seed bags out of the cages (something A2 likens to pushing and pulling a crinkly dollar bill out of a vending machine only, you know, 100x the size) and loaded onto the boat. Then we waited for the sun to rise and the water to keep going out. Only, it never really did.



Skip, somewhat frustrated, explained that we were under a high pressure system (as evidenced by the crystal-clear sky -- we could still see Orion's Belt) and that, usually, the tide moves the right way with those conditions. But what we were experiencing felt almost like a low pressure system. No movement (the air, pushed down by that low pressure, keeps the water from moving anywhere quickly) which meant no time to shake and plant. Regardless, our bags were loaded up so we went back to the float to start emptying seed into one of the boats. Skip and Berg would plant with the shovel after all. It wasn't a total loss. We got to watch the night fade away, the full moon lower and then, finally, the arrival of the sun right on time at 6:46 a.m. For Skip, it was the 4th moon rise/sun rise in a row.

There's a rhythm to our days on the float now. We wash and bag in the morning and then cull in the afternoons. The crew has little projects to work on here and there and we're usually in the zone. But I have the feeling all of that will shift, at least for me, in the next few weeks.

We've been hatching some travel plans for the fall since that's pretty much the only down time we have on the farm. Collectively, in the next month, we're headed to Chicago, New York, France and... Africa (and that's just for work). Matthew, Lisa and I will hit Chicago for the Shaw's Oyster Fest; Skip, Shore, and Berg are off to Zanzibar for some research for the Island Creek Oysters Foundation project (which involves starting a hatchery in Zanzibar); Matthew is heading to France; and Skip, Shore and I are working on a trip to NYC to visit Per Se.

It's not going to be easy leaving the float here and there. But, as Shore puts it: this is the way things go in Oyster Land.